Edinburgh is a must-see for every Harry Potter fan but – with a wizarding plaque slapped on every building and multiple cafés claiming to be JK Rowling's favourite haunt – choosing what to do isn’t easy. With this in mind, we’ve got the dream itinerary for every Hogwarts house.
Adventurous travellers with a touch of the traditional (remember how much Harry enjoyed his roast dinners and puds at Hogwarts?), Gryffindors will get the most out of Edinburgh by braving the crowds and visiting the city’s classic magical landmarks.
Bump elbows with other Gryffindors at The Elephant House
The Elephant House is where JK Rowling wrote most of the later Harry Potter novels so it tends to be ideal for magically-inclined Muggles, and completely rammed. Exuberant Gryffindors are the house most likely to truly embrace the busy atmosphere. Tip: turning up early or late in the day is the best way to avoid long queues.
Take a stroll down Diagon Alley
Recreate Harry’s introduction to the magical world by visiting the Grassmarket, also known as Diagon Alley. This area, and especially Victoria Street, West Bow, and Candlemaker Row are said to have indirectly inspired JK Rowling when she was creating the enchanted shopping street.
Castle Rock Apartment
Castle Rock Apartment combines the cosiness of The Burrow with the stunning views from the Gryffindor dormitories, including a glimpse of Edinburgh Castle (officially rechristened as 'Hogwarts' for the rest of your visit).
Hufflepuffs’ famous dedication and patience mean that they’re great at hunting out often-overlooked treasures when travelling, and there are more than enough hidden gems in Edinburgh to keep them happy.
The closest Muggles will ever get to Honeydukes
Bustling with colourful displays, the tiny Candersons Sweet Shop is the closest thing Muggles will ever get to the legendary Honeydukes. This classic Scottish sweet shop is crammed full of traditional as well as recently invented confectionery.
Go in search of JK at Edinburgh City Chambers
On a small pavingstone outside the Edinburgh City Chambers are a pair of JK Rowling’s handprints, placed there when the Harry Potter author was given the Edinburgh Award for her contributions to the city. Once you’ve seen how closely you match up to your favourite author, how about a pint of Butterbeer at The Dog House?
The Lairg Hotel
With a word like ‘snug’ in it’s name, the Holyrood Snug was clearly designed by a homesick Hufflepuff. Or you can stay in this much nicer version of Grimmauld Place (the Order of the Phoenix really would have got a lot more done if they’d recruited more Hufflepuffs): The Lairg Hotel.
Judging by the opulent tapestries in the Slytherin common room (and every single sentence Draco Malfoy uttered), these canny travellers are lovers of luxury with a penchant for the dramatic. Two things Edinburgh is well set-up for.
Cakes worthy of the Hogwarts Elves
Channel your inner Severus Snape and head over to the gloriously-gothic Black Medicine Coffee. Painted in the colours of Slytherin House, this distinctive coffee shop serves a selection of cakes worthy of the Hogwarts Elves, alongside tuck box treats like Jaffa Cakes and crisps.
Say "hi" to Slytherin's most notorious student
The Greyfriar’s Kirkyard contains the grave of one Thomas Riddell, and JK Rowling used to walk through here while taking a break from writing. When you’ve had enough of paying homage to Slytherin’s most notorious student, make sure to check out the nearby Hogwartian Edinburgh Central Library.
Ignore the Ravenclaw house colours, this hotel is 100% Slytherin
JK Rowling was staying at the Balmoral Hotel when she finished the last book in the Harry Potter series and room 552 contains an autographed bust, commemorating her achievement. Which makes it suitably illustrious for any Slytherin travellers, although for those who want to save their sickles there is the stylish and gothic Albany Ballantrae Hotel.
Inquisitive and quirky (think Luna Lovegood and honorary house-member Hermione Granger on a mini-break) Ravenclaws will enjoy exploring Edinburgh’s rich history and impeccable literary pedigree.
Spoon, an oasis for peace-loving Ravenclaws
Nicholson’s Cafe, where JK Rowling wrote most of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, has since been replaced by a cafe called Spoon but its literary heritage is still intact. Guaranteed to be quieter than The Elephant House, peace-loving Ravenclaws should head over for a bite to eat and to reread the series.
Reading in the gardens at Edinburgh International Book Festival
Ravenclaws eager to meet their favourite writers and discover new books will love the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival. JK Rowling makes regular appearances (along with Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, and Toni Morrison) and the festival is a great reminder that Edinburgh's literary history didn’t start or stop with Harry Potter.
The Witchery by the Castle
The Witchery by the Castle is a lavishly-furnished hotel that will satisfy even the most fastidious Ravenclaw’s pining for all things Potter. And the B+B Edinburgh is a beautiful old hotel that has a truly Ravenclaw-worthy library.