Nicolson’s Cafe (now Spoon), Edinburgh

Nicolson’s Cafe (now Spoon), Edinburgh

20+ years from the publication of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone it is now claimed that the birthplace of Harry Potter was in fact Nicholson’s Café, co-owned by Rowling’s brother-in-law back in 1997. Later, Rowling admitted that the original idea struck her on a train, without any paper at hand, but Nicolson’s, she said, was the place where she indeed “wrote huge parts of the book”. Attesting to this fact is also the local photographer, Marius Alexander, who pictured the then aspiring author writing at Nicolson’s following her move to Edinburgh with her daughter three years earlier.

Rowling explained her choice of Nicolson's – whose large windows overlook the University of Edinburgh – as a really great place to write, because there were so many tables around here that she didn't feel too guilty about taking her favorite table up too long. “I always wanted to try and get that one because it was out of the way in the corner,” she said.

Now rebranded as Spoon bistro, which The List magazine describes as a “Good-humoured eatery with casual all-day dining and chilled-out service delivering simply prepared bistro classics,” this place still retains great significance to the author and to every Potter-head out there as the Rowling-anointed nursery for Harry’s first adventure. A token to this is a plaque commemorating the spot where part of one of the world's most famous book series was written.

In her own words, Rowling promised to the place owners that when the book is published, she will “try and get [them] loads of publicity" though no-one ever dreamed for a moment that it was going to happen some day.

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Nicolson’s Cafe (now Spoon) on Map

Sight Name: Nicolson’s Cafe (now Spoon)
Sight Location: Edinburgh, Scotland (See walking tours in Edinburgh)
Sight Type: Food/Drink
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Edinburgh is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Edinburgh Introduction Walking Tour

Edinburgh Introduction Walking Tour

Comfortably yet tightly packed on the hilly terrain, Edinburgh – the Scottish capital since at least the 15th century, and the seat of the Scottish Parliament since 1999 – is a picturesque city renowned for its unique architecture of the medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town, currently both listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The earliest known human habitation in the area dates...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Literary Landmarks Tour

Literary Landmarks Tour

For centuries, Edinburgh has prided itself on being a home to many great writers – Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, J.K. Rowling, just to name a few. Fortunately, the tradition doesn't seem to die out any time soon, and keeps producing more and more authors and literary heroes in whose footsteps people still wish to tread. To explore some of the memorable places of Edinburgh that have...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh Pub Crawl

Edinburgh is known for its sheer number of pubs, both old and new, suitable for various events, and spoiling their patrons with the best drinks and food in town. Many of them also have live music shows fit to delight locals and tourists alike, and although most traditional pubs are laid back and offer a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, some do have dance floors and double as nightclubs. Take this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Old Town Walking Tour

Old Town Walking Tour

Popularly known as the Old Town, the oldest part of the Scottish capital has preserved much of its medieval street plan and many Reformation-era buildings. Together with the 18th/19th-century New Town, it forms part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. The abundance of museums, art galleries, theaters, ancient churches, countless historic landmarks, shopping and recreational...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Old Town Museums

Old Town Museums

Popular for its rich cultural heritage, Edinburgh attracts a large number of tourists towards its numerous history and science museums that tell the compelling story of Scotland. Edinburgh is also a city where many locals spend their free time visiting galleries and attending art events. You can find amazing collections of original artwork in the many exhibitions around town. Take this tour and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Royal Mile Walking Tour

Royal Mile Walking Tour

A succession of streets forming the steep thoroughfare at the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, The Royal Mile is one of the city's busiest tourist destinations, lined with numerous shops, pubs and casual eateries, souvenir shops and small museums. It runs on a downwards slope for almost exactly a mile (hence the name, coined in 1920), from the famed Edinburgh Castle to the Scottish...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles

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