A day in Edinburgh: Harry Potter, Castles, and Whiskey

A Day in Edinburgh, Scotland

When I studied abroad in London I was fortunate enough to take a brief trip to Edinburgh in Scotland.  We flew in late Friday night, had all day Saturday to explore, and then flew back to London early Sunday morning. After seeing Edinburgh, I wish I had more time in the city because it was absolutely stunning. The city is full of historic buildings and architecture, there are beautiful churches everywhere, and it’s on a hill surrounded by both mountains and the sea. It is a city buzzing with magic –

Edinburgh castle on the hill

– Which is why I completely understand how J.K. Rowling gained so much inspiration writing Harry Potter while living there. The city screams Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. I would love to go back to Edinburgh one day and stay there for a longer period of time so that I can see the museums, find the best places to eat, immerse myself in the local pubs and just feel as if I’m living amidst magic. However, for only having one day I feel as if I was able to see a lot and make the most of it.

Edinburgh buildingsEdinburgh Views from the Entrance of the Castle

I was traveling with a few friends but they all slept in a little later than I did, so when I woke up early (due to the excitement) I decided to set out by myself for a little bit. I used citymapper (an actual lifesaver) to make my way to The Elephant House – a little cafe where J.K. Rowling used to go to write Harry Potter.

I got a cappuccino and a pastry and sat at the window while writing in my travel journal. Which, yeah, is really cliché and cheesy but I had a lot of fun. The cafe had little elephants everywhere and the place had a warm and welcoming vibe. It was a perfect morning. I love mornings when I am able to get up and out the door early, and I am looking forward to experiencing new things throughout the day. The whole world seems to be full of potential.

The Elephant House in EdinburghElephant statue from the Elephant House

Once I met back up with my friends we had breakfast at this nice little restaurant that sort of had sweet bed and breakfast vibes and had flowers on each table. I got porridge with banana and honey and a bagel with cream cheese before we set back out in to the city to explore. We walked the Royal Mile and went to Edinburgh Castle – which has a powerful presence over the city. It truly felt as if we were in another world – I wonder if the magic wears off for the people who live there all the time because I can’t imagine ever growing bored of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh breakfast

While exploring the castle we were met with even more amazing views of the whole city. We could see the mountains, the ocean, the historic buildings; it was stunning. Within the castle my favorite room was the Scottish National War Memorial. I didn’t take any pictures but it was a room memorializing all of those who gave their lives in the world wars. The room had beautiful stained glass and images, and included names, stories and touching quotes about sacrifice and life. The significance of the sacrifice that the room represented was awe-inspiring and incredibly moving.

Edinburgh Views

After the castle we went in and out of some tourist shops, grabbed more coffee, and stopped to watch some men on the street play the bagpipes. We walked down some colorful streets and just took in how lovely everything was. Earlier, as we had made our way to Edinburgh Castle we all took note of the Scotch Whiskey Experience that was nearby, and so we decided to go back and try it out. I’m definitely not a whiskey girl but I figured – ‘when in Scotland.’ We got a brief lesson on Scottish whiskey and then got to choose one of four different types to try.

Edinburgh Scotch Whiskey ExperienceEdinburgh Whiskey TastingEdinburgh Whiskey

It was gross, honestly, but to each their own. We got to enter this whiskey room that was dark and filled from floor to ceiling on both sides with whiskey. Even though the whiskey wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, the room was pretty cool and official-feeling. For dinner we went to this restaurant by the water and I got salmon and potatoes, and I decidedly wanted to stay in Edinburgh forever. Unfortunately reality set in and we pulled ourselves out of bed early the next morning to make it to the airport (after we got coffee, of course).

Edinburgh Colorful Street

My goal is to one day make it back to Edinburgh (and Scotland in general) because it was unexpectedly the most beautiful place I have ever been.


Have you ever been to Edinburgh?

Planning a trip there? What things have you done or what things are you looking forward to doing?


What to do with One Day in Edinburgh, Scotland!

— a twenty something

2 thoughts on “A day in Edinburgh: Harry Potter, Castles, and Whiskey

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