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It's hard to believe it will be 20 years since JK Rowling published her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Back then, 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.
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Tel: +44 (0)1592 752990
Fax: +44 (0)1592 331680
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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.
Old Town hideouts
Both of these cafés love to claim that JK Rowling spent endless afternoons in the 1990s gazing out of their windows and dreaming up her magical characters. In any case, The Elephant House, with its beautiful views of Edinburgh Castle, has become known as the 'Birthplace of Harry Potter' whilst Spoon, in those days known as the Nicholson Café, is a lovely spacious eatery and a great place to collect your creative thoughts. Overnight Edinburgh.
Travel 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 Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
If you'd prefer to drive we will organise a rental car.
If you're taking the train and you have time to kill, admire some of Glasgow's gorgeous gothic architecture in the West End which might remind you a little of Hogwarts. Fancy a challenge? See if you can find some chocolate frogs for the journey ahead. The train to Fort William should take just under four hours. Overnight Fort William.
All 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. We will 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
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. The steam train had a starring role as the Hogwarts Express taking Harry from platform 9 ¾ all the way to Hogwarts. Take the journey over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct, whilst enjoying views of Loch Shiel from your window, another key location in the films. Overnight Fort William.
Lochs 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 are driving you can get to some of these more far-flung filming spots.
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. This cascading waterfall is featured in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Harry faces down a Hungarian Horntail dragon in the Triwizard Tournament. Overnight Fort William.
The above package includes the following:
All hotels will be 3 star or above.
Best of Scotland Holidays offer a variety of tours including Tours of Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales, Whisky Trails, Honeymoon Packages, Castle and Garden Tours, Island Hoping, Walking Holidays and much more - something to suit everyone!
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