In the Steps of JK Rowling and Harry Potter – Edinburgh, Scotland

In the steps of JK Rowling and Harry Potter - Edinburgh, Scotland. Click for photos to become inspired! Creative Writing, Writing tips, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel tips, Inspiration #travel #traveltips #Edinburgh #HarryPotter #Books

Discover Harry Potter and JK Rowling in Edinburgh

Travel to the ancient hamlet of Edinburgh, Scotland and walk in the steps of JK Rowling and Harry Potter surrounded by magical inspiration. From cobblestone streets, narrow alleyways, to spired castles, this bustling city of 500,000 is full of unique architecture.

Surrounded by Inspiration in Edinburgh, Scotland. Click to be inspired too! Writing tips, Travel Europe Destinations, Travel Scotland, Travel tips, Writing tips, Creative writing, Harry Potter

Balmoral Hotel

There are lists of places where Rowling spent her time in Edinburgh. She wrote part of the Harry Potter series in Balmoral Hotel. Although it was built in the early 1900’s, I would imagine she enjoyed the view of the gardens, bridges, and Princes Street.

A view from Princes Street of Edinburgh Castle.

A view of Edinburgh Castle from Princess Street of Edinburgh Castle. Lots of inspiration for JK Rowling. Click for photos! Travel Europe Destinations, Books, Writing, Publishing, Writing tips, Inspiration, Architecture, Outdoor adventures #Edinburgh #TravelScotland #traveltips #writers #HarryPotter

Edinburgh weather and Harry Potter

No one mentions how Edinburgh’s weather may have influenced JK Rowling in writing Harry Potter. We were lucky to have enjoyed some sunny days, but the moody storms that come and go in Scotland that soak the pavers and make the steep “closes” (narrow walkways between buildings) slick, must have inspired her too. I don’t remember the sun shining very often in the Harry Potter books. It’s on those few dreary days in Colorado that my writing becomes darker. I love stormy weather.

A view from the George IV Bridge looks out over Edinburgh, Scotland. Click for photos of JK Rowling's inspiration. Travel Europe Destinations, architecture, Travel tips, Travel Scotland, Authors, books, #HarryPotter #JKRowling #Edinburgh #Inspiration

Rowling and The Elephant House

I am always most intrigued by where writers wrote their famous books. Since Rowling’s baby slept well in the stroller, she crafted her series in coffee shops. According to several accounts, she found writing isolating and enjoyed being surrounded by people. Note to self: Must find coffee shop in which to write. She chose the Elephant House as one of her favorite writerly haunts when writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

A video of Victoria Street –

Edinburgh streets influenced Rowling

After trekking up Diagon Alley, I mean, Victoria Street, I made my way to The Elephant House. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. With all the ancient buildings to choose from, this interior appeared modern.

Walking in JK Rowling's Steps at the Elephant House

I found a table and noticed an old outlet perfect for my phone’s drained battery. I wondered if JK herself might have sat in this very spot. My husband, Danny placed an order for hot chocolates. I looked around the busy coffee shop and wondered how many were tourists like me, walking in this famous writer’s footsteps.

Sipped before taking a photo and it still looks good! Delish.ย 

Hot chocolate at The Elephant House in the steps of JK Rowling. Click for photos! Food Porn, Travel Scotland, Europe, Writers, Writing tips, Books #Books #Edinburgh #foodporn #Travel #Scotland #harrypotter

Then I looked out the window behind me. Aha!

View from the Elephant House.

Finding inspiration at the Elephant House in Edinburgh where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Click to be inspired! Creative writing, Authors, Writing tips, Travel Europe Destinations, Scotland, Travel tips, Writing tips, Creative writing

Using my imagination in the steps of Jk Rowling

I imagined a Hogwarts teacher in full robes looking toward the sky where several students played a game of Quidditch. They would zip and zag through the clouds above the castle, I mean school, and then fly right by the window. Can you imagine them?

It has become impossible for Rowling to go anywhere without being recognized. I bet she misses this view.

The Elephant House bathroom has become a place of honor with zillions of messages graffitied on the walls.

Elephant House Bathroom covered in graffiti by fans thanking JK Rowling. Click for photos of JK Rowling's inspiration! Authors, books, Writing, Travel, Edinburgh, Scotland #Harry Potter #JKRowling #Edinburgh #scotland #travel

The World’s End Tavern in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile

Many taverns like The World’s End stood out among the woolen stores open for tourists on the Royal Mile. This ancient place is among many other Edinburgh haunts featured in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series as well.

The World's End. One of many inspiring places in Edinburgh that may have inspired JK Rowling and Diana Gabaldon. Click for photos! Travel Europe Destinations, Writing tips, Outlander, Travel Scotland, Harry Potter, Travel tips, Creative writing #Scotland #Travel #writing #books #traveleuropedestinations

We had a peek when it rained on our last day in Edinburgh. So warm and cozy with lots of stone and character. I was ready to sit and relax for a while, but there was a 45-minute wait. Next time.

Inside The World's End. One of many amazing places in Edinburgh that may have inspired JK Rowling and Diana Gabaldon. Click for photos! Travel Europe Destinations, Writing tips, Outlander, Travel Scotland, Harry Potter, Travel tips Scotland, Creative writing #Scotland #Travel #writing #books #traveleuropedestinations

Edinburgh Castle as a muse for writers

Built on a hill, magical Edinburgh Castle can be seen for miles. I’m sure it has been the muse for many writers and fairytales.

Edinburgh Castle towers over the town. Click for photos of Edinburgh and become inspired! Harry Potter, Outlander, Writers, writing tips, Travel Scotland Europe Destinations, Travel tips

Holyrood Palace with more inspiration for Harry

On the opposite end of the Royal Mile, originally built on a bridge, is the Holyrood Palace. Queen Elizabeth still takes up residence there every summer so no photographs were allowed. But the ruins of the chapel were fair game. My imagination stirred, I couldn’t wait to continue exploring.

Holyrood Palace Chapel ruins in Edinburgh. Click and find out why it inspired JK Rowling. Harry Potter, Outlander, Writers, Books, Travel Scotland Europe Destinations, Tips, #Travel #Scotland #Writingtips #Europedestinations #harrypotter

Fantasy and fantastic ideas inspired by Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m a thriller writer and found myself pondering stories with notes of fantasy. Could I be inspired too? Somehow anything seemed possible in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a written history that only spans from the 1400’s, who knows what might have been.

Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Robert Louis Stevenson are among almost eighty other writers mentioned in Wikipedia who lived in Edinburgh. I’m sure they were influenced by the fantastic architecture, its mysterious vibe, and possibilities too.

Edinburgh castle in Scotland inspired many writers including JK Rowling. Click for photos! Travel Europe Destinations, Scotland, United Kingdom, Travel tips, Authors, Harry Potter Series, Writing inspiration, Tips, #Tavel #Scotland #JKRowling #HarryPotter #authors

All photos are copyright protected.

Have you ever been inspired while on vacation? Where would you like to travel next?

Related posts:

London and Edinburgh and Why I Am Heading Back

6 Best Travel Destinations Around Edinburgh, Scotland

A Day in London with Charles Dickens: Photo Essay

Discovering Harry Potter and JK Rowling in Edinburgh, Scotland. Click for photos and writing inspiration found in a magical place! Writing tips, Creative writing, Books, writing and publication, Travel Europe Destinations, Scotland, Travel tips and advice #Scotland #Edinburgh #Travel #HarryPotter #writinginspiration

79 thoughts on “In the Steps of JK Rowling and Harry Potter – Edinburgh, Scotland

Add yours

  1. Susie… I was thinking about you this morning and saw your post. Funny thing about travel is how it evokes us to dream, think, and reflect. I remember your travel challenge from ’13 and I still have the Eiffel Tower key chain on my school lanyard. Makes me think of days gone by – all that i have learned and all that i need to learn. Have a wonderful day.. that hot chocolate looks delicious.


    1. Thanks so much, Clay! You made my day.
      That was a fun trip and inspirational too. It was fun to put together that contest. I’m so glad your key chain held up! I was inspired last year in Scotland so it was nice to relax and absorb it. Lots more to come!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You need a re-read, my dear! Jo mentions hot, sunny days enough times that I wonder how the heck the books ever took place in Scotland! I know they occasionally hit the 80s, but southeastern Ireland was in the high 60s when I was there, so I’m sure the northern UK is even chillier!

    Then again, I saw Ireland have a heat advisory this summer for the upper 70s and lower 80s because they’re so used to the cool, so maybe that’s what she meant!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I apologize if I came off a tad cheeky, but I meant it as…well, it doesn’t matter how I meant it, because when I replay it in my mind, it’s suddenly accompanied by Old Timey Villain Laughter. So that’s not good. xD


        1. Nooooo! I totally got the teasing and teased you right back in a playful way. I actually heard my daughter’s voice in the word, “sass” since she calls me on it all the time! I haven’t read all the books. Just the first but saw all the movies which chose to depict the scenes under cloudy skies.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Edinburgh seems to be the right place where anyone could be inspired to start writing. I get inpired everytime I can just stop and watch the world and the people within it move, around me. It doesnโ€™t really matter where I am, itโ€™s just that moment when you can stop and take everything around you in. (Also LOVE Harry Potter! It is written in a really good way.)


      1. It sure is that way and still today, I can look at my own home and see it in different eyes than how I did before. Sometime more beautiful but others not so, I guess it is a good thing though to see all the small & big things in different perspectives. I feel like you can learn a lot by doing so. Also need to say, you are a real inspiration Susie!


  4. Great post Suzy, looks like you absolutely loved Edinburgh. It’s a fabulous city with barrels of character. The HP/JK story is completely intertwined now too isn’t it?


          1. Love all the HP books, read them a few times. When we were in Scotland last summer we were staying across the valley from her home. Looked a lovely place.


  5. It’s been 52 years since I was in Edinburgh. Our ship was too big to come pier-side so we anchored out in the Firth of Forth. Enjoyed many of the same sights in the four days we were there. One of our shipmates was injured when he tried climbing the rocks below the castle. Needles to say, he had imbibed a few too many pints just before that.

    Your photo shot from the window of the Elephant House is exquisite!


    1. Thanks, Al! Other than some of the names of the retail shops, I bet the rest hasnโ€™t changed at all. Too bad there werenโ€™t cell phones back then. Your video might go viral! Glad you all survived. Lol


  6. As you are clearly a Harry Potter fan, you should check out the James Potter series by G. Norman Lippert. They are full-length fan fiction novels that, while of course there are a few discrepancies from JKR’s world, are quite brilliant and feel like a true continuation of the originals. They follow Harry and Ginny’s eldest son James. There are even audiobook versions out there… and as they’re fan fiction and Lippert can’t make any money off of them, they are all available free online.


        1. Lucky you! The ghost tour takes you under the bridge that the Royal Mile is built upon. Crazy! I still don’t understand how they built around it. Note to self: Must do research before next blog post… ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

    1. You would love seeing all of her influences. I’d always thought she got her ideas from England. It was in Edinburgh that she really dug into her Harry Potter series. Now I know why!
      Thanks so much, Tia!


  7. I love Edinburgh but haven’t visited for ages. I’m actually staying for a few days in November for my birthday and I can’t wait. I actually hadn’t realised she had written some of Harry Potter while in Edinburgh. I love the city a lot!


  8. This is seriously on my bucket list! I know this is one trip and then there is another Harry Potter Trip in England I would love to do. I am a HUGE Potterhead and I would love to go to all these special places. Thank you so much for sharing.


  9. This place evokes every creative soul that looks upon its bleak grey shape through Edinburgh’s Autumn . Burns was born in Scitland and loved Edinburgh, did you go to the Globe Inn. At the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh you can see the desk where he composed some of his most famous works. I think all writers should go here once to recharge their writers head. I loved your post and walked with you through your words. Xx


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