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Taking the "Ultimate Harry Potter Fan Vacation" - England and Scotland

I put together my full trip report for our 2 week trip to England and Scotland (London and Edinburgh, primarily) here

It's a long read! Fair warning - it's obviously very heavy on the Harry Potter. We decided to go all-in on making that the theme of the trip. Having said that, it also touches a fair bit on hotels, riding the Jacobite steam train and just general travel.

I do see a lot of posts in here from other people looking to visit some Harry Potter-related sites or add a bit of Potter to their trips so figured the link might come in handy for them. We pretty much did any and everything there is to do when it comes to Harry Potter - the studio tour, the photographic exhibition, afternoon teas, escape rooms, private tours, seeking out spots on our own, locations that appeared in the films, locations that inspired the writing of the books. There are also loads of pictures there for anyone who's interested!

We only got back from this trip on the 9th and I'm still recovering (not so much from the trip itself but all the work that was waiting for me at the office when I got back... it's amazing how busy taking a vacation can make you!). Posted some of the above in another trip report thread but I would have had to reply to that 50 times to include everything. Read it if you'd like! Ignore it if you'd rather do that! Scan through for the pictures alone if you prefer!

As an aside, the US announced the removal of the covid testing requirements the morning after we got back. So just as I'm usually responsible for us getting rain when I wash my car, I'll say you're all welcome for that :)

Posted by
1780 posts

I haven't read the whole thing yet, but I want to tell you that it is incredible. Your trip was incredible and the way you put your trip report as well. My kids were growing up when the books were written and the movies produced. I remember the excitement for each one. It was fun to go back to those days through your trip.

Posted by
852 posts

Your trip report is amazing. Have not read it all, but the bits I read are great, and it was fun to see the places in Edinburgh with Harry Potter connections. I think I had a baked potato meal at one of those closed cafes back in 2007!

Posted by
492 posts

Beth - Thank you! I definitely miss all that excitement back then over the release of the books, then movies! It was a lot of fun using a passion and interest for a literature, film, and popular culture franchise to organize a trip around. We did a bunch of other stuff beyond Harry Potter but the Harry Potter focus is really what brought it all about and tied it all together. Tons of fun!

Posted by
492 posts

Thanks, Maryam! It was really neat visiting those cafes and places she wrote the books in! It's unfortunate what happened with The Elephant House but I gather they'll be back. I found it pretty fascinating how such a robust Harry Potter Economy exists - cafes trading on the connection, tours, shops, etc!

Posted by
1916 posts

Enjoyed the report greatly! While I have taken and loved the Studio tour and seen a few of the other London sites, there are plenty left on your list I still want to get to - plus a few I hadn’t read about but now have bookmarked! I was lucky to be on the Jacobite when it was not very full (2016), so everyone switched sides at will to get the best views and photos. :)

I have an afternoon trail in Edinburgh ready for late next month. :) One place I had marked was the Black Medicine Coffee Co. Apparently she wrote part of the first book from the second floor (which is now something else?).

Loved the hotel info also!

Posted by
492 posts

TexasTravelmom - Thank you! And that's awesome you'll be there next month! The Black Medicine Coffee Co. is Nicolsons, pretty much. Black Medicine Coffee Company is on the ground floor of that building, and Nicolsons is above it. So yup, she did write much of the books there early on! That's the one that kinda changed hands and names repeatedly but is now called Nicolsons and even has some Harry Potter theming inside. You'll have to let me know how you like it!

Jealous you got to do the Jacobite with less crowds then! I need to make it a point to get back, book directly with West Coast Railways, and spend lots of additional time in the Highlands.

Posted by
1916 posts

Oh, good to know! I will definitely be able to make it to Nicolsons. :) I hadn’t made that connection (and if you said so, I missed it….). :)

Yes, we didn’t even book ahead for the steam train - we went to the station to do so, but were told to just go wait at a platform and buy our ticket as we were getting on the train. And that was in July! Probably wouldn’t happen now. Enjoyed lunch in Mallaig, then the trip back. We based in Fort William for 4 nights, which I actually liked even though some don’t. The town is nice and it is really convenient for lots of things. I am mostly traveling islands this trip, but have a number of days in Edinburgh.

Posted by
492 posts

Hehe no problem! I didn’t mention Black Medicine in what I wrote. I don’t think it has any connection to Nicolsons beyond occupying the space downstairs (don’t quote me on that though!)

Your upcoming trip sounds great! I look forward to hearing about it on here!

Posted by
21 posts

I read your full trip report a week or so ago but never got around to commenting. What an amazing adventure! I LOVED the level of detail that you included. I've been on the studio tour (which was super fun) and now I feel inclined to seek out some of the other places you mentioned but the link to your trip report seems to have disappeared. :(

Posted by
61 posts

A Harry Potter themed trip sounds like so much fun, and something my (adult) kids would do. Okay, I'm not gonna lie. I'd love it too! And when my husband and I were in Edinburgh in 2019, I dragged him to The Elephant House, the cemetery where JK is thought to have gotten some inspiration, and a few other sights.