Edinburgh Pub Renamed 'The J K Rowling' and Harry Potter Fans Will Love Why

Hogwarts | © Ester Marie Doysabas / Unsplash
Deborah Chu

On 1 January, Edinburgh residents were shocked to discover that The Conan Doyle pub – which stands proud on the corner of York Place and Broughton Road – had undergone a dramatic overnight rebranding. In its place is now The JK Rowling, creator of the internationally-beloved Harry Potter series.

The Conan Doyle Pub

The new sign outside The JK Rowling depicts the author enjoying a meal of pub grub, seemingly contemplating her next masterpiece. Edinburgh has indeed become something of a hotspot for fans of her magical book series, with shops and pop-up bars dedicated to the Wizarding World scattered throughout the city. Many locals, however, were understandably upset by the sudden change. Some argued that the site was more historically relevant to the pub’s original namesake, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – author of the famed Sherlock Holmes series – who was born in nearby Picardy Place in 1859. Others were simply furious that change had come to their local at all.

Though the pub’s owners, Nicholson’s Pubs, has remained tight-lipped as to the reasons behind the change, there was a collective sigh of relief when it was revealed that the alterations were in fact temporary. The rebrand is part of a visual art installation titled ‘A Message from the Skies,’ as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebration.

JK Rowling

A collaborative project between Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, acclaimed Scottish crime writer Val McDermid has been commissioned to write a short story, which will then be projected in segments onto several of Edinburgh’s major landmarks, beginning with the Signet Library on Parliament Square.

The visual art installation, which will run from New Year’s Day to Burn’s Night, will showcase Scotland’s rich literary history and encourage spectators to see this storied city in a new light. Therefore, rather than starting 2018 with bad blood between two titans of fiction, The JK Rowling is now happily a cause to which every Potterhead and Sherlock fan can rally behind.

Culture Trips 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. 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 places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article