The Potter Trail

The Potter Trail, beginning opposite the Greyfriars Bobby statue, is proud to say that it is perfectly magical, thank you very much. Joining a robed, wand-wielding guide, this tour takes us from the grave which inspired the true identity of Lord Voldemort (I’m sorry, He Who Must Not Be Named), to the street that inspired Diagon Alley, and many other locations besides. We could not begin the tour, however, without being given wands in colours corresponding to our houses, in order that we might use a spell to change the traffic lights when crossing roads; safety first, especially when magic is involved!

With such an entertaining guide and fascinating, oft unexpected locations, this is a magical tour suitable for all ages, casual and committed fans, Muggles and magical folk alike.

Once inside Greyfriars Kirkyard itself, our guide, Liv, began by quoting from Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, as it was this graveyard that inspired the one at the end of the book. She also asked her audience to guess which book she had quoted from, meaning we could earn points for their house; this occurred several times throughout the tour, and was a great way to keep the tour active and involved, rather than our guide simply talking about each location. Liv also quoted from Scotland’s worst poet at the site of his grave, to illustrate that William McGonagall himself was not the inspiration for the Hogwarts professor who shares his name; a hilarious touch. Indeed, Liv was able to keep both the children and adults on the tour entertained, not just with comedic insights but through explaining not just about the world of Harry Potter itself in relation to the locations we visited, but about the series’ author as well (incidentally, knowing that the K in JK Rowling’s name stands for Kathleen earned me ten points for Ravenclaw!) Liv also asked for a volunteer to be sorted into their Hogwarts House outside George Heriot school, whose four houses and their corresponding colours apparently inspired those of the school of witchcraft and wizardry. She was a charismatic and very capable tour guide, able to keep the large group together as if by magic for, as she correctly pointed out, Edinburgh during the Fringe is ridiculously busy!

In terms of the locations themselves, although the tour clocked in at around ninety minutes, the amount of walking between its locations was far from taxing, and this run time is also testament to just how much information Liv gave us at each site. Some of these places, it must be said, were quite unexpected; I could have seen a graveyard coming a mile off, but the underpass we visited had a surprising significance, and not for the reason one might expect, given its name! Not only was The Potter Trail informative and fun but it was also free, although donations were encouraged afterwards. The Potter Trail website explains that “we know what it’s like to be a backpacker or a student travelling on a shoestring, so we’d rather leave the pricing of the tour up to you”. With such an entertaining guide and fascinating, oft unexpected locations, this is a magical tour suitable for all ages, casual and committed fans, Muggles and magical folk alike. Wands at the ready!

Reviews by Catriona Scott

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The Blurb

Grab a wand and join your robed guide on the only tour in Edinburgh designed especially for Potter fans! You’ll discover the magical locations that inspired characters and scenes in the series, visit the places where JK Rowling wrote the books, and even learn about the real life witches and wizards of medieval Edinburgh. Saturday and Sunday midday tours have live magic from Magus Negus. TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013 and 2014.