Okay, so she wasn’t actually there at the same time I was. But she had been there before and this café was known for being the very café where J.K Rowling began writing Harry Potter.
The Elephant House is a café located in Edinburgh, Scotland and is the self-proclaimed Birthplace of Harry Potter. I am a Harry Potter fan. I will admit it with no shame because only the best people truly love Harry Potter. I was eleven when the first book came out, which Harry is eleven in as well, and I grew up eagerly waiting for the next book to be released; Only to finish it within a day or two. I have read each book multiple times as well as the movies although, as always, the books are much better. The books were my childhood, a series that I will always remember and most likely will continue to re-read again and again. I plan to read it out loud to my unborn child when that day comes.
When I found myself in Edinburgh three summers ago, I had to find this café. Luckily, I was traveling with two friends who were just as crazy about Harry Potter as I was, so that worked out well. Together, we searched the cobblestone streets high and low until we found The Elephant House. There are three wonderful things about this café: J.K Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter there, the food is pretty cheap and delicious, and it is filled with elephants!
A very popular café in Edinburgh, the Elephant House can get quite crowded at times. Despite that, this café has a peaceful, sort of inspirational feel to it when you sit down there. My friends and I went there twice and each time we had a pleasant experience. Our second time there, we were seated in the back room next to a window at a rather large table for the four of us. As we were mulling over the menu, one of us noticed that this table had drawers that opened! Being the book-loving, cheesy-story-loving group that we were, we all got incredibly excited to find that within these drawers were what seemed like hundreds of letters.
What had been planned as a quick stop for lunch turned into hours spent going through all of the drawers and reading all of the letters within them. Letters from others who had been seated at this table, many of them from travelers. There were letters from people who were unsure of where to go in their life, letters of doubt, letters from people offering words of hope and encouragement, letters of happy things to put a smile on your face and letters of inspiration that made me want to do so many more things in my life. Of course, we all left a letter of our own to tuck away in the drawers for the next person to read.
I thoroughly enjoyed my two experiences at The Elephant House. Although it has been made popular due to J.K Rowling’s having written there, it is charming for other reasons as well. I will leave it up to you to find out why.
*Breaking News: according to my brother, who also had the pleasure of visiting The Elephant House, there is a wall in the bathroom dedicated entirely to people writing lovely things about Harry Potter! Wishing I had gone into the bathrooms, now!*