Edinburgh has plenty to offer a book lover – from the streets that inspired JK Rowling to the best independent bookshop in the UK.
Victoria Street – Harry Potter
If you are a massive Potterhead like I am then this is the place to visit. It is claimed by many fans to be the street that inspired the setting of Diagon Alley. Once you step onto the cobbled roads, it is clear to see why. The street curves slightly and the buildings are unique and colourful, surrounded by old fashioned bricks.
There are also two Harry Potter shops on this street which has lots of unique souvenirs from the books – mugs, magnets, quills, house merchandise and much more.
My favourite is the Museum Context which was very unique compared to other fandom shops.
The quaint building had three floors, connected by an old fashioned, spiral staircase. The first floor has a selection of jewellery, watches and spell books. The second, which is a bit larger, contains a wide variety of things including unique notebooks which are themed to look like Hogwarts textbooks, such as the History of Magic. There are also some Fantastic Beasts gifts for sale.
The third floor ends at the top of the staircase, with a desk setting for pictures to be taken. The stairs don’t actually lead to a room, but the area is pretty cool for fans to get those Instagram photos.
While I loved this street and would highly recommend it to any fan of the books or films, I would say it would have been interesting to know what the area was like before the Harry Potter shops opened and what was the actual inspiration behind the novels.
Golden Hare Books, St Stephen Street
This shop was very charming, with a simplistic style. It was named “the best independent bookshop of the year” by the British Book Awards.
The shop’s decor is all white and the books are spread spaciously across the shelves. At the back of the room, there is a fireplace roaring, with creates a nice cosy environment.
They have books ranging from the environment, politics and science to YA fiction, adult fiction and non fiction.
The shop also has a shelf with surprise books that have been wrapped and specially selected by members of staff. Each book has a short message, explaining very briefly what the mystery book could be about without giving too much away.
I thought this is a really fun idea for a treat or as a gift for a birthday or Christmas. It definitely adds to the charm of the place.
The shop has a lot of modern books but also sold pins, bookmarks and unique cards as well. Underneath the shop there is a pub where you can also relax with your new book.
The Writers’ Museum
This free museum, at the Lady Stair’s Close, is the place to go for people who love literature and the classics. It is a building celebrating Scottish writers, from Robert Burns to Sir Walter Scott.
The stone building is the perfect setting, with tight, small spiral staircases and old fashioned rooms.
Each room in the building is dedicated to a specific author. Some of the things included behind the glass displays are written notes from the authors and their chess board games, as well as various manuscripts. There is even a lock of Robert Ferguson’s hair!
Guests get a chance to buy the books at the end of the museum too. It’s a fairly small building, and the museum isn’t very time consuming so it’s worth checking out even if you’re not a fan of the authors. It is an interesting part of Scottish history.
Have you visited any of these places? Let us know below which one you would like to visit or Tweet @bookwormgirl_24!