Author JK Rowling could never have imagined the impact her novels would have all around the world. The originally-single mother's literary pieces have won multiple awards, sold more than 300 million copies and put her on Forbes magazine's rich list. She is the world's second richest woman, after Oprah Winfrey.
The fantasy world of Harry Potter was dreamed up by Rowling in her native Edinburgh. She used public places as locations in her muggle-world novels and as the world awaits the release of the seventh and final book in the series, Getaway decided to slip into Edinburgh to check some of them out.
Rowling's first novel was written in longhand as she sat at the Elephant House coffeehouse on George IV Bridge. Thanks to her, the coffeehouse, which has over 600 elephants on display, is famous. It has wonderful views of Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriars Cemetery. It serves high quality Arabica coffees, teas and fancy cocktails and has a menu designed to keep muggles warm in the Scottish cold. It's a bustling place, attracting locals, students and tourists for its good coffee and hearty cafe fare.
Elephant House is within the historical Royal Mile, a beautiful stretch of road which begins at the castle and runs along the once-volcanic east shoulder of Castlehill all the way to Abbey Strand.
While the first novel was penned in a simple place, the final words were put together at the luxury Balmoral Hotel. The 188-room hotel is in the heart of the city and is a prestigious five-star property. It has its own majestic clock tower and views of the medieval castle.
Rowling completed her book in Suite 552 and while management was aware she was doing just that, they have taken an unusually tolerant approach to her writing on the back of a marble bust, "JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11th Jan 2007". Their reaction was that they were honoured and flattered that Rowling chose their hotel and signed a bust following her visit!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is due for release on July 21, 2007, at 00.01 British Summer Time.
Balmoral Hotel rooms start at $340 a double a night.
Emirates has flights to Glasgow. Connections to Edinburgh are available.
- Perth, $1987
- Melbourne, $2084
- Brisbane, $2094
- Sydney, $2102
Prices quoted correct at July 19, 2007
The capital of Scotland.
For further information
The Elephant House
21 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EN
Ph: + 44 (0) 131 220 5355
Fax +44 (0) 131 22042272
The Balmoral Hotel
1 Princes Street
Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
Ph: +44 (0) 131 556 2414
Ph: 1300 303 777