THREE DAY TWO NIGHT TOUR
People of all ages love Harry Potter. What began as a humble collection of kids’ books has become the best-selling book series of all
time and has been adapted into some of the highest-grossing films of all time. All of this success has led to quite a few Harry Potter
themed attractions; there is Harry Potter world in London and the wizarding world of Harry Potter in Florida, but we’d like to make
a case for why Scotland is, by far, the best place for Harry Potter fans to visit.
Here are the top Scottish filming locations Harry Potter fans must visit!
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Great Scottish Tours (GST) can arrange for your tour to begin at any departure point, such as your hotel, in the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh or Stirling.
The Old Town Hideout's
The Elephant House -Spoon Cafe
Edinburgh City Chambers
These cafés claim that JK Rowling spent endless afternoons in
the 1990s gazing out of their windows and dreaming up her magical characters.
The Elephant House, with its beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle, has become known as the 'Birthplace of Harry Potter' whilst Spoon, in those days known as the Nicholson Café, is a lovely spacious eatery and a great place to collect your creative thoughts.
You can also see JK Rowling's handprints set in stone at the Edinburgh City Chambers on the Royal Mile.
J. K. Rowling has been very open about how much inspiration she has taken from her adopted city (Edinburgh), and some of her inspiration has come from Greyfriars Kirkyard a hauntingly beautiful old graveyard close to The Elephant House Café (more on that later). Authors often cite gravestones as a great resource for choosing characters’ names and Rowling claims to have found the name for her greatest villain in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Take a visit to the graveyard and look for Tom Riddle’s grave, but be prepared for a slightly different spelling: Thomas Riddell. There is also a gravestone with ‘William McGonagall’ on it. Perhaps this was the inspiration for Hogwarts’ great transfiguration professor?
Devoted Potter fans flock into the Kirkyard – whatever the weather – to pay homage to a grave that JK Rowling has said subconsciously inspired her writing.
The birth of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
After a day wandering the streets of the Old Town, treat yourself to a stay in The Balmoral Hotel, one of Princes Street's finest landmarks with its tall clock defining the city skyline. JK Rowling found some peace and quiet in this luxurious hotel, as she penned the final chapter of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You can also pop into the hotel for a cocktail or perhaps some afternoon tea if you don't fancy splashing out on a night's stay.
The Balmoral's J.K Rowling Suite
It all starts with the door: It’s painted purple, a significant color for the fantastical realm, and adorned with an owl knocker, a nod to the bird’s prevalence in the series, including Hedwig himself. Inside there’s an overall woodland theme, complete with wallpaper that features sketches of bare trees and tables with branch-like legs, an ode to the final volume and the Forbidden Forest. There’s even a statuette of a stag, which could either allude to Harry’s Patronus or his father’s animagus form and if you really want to relive it all, copies of Harry Potter line the living room’s bookshelf. It’s the perfect suite for Potter heads to call a home base as they explore the Scottish capital and all the locations that inspired the famous author
Edinburgh-Glasgow-Overnight Stay Fort William
The Real Diagon Alley
J. K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh the entire time she wrote the Harry Potter books and it’s believed that Edinburgh’s eccentrically beautiful Victoria Street was the true inspiration for Diagon Alley. Victoria Street has a multicoloured mixture of colourful shops, selling all kinds of wares, and its unique curving shape isn’t quite diagonal, but it’s not straight either.
There is actually a Diagon Alley plaque on Candlemaker’s Row — an alley just off Victoria Street!
The University of
The exterior shots of Hogwarts
Whilst it was actually Alnwick castle in the North east of England that was used for the exterior shots of Hogwarts in the first few films, pretty much everyone who sees the University of Glasgow’s main building is struck by its uncanny resemblance to Hogwarts. Not only does it look the part from the outside, it has a courtyard inside that looks a lot like the spot where Harry first learned to fly his broomstick in the first film!
A beautiful 19th century Scottish castle Located in Fort-William
Being in Scotland's finest Country Hotel, you will enjoy the Treat of a lifetime,
where every detail for your comfort and enjoyment has been carefully considered and one which you are sure never to forget.
The area surrounding Inverlochy Castle is rich in landscape and history,
to name but a few of these breath-taking places - the falls at Glen Nevis,
the monument at Glenfinnan and the mountains of Glencoe.
Nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle sits amidst some of Scotland's finest scenery.
Fort William-Scottish Highlands-Drop off Points
Hogwarts is in the Highlands
In the books, Hogwarts is set in the Scottish Highlands, which is one of the main reasons why there are so many Scottish locations in the films.
If you see a beautiful vista in one of the films, with rolling hills or jagged mountains, chances are it’s in the Scottish Highlands, with Loch Arkaig, Clachaig
Gully, and Glencoe all serving as filming locations for the Harry Potter movies. We have a pre-packaged Scottish Highlands tour if this is a big priority for
you, but we can also change any of our other tours to include a trip to the Highlands, keeping an eye out for Hogwarts. It’s supposed to have a secret
protective barrier around it to keep it hidden from muggles, but you never know…
The Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a beautiful railway viaduct on the West Highland Line that any self-respecting Harry Potter fans are guaranteed to recognise. It is the set of one the most iconic shots in all of the movies, as the Hogwarts Express in Chamber of Secrets is making its way to the school and Ron and Harry are flying overhead in Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia. But that’s not all: the Glenfinnan Viaduct was also where the train stopped in Prisoner of Azkaban when the dementors searched for Sirius Black.
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