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)
    "Being the birthplace of Harry Potter, the toilets take some reading!"(5 Tips)
    Sydney L.
    "anyone else not realize that J.K. Rowling is Scottish?"(4 Tips)
    Charlie E.
    "not a Harry Potter fan"(3 Tips)
121 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~😌
  • 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!
  • Darya T.
    Darya T.April 28
    Harry Potter birth place! Amazing view! Very welcoming staff and menu is good as well. Must see when in Edinburgh!
  • Tonia F.
    Tonia FragouliOctober 16, 2016
    Delicious food (try lasagna and baked patato) as well as deserts (red velvet😍)
  • 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 :)
  • 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!
  • Ryan U.
    Very nice atmosphere, with good coffee and juice. Though it is very busy, be prepared to wait a while for a table.
  • 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!!!
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Colin F.
    Colin FongDecember 11, 2011
    Big coffee even if u ask for a small! Definitely enough for 2 or more cups!
  • Emm
    EmmMay 12
    Good breakfasts & coffee. Being the birthplace of Harry Potter, the toilets take some reading! ;)🤣
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 !
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Samantha S.
    Samantha SmileyOctober 2, 2016
    Lunch was good.. just be ready for a line.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Shara E.
    Shara EJuly 7, 2010
    Fantastic mochas. Their chocolate cake is great too. Nice atmosphere but tends to be a bit crowded.
  • Elizabeth M.
    Elizabeth MNovember 24, 2012
    The view to the graveyard and Edinburgh Castle is just extraordinary!
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Jack F.
    Jack FletcherJuly 30, 2015
    Authentic teas. Quirky toilets. Quirky place.
  • Sean S.
    Sean SweeneyNovember 1, 2015
    Lots of gluten free cakes to choose from!
  • George
    GeorgeNovember 20, 2015
    Harry Potter take the stick and make the magic to begin
  • 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!
  • Prashanth G.
    Prashanth GopinathNovember 23, 2015
    Ask for extra gravy for the pies!
  • Alyson
    AlysonMay 13, 2014
    The lavender cake was tasty, if a little dry.
  • Owain W.
    Owain WilliamsDecember 21, 2013
    Been here 5+ times
    If you ignore the graffiti in the loos then the place is nice for a bite to eat. Slow service though.....
  • Norman B.
    Norman BrownSeptember 12, 2011
    I agree it a waste of time. The coffee are rubbish and never get got the same version of coffee on every order. So up and down. Understaffed for it's size over pric for it's service or quality.
  • G D.
    G DumpisOctober 5, 2012
    Never again! Tried two or three times. Food very average and overpriced. Staff unwelcoming and had to wait ages till served. Only thing how they are still on float cos' Potter was written there.
  • Norman B.
    Norman BrownSeptember 12, 2011
    I agree it a waste of time. The coffee are rubbish and never get got the same version of coffee on every order. So up and down. Understaffed for it's size over priced for it's service. Don't go here
  • Jennie
    JennieMay 28, 2014
    Make sure to stop by the ladies room if you're a big Harry Potter fan!
  • Jia ✌.
    Jia ✌️October 9, 2015
    BAD SERVICE! Take 10 min to service a simply hot chocolate ! When the waiter service the hot chocolate, he bang my cup on the table and mumble away zzzz
  • Sam E.
    Sam EnglandJanuary 2, 2013
    Rankin also spent a lot of time here (not just JK Rowling...)
  • Franz C.
    Franz ChinchotJune 7, 2012
    Want to get a glimpse of how JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter? Sit near the windows!
  • Norrie
    NorrieOctober 9, 2012
    This is NOT birthplace of Harry Potter, despite the false plaque. JK wrote at Nicholson's cafe, 6a Nicholson St - the other end of Chambers St.
  • Kaleigh P.
    Kaleigh PieJanuary 16, 2012
    Great brews and great views!
  • Isabella W.
    Isabella WinterMarch 25, 2015
    Overrated! Too expensive for what you get. Sandwiches are okay and pancakes are very small portion. Better don't eat there. Coffee is okay though.
  • Cressida F.
    Cressida FordAugust 14, 2013
    Ladies, read the graffiti in the toilets. Be uplifted.
  • Morena F.
    Morena FioreJanuary 31, 2010
    Lovely atmosphere, view on the castle and food. Shame it's very drafty :(
  • Dhawal D.
    Dhawal DamaniaJune 25, 2012
    Harry potter was written here by JK Rowling
  • Xiao X.
    Xiao XiaoJanuary 1, 2012
    Thank u Elephant House! Thank u JKR!
  • Mauro D.
    Mauro DaneluzziAugust 18, 2014
    The pub where the writer Rowling started to write Harry potter
  • Tankut A.
    Tankut AkaySeptember 3, 2014
    Harry Potter's birthouse
  • Sami
    SamiApril 1, 2013
    They'll tell you the wifi isn't set up yet when you ask for the wifi password. Seriously? Not cool.
  • hub b.
    hub by Premier InnDecember 29, 2015
    Where J.K Rowling wrote the early Harry Potter material
  • Casey L.
    Casey LauJuly 29, 2013
    Been here 5+ times
    Full of tourists - like myself because its my turn and I don't care!
  • Dariko T.
    Dariko TsulayaJanuary 1, 2013
    After 5pm they work as a restaurant but the service is like VERY slow.
  • Vince R.
    Vince RamosSeptember 2, 2012
    HORRIFIC! an employee told me to sit at a table with dirty dishes, while she sat another customer and busted his table. In 30 min. no one cleaned my table.
  • Sarah G.
    Sarah GrimmMarch 15, 2012
    Check out the messages on the bathroom walls. RIP Hedwig.
  • Run G.
    Run GanJune 11, 2013
    It's overrated... The coffee taste nothing and they charge £2 for wifi. The place is super dull for the price...
  • delete d.
    delete deleteJuly 20, 2013
    JK Rowling wrote and planned the saga of Harry Potter here
  • Hilary B.
    Hilary BidmeadJuly 14, 2013
    Breakfast seems to be left over from yesterday
  • damo
    damoJune 9, 2013
    I quite like the Chilli Con Carne here...
  • Sam E.
    Sam EnglandJanuary 2, 2013
    Take a look at the interesting graffiti in the toilets...
  • Martı D.
    Martı DeryaAugust 9, 2014
    Homade beef and beer
  • Adek O.
    Adek OktovianOctober 7, 2014
    Great place..
  • Billy J.
    Billy JonesSeptember 28, 2010
    At the south-west window. Look behind the wooden elephant :D
  • Liza T.
    Liza TripsgetAugust 17, 2015
    Nothing special here. Bad service, crowds of people, looks quite disappointing inside, food is not impressive.
  • Felix M.
    Felix MoserOctober 14, 2012
    The Elephant House of lies! Rowling did not write Potter here...
  • ginsu
    ginsuDecember 23, 2012
    The birthplace of Harry Potter!
  • babysmurf
    babysmurfMarch 29, 2013
    Check the restroom!
  • Julia D.
    Julia DaviesJanuary 15, 2014
    Soup wasn't hot, coffee rubbish, staff didn't understand a Scottish accent, toilets disgusting.
  • Kerri X.
    Kerri XXNovember 13, 2013
    Check it out but don't buy anything - not worth it.
  • Wian H.
    Wian HattinghOctober 4, 2014
    Tourist trap. Bad food. The Harry Potter appeal: 1/10. Rather go to Greyfreyers Kirk Yard and look for the fictional characters' tombstones.
  • delete d.
    delete deleteJuly 7, 2013
    Harry Potter!!!!!!
  • Richard G.
    Richard GregoryNovember 12, 2010
    Not Recommended: Wizards aside, there aren't many other reasons to visit this coffee house. It's overpriced, understaffed and overcrowded - there aren't any elephants either. It's a shame really! Read more
  • Mechie
    MechieJune 10, 2010
    Small Mocha is really small!
  • Eleanor W.
    Eleanor WalkerApril 21, 2011
    Trades too much on the fact JK Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter here. Overpriced and horrendously slow service.
  • Daniel W.
    Daniel WrayNovember 2, 2010
    Expensive and crowded with tourists. Trades on its ropey connection to J K Rowling. If ever she did visit, I bet she won't be back. Avoid.
  • Adan G.
    Adan GonzalezAugust 19, 2012
    Espectacular!! Es es café en el que J.K Rowling escribió Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal! ningún fanático de esta saga tiene que irse de Edinburgo sin visitar este lugar, además todo está riquísimo
  • Pinar Serap S.
    Pinar Serap SonmezSeptember 25, 2015
    Jk rowling harry potter i burda yazmis diyr geliyor insanlar. Tatlilar ev yapimi keyifli ama harika degil. Manzarasi edinburg castle i goruyor. Cam kenarina oturun :) siradan yemek ve icecekleri var.
  • Alexpan
    AlexpanJanuary 4, 2014
    Приходите пораньше, лучше на завтраки, когда туристы спят - не придется стоять в очереди и бороться за место. Вкусные круасаны с миндалем и кофе.
  • Andrea B.
    Andrea BrunoAugust 22, 2014
    Il fascino di prendere il the so tavoli dove la Rowling ha pensato e scritto Harry Potter!
  • Carmen A.
    Carmen AranFebruary 7, 2013
    Uno de mis sitios favoritos en Edimburgo. Tiene unas vistas al castillo fantasticas.
  • Sang-uk B.
    Sang-uk BaeOctober 14, 2014
    내부에 전시공간이나 작가를 직접 찍은 사진 같은 게 있지는 않습니다. 자리에 앉으려면 입구에서 기다려야 합니다.
  • Tefik Y. N.
    Tefik Y. NasufovJuly 2, 2014
    Ortamı sıcak ve içecekler ucuz :)
  • Antonio C.
    Antonio Cruz GarciaSeptember 18, 2011
    espectacular! un lugar con muco encanto =)
  • Canan S.
    Canan SavuranSeptember 11, 2013
    Tekrar gidebilmek isterdim :( öyle bir manzarada herkesin yazar olası gelir :)
  • Alex Y.
    Alex YuJanuary 4, 2014
    Здесь был написан Гарри Поттер
  • Salim E.
    Salim EzerAugust 2, 2016
    Tatlılar şahane.
  • Kayoung P.
    Kayoung ParkAugust 16, 2014
    오더 안하면 안으로 아예 못들어가는 구조같아요. 그냥 기념으로 와봣어요 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
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