Life & Culture

Harry Potter And The Scottish Locations

Dec 22, 2021 ByMarc Gordon

One of the biggest franchises in the world, Harry Potter, has many magical destinations dotted around Scotland just waiting to be discovered by Muggles. One of the places where J. K. Rowling would go to write was the Elephant House Café in Edinburgh. One of her favorite places to get creative, she wrote much of the first three books here and at Spoon Café, also in Edinburgh. Rowling also wrote The Deathly Hallows in the Balmoral Hotel to keep away from distractions. The room she stayed in is now called The J. K. Rowling Suite.

Not too far from the café, lies Greyfriars Kirkyard, a beautiful cemetery. Wandering through the gravestones gave Rowling inspiration. If you search hard enough, you can find the graves of William McGonagall and Elizabeth Moodie, both of whom’s namesakes were passed on to characters. But most excitingly, you’ll find the real-life grave of Thomas Riddell Esquire, there is usually a wand-shaped branch nearby that’s clearly used for iconic snapshots.

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In the wizarding world, Hogwarts is set in the Scottish Highlands, providing a great excuse to use the abundance of beautiful Scottish locations in the movies. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the most iconic scenes that any fan will recognize, as the Hogwarts Express rattles along the tracks taking the students up north. Hogwarts itself bears an uncanny resemblance to the University of Glasgow’s main building, even though it wasn’t filmed there.

Many of Scotland’s lochs and glens were used as backdrops of Harry’s tales, providing mysterious and misty landscapes to these magical stories. Loch Etive is just one of the iconic locations to be visited. This beautiful icy loch was where Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape after breaking into and out of Gringotts Bank in the final movie. They also used the site for their camping trip in The Deathly Hallows Part 1.