Image: Glenfinnan Viaduct

Harry Potter film and book locations itinerary

It's hard to believe that June 2022 was the 25th anniversary of JK Rowling publishing her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In 1997, no one could have predicted the wildly successful book sales and box office smashing blockbusters that would follow. Here in Scotland you can see where the Edinburgh-dweller found her inspiration and where the magic all began. 

Still waiting for your letter to arrive by owl?  

Don't worry. You can still immerse yourself in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, just by following this spellbinding four-day itinerary.

Start / Finish
Edinburgh / Ballachulish
  • Days
    4
  • Distance
    197 Miles

    315.2 km
  • Transport
    Car
  • Main theme
    TV & film
Highlights
The Elephant House
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Jacobite Steam Train
Glen Coe
Areas covered
East
North

Day 1 Edinburgh

Transport:
Walking

It was in Scotland's capital city that JK Rowling started to plot the adventures of Harry and his pals. With cobbled streets, winding alleys and medieval architecture, the city certainly has a few things in common with the settings from the books and films. She wrote the early chapters in various cafés around the city's Old Town, before coming back to finish off the series from a peaceful suite in The Balmoral Hotel, away from all disruptions. 

  • Elephant House Edinburgh

    Image: The Elephant House

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    The Elephant House claims that JK Rowling spent endless hours in the 1990s gazing out of the window and dreaming up her magical characters. With its beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle, the café has become known as the 'Birthplace of Harry Potter'. You can also see JK Rowling's handprints set in stone at the Edinburgh City Chambers on the Royal Mile.   

    Find out more about Elephant House
    Time to explore
    2 hours
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh

    Image: The graveyard of Greyfriars Kirk

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    Visit this infamous, spine-tingling graveyard and burial place of several notable Edinburgh academics and writers of the past. However, also buried here are a few other notable residents: Thomas Riddell, William McGonagall and Elizabeth Moodie. A coincidence? We think not.

    Find out more about Greyfriars Kirkyard
    Time to explore
    1 hour
  • The Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh

    Image: The Balmoral Hotel

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    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. 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. 

    Find out more about The Balmoral Hotel
    Did you know?

    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

    1 Princes Street, Edinburgh - City Centre, EH2 2EQ
    Key facilities
    • WiFi
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Parking
    • Breakfast Available

Day 2 Travel to Fort William

Transport:
Bus
Car

If "apparating" isn't an option for you, it's possible to travel by train from Edinburgh to Glasgow and from there, take the West Highland Line to Fort William. This is a great way to see some famous spots from the window, including the mystical Rannoch Moor, the place where Death Eaters board the train in the movie Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. 

If you'd prefer to drive, you could also hire a car in Edinburgh. Drive to the Bo'ness Motor Museum, where you can see Ron Weasley's Ford Anglia or drop in to the Scottish Owl Centre in West Lothian to say hello to some of Hedwig's friends and other exotic owl species.

  • Glasgow University Glasgow

    Image: The Cloisters at the University of Glasgow

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Admire some of Glasgow's gorgeous gothic architecture in the West End, with a universirty which might remind you a little of Hogwarts. Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest in the English-speaking world, so take a guided tour around this magical space

    Find out more about Glasgow University
    Time to explore
    1 hour
  • Fort William Fort William

    Image: Fort William

    Once you arrive, there are a variety of accommodation options in the lovely Fort William, an outdoorsy town lying in the shadow of the lofty Ben Nevis, our highest mountain. If you're looking for an unusual place to stay, why not channel your inner half-giant, and stay the night in a Hagrid-style cabin?

    Use the accommodation search to find something to suit you
    Time to explore
    12 hours

Day 3 All aboard the Hogwarts Express

Day 4 Lochs and glens

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