Summary List Placement
Diagon Alley is featured in the “Harry Potter” books and movies.
The street, which is hidden from the Muggle world, is where Hogwarts students go to purchase their school supplies before the start of term.
The street is first introduced in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” as Hagrid takes Harry there to shop ahead of his first year at Hogwarts.
Diagon Alley is located in London. But the real-life inspiration for the street is thought to be Victoria Street in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city.
I visited Victoria Street, located in the city’s Old Town neighborhood, during a public holiday last week.
Just like Diagon Alley, this street has cobblestones and a cluster of quirky and charming buildings.
There were sadly no cauldron or wand stores to be found on this street, which instead contained tourist shops, clothes stores, and cafés.
Despite this, the array of colorful windows gave it a fairytale-like feel.
Before it was named Victoria Street, this part of Edinburgh was home to Major Weir, a man who was executed for witchcraft in 1670.
Some parts of the house are thought to still exist, hidden in the Quaker Meeting House on the upper terrace, according to Edinburgh World Heritage.
I soon discovered The Enchanted Galaxy, a “Harry Potter” inspired gift shop.
It seemed to sell everything, from Gryffindor scarfs, Hogwarts notebooks, to snow globes.
I spoke to one of the sales advisors, who said she believed Victoria Street was the inspiration behind Diagon Alley.
When I asked if the owners knew this before they opened the store, she said she believed they did — but if not, the location was a “happy accident.”
This street may be meant for muggles instead of wizards, but it still felt magical.
With its fascinating history and vibrant buildings, Victoria Street felt far more alluring to me than anything from a book or movie.