Harry Potter destinations to visit with your dog
5 minute read
Edinburgh is most famous as the location where J.K. Rowling wrote so many of her Harry Potter novels – it’s said she spent many hours in the Elephant House cafe dreaming up her plot twists – but the city is also home to one particularly eerie location that inspired one of the series’ most notorious characters: Greyfriars Kirkyard. Head through the gates and pass the church on your left, then in the northwest corner of the graveyard you’ll find a tomb with the inscription: “Thomas Riddell”. This name is famously the human moniker for Voldemort, Harry’s arch nemesis. Nearby is also the grave of famously mediocre poet William McGonagle, whom Hogwarts’ brilliant headmistress is said to be related to.
While you’re in the graveyard with the dog, look out for the grave of John Gray, “master of Greyfriars Bobby”. It was here that Skye Terrier – now immortalised in a bronze statue on George IV Bridge – visited his owner’s grave daily for 14 years after the man died; visitors leave prize sticks in the dog’s memory.
Glen Coe, the Highlands
If you need a good excuse to take the dog to the pub, a Harry Potter locations tour provides ample reason. Within the plunging hillsides and sheer cliff faces of Glen Coe lies the Clachaig Inn, just a few hundred metres from where film crews built Hagrid’s Hut for the 2004 Prisoner of Azkaban movie. Wander up the hill past the pub for views over the lochan that the hut overlooked in the film (the exact spot is ///cooks.pollution.riders), then head back down and settle in the Boots Bar for a drink and hearty meal. Glencoe is just 75-minute drive from our dog-friendly properties in Oban and Inverary.
Loch Etive, Argyll & Bute
You can walk the dog in the footsteps of Harry Potter around the shores of Loch Etive. This seawater loch featured in the Deathly Hallows Part 2 film after Harry, Ron and Hermione break into Gringotts Bank – the trio land here after fleeing the bank on the back of a dragon. Today, it’s all serene calm instead of bank-heist chaos, with seal colonies basking on the water’s edge around Connel Bridge, a short drive from Oban. An excellent circular dog walk with views over the water towards the 1,078-metre Ben Starav starts from Inverawe Country Park (grab a picnic from local smokehouse deli) and tracks the River Awe to the loch shore. After, drive just 40-minutes south and settle on the deck at The Blue Cottage for sundowners overlooking Loch Awe.
Fort William, the Highlands
Think of Harry Potter and Scotland and you probably first think of that first fateful train journey to Hogwarts, which wends its way through the striking Scottish countryside. Luckily for humans and dogs, the Jacobite Steam Railway, which starred as the Hogwarts Express in the movies, is still going strong today and you can ride it together for a taste of your own adventure into the wizarding world. You’ll trundle over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct on the 84-mile round trip, one of the most memorable Harry Potter filming locations, but for even better views of the viaduct itself, drive out to the visitor centre and enjoy a walk through its 21 arches.
A 20-minute drive east of Fort William takes you to Steall Falls, deep in the drama of Glen Nevis, where Harry Potter fought a Hungarian Horntail dragon during the Triwizard tournament in the 2005 Goblet of Fire movie. There’s a lovely two-hour walk from a car park at ///sweetened.commuting.fictional that takes you through the Glen and right up to the waterfall, with views of 982-metre-high An Gearanach beyond. Fort William is just a 90-minute drive from our Argyll & Bute properties.