Learn about the author that influenced a generation on the Edinburgh Footsteps of JK Rowling Tour. Discover how Scotland’s capital shaped her life and her books, as you admire the city’s famous streets and buildings.
Edinburgh has always had a magical atmosphere. Even before the world had ever heard of Harry Potter, the city has been a place of mysticism and wonder. This tour delves into this feeling, exploring the life of JK Rowling and how her spectacular surroundings helped her to create one of the world’s most beloved characters.
From €18 per person
The Edinburgh Footsteps of JK Rowling Tour begins the same way as any young wizard or witch’s journey into the Wizarding World should: By sorting everybody into their respective house! Whether you’re a Gryffindor or Slytherin, you’ll have to try your hardest to earn points throughout the tour. If you do well, you might even claim the House Cup at the end!
After sorting, the tour proper starts where it all ended: The Balmoral Hotel.
Tucked away here, in a luxury suite that now bears her name, JK Rowling wrote the last pages of her 7-book series. She even signed part of the wall to mark the occasion. You can still see it too, as long as you can afford the room’s close to £1,000 nightly fee.
Walking along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, you’ll pass McEwan Hall, where Rowling received an honorary degree. Beyond that, you will make a stop at Spoon Cafe, an important landmark in the birth of Harry Potter. Rowling sat here for lengthy periods to work on what would become Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. At the time, the eatery was run by her brother-in-law, so her work was always fuelled by endless cups of free coffee.
From here you will walk along Potterow (possibly an inspiration for naming her book’s hero) and make your way to the Museum of Scotland. A section of this museum is dedicated to Scottish myths and mentions unicorns and the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s easy to see how this might have given Rowling a few ideas for her first book.
The next stop is Greyfriars Kirkyard. This ancient cemetery was a big help to Rowling when she was trying to come up with character names. Make sure to find the grave of William McGonagall, possibly a distant relation of Minerva. You’ll also see the gravestone of Thomas Ridell, and you know who was named after him…
Around the corner from the Kirkyard is the Elephant House cafe, another of Rowling’s regular work spots. It proved a place of great inspiration. Looking out the window you can see the castle-like George Heriot’s School. This building’s appearance had a heavy hand in the creation of Hogwarts. Also out of this window you can see winding Victoria Street, the inspiration behind Diagon Alley.
The Edinburgh Footsteps of JK Rowling Tour is fun for the whole family. With a mix of history, games, and of course magic, it is a fun and insightful way to explore the city!
Note: There is a small amount of magic on this tour, that should not be mistaken for sorcery, it’s nothing so primitive.