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Category: Edinburgh Tourism

Edinburgh on Film

Edinburgh on Film

Edinburgh Film | The Edinburgh Collection


Where Hollywood meets Holyrood.

Edinburgh is known for its festivals. Most notably, the Fringe Festival. Every year millions of people come to the city throughout the month of August to experience the 70-year-old event. However, the fringe is not the only festival that draws a crowd to the city. Also taking place is the Book Festival and Military Tattoo in August, The Jazz and Blues Festival in July and the International Film Festival in June.

Edinburgh has always been a city that can captivate the tourists who walk down its cobbled streets or peer up at the century-old architecture. The city has a feeling of magic, an air that makes you wonder about the past and gets you curious about the future. So, it does not come as a surprise to know that Edinburgh has been the inspiration for many stories both on the page and on the screen.

To get you ready for the Edinburgh Internation Film Festival, here is a list of the films that use Edinburgh’s unique landscape, buildings and streets.

Trainspotting and T2

Related image

Perhaps the most famous film ‘series’ based and filmed in Edinburgh. The film holds a special place in the hearts of Edinburgh residents as an almost claim to fame. When watching the iconic original film and the recent sequel, look out for the following places; Arthurs Seat, Regent Bridge, Old Town, Scottish Parliment, Forth Bridge and St Stephens Stockbridge.

The DaVinci Code

Image result for da vinci code edinburgh

Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. Robert Howard directs Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in this page-to-screen adaptions. The film does not heavily feature Edinburgh. However, it does feature the often overlooked Rosslyn Chapel. The Chapel has its mysteries outside of the movie. Beneath the floor of Rosslyn is a massive underground vault, of which was sealed in 1690 and has remained that way ever since. Of course, as you would expect, there has been a lot of speculation as to what, or who lies within the vault.

Cloud Atlas

Tom Hanks returns to Edinburgh in this mind-bending sci-fi film. This film is an ambitious one in which the story spans five centuries. It is a complicated film to explain, even after viewing you will find yourself confused, yet satisfied. However, if you watch it for just one reason and one reason only. Make said reason Edinburgh. The city is used as a beautiful backdrop to the 19th century period where one of the characters climbs the Scott Monument daily to clear his mind.

(Old Waverley Hotel is the building on the left on the image above)

Sunshine on Leith

Image result for sunshine on leith

Known as ‘McMamma’ Mia, Sunshine on Leith is a musical comedy that uses the songs of The Proclaimers, of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ fame. This film is perhaps the most Scottish on this list. Scottish actors, accents, music, setting, clothing and spirit. It is about the characters Davy and Ally, who must relearn how to live in Edinburgh after serving in Afghanistan. It is a ‘Feel-Fabulous Film’ to which Edinburgh is the perfect location.

One Day

Image result for one day

Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess star in this love story about two people from different strokes of life. It is based on the famous novel of the same name, written by David Nicholls. Edinburgh provides a lovely backdrop for the film, and you could argue that it even acts as a supporting character to the characters of Hathaway and Sturgess.

The 39 Steps

Hitchcocks ‘The 39 Steps’ being filmed by Arthurs Seat

A few adaptions of John Buchan’s novel have been made and set in Edinburgh. Most famously, however, is the film ‘The 39 Steps’ by the great Alfred Hitchcock. It is a universally praised film and has been named the 21st greatest British movie ever made, and in 2011 ranked it the second-best book-to-film adaptation of all time.

Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire | Film Edinburgh | The Edinburgh Collection
Eric Liddel (Ian Charleson) talks to Sybil Gordon (Alice Krige) at the foot of famous Edinburgh landmark, Arthurs Seat

This Oscar-winning historical drama about Scottish Olympic athlete, Eric Liddel. The film was released in 1981, but Edinburgh looks almost identical today as it does in the movie. The film follows Eric Liddel, a devout Christian who runs for God and thus refuses to compete on a Sunday and  Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.

The Railway Man

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View from Calton Hill in the film ‘The Railway Man.’

Colin Firth stars in this dramatic war film depicting the life of an Edinburgh-born Railway enthusiast turned POW. Edinburgh isn’t the movie’s main backdrop, no, that honour goes to Thailand, and it’s Burma Railway Line, also known as ‘Bridge of Death’. When Edinburgh is shown, you see the gorgeous views from Calton Hill (as pictured above) and of course, Waverley Railway Station.

Avengers: Infinity War

Marvel Studios | Avengers Infinity War | The Edinburgh CollectionSet Phots! (Left: Royal Mile, Centre Top: Spiderman on the castle, Centre Bottom: Green screen in Waverley Station. Right: Canongate stunt tests)

Anyone who was in Edinburgh throughout March/April 2017. You may have noticed Edinburgh become a huge film set. This was of course for the new film production of Marvel Studios billion dollar blockbuster film Avengers: Infinity War. Eagle-eyed fans may have spotted stars, Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlett Witch) around the city.

One photo that seemed to catch the attention of a lot was that of Tom Hollands Spider-Man atop the Castle. Perhaps preparing for an epic web-sling over the historic Old Town.

Better yet, the film is not just being filmed in Edinburgh. It is going to be set there. The sets were littered with Scottish props and odes to Edinburgh. So, once the movie is released, it should see a huge boom in tourism to the city.

Honourable Mention

Harry Potter Franchise.

Image result for harry potter edinburgh

While JK Rowling’s globally recognised stories about the young wizard Harry Potter were no set in Edinburgh and the films were not shot in the city. You can see when walking through the city, where she got the inspiration for her Wizarding World.

5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Edinburgh In May | The Edinburgh Collection

5 things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Our picks of family friendly activities to do in the capital this month

With flowers in bloom and the sun creeping out, it would be easy to just walk around Edinburgh without ever noticing all the other events taking place. While that would be great, you would miss out on quite a lot as May promises to be an exciting month in Edinburgh, packed with plenty of family-friendly events. From cunning foxes to LEGO bricks, we have narrowed the many May happenings into 5 must-dos.

Fantastic Mr Fox
(15th – 20th May   |   Kings Theatre)

Edinburgh In May | Fantastic Mr Fox

The Roald Dahl classic has been a family favourite ever since it was published in 1970 and the 2009 Wes Anderson film captured the essence of the book and was a worthy adaption of the novel. Now, the classic story of a smart and witty fox is being adapted for the stage. This show promises to be family friendly fun at it’s finest, After all, this is Roald Dahl. So can it be anything less than fantastic?


The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial
(31st March – 3rd September   |   National Museum of Scotland)

Edinburgh In May | Egyptian Burial

Ancient Egypt has always played host to some of the most fascinating history. The Tomb is no exception. It was built in around 1290BC and was reused for over 1000 years!

The Tomb was constructed shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun, in the great city of Thebes. It was built for the Chief of Police and his wife. As you can imagine, with it being an Egyptian tomb, It was looted and reused several times. However, left behind was a collection of beautiful objects from various eras spanning those 100 years of the tomb. These objects will be displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

Objects from this tomb and nearby tombs will be on display at the exhibition to give a sense of how Egyptian burial changed over time. It is often that the words education and fun are thrown into the same sentence, but this exhibit does promise to be a fun and educational day out for not just children but adults alike.


EdinBrick: LEGO Model Show
(20th May   |   Summerhall)

Edinburgh In May | LEGO

An event that celebrates the joys of LEGO, both creators and collectors will showcase the models of which they are most proud. There will also be areas for people to play with and experiment with LEGO.  The best part about this is not the fun of playing with LEGO, or the chance to see some fantasbrick displays. No, the best part is that all the profits go to Fairy Bricks, a charity that is brightening the lives of sick children through LEGO.


Festival Of Museums
(19th – 21st May   |   Numerous Locations)

Edinburgh In May | Festival of Museums

The festival of museums is, well, just that. It is a series of events taking place during both day and night. Including workshops, exhibits and even fashion shows. The events are hosted in museums, not just in Edinburgh, but all over Scotland.

However, Edinburgh museums specifically have announced a couple of their themes. On Saturday 19th May the City Art Centre will plan a day of creative workshops around the theme of ‘The Enchanted Garden’, whilst on Sunday 20th May the Museum of Edinburgh will hold an afternoon celebrating the music, food and costume of the 18th century.


Fair Trade Fiesta
(13th May   |   Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens)

Edinburgh in May | Fair Trade

Fair Trade Fiesta is not for just select people, it is for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The fiestas reason for being is to raise more awareness of World Fair Trade Day and, also, Scotlands recent renewal of Fair Trade Nation status and of the  Fair Trade Movement. It supports and makes others aware of its cause through a delightfully vivid Carnival Parade and an entertaining (and free) five-hour Concert with the renowned Red Hot Chilli Pipers headlining the event and a further 200+ performers.



Whisky Month

Edinburgh in May | Whisky Month

Whisky is Scotland’s national drink, and we love it so much that each year we dedicate a whole month to it! May is officially Whisky Month, with World Whisky Day on 20th May.

Pop into one of our hotels for a wee dram of whisky.

Also, don’t forget the following events this May;

Imaginate Children’s Festival – 27 May – 4 June:

European Rugby Challenge Cup Final – 13 May, Murrayfield:

Edinburgh Marathon Festival – 27-28 May:

The Ingliston Revival Festival – 13-14 May:

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival – 26-28 May:

5 Things to do in Edinburgh (for the remainder of) this April

5 Things to do in Edinburgh (for the remainder of) this April

The Edinburgh Collection | 5 Things To Do In Edinburgh


Well, what’s left of it anyway.

While April may be drawing to a close, there is still plenty to do in Edinburgh. Whether you’re in Edinburgh with a partner, family or even by yourself, this list of activities and events will be sure to give your something to do during your visit.

Trad Fest   |   26th April  – 7th May

The Edinburgh Collection | Trad Fest
(Image Source: FolkLore Thursday)

‘TradFest Dùn Èideann’ is a vibrant twelve-day showcase of Scotland’s thriving traditional arts. As 2017 is the year of World Heritage, there will be special events taking place.

Beltane Fire Festival   |   30th April

The Edinburgh Collection | Beltane Fire Festival
(Image Source: The List)

Celebrate the first signs of summer with this fiery reimagining of the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane. and

The Adams Family   |   20th – 29th April
(Festival Theatre)

The Edinburgh Collection | The Addams Family
(Image Source: EdTheatres)

Everyone’s favourite kooky family are now on stage in this spectacular musical comedy as it makes its UK premiere in Edinburgh.

Monkey Business   |   Until 23rd April
(National Museum of Scotland)

The Edinburgh Collection | Monkey Business
(Image Source: National Museum Scotland)

Get up close and personal with our tree-swinging ancestors and discover all there is to know about the primate world at this family friendly event.

Athens of the North   |   Everyday

The Edinburgh Collection | Athens of the North

April celebrates World Heritage Day. With World Heritage Status, discover how Edinburgh became the Athens of the North.

Within The Walls of Edinburgh Castle and it’s Haunted Past

Within The Walls of Edinburgh Castle and it’s Haunted Past

Scaredinburgh | Edinburgh Caslte



Scotland has its fair share of old fortresses, but none quite like Edinburgh Castle. What makes Edinburgh Castle so different from the rest is that it is, almost, a living and breathing creature. While St. Mary’s chapel is the only remaining part of the 12th century structure, the other parts have been added throughout the centuries. Giving it that organic feeling to it. Which means, as you know, with life, also comes death – which is all too frequent in old time Edinburgh.

As with most castles. Edinburgh Castle was used as a prison for criminals and political enemies of The Crown. Lore has it that one desperate prisoner escaped into a wheelbarrow full of manure, hoping he would be taken through the front gates to his freedom. This did not happen. He was wheeled to the west port side where the contents of the wheelbarrow were tipped off the edge and he plummeted to the ground, where obviously, he died. To this day, people mention the strong unpleasant smell of manure when they are close to the area, and some even report the uneasy feeling of unseen hands pushing them.


Additionally, the castles lower levels, dungeons and dark tunnels have also played host to countless tales of unexplainable experiences. Heavy breathing, knocking, hammering and moans have all been reported in these lower terrains of the fortress. All are said to be connected to Lady Janet Douglas.

Scaredinburgh | Janet Douglas
Lady Janet Douglas (image from The Paranormal Guide)

In 1528, Janet Douglas was accused of Witchcraft and conspiracy by King James V. All of her family and servants were captured and imprisoned. They were then, one-by-one, brutally tortured in order to force confessions against Ms. Douglas. Who is rumoured to have been locked in a dark room for so long, that she actually turned blind. Throughout all this, carpenters in leather aprons would walk around, crafting the wooden platform from which she was to be burned alive.


In 2001, a British psychologist named Dr. Richard Wiseman wanted to get to the bottom of these storied and managed get over 200 participants for his, shall we say, unorthodox experiment. These volunteers were then screened. The screening process was in place to try and weed out anyone who may have knowledge of the stories regarding Edinburgh Castle and its haunted past.

After Dr Wiseman had verified all of his volunteers, they set to work. Wiseman and his assistants took small groups of the volunteers on tours of the castle. Now, i said this experiment was unorthodox, what I meant to say was, unethical. Some of the volunteers were actually shut and locked into dark dungeon rooms. Wiseman said this was there opportunity to make ‘personal observations’. No matter how safe it might have been, if you to image that getting locked into a castle dungeon would be pretty traumatic.

Scaredinburgh | Dungeon
The dungeons in Edinburgh castle (image from TripAdvisor)

One woman reported that her experience was filled with odd, unexplainable experiences. Heavy breathing, which moved closer and closer to her the longer she was in the room (traumatic, right?). Others hear voices and saw shadowy figures. One group unanimously said that they has seen a man walk slowly at the end of a tunnel. They said he was dressed in old fashioned clothing and wore something strange over his torso.

It was a leather carpenter’s apron.

In conclusion, there’s something about castles. Big strong structures capable of withholding even the darkest of secrets. Few castles were built to the same standards of the modern home. Whether it be a dark dungeon or the bricked up body of a victim. The strong walls of a castle can act like the dungeons many of them are famous for, holding in years of suffering, tragedy and death.

Top 5 Hogmanay Traditions

Top 5 Hogmanay Traditions

Hogmanay Traditions


New Year may be a celebrated and familiar day around the world. However, the Scots have their own rich and honored tradition with the day. They call it Hogmanay.

The origins of the name Hogmanay remain mysterious. Many believe it derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Haleg monath’ meaning ‘Holy Month’. However, a fair few people believe it’s origins to come from the French phrase ‘Homme est né’ which means ‘Man is Born’. Additionally, a considerable amount of people believe it to have sprouted from the Flemish words ‘Hoog min dag’ which translates to ‘Great love day’.

In conclusion, there is no official pin-pointed origin to the word. So, take your pick.

Hogmanay as an event is easier to track the origins of. However, historians still don’t have a set-in-stone parentage of the Scottish celebration. The most widely accepted story is that it developed from the Norse celebration of the winter solstice. Hogmanay is also believed to have incorporated customs of Samhain, the Gaelic celebration. And, Yule, which was an event celebrated by The Vikings which later became the “Daft Days” (in Scotland). For the rest of the world it became The Twelve Days of Christmas.

A long time ago, In Scotland, Christmas was not celebrated. Hogmanay was the festive celebration. It’s not clear why Christmas was not celebrated. Although, it is considered to have been a result of the Protestant Reformation. Christmas was seen as “too Papist” after that. Fun bunch, I know.


Anyhow. Here are 5 of the most popular Hogmanay traditions (in no particular order) for you to learn about and maybe, if you like whiskey, even introduce them into your own celebrations (again, that reference will become clear once you read).

Hogmanay Redding The House

Redding the House

Similar to the an annual spring cleaning that some communities have taken has a tradition, or the ritual cleaning of the kitchen for Passover, Scottish families also undertook a tradition of a major cleanup to ready the house for the New Year. They did something else too, while sweeping out the fireplace, getting rid of all the ash that had spattered out of the necessary flames during the harsh cold months of November and December. They read the ashes, hoping it would foretell what was to come in the year ahead. This was a very important practice and there was a skill in reading the ashes, the way some people read tea leaves.

Hogmanay First Footing

First Footing

After the hazy stroke of midnight, neighbors would meet and greet each other, bearing traditional Scottish gifts such as shortbread or black bun (a kind of fruit cake). However, in turn, the visitor is offered a politely small whisky. So, if you had plenty of friends and visited each of their homes to wish them a happy new year. You would likely be offered a great deal of whiskey to which most Scots would say ‘Guy Braw’ which means ‘Very Good’. Additionally, the first person to enter and make the first foot inside the house in the New Year, could bring luck for the New Year. I’m not too sure how much luck a balance-lacking-whiskey-influenced first foot would bring.

Hogmanay Fire Festivals

Bonfires and Fire Festivals

The possibility of a Viking and pagan influence over Hogmanay introduces itself again. This time in Scotland’s fire festivals. The fires usually happen on Hogmanay itself and once again in late January. The use of fire was an attempt to purify and drive away evil spirits. Which we all know, is something Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular is in dire need of. The fire festivals and bonfires have always been at the center of the celebrations in Scottish towns such as Stonehaven, Comrie and Biggar. However, it has only recently become an element in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebration.

Hogmanay Auld Lang Syne

The Singing of Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns’ version of a traditional Scottish air. Is sang over the world. How it became the New Year’s song is something that like a lot of Hogmanay, remains somewhat of a mystery. At the famous ‘Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’ celebrations, people come together, they join hands, and they sing. They sing what is reputed to be the biggest Auld Lang Syne in the world. Impressive, right?

Hogmanay Saining The House

The Saining of the House

This is a very old, very rural, and perhaps the strangest of the Hogmanay traditions. It involved blessing the house and livestock with holy water from a local stream. This tradition saw a huge drop and had nearly died out. However, in recent years it has experienced a remarkable and unusual revival. Once the house and livestock have been blessed, The woman of the house would go around each room of the house with a blazing juniper branch. The idea of this, was to fill the house with purifying smoke. Now, with all this smoke flowing through the rooms of the house. The occupants started to cough and choke on the smoke so the windows would be flung open and of course, a few drams of whiskey are passed around. This is Scotland after all.

If you are hoping to celebrate Hogmanay, make sure you stock up on whiskey. Or perhaps you just want a few drams for yourself. In which case, we offer some great whiskey tasting. Happy new year and enjoy trying out some of these strange Hogmanay traditions.


Old Waverly Hotel | Cranstons Restaurant
Old Waverley Hotel | Princes Street

Old Waverley Hotel: Due to its perfect location on Edinburgh’s Princes Street. You will have views of the fireworks, light shows and the European Market. This traditional hotel is in walking distance from all the main Edinburgh landmarks and George St. You’ll be in the center of all the great Hogmanay Celebrations.

The Howard | Room
The Howard | Great King Sreet.

The Howard: A luxurious 5-star hotel in Edinburgh’s new town. Just a short walk from Princes Street and all the main Hogmanay attractions. You will be able to enjoy valet parking and a unique butler service. If you are wanting to spend your Edinburgh Hogmanay in luxury then The Howard is the perfect Hotel for you.

Channings | Bathroom
Channings Hotel | South Learmonth Gardens

Channings: Voted Edinburgh’s most romantic hotel. If you are wanting to have a grand and lavish stay in Edinburgh’s new town then Channing’s Hotel is perfect for you.

Holyrood ApartHotel | Apartments
Holyrood ApartHotel | Holyrood

Holyrood ApartHotel: This modern apartment hotel is an easy 1-minute walk from the Royal Mile. It’s also a 4-minute walk from Holyrood Park. These serviced apartment are a perfect home away from home. Perfect for families and business professionals.

Harry Potter Tour – J.K. Rowling’s Edinburgh Inspiration.

Harry Potter Tour – J.K. Rowling’s Edinburgh Inspiration.

The Edinburgh Collection | Harry Potter



Harry Potter may live between the spellbinding pages of J.K. Rowlings best-selling book series. However, walk around Edinburgh and you will soon feel like you too are walking in the same magical world. With all the unusual streets, wonderful buildings and other wizz-poppingly fantastic attributes. It is no wonder ‘Jo’ drew so much inspiration from the city.

Here is a list of a few places that inspired the famous books.


Harry Potter Edinburgh | Elephant House

J.K. Rowling used to come to The Elephant House cafe to pen her books, she would sit at the book where she was treated to a spectacular view of Edinburgh Castle which as you can probably imagine is a great view if you want to draw inspiration of a magical world.

Now, The Elephant Cafe is packed full of tourists wanting to soak in even just a drop of J.K. Rowlings life. To all you die hard fans. Yes, you can still sit in her table. If you want an idea of how many Harry Potter fans are drawn to this cafe – just look at the toilets.

Harry Potter Edinburgh | Toilet

Fans have graffiti-ed the toilets with all sorts of Harry Potter related scribbles. (images credit:


Harry Potter Edinburgh | George Heriots School

You probably already guessed which particular building J.K. Rowling used this magnificant building as inspiration. That’s right, Hogwarts was based on Sir George Heriot’s School (not of witchcraft and wizardry).

In addition to taking inspiration from the schools grand architechture. J.K. Rowling also modelled the famous Hogwart’s house system on the one in place at George Heriot’s. The schools houses are Castle, Lauriston, Raeburn and Greyfriars which aren’t too dissimilar to Rowling’s own Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. It’s borderline theft. However, I don’t believe that George Heriot’s school has a sorting hat.


Harry Potter Edinburgh | Tom Riddell Grave

No Harry Potter Tour would be complete without a visit to ‘He who shall not be named’. Just behind Hogwarts George Herriot’s School there is a famous graveyard called Greyfriars which houses many notable people including the famous dog who showed heartbreaking loyalty to it’s owner and also it houses the world most recorded poltergeist.

However, some people who stroll through the site (as J.K. Rowling herself used to do) you will find the grave of none-other than Thomas Riddell. The dark lord himself. J.K. Rowling used to take walks around the site to perhaps clear her head or maybe she went with the purpose to find great names from deceased people. What is know for sure is that she drew direct inspiration from this mans grave.


Harry Potter Tour | Victoria Street

There’s a street just below the Elephant Cafe and Greyfriars Kirkyard called Victoria Street in Grassmarket. Which when you see it, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture the bizarre Diagon alley. With it’s cobbled windy street and tall ornate buildings it’s no wonder J.K. Rowling decided to create a magical version of this street in her novels.

Harry Potter Edinburgh | Aha Ha Ha

AHA HA HA Jokes & Novelties lays at the foot of the street which perhaps played muse to the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. The shops actually used to have a sign in it’s window telling tourists that it wasn’t a real life version of the shop.


Harry Potter Edinburgh | Balmoral

Now as a hotel company ourselves, we don’t like to advertise other hotels. However, on this occassion it seems too crucial not to as it is the end of our Harry Potter Tour, and the end of Harry Potter itself.

In January 2007, J.K. Rowling checked herself into the Balmoral Hotel room 552 to be exact. It was in that room that she finished writing the famed Harry Potter series. Rumor has it that upon completion. She popped open a fizz-wizz bottle of champagne and enjoyed it (as you would) and finally she picked up a black marker pen and wrote ‘J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11th Jan 2007.’ on a marble bust.

As a token of honor to the author and her time spent in their suite.  The Balmoral Hotel renamed the room the ‘J.K. Rowling suite.’ If you happen to be a particularly wealthy fan. You can stay in the room which has been kept in exactly the same condition as she left it, they have also added a brass owl door knocker. However, I think the bust is enclosed within a glass case now.

It will cost you £1,415 per night if you want to stay here.

If you want a view just as nice as the one J.K. Rowling enjoyed and also cheaper then stay at the Old Waverly Hotel where you can stay in a viewtiful room. Perhaps you can capture some of the same magic she did from this lovely city. book now.


If you have spare time and want to add a little extra magic to your Harry Potter Tour then here are some bonus thing to see.


Harry Potter Edinburgh | JK Hands

J.K. Rowling has been immortalised in Edinburgh’s City Chambers. Her name will obviously never be forgotten as it is written on the cover of billions of books. But now she has some golden hand prints too. J.K. Rowling became the second recipient of the Edinburgh Award in 2008. The award is given to Edinburghers and the winners have their hand prints installed in the City Chambers quadrangle.


While writing her famed series, J.K. Rowling attended the prestigious Edinburgh University. Right next to the university campus is a street named Potterrow during the 16th/17th century it was used for pottery stalls in the old town of Edinburgh. As a student, J.K. Rowling would have been well acquainted with the street, which no doubt served as an inspiration for the naming of her famous protagonist.

Your (great) Edinburgh Walking Guide

Your (great) Edinburgh Walking Guide



Our Edinburgh walking guide will ensure you make the most of your visit. Edinburgh is one of the best cities to explore by foot. You’ll discover magic and get a fright.

From little local cafes and underground bars to hidden gardens and historic graveyards. The hidden gems of Edinburgh are best explored by walking. One of our favourite walks is along Queensferry Street into the West End of Edinburgh, taking around 15 minutes the walk explores some of the best hidden, undiscovered parts of Edinburgh and leads you right into the heart of the city, ending with spectacular views of Edinburgh castle and perhaps a walk through St Cuthbert’s churchyard.

After a fresh, expertly prepared breakfast at Shackleton’s Bar & Brasserie we suggest checking out some of these key points as you make your way into the heart of Edinburgh City.

Dean Village & Gardens

Edinburgh Walking Guide | Deans Village
               Dean Village, Edinburgh

To start the Edinburgh walking guide we take you to by far one of the best hidden gems in Edinburgh, Dean Village and garden. You will find them located just under Dean Bridge on the stroll in to West End. Take a slight detour and you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back into Victorian Edinburgh. The warren of ancient cobbled streets create a sleepy yet beautiful atmosphere. Wandering through Dean Village and along the Water of Leith walkway you’ll meet an array of wildlife, from families of ducks to heron and enjoy the truly magical atmosphere of ancient, undiscovered Edinburgh.

Soderberg Bakery

                Soderberg Bakery, Edinburgh West End

Assuming you’ve stayed at one of our fantastic hotels you will have already enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Now it’s time for a well-deserved mid-morning pastry! The delightfully Swedish Soderberg Bakery has a few venues around Edinburgh, though the charm of their West End branch is undeniable. Slightly smaller than some of their other locations the West End Soderberg is warm, intimate and perfect for that mid-morning baked treat! Their specialty coffee comes from Johan & Nystrom whose Stockholm Café was named by The Telegraph as one of the best in the world. We recommend their delicious cinnamon and cardamom buns, or if you’re visiting in the afternoon take home one of their freshly prepared sour dough loaves, or fresh soup or salad for dinner.

St Cuthbert’s Church

St Cuthbert's Church; Walking Edinburgh; Princes Street
         View of Princes Street Gardens and St Cuthbert’s Church

At the very end of Princes Street, hidden among trees just underneath the castle. Lays perhaps one of the most beautiful Churchyards in Edinburgh. St Cuthbert’s Church was built in 1892, however there is evidence of at least 6 earlier churches on the grounds. The rich history provided by the grounds makes it a perfect place to experience the peaceful, tranquil and eerie atmosphere of Edinburgh. Additionally, it is a great place to start your walk along the beautiful Princes Street Gardens.

Princes Street Gardens

Edinburgh Collection | Princes Street Gardens
       Prince’s street gardens (image source: Wikipedia)

No Edinburgh walking guide would be complete without Princes Street Gardens. These luscious green gardens provide a stunning tranquil atmosphere. The gardens also provide some of the most spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle. It’s hard to imagine that Princes Street Gardens were once a place of witch trials and waste dumping. Luckily for us there is little trace of the areas dark history. Now the gardens are a favourite for tourists and locals. A place to relax and take in the vibrant city atmosphere. Previously to it’s renaming to Princes Street Gardens, the site was names Nor Loch. Read about it’s less than green history here.

In conclusion, Edinburgh is a city best explored by foot. With hidden gardens, cobbled streets, ancient alleyways and beautiful churches just waiting to be found. Edinburgh’s rich history can only truly be discovered by meandering the streets. Where you will start uncovering your own secret gems. Our advice is to read and re-read this Edinburgh walking guide and make sure you put aside a little time during your stay to walk the wonderful, historic streets of Edinburgh.