Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland, is the graveyard with graves of people with names J.K. Rowling took as inspiration for characters in the Harry Potter novels.
As you enter the graveyard, the first thing you’ll see is the grave of the Greyfriars Bobby, a famous dog with its own story (see below for more).
Further into the graveyard you’ll find the grave of Thomas Riddell, which is said to have inspired the name for Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort).
J.K. Rowling changed the spelling of the name for it to be used as the anagram from ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle’ to ‘I am Lord Voldemort’, which Riddle reveals to Harry at the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
There is also the grave of William McGonagall, who has been labelled the worst ever poet.
On Pottermore.com, J.K. Rowling revealed she chose the name for Professor Minerva McGonagall because she found it amusing that the Hogwarts professor could be descended from the infamously bad poet.
The kirkyard is definitely a creepy place; we don’t recommend visiting at night unless you like being scared. It’s said to be haunted, but isn’t every graveyard?
You can find Greyfriars Kirkyard on the map below.
There are free guided tours around Edinburgh that hit all the major Harry Potter locations. This is worth doing, as finding the graves can be a little difficult if you’ve never been before. Find out more about the tours here.
You can also find out more about the Greyfriars Bobby in this YouTube video below.Go back