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15 Life-Changing Things All Harry Potter Fans Must Do In Scotland

Can you really call yourself a fan if you've never visited Dumbledore's island tomb?

1. Go to Glen Etive.

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After escaping from Gringott's on the dragon in Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry, Hermione, and Ron leap into Loch Etive and have to dry out on the shore. They also camp in nearby Glen Etive in Deathly Hallows Part 1. It's the spot where Hermione ties her scarf to a tree after Ron and Harry argue. Oh, and it's gorgeous too, even more reason to visit.

2. Meet Errol's sister at the Scottish Owl Centre.

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As well as housing the majestic Hedwig lookalike pictured, the Centre is also home to Oulu – a 15-year-old Great Grey and real-life sister of Ron's pretty useless but loveable bird Errol. You can watch Oulu and her friends take part in flying displays and handling sessions, or get a photo shoot with her for £30.

3. Visit the site of Dumbledore's tomb.

4. Or Tom Riddle's grave.

5. Head to Clachaig Gully.

6. Do some writing at The Elephant House in Edinburgh.

J.K. Rowling was a struggling single parent when she wrote parts of the first book in this pretty café’s back room, bringing Harry to life while looking out of the window at the lovely view of Edinburgh Castle. One of the highlights (these days) is the amazing Harry Potter-themed graffiti in the toilets: "Accio marker pen!"

7. And don't forget to visit Spoon Café as well.

This popular café overlooks Edinburgh University's Old College, and it was another one of J.K. Rowling's favourite writing spots. Here she is pictured writing in her favourite window seat back in 1997, when it was called Nicholson's Café, and it was owned by her brother-in-law, who was happy to let her drink free coffee all day. Hero.

8. Take a steam train trip across Glenfinnan Viaduct.

This iconic Victorian railway viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel was first seen in Chamber of Secrets, when Ron and Harry pilot the flying Ford Anglia to Hogwarts. It's also the place where Harry encounters a Dementor for the very first time in Prisoner of Azkaban, when the Hogwarts Express stops on the bridge.

9. Or take the Caledonian Sleeper across Rannoch Moor.

10. Visit Loch Shiel.

11. Go for a walk in Glencoe.

12. Take a selfie at Diagon Alley.

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Victoria Street is a beautiful split-level cobbled road thought to have been the one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley, along with the adjacent Candlemaker Row. There's a Diagon Alley plaque and mural in Candlemaker Row, and a joke shop on Victoria Street, although sadly it isn't run by Fred and George Weasley.

13. High five J.K. Rowling.

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Edinburgh City Chambers has a fantastic Hollywood-style plaque outside that pays tribute to winners of the Edinburgh Award, presented to "outstanding" Edinburgh residents. J.K. Rowling won in 2008, so that the hands that created your favourite books are immortalised in bronze in the chambers' courtyard.

14. Check out the mighty Steall Falls.

15. Stay at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.


Specifically, The Rowling Suite, aka Room 552. J.K. checked into this luxurious suite overlooking the city so that she could concentrate while finishing The Deathly Hallows. At £1,000 a night it's not exactly the cheapest place to make a pilgrimage to, but it's certainly one of the most important. Thanks for 20 years of magic, Jo.

H/T Visit Scotland. Click here for tips on how to plan your travel itinerary for an ideal Harry Potter-themed trip to Scotland.


This post and its title have been edited to reflect BuzzFeed's editorial standards.

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