These Are All The Places J.K. Rowling Actually Wrote ‘Harry Potter’

It’s one of the most popular franchises in the world, complete with a collection of movies and some prequels. There are several places considered to be the birthplace of Harry Potter and the novels that followed. 

However, during 2020, JK Rowling confirmed the places where she actually wrote Harry Potter. Here’s what we know about this author and some of the cafes she worked in.

Novelist J.K. Rowling attends the 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them'
Novelist J.K. Rowling attends the ‘Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them’ | Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

The Elephant House 

One of the restaurants on the list was The Elephant House in the United Kingdom. She confirmed that yes, she often wrote there, but it wasn’t where she first thought of the character and the corresponding “Wizarding World.”

“I was thinking of putting a section on my website about all the alleged inspirations and birthplaces of Potter,” she tweeted. “I’d been writing Potter for several years before I ever set foot in this cafe, so it’s not the birthplace, but I did write in there so we’ll let them off!”

A ‘flat’ in Clapham Junction

When it comes to where Harry Potter was actually “born,” Rowling credits that to a location in Clapham Junction, an area in the UK known for its busy transportation hub.

“This is the true birthplace of Harry Potter, if you define ‘birthplace’ as the spot where I put pen to paper for the first time,” the author wrote, sharing a picture of a “Flight Center.” “I was renting a room in a flat over what was then a sports shop. The first bricks of Hogwarts were laid in a flat in Clapham Junction.”

The Balmoral 

When it comes to the location where Rowling wrote her novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she cited one luxury hotel “in the heart of Edinburgh.” That’s The Balmoral. 

“I sometimes hear Hogwarts was based on one or other of Edinburgh’s schools, but that’s 100% false, too. Hogwarts was created long before I clapped eyes on any of them! I did finish Hallows in the Balmoral, though, and I can’t lie, I’d rate it a smidge higher than the Bournville,” she tweeted.

Nicolson Square Cafe

Another Edinburgh location, Rowling used to write at a cafe referred to as Nicholson Cafe, sharing that she would write entire chapters seated there. 

“I used to write in Nicolsons all the time. I once wrote an entire chapter in there in one sitting and barely changed a word afterwards,” she wrote. “Those are the days you remember. I think Nicolsons is now a Chinese Restaurant.”

The Majestic Cafe

The Harry Potter writer confirmed that no, she never worked in a bookshop in Oporto. She did, however, often work at The Majestic Cafe on Rua Santa Catarina.

“This was probably the most beautiful café I ever wrote in, actually,” the author tweeted. “The Majestic Cafe on Rua Santa Catarina.”

There were plenty of places in her everyday life that influenced Rowling and her characters. That includes the names of some professors, one of which the writer said she got from her walk to work. 

“Real Harry Potter inspiration alert: I walked past this sign every day on my way to work when I was living in Clapham,” she tweeted, along with a picture of a sign that said “Severus.” “Much later – post-publication – I revisited the area and suddenly realized THIS was why ‘Severus’ had leapt into my head when thinking of [the] 1st name for Snape.”