City of the month: Edinburgh
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Under the spell


David Taylor’s Edinburgh café draws crowds of Harry Potter fans.

So where exactly did she sit? That’s a question I hear every day. Many of my customers are naturally curious to know which of the tables Joanne K. Rowling sat at back in the mid-1990s when she was working on the Harry Potter books. My answer never changes: She didn’t have a favorite spot.

In those days, Joanne was one of many regular customers, and she would simply sit down wherever there was a free seat. She usually came in the mornings, ordered a coffee and occasionally a croissant, and jotted things down in a notepad. She often had her daughter, Jessica, with her, sleeping in her pram.

I named my café The Elephant House because I love elephants, and we have quite a number of toy specimens from all over the world here – so far, 732. It’s nice that lots of Harry Potter fans make a special trip to my café.  Some tourists only take a quick photo. I ask them to pay a pound for the privilege and then donate the money to a children’s charity. We have already raised over 20 000 euros this way.

It’s been two years since Joanne was here last. She no longer drops by, she gets her assistant to call ahead. But I’m afraid I have to make a confession now: My sons are both avid Harry Potter fans, they grew up with the books, but I have never read a single one. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, also an occasional patron of mine, is more my style. I also love the crime novels of Ian Rankin, who’s really famous in Great Britain. My café often gets a mention in his books.

City of the month: Edinburgh

Is the owner of The Elephant House in Edinburgh, were J.K. Rowling used to write

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Getting there

Lufthansa flies as often as twice daily from Frankfurt (FRA) and twice weekly from Munich (MUC) to Edinburgh (EDI). Use the app to calculate your miles: