A Potter-Lover’s Pilgrimage

Well, I finally made it to Scotland.

One cannot be a Harry Potter fan and not desire to journey to Edinburgh, Scotland to see where the Potter story was written.

Before heading to Scotland, my mother and step-father showed up and I got to give them the 1-day grand tour of London.

Here, have Buckingham Palace.

We then hopped a plane and flew out to Edinburgh.

Our first day there, we participated in a free walking tour (and it only rained on us for half of it!)  We were shown the city by a tour guide who had received his education at the University of Edinburgh and attained a degree in Political Science.  (This sparked much discussion on the current state of the world.)

Our tour took us around the Royal Mile and Grassmarket.

Edinburgh Castle

Our tour guide showed us the school that was the inspiration behind Hogwarts as well as Greyfriars Kirkyard (an old cemetery) where J.K. Rowling took a few of the names as the basis of her characters.

George Heriot’s School
Tom Riddell (which someone has so disgracefully graffiti’d to say Voldemort).

After the tour concluded at the National Museum of Scotland, we went in to regain feeling in our extremities.  Here, I found Dolly the Sheep!  (For those of you who don’t know, Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned!)


From here, we decided to walk back to our AirBnb and call it an early night (it was a long day of traveling…) However, as we walked home, the sun came out and I captured some gorgeous photos of the top of the hill we had to walk up every morning to get to the older portion of the city.

See?! Sun!
From our AirBnb to the center of the city was about a 25 minute walk uphill.

Our second day in Edinburgh had a wee bit of sun as well, which was a delightful surprise.

First order of the day, we stopped at the Bluebird Cafe and had a delightful pancake breakfast!!!  The owner had spent considerable amounts of time in Texas and Tennessee, so her restaurant was covered in memorabilia from both.  Also, the bathroom was wallpapered with concert tickets.  She was excellent, the food was excellent, I’d go back just to experience it again if ever in Edinburgh.

After breakfast, we decided to visit the Botanical Gardens while the weather was nice out.

All in all, not my favorite part of the trip.  Maybe check it out if flowers are going to be in bloom.  I think we caught it a month too early.

From there, we caught the bus up the hill to the Royal Mile and decided to tour Edinburgh Castle a bit.

Gorgeous Gothic architecture.
Heading into a castle.
Whilst in the castle, I didn’t take any photos. Sorry guys!
But here’s a picture AFTER said castle!

From here, we slowly wound our way back down the hill in the direction of our AirBnb, making a stop at the National Gallery of Scotland to see if they had anything fun (two rooms of Impressionist art surrounded by Renaissance art.  I’m good. >_>)

On the way back, I did stop to catch some more photos of some pretty sights along the way.

Mansfield Traquair, a venue available for private hire.
But really, I just liked the doors.
Oh my goodness, so red!!!
Cute little garden in front of this housing complex. On Easter, the plants were decorated with chocolate eggs in tiny knit baskets.

Day three was a smidge rainy (to be expected).  We decided to catch a Rabbi’s tour bus that took us around the city a bit.  We got off at the first stop and I (finally) got to see The Elephant House, birthplace of Harry Potter.

Yuh huh! I’m here!
Sign me up!
Windows overlooking the school and cemetery.

And we wandered around Grassmarket a bit:

This street had an adorable Harry Potter shop, in which I almost purchased a street sign, but couldn’t conceive of how I’d hang it (no holes/hooks) or get it home (carry-on) so I didn’t get it.

At this point, we hopped back on the Rabbi’s bus tour and took a drive around to Arthur’s Seat (but didn’t climb it…we were a bit tired) and then called it an early night (as I had to leave at 3:30am the following morning to head back to London.)

On the way out of town, I caught a gorgeous sunrise (as I made the mad dash to my gate).


Until next time, Edinburgh.  (But next up?  Amsterdam!  And a lot more flowers…)

Author: alisonlcohn

Graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Communications Advertising. Traveled a bit. Taught for two years. Administered aptitude tests for a while. Worked as a Training Associate for Guardian Mortgage and a Quiz Master for Geeks Who Drink. Obtained my Master's in Film, Television and Screen Media in London, England. Now working as a small-group travel coordinator. Nice to meet you!

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