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JK Rowling's Edinburgh & the writing of Harry Potter


    Tour Operator: The Potter Tour     3 hours     Travel method: Walking     Region: Edinburgh

JK Rowling is a moderately influential woman who's sold a few books & lives in a Teepee in Bombay.   

 On this tour, we dive deep into her history. Learn to use failure as a springboard, be inspired, stay committed and conquer the world. Discover the revelations that enthused her and the cafes which fueled her. Experience how, through hardship & failure, buoyed by friendship & love, Rowling left footprints upon the world.  

Act I - Rowling's hard journey to Harry Potter

What we'll see: 

Act I - Rowling's hard journey to Harry Potter

What we'll see: 

1.  The Balmoral Hotel: The tour begins with a sorting

Opposite the Balmoral Hotel, where Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the tour begins.

I acquired a magic hat from a witch and we separate people into houses.  Pottermore sorted me into the Snaky house, so when they win the house contest I'm especially pleased. Be ready for tears! 

2.  The Royal mile, melting pot of old Edinburgh & Rowling citizen of the world

This tour is thorough, so we'll discuss how the original idea hit Rowling.  We'll discuss what Rowling developed about the world living in Manchester.

We'll trace how Rowling's Portuguese romance and the implosion of her first marriage impacted the saga.

3.  McEwan hall Rowling's learning

4.  Spoon restaurant - where Rowling wrote 'great chunks' of the Philosopher's Stone

We'll discuss the development of the Philosopher's Stone & the rooms former life as Rowling's beloved Nicholson's cafe.

5.  Potterrow - did it gift the name of Britain's most famous fictional hero? 

We'll discuss the fan's mythology behind this street & untangle the reality.

Act II - Edinburgh's Harry Potter inspirations

 7.  INSIDE: Museum of Scotland for mythological inspirations (when it's safe) 

Death is a major theme in the Harry Potter books.  We'll study the Millenium clock, commemorating human suffering in the 21st century, and discuss thematic connections to Harry Potter.

In Rowling's daughter's favourite part of the museum, we'll chat about Scottish mythology and connections to the Philosopher's Stone.

  • Venturing inside places is unique to my tours because I have small groups and donate.

8.  The mystery of Greyfriars Kirkyard

9.  'This is Hogwarts', declared the fans, 'the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world'.

It isn't. But we'll have a look at George Heriot's school and JK Rowling's true relationship.

10.  The grave of Tom Riddle also known as Voldemort

We'll visit the Dark Lord's grave, perhaps we'll attempt a resurrection.

11.  The Elephant House - the most famous 'Harry Potter cafe'

Second novels are often claimed to be the hardest, this is where Harry learned to walk then run. 

The cafe has one of the best views of medieval Edinburgh.

We'll discuss how this helped write the Chamber of Secrets and beyond.

12.  TRY: Scottish Whisky ice cream, at present, they even have Butter-brew flavoured (not always open)

Scottish ice cream is the best ice cream in Scotland.

13.  Victoria Street, Edinburgh's winding wizarding street, is this Diagon Alley?

  • NOPE!
  • If people are interested, this is Potter central, I'll chat about some of our Diagon Alley style Potter shops.

The final act

"There will be books written about Harry, every child in our world will know his name."
- The Philosopher's Stone, Professor Minerva McGonagall. 

Little did Rowling know it would come true.

14.  Riddle's Court, a fabulous restored 16th-century town house

  • This is the most romantic sight in Edinburgh so we chat about Harry Potter and love. 

15.  Writer's Court & the writer's museum

A splendid Scottish baronial style mansion house for JK Rowling's ascent and the Edinburgh writer tradition.

16.  JK Rowling's Edinburgh Award & the House cup presentation

JK Rowling's handprints, chiselled in Scottish stone, painted gold, Edinburgh's most celebrated citizen.

  • At the end of the saga, having taught a generation of kids to read across the globe, the honours began rolling in.
  • 3 more Fantastic Beasts movies to come, I PRAY, PRAY PRAY!   
  • 11 more 'Robert Galbraith' detective novels. Sensation and controversy at every Tweet.  Rowling isn't flagging.

We'll celebrate her and give thanks to her in all her flaws and glory.

It was an unforgettable tour for me and the boys and they still talk about it!
Rebecca




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Difficulty: Moderate



What is included

Sam.  Look out for the wizard robes, or if it's rainning heavily Potter-glasses.  He's a total nerd.


We may go inside:


The Museum of Scotland


The writer's Museum.


Important information

Please check the weather the morning before.


It's winter it's cold, bring hats and gloves, maybe a rain jacket. Dress like Dobby, wear a pillowcase.


It's a long up and down walk, 4 miles. Wear comfortable, ideally flat, waterproof shoes.


4 miles right! Eat a big breakfast; eat for Hagrid. If your feet aren't baby Dolphins yet keep shoveling.


Full stomachs mean bouncy cheery spirits, empty stomach complain like Draco after house Quidditch. Eat eat eat!


We will be at the start point for about 10 minutes.  The Google Streetview.


Beyond that please use my latecomers map to chase us down, the best of the tour is still ahead.




  Attention

Edinburgh's old town has free council wifi: EdiFreeWifi



  Meeting Point Information

Outside General Register House beside the statue of the Duke of Wellington on his reading horse. Opposite the Balmoral Hotel.
2 Princes Street, EH1 3YY Scotland, United Kingdom

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