Chinese fans of Harry Potter spellbound in Scotland

Scotland and the rest of the UK is enjoying a boom in visitors from China, many of them attracted by the lure of history, culture and Harry Potter.

Photograph by: James Glossop/VisitScotlandLauren Walker from the Scottish Owl Centre at Kinneil House with snowy owl Fetlar and a Ford Anglia seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

A new report by VisitBritain, the UK national tourism body, reveals that between 2014 and 2016 an average of more than 238,000 visitors a year travelled from China to holiday in the UK.

London was the most popular destination, with an annual average of 144,000 trips between 2014 and 2016, while 41,000 trips were made to Scotland.

According to the VisitBritain report the number of holidaymakers from China travelling abroad doubled in the last five years to 85million and is expected to rise to more than 110million in the next four years. China is now the world’s most valuable source market for international tourism.

Among the top attractions in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle, Glasgow, Inverness, whisky and anything to do with Harry Potter.

Fortunately, to mark the 20th anniversary of the first of JK Rowling’s seven bestselling books about the boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, VisitScotland recently launched the first ever Harry Potter holiday guide.

Locations featured in the online guide include The Elephant House, Edinburgh, the coffee house where JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Balmoral, Edinburgh, where she penned the final book of the series, The Deathly Hallows.

Loch Shiel

Other magical places on the list include Glen Coe, which forms the stunning backdrop to the movies The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire; Rannoch Moor in the Highlands where the Death Eaters board the train in the movie Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1; Loch Shiel, which doubled for the Black Lake in the film series; Steall Falls from The Goblet of Fire; and  the   Clachaig Inn, Glen Coe which was next door to the site of Hagrid’s Hut in The Prisoner of Azkaban.

“Harry Potter is a truly global phenomenon that has brought joy to millions of people of all ages,” said Jenni Steele, Film and Creative Industries Manager at VisitScotland.

“As ‘the birthplace of Harry Potter’, Scotland boasts numerous locations associated with the bestselling books and the blockbuster movies. Our handy new online itinerary allows fans to follow in the footsteps of JK Rowling as well as the boy wizard himself and enjoy a magical tour of Scotland.”