16 magical Harry Potter things to do in Edinburgh

Victoria Street Edinburgh

It’s no secret that Edinburgh is considered to be the birthplace of Harry Potter, with J.K. Rowling reportedly finding inspiration across the city for the series. She even finished the final book in one of Edinburgh’s hotels, The Balmoral Hotel. 

I love spending time in Edinburgh, and have plenty of experience scouting out the best wizard-worthy establishments.

In this list, you’ll find places I’ve visited personally, plus lovely recommendations from locals and fellow travellers.

Finish your butterbeer and pick up your wands for my guide to the best Harry Potter things to do in Edinburgh.

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

Harry Potter inspired food and drink

Even the most powerful wizards need to stop for a bite to eat! Sample the fruits of alchemy with your very own potions and the finest concoctions to keep you fuelled.

The Cauldron for Wizard Afternoon Tea 

The Cauldron in Edinburgh offers a once in a lifetime opportunity for any aspiring wizards!

I think that the afternoon tea on offer here is worth the visit alone – expect magical snacks and drinks showcasing jaw-dropping molecular mixology.

Add in your own magic wand, spell casting and tea brewing, and I’m sure you’ll have a bewitching afternoon ahead! 

Wizard Afternoon Tea

The food is inspired by classic favourites from the Harry Potter books, but I can’t guarantee any chocolate frogs.

For the finishing touch to an enchanting afternoon, you get to make your own unique potion under the guidance of expert alchemists.

With fantastical drink add-ons such as ‘The Blob’, ‘The Ode to Mullica’ and ‘The Dragon’s Breath’, I’m surprised The Cauldron hasn’t made the headlines in The Daily Prophet or The Quibbler!

Artisan Roast for somewhere J.K. Rowling didn’t write… or did? 

Many a Potterhead will be enthralled at the possibility of sipping a flavoursome coffee where J.K. Rowling brought some of the nation’s favourite characters to life.

There’s been speculation that Rowling did in fact write at many of the local cafés. This includes the charming Artisan Roast on Broughton Street – but they beg to differ and the mystery remains. 

Artisan Cafe

A sign stating ‘J.K. Rowling never wrote here’ was displayed in the café, only for the words ‘and I never will – J.K. Rowling’ to magically appear underneath in the famous handwriting.

Take from that what you will. But while you’re there, I’d recommend enjoying some delicious bakes and hot drinks from the first specialty coffee shop and roastery in Scotland.

Discover more of the best cafés in Edinburgh in my guide.

The Dog House for butterbeer

A wizard’s favourite tipple, you can find butterbeer and other enchanting cocktails at The Dog House in Edinburgh.

I think that their Butter Beer cocktail is a must-try for any Potterhead scouring Edinburgh for the best of the best.

You’ll probably have guessed from the name, but this quirky bar is dog-friendly. So bring your four-legged friends to join the party. 

With a dedicated night for the LGBTQ+ community, The Dog House celebrates joy and love with Flossy on the last Thursday of the month.

They’re committed to being a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community all year-round, not just when the pride flags fly in June. 

Seek out more of my favourite cocktail bars in Edinburgh.

Harry Potter inspired retail therapy

Even wizards enjoy a bit of retail therapy – just remember to bring your galleons!

Galaxy for fantastical collectibles

Situated in Edinburgh Old Town, Galaxy invites you to step into the world of fantasy and fiction.

With a truly spellbinding selection of Harry Potter knick-knacks and trinkets, I know you’ll be spoilt for choice here.

From character wands and golden snitch pin badges to chocolate frogs and house-specific fashion, Galaxy is a must-visit for your Harry Potter merchandise.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best Harry Potter things to do in Edinburgh.

The Enchanted Galaxy for a tiny Ukrainian Ironbelly

Step into the fantastical The Enchanted Galaxy and be greeted with the weird and wondrous novelties from the wizarding world.

Grab your very own character figurines, a charming Hippogriff or a Buckbeak to keep you company.

For me, the star of the show has to be the collection of dragons from the first task in the Triwizard Tournament, including the Hungarian Horntail that Harry faced. 

Museum Context for your very own Marauder’s Map

Housed on Victoria Street, Edinburgh’s answer to Diagon Alley, the Museum Context is a one-stop-shop for all things Harry Potter.

Be prepared to part with your galleons as this charming shop of magical delights and curated curiosities is sure to impress. 

Find an awe-inspiring selection of officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise, as well as original unique prints.

Whether you’re looking for a Marauder’s Map or Bellatrix Lestrange’s wand, I’m sure you’ll find it all at Museum Context. 

Harry Potter experiences in Edinburgh

Combine your love of Harry Potter with memories to last a lifetime with these enchanting experiences. 

The Jacobite Steam Train for a Hogwarts Express inspired journey

If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable adventure through the Scottish countryside, I don’t think there’s a better way to experience it than on The Jacobite steam train.

While you won’t board on Platform 9 ¾, you’ll instantly be hit with Hogwarts Express nostalgia as you journey through some of the most scenic and rural landscapes in Scotland. 

Harry Potter train

An awe-inspiring 84 mile journey takes you from Fort William to Mallaig through Glenfinnan and Arisaig.

Be mesmerised by the rolling hills, serene lochs, and quaint villages that pass by as you chug along, enveloped in the rhythmic sounds of the steam train.

In my opinion, this is a truly magical experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

The Potter Trail for a transfixing Harry Potter Tour

The Harry Potter tour in Edinburgh by The Potter Trail is an absolute fan-favourite. Better yet, the public tours won’t cost you a galleon!

With an option for your own magical private tour, The Potter Trail is a wonderful way of seeing the city and discovering some of the most mystical sights.

The tour lasts between 75 and 90 minutes, depending on how many muggles are out and about in the city.

Starting at the statue of Greyfriars Bobby, your Potterhead guide will transport you into the wizarding world – just steer clear of the Forbidden Forest!

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Department of Magic for a mystical escape room

Challenge your problem solving skills with a visit to the Department of Magic escape rooms in Edinburgh. Just make sure you break out and don’t end up in Azkaban! 

Working together with your friends and family, you’ll navigate through a web of mysterious secrets, searching for clues to unravel the secrets within the escape room. 

Department of Magic Escape Rooms

Once you’ve escaped, I’d recommend a visit to the Magic Potions Tavern to concoct a well-deserved cocktail or two.

Start mixing eyeballs and unicorn blood to create the classic ‘The Dark Lord’ cocktail, or dig in the magic soil for the ingredients for ‘Herbology 101’.

The Writer’s Museum for book lovers

A book lover’s paradise, The Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh celebrates the immense literary heritage of Scotland.

Visitors to the museum can explore fascinating artefacts related to some of Scotland’s most famous authors, including Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Neil M. Gunn.

Writers Museum Edinburgh

Step inside and find a collection of personal items, portraits, manuscripts and illustrations that signal the honorees’ love for books. 

Quick Harry Potter stops

If you haven’t got all day but still want to experience some of the magic of the city, check out my recommendations for Harry Potter quick stops in Edinburgh.

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard for Tom Riddle’s grave

I think that Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is easily one of the most atmospheric places in Edinburgh. It’s said to be the most haunted cemetery in Scotland – and it’s easy to see why.

The graveyard is full of old, weathered headstones, many of which are tilting precariously.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

The graveyard is also home to the grave of Tom Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort – or for the superstitious, He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Join the flocks of Harry Potter fans wanting to see the Dark Lord’s headstone. But keep an eye out for dementors and have your patronus ready!

Greyfriar’s Kirkyard is an eerie must-visit for any Harry Potter fan, but be warned: I wouldn’t recommend this for the faint-hearted.

Victoria Street for the inspiration behind Diagon Alley

Edinburgh’s charmingly colourful Victoria Street is a hotspot for Potterheads.

Thought to be the inspiration behind the books’ famous Diagon Alley, Victoria Street features captivatingly unique architecture, including a mix of old and new buildings.

Now home to a number of independent businesses with brightly coloured storefronts, I love that there is a real quaint and endearing atmosphere about the place. 

Victoria Street Edinburgh

The cobbled streets transport you to the wizarding world – but make sure you bring your galleons!

Victoria Street is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Edinburgh, and I can see why.

Whether you are looking for a place to do some shopping or simply want to soak up the atmosphere, I think that Victoria Street is definitely worth a visit.

The City Chambers for J.K. Rowling’s handprints

The City Chambers in Edinburgh is undoubtedly one of the most iconic buildings in the city.

The grand neo-classical building is situated on the hypnotising Royal Mile, and its intricate facade is a familiar sight to many visitors.

The Chambers is home to the city’s council offices, as well as several important historical artefacts. 

City Chambers

One of the most popular attractions at the City Chambers for muggles and wizards alike is J.K. Rowling’s handprint, which is displayed in the entrance hall.

The handprint was cast shortly after Rowling received the Edinburgh Award in 2008.

Want to see how you measure up to the hands that created the spellbinding world of Harry Potter? Now’s your chance!

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The Bank of Scotland Headquarters for the real-life Gringotts 

You might have to look extra hard to spot a goblin, but The Bank of Scotland’s Headquarters might as well be Gringotts.

A magnificent building located in the heart of Edinburgh, the headquarters’ exterior is decorated with a number of sculptured goblins, which are said to bring good luck to those who touch them.

Headquarters of the Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh

The interior is just as impressive, with a large marble lobby and a grand staircase leading up to the banking hall.

The bank itself is a bustling place that is hugely popular with Potterheads from near and far.

It’s easy to see why the bank is such a magical tourist attraction – but you could run into trouble looking for galleons instead of pounds.

The Balmoral Hotel for where J.K. Rowling finished the final book 

The Balmoral Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in Edinburgh. The grand building dates back to 1902, and its clock tower is one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks.

The hotel has played host to many famous guests over the years, including J.K. Rowling. She famously completed the seventh and final Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows, in one of its suites. 

The Balmoral Suite

The Balmoral Hotel is also home to an award-winning Edinburgh restaurant, The Pompadour by Galvin, as well as a luxury spa and wellness centre.

If all the sightseeing has worn you out – you know where to hop on a broom and fly to!

Whether you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay or simply want to enjoy a meal or treatment in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful buildings, I have no doubt that you’ll want to pop on an invisibility cloak and stay forever! 

If you have any personal favourite magical things to do in Edinburgh then let me know in the comments or get in touch on social media!

Planning a trip to this magical Scottish city? Read my Edinburgh travel guide, discover my pick of the best things to do in Edinburgh, or unearth my favourite brunch spots in Edinburgh.

Or if you fancy getting out of the city, browse my guide to the best day trips from Edinburgh.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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