Edinburgh is a wonderful city, full of history and charm. I had the pleasure of spending a few days there, exploring new town and old town, admiring its landmarks, and appreciating its history. Edinburgh is also the home to Joanne Rowling and has been since the launch of her career. As a lover of the Harry Potter series (a self-proclaimed “Potterhead”), I spent much of my final day in the city tracing the beginning of J.K. Rowling’s creative journey.
I started my Harry Potter morning by visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard (cemetery). This is where J.K. Rowling found name inspiration for many of the characters that she created. I walked around this centuries-old graveyard in search of recognizable names from the series and I found a few!
Overlooking Greyfriars Kirkyard is George Heriot’s School, a private school in which the students are sorted into four houses. The building also has four towers as part of its architectural design. I have read that J.K. Rowling used this school as inspiration for Hogwarts. The school is surrounded by a wall, making it difficult for an outsider to take a good picture from the ground. Fortunately for me, I had a great view of the school from the room I was staying in (I’m glad cameras can zoom).
After enjoying other parts of the city, I returned back the charming part of old town where J.K. Rowling had once spent a lot of her time. There I ate at “The Elephant House.” This is the very coffee house in which she primarily wrote the first two books of the beloved Harry Potter series. At the time she was a single mother with very little money and found that it was cheaper to purchase a cup of coffee and spend her days in the coffee house than it was to pay for heating in her flat. The coffee house is very cutely decorated with pictures of elephants, tapestry with elephant designs, and probably hundreds of elephant figurines. The food was quite delicious too. I had a panini with a side salad followed by a pot of peppermint tea (my favorite at the moment) and a piece of raspberry cake.
Even though I didn’t casually bump into J.K. Rowling during my visit (she doesn’t live anywhere near the city center anymore anyway), I had such an amazing time in Edinburgh. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to visit such a friendly, charming, and historical city.