The Elephant House

Coffee Shop and Tea Room££££
Cowgate, Edinburgh
  • Kate H.
    "where JK Rowling wrote at least some of the Harry Potter books"(11 Tips)
    Sydney L.
    "The birthplace of Harry Potter."(4 Tips)
    Charlie E.
    "not a Harry Potter fan"(3 Tips)
    Morena F.
    "Lovely atmosphere, view on the castle and food."(12 Tips)
104 Tips and reviews
  • birthplace of harry potter
  • jk rowling
  • scenic views
  • coffee
  • books
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  • j C.
    j ClemmieFebruary 12, 2016
    I could understand why JK Rowling wrote her books here! Here's cute and heart warming actually~ a nice granny, friendly staff, very traditional cake(moist and buttery) and good coffee~😌
    Upvoted Jan 23
  • Michael G.
    Michael GreigJuly 21, 2013
    Has a nice bar area for a quick drink by yourself or with a friend. Why not get a Scottish drink - the oaky Innis and Gunn beer is nice - or read a book under the decorative lamps and elephants?
  • Marguerite B.
    Marguerite BeatySeptember 28, 2013
    A great place for a coffee break. A glass of wine in the evening with the view of the lit up castle. I found the staff super friendly. I loved sitting by the window and watching people go by.
  • Michael F.
    Michael FitzgeraldFebruary 11, 2015
    Quaint but can get overcrowded due to the popularity of the venue, also not cheap! But's where it helped Rowling write her books, check out the toilets for some funny writing/drawings!
  • Sam H.
    Sam HFebruary 16, 2015
    Goats cheese and portobello mushrooms on toast are worth a try! Grab a table at the back, overlooking JK Rowling's inspirational view.
  • Elizabeth B.
    Elizabeth BeltranJuly 28, 2013
    I came to accompany a friend! But everything is so expensive! Great music! I am not a Harry Poter fan at all,.but if you are and ypu have time you should come. It is not a big deal thou! Just saying.
  • Adhith S.
    Adhith ShanmugamAugust 13, 2014
    Try their velvet cake! A must try for dessert lovers.Good view of the castle from here.Friendly staff.Birth place of Harry Potter story! A bit pricy...
  • Max W.
    Max WilsonFebruary 20, 2015
    Excellent view of the castle. Nice cake and coffee. Can see why JK would come here. Shame about the slow disorganised service.
  • Carol C.
    Carol ChenFebruary 22, 2011
    Probably over-hyped... but great view nonetheless! And a decent cappuccino. If you are a HP fan, better yet -- check out the cemetery behind and look out for the names on some of the tombstones...
  • Mike S.
    Mike SingletonAugust 17, 2011
    The birthplace of harry potter, where J.K. Rowling spent time writing in 1995. If you're a real HP fan, check out the cemetery behind and look out for the names on some of the tombstones...
  • Daniella L.
    Daniella LeborAugust 25, 2013
    Highly recommend to members of Dumbledor's Army. Coffee's a bit sketchy but worth visiting for some of the best views of the Castle in town.
  • AFAR Media
    AFAR MediaJuly 24, 2015
    Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall-Smith were regulars in the café. Order a pot of Scottish Breakfast Blend tea and soak up the atmosphere. Read more
  • Charlie E.
    Charlie ElliottApril 2, 2013
    Even if you're not a Harry Potter fan it's worth checking out the toilets here just to see the graffiti by fans. They're a dedicated bunch!
  • Delphine L.
    Delphine LemarinierJune 23, 2014
    Very nice location with a pretty view. Peaceful atmosphere. Great service. As a writer, I understand why JK Rowling got inspired :)
  • Tonia F.
    Tonia FragouliOctober 16, 2016
    Delicious food (try lasagna and baked patato) as well as deserts (red velvet😍)
  • Olivian
    OlivianFebruary 4, 2014
    The Baked Potato with Bacon & Brie is a must try and instead of the traditional coffee go for an Affogato!
  • Miikael T.
    Miikael TianMarch 9, 2014
    Despite Harry Potter, it's a lovely cafe full of elephants! Quite friendly staffs as well. Love the Barista!
  • Kate H.
    Kate HaileyApril 13, 2015
    Reportedly where JK Rowling wrote at least some of the Harry Potter books, so of course you have to pop in! ;)
  • Rachel A.
    Rachel ArcherApril 27, 2015
    Great range of herbal teas and awesome selection/decoration of elephants.
  • Craig M.
    Craig McIntoshApril 15, 2011
    As a coffee lover this place has great coffee but more a unique woderful atmosphere, the place is just perfect for coffee and studying
  • Jenn P.
    Jenn PJuly 19, 2015
    Had lunch here, decent sandwich although the pesto was a bit bitter. Supposed spot where JK Rowling worked on Harry Potter so a big hit with tourists
  • George F.
    George FerrierMarch 22, 2013
    Lovely staff and the chocolate orange cake is AMAZING!!!
    Upvoted Jan 23
  • Sera K.
    Sera KoçMarch 31, 2015
    take one slice of a cake and enjoy the atmosphere of harry potter's birth:)
  • Tim M.
    Tim MarquesJune 14, 2013
    Only came here for the fact that it was the "birthplace" of HP. Coffee is awfull but the cake is good try the blueberry and white choc cake.
  • John C.
    John ChristieOctober 25, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Good coffee. Nachos for 2 is ex value. Popular with students. Warm place to sit in the evening
  • Erika R.
    Erika RobbinsSeptember 1, 2016
    They are really milking the JK Rowling thing here. The coffee and pastries are fairly middle-of-the-road. Don't go out of your way to visit.
  • Stuart W.
    Stuart WinApril 19, 2013
    not bad if a bit of a tourist trap and rather expensive. As regards Harry Potter, this is only one of the coffee houses JKR frequented while writing so perhaps not so important as it makes out to HP.
  • Picodeliq
    PicodeliqOctober 22, 2011
    Try some of the other hot drinks rather than the usual coffee/tea. Example is the Elephants Treat.
  • Roop G.
    Roop GillJanuary 12, 2013
    I am a big Harry Potter fan so it was on my must-visit list when I went to Edinburgh. Other than taking a photo with the sign outside, there isn't much reason to stick around. The staff was unfriendly
  • Colin F.
    Colin FongDecember 11, 2011
    Big coffee even if u ask for a small! Definitely enough for 2 or more cups!
  • Heather R.
    Heather RodriguezJanuary 8, 2016
    It's nice that it has history's do the view of the castle, but no reason to come otherwise.
  • Marta P.
    Marta Pinheiro RosaNovember 22, 2013
    First time here and I must say that its not worth the hype.Had the soup of the day which was incredible but sooo overpriced.wifi is also paied (what gives?).the staff was friendly.
  • Marie-Anne R.
    Marie-Anne RamondAugust 25, 2013
    Apparently J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter here. That's probably why it is so crowded. Have a look at the graffiti in the toilets. Their "superspeed" (expensive) WIFI costs £2. Nice staff.
  • Miriam O.
    Miriam OrdoñezMay 30, 2014
    The vegetarian lasagna is delicious!
  • Torsten L.
    Torsten LaierAugust 6, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    The coffee is good, but the quality has decreased a lot. The scambled eggs are streched with milk and doesn't taste good. Years ago it was different. Sad but true
  • Κατερίνα Κ.
    Κατερίνα Καλ.February 16, 2016
    Lovely & cozy. Very good prices, too !
  • Fernanda S.
    Fernanda SantosJanuary 24
    Great place to be with friends, cozy and good music.
  • Elyse Y.
    Elyse YangJuly 16, 2012
    There are many 'inspiring' words in ladies toilet to thank J.K. Rowling. Some of them are quite funny lol
  • Öner C.
    Öner CincorOctober 28, 2014
    Beef pie with mashed potatoes and gravy is delicious
  • Shara E.
    Shara EJuly 7, 2010
    Fantastic mochas. Their chocolate cake is great too. Nice atmosphere but tends to be a bit crowded.
  • Samantha S.
    Samantha SmileyOctober 2, 2016
    Lunch was good.. just be ready for a line.
  • Backpacker Jam
    Backpacker JamMay 24, 2012
    Everyone comes here for the same reason, so be prepared to wait with the rest of the crowd for some lunch.
  • Elodie F.
    Elodie FarrarAugust 23, 2015
    Great for a coffee and cake but expect queues!
  • Carlo M.
    Carlo MAugust 7, 2014
    Not quite the "birthplace" of Harry Potter as they claim since J.K. Rowling only started writing Prisoner of Azkaban here. The café where Philosopher's Stone was written doesn't exist anymore.
  • Elizabeth M.
    Elizabeth MNovember 24, 2012
    The view to the graveyard and Edinburgh Castle is just extraordinary!
  • Christopher P.
    There's a nice atmosphere here, but I'm afraid that's all that's good to report. The coffee and cakes are, frankly, poor.
  • Rafa L.
    Rafa LarrañagaNovember 10, 2014
    AVOID: 10 minutes waiting for table (empty place & 4 waitress doing nothing), waited for 20 minutes for a menu (the staff never brought it) while waitress were talking to each other. I left of course.
  • Sydney L.
    Sydney LetoMarch 15, 2014
    The birthplace of Harry Potter. Is it just me, or did anyone else not realize that J.K. Rowling is Scottish?
  • Jasmine K.
    Jasmine KottaitMay 17, 2014
    20 mins to be seated on a Saturday mornin :( and no wifi after all this waiting! Good view of the castle tho!
  • Sean S.
    Sean SweeneyNovember 1, 2015
    Lots of gluten free cakes to choose from!
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