|This month sees the release of the final instalment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
It is easy to see how Scotland may have been the inspiration for many of the locations featured in JK Rowling’s world famous wizardry books and subsequent films. To celebrate the release of the last film, VisitScotland has highlighted some of the must see "Potter hot spots" from across the country.
Harry Potter’s Scottish Hot Spots
Steeped in history and intrigue, it is no surprise that JK Rowling took inspiration from her surroundings in Edinburgh and beyond to create the stunning novel series following the adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter.
The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh
One of Edinburgh’s most prestigious five-star hotels, the Balmoral is where JK Rowling made the finishing touches to her final novel – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The author commemorated this moment by inscribing a note on one of the sculptures in the room, complete with signature and date.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
The impressive castle dominates the city’s skyline. Sitting on top of an exctinct volcano, the similarities with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are striking. Wizards and Muggles alike can gaze in wonder at the city below and onto the Kingdom of Fife beyond. The castle was used for the launch of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Spoon Cafe Bistro and The Elephant House, Edinburgh
Two cosy cafes in Edinburgh which were frequented by JK Rowling while penning the early Harry Potter novels are the Spoon cafe Bistro which was previously Nicholson’s Cafe when she was visiting, and the Elephant House.
Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian
Take a trip out to Midlothian and visit Dalhousie Castle, where you can stay in your very own castle. During the day, take some time to watch the falconry displays where you will see some owls which were trained for the Harry Potter movies. Watch their aerobatic displays and imagine the despair at being delivered that dreaded "howler" – as many Harry Potter fans will know.
Hagrid’s Hut, Highlands
Filming for the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, took place on location in Glencoe in May and June 2003. The sets have now been removed and the hillsides returned to their natural states. Visitors to Clachaig Gully will see the familiar looking backdrop in the film which takes in the fantastic scenery overlooking the Torren Lochan and Signal Rock forest to the rugged hills of the Glen.
Jacobite Steam Train, Highlands
Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world, the Jacobite Steam Train runs through the majestic Highlands from Fort William to Mallaig. The train provided the steam engine and carriages for the "Hogwarts Express" as seen in the Philosopher’s Stone. Part of the route was also featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The scene of "Hogwarts Express" travelling across a viaduct with the Weasley’s Blue Ford Anglia flying next to it was filmed on the Glenfinnan Viaduct, west of Fort William.
The 84 mile Jacobite Steam Train round trip takes in a list of impressive extremes. It starts near the highest mountain in Britain – Ben Nevis; visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station – Arisaig; then passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain – Loch Morar; and the shortest river in Britain – River Morar; and finally arrives next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe – Loch Nevis.
Source = VisitBritain