You don’t need the Sorting Hat to explain the links between Scotland and Harry Potter. This magical world of witchcraft and wizardry is immortalised both by Rowling’s books, her sources of inspiration and through the spellbinding Scottish filming locations. For nostalgia’s sake, dust off that trusty old Nimbus 2000 or whip out that floo powder and make way for Scotland to live out all HP dreams. Accio Firebolt!
Even muggles can see why Rowling sought writing inspiration from her adopted home town of Edinburgh — the world’s first city of literature — and the rest of bonnie Scotland. Dotted around the capital are a myriad of HP places, including the real Diagon Alley in the form of Victoria Street, with its hodge podge of alluring shops and kaleidoscopic colours, and also the nearby Candlemaker Row. Both streets are a stone’s throw from George Heriot’s School, a dramatic architectural masterpiece with ancient school houses. Both Heriot’s and Hogwarts bear an uncanny resemblance.
Tom Riddle’s Grave
Greyfriars Kirkyard is a known respite spot for Rowling. It is also home to the real-life grave of Thomas Riddell Esquire. Could it be that Rowling found Voldemort’s true name, Tom Riddle, while wandering the grounds of this ancient graveyard? Greyfriars also hosts the resting places of Elizabeth Moodie and William McGonagall, aka Mad-Eye Moody and Professor McGonagall.
A pocket of peace and unparalleled beauty, the wee island of Eilean na Mòine encompassed by the freshwaters of Loch Eilt plays an integral role as Dumbledore’s grave. Adding to the atmospheric shots, this compact island was digitally situated upon the ever-so scenic Loch Arkaig for the films. Loch Eilt also features in some exterior shots of the grounds at Hogwarts.
Those who find themselves spellbound with the Hogwarts Express will recognise Rannoch Moor, an area of untamed wilderness awash with an eclectic array of wildlife, lochans, and rocky patches, from the journey. This breathtaking place can be seen from the West Highland Line and was infiltrated by Death Eaters in the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when they appeared on the train.
A cascading ribbon of white water following the ways of the slope it caresses, Steall Falls is a picture-perfect waterfall situated in Glen Nevis. Its beauty is showcased, along with the all-encompassing scenery, in the Triwizard Tournament in the Goblet of Fire when Harry faces the Hungarian horntail dragon. More alluring than a golden snitch, the falls are also the backdrop for many Quidditch matches.
One of the many glens embellishing the Highlands, Glen Etive welcomes film buffs and book worms eager to explore its mystical ways. This iconic glen was used for numerous shots throughout the Deathly Hallows films and is a playground for those overcome with a sense of adventure.
Although no muggle could ever fully understand the bond between BFFs Hermione, Harry and Ron, Loch Etive is a good place to start! This sea loch and its bonnie banks made a cameo in the film as the setting for the camping trip.
Every witch and wizard needs an owl. Those intent on getting into Hogwarts should swing by the Scottish Owl Centre and learn a trick or two from Oulu, a delightful 15-year-old Great Grey Owl who happens to be the real sister of Errol, Ron’s famous bird. Witnessing the owls partake in handling sessions and flying displays is almost simple magical!
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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