Brits looking for an out-of-this-world staycation may want to consider a stay just a stone’s throw away from one of the most magical streets in Britain.
The Witchery, in Edinburgh, lives up to its name in its gothic, luxurious style which is hidden away in a group of historic buildings that date back to 1595. Sitting in the gates of Edinburgh Castle it’s full of rich history and great for anyone wanting to be treated like royalty – and it's even been tipped as one of the UK's most romantic hotels.
It's also just a three minute walk away from Victoria Street aka the Harry Potter street of Scotland or the "real life Dragon Alley". The iconic street is lined with tall, historic buildings covered in colourful shop fronts all filled with interesting goodies to peruse and purchase.
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The cobbled street lets Potterheads shop for Wizarding goods and feel embedded in their favourite book series. Plus, Robert Cresser’s brush shop which was established in 1873 is thought to be the inspiration behind Ollivander’s wand shop!
Shops like Museum Context and the Enchanted Galaxy offer plenty of fun items for shoppers to um and ah over. You’ll find everything from wands, robes, plush toys and souvenirs in Museum Context – once known as Diagon House – and there are even photo opportunities within where you can pose with props.
Meanwhile the Enchanted Galaxy lets you buy Harry Potter themed snacks like Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and jelly slugs, plus Christmas gifts, clothing, props, jewellery and toys. Head over to the viewpoint up the stairs at Upper Bow for the best photo spots to take snaps of the magical street.
You can even wander just off Victoria Street to Candlemaker Row where independent boutiques sell unusual goods like herbs, oils, candles, tarot reading kits and other wizardly items. There’s some great street art to check out too and those who head to Greyfriars Kirkyard can even find Tom Riddle’s gravestone in the churchyard.
What better way to end a day of Harry Potter magic than back at The Witchery where the interiors may well remind you of the charming halls and rooms of Hogwarts. The hotel is outrageously indulgent with glamours wallpaper, velvet accents, gilded headboards, four-poster beds and roll-top baths made for two.
There are nine suites including The Vestry which features gold and red silk-covered walls, views of medieval buildings out of the window which also shows the Royal Mile and you even reach it by climbing up a stone turret – very Griffyndor. The bed has an organ pipe headboard and there’s even a Dyson hairdryer you can use plus a private entrance hall.
The Old Rectory is the largest suite with seven windows offering beautiful views of the city, a bedroom and sitting room plus a gothic bed made from old pulpits. The bathroom flaunts a massive silver bath, a black marble shower room and twin sinks while there are also seating areas in a separate living room, a coffee machine, a media cabinet and you reach the room on a stone turnpike dating back over 400 years.
Other suites include the Library with a book-filled bathroom which is accessed via a hidden door, the inner Sanctum has a Victorian bath, tartan-lined study and red lacquer bathroom alongside a lavish bedroom. The Heriot looks out over the Old Town towards George Heriot’s school which may have inspired Hogwarts.
The Guardroom is entered through a black and gold entrance hall and flaunts rooftop views like something out of a Dickens book and the Armoury has rich panelled walls, beautiful portraits and tapestries and a blood-red bed chamber. Finally, the Turret is lined with romantic silk walls, a velvet and gold bed and a red glass mosaic bathroom.
The hotel features exceptional food made with Scottish ingredients which you can eat in the elegant Dining Room or outside in the Secret Garden which is accessed through the dramatic tower entrance. All of the suites start from £595 a night meaning they’re expensive but a once-in-a-lifetime experience many of us dream of; thewitchery.com.
On Tripadvisor, guests have been quick to praise the hotel. One happy visitor described it as "the most luxurious and opulent stay we have ever had, absolutely amazing", while another added that the whole stay "was especially special".
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