It’s hard to believe that the literary Harry Potter is 20 years old! Yes, 20 years have passed since J K Rowling first introduced a global audience to the wonderful world of the young wizard, Harry Potter, and his cohorts.
The first book from the unknown author – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – was published in the UK on 26 June 1997 and in 2017 Scotland, in particular, celebrates this momentous literary event – because Rowling took inspiration from her surrounding Edinburgh, with its incredible sense of place and other-worldly atmosphere, to imagine the world of Harry Potter.
Visitors and locals alike can now embrace all things connected to the world’s most famous wizard using a brand new itinerary of locations created by VisitScotland, the country’s National Tourist Board – from Harry Potter walking tours in Scotland’s capital, to owl experiences in the beautiful countryside and enchanting steam train adventures in the Scottish Highlands.
The Jacobite Steam Train, The Scottish Highlands
Witness the sweeping cinematic scenery by booking a seat on the Jacobite Steam Train, which travels from Fort William to Mallaig along the West Highland Line in the rugged and romantic Scottish Highlands. The train, which is universally regarded as the real life Hogwarts Express, offers a locomotive experience like no other in the world.
Harry Potter Walking Tours, Edinburgh
Enter the secret world of Harry Potter on the only tour offered in Edinburgh designed specifically with the Potter fan in mind. Discover the magical locations that inspired characters and iconic scenes throughout the novels and films — such as Lord Voldemort’s resting place, and the Elephant House café where Rowling penned the first instalment of the Harry Potter novels.
Bo’ness Motor Museum, Home to the official car of Ron Weasley, Falkirk
Opened in 2004, this museum displays a variety of interesting vehicles from classic Aston Martins to James Bond’s Lotus Espirit from The Spy Who Loved Me. The museum now boasts an exhibition dedicated to Ron Weasley’s Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Dalhousie Owl Experience, Dalhousie
Embrace an owl experience straight out of the pages of Harry Potter at the historic Dalhousie House. Ideal for anyone who loves these unique and mysterious birds of prey, the Owl Encounter allows you to handle and fly three of the beautiful owls to your gloved hand. As they glide silently to your gauntlet, learn about the biology, habitats and quarry of some of the most highly specialised birds of prey in the world. Alternatively, visitors can also get up close and personal with these majestic creatures at the wonderful Scottish Owl Centre.
The JK Rowling Suite at The Balmoral, Edinburgh
The luxurious Balmoral Hotel, one of Edinburgh’s finest landmarks is where JK Rowling found some peace and quiet as she wrote the final chapter of the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The suite features her writing desk and a marble bust of Hermes, the Greek god of travel, signed by Rowling herself. In addition, the brass owl door knocker is featured in her honour. Visitors can pop into the hotel for a cocktail or some afternoon tea, some of the best in the country.
TOP IMAGE: The Jacobite Steam Train at Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands/Paul Tomkins