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 of the Harry Potter filming locations.
- Start / Finish
- Edinburgh / Ballachulish
- Main themeTV & Film
- The Elephant House
- Glenfinnan Viaduct
- Jacobite Steam Train
- Glen Coe
- Areas covered
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
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
Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh
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
The Balmoral Hotel EdinburghDid 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
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 Hotel1 Princes Street,Edinburgh - City Centre,EH2 2EQKey facilities
- Pets Welcome
- Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
- Level Access
- Breakfast Available
Day 2Travel to Fort William
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
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 spaceFind out more about Glasgow University
Fort William 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
Day 3All aboard the Hogwarts Express
Witness the sweeping cinematic scenery straight out of the eight blockbuster films by booking a seat on the Jacobite Steam Train, which travels from Fort William to Mallaig along the West Highland Line. Stop for lunch in Mallaig and then make the return journey to Fort William. Please be sure to book the steam train in advance, as it is a very popular experience. It opens for the season in April.
Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam Train Fort WilliamDid you know?
The steam train had a starring role as the Hogwarts Express taking Harry from platform 9 ¾ all the way to Hogwarts.
Some say that the West Highland Line is the greatest rail journey in the world. In the summer, the Jacobite Steam train travels along the route in addition to the regular trains. Take the journey over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct, whilst enjoying views of Loch Shiel from your window, a key location in the Harry Potter films.Find out more about Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam TrainWest Coast Railways,Fort William
When you arrive at Mallaig, explore the small but bustling harbour village, which was once the busiest herring port in Europe. Watch boats and ferries come and go, or learn more about the village's fishing community at the Mallaig Heritage Centre. What's for lunch? You have the choice of a few cafés, pubs and restaurants - try to find the local favourite, Mallaig kippers! Then, hop back on the train and retrace your steps to Fort William.Find out more about MallaigMallaig,PH41 4PX
Day 4Lochs and glens
In the films, mysterious, misty landscapes frame the backdrop of Harry's tale, so it's no surprise that the producers chose the Highlands for many scenes. Spend a day wandering through some of these beautiful spots and feel the magical atmosphere.
If you haven't already, a great option is to hire a car from Fort William, so you can get to some of these more far-flung filming spots.
Steall Falls Fort WilliamMagical connections
This cascading waterfall is featured in the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry faces down a Hungarian Horntail dragon in the Triwizard Tournament.
This idyllic short walking route should take around an hour and a half, leading you through the dramatic Nevis Gorge and towards the striking Steall Falls.Find out more about Steall Falls
Clachaig Inn GlencoeDid you know?
For generations, the Clachaig Inn has been a handy stop for weary walkers traversing the glen, but it also happens to be a filming location for Hagrid's Hut in the third movie installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
With towering peaks looming out of every window, this cosy inn has made room for weary travellers for over 300 years. It's the perfect place to stop and refuel after a day outdoors. Get to know the locals and try some of the local ales and beers, or settle down for a hearty pub dinner.Find out more about Clachaig InnClachaig Inn,Glencoe,PH49 4HXKey facilities
- Pets Welcome
- Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
- Breakfast Available
Glen Etive BallachulishSeem familiar?
You might recognise Loch Etive from the Harry Potter films - after fleeing from Gringott's Bank with the help of a kind dragon in the final movie, Harry and the gang are dropped into the beautiful loch
Explore this area on foot and take some photos of the surrounding glen, with tall peaks looming from all directions. Visitors coming to the area to seek out the famous James Bond's Skyfall and Braveheart film location can follow the driving route along the River Etive.Find out more about Glen EtiveGualachulain,Ballachulish
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