As the seventh and final film in the Harry Potter saga wows audiences at the cinema, fans will now be looking for ways to satiate their demands for all things wizard-like - and what could be better than an adventure holiday, retracing Harry, Ron and Hermione's footsteps across the majestic Scottish Highlands?
But Harry isn't the only Hollywood hero whose travelled through the mystical terrains of the stunning Highlands, as Mel Gibson set out on a similar journey - albeit minus a magic wand - for his epic Oscar-winner, Braveheart, while Tom Cruise followed suit for his action adventure, Mission Impossible. And Tinseltown's love affair with the breathtaking locations offered up by Scotland's stunning scenery, shows no signs of abating post-Potter, with Brad Pitt set to shift filming on his new flick, World War Z from Malta to Scotland, later this month.
It's easy to see why Rowling, who started penning the first two Potter books in Edinburgh cafe, The Elephant House, found inspiration for Hogwarts and it's grounds in the rolling Scottish hills, that are studded with majestic castles and ruins. With walking tours that give fans the chance to explore the picturesque sites where certain scenes were filmed, Potter enthusiasts will be in their element at Hogwart's Hall, aka Alnwick Castle, set amidst the beautiful countryside of East Lothian. Built in the 12th century, it's the ancestral home of Duke of Northumberland, and was used for both exterior and interior shots of the famous wizarding school.
The backdrop of the Highlands also feature impressively in the many Quidditch matches throughout the movies, with Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the British Isles - putting in an appearance. And the scene involving the near collision between the flying Ford Anglia containing Harry, Ron and the Weasley twins in The Chamber of Secrets and the Hogwarts Express, was shot in Glenfinnan, along a section of the arched railway viaduct, using the Jacobite Steam Train travelling between Fort William and Mallaig.
And beautiful Glencoe is another must-visit, with the village and surrounding areas used as the backdrop to both Hogsmeade village and Hogwarts - including Hagrid's home at the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
- Destination Scotland
- Filmed there Braveheart, The Da Vinci Code, Chariots of Fire, Mission: Impossible
- Celeb fans George Clooney, Sienna Miller, Beyonce, Tom Hanks
- Fly there… Emirates fly directlyto Glasgow. Visit www.emirates.com for more info
- Stay here… Balmoral Hotel Located in the historic city of Edinburgh, this is where JK Rowling finished the final Harry Potter book, and left a signed statement on a marble bust of Hermes in her room which reads, "JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11 January 2007". Also, this luxury hotel is located close to the city's numerous tourist attractions.Visit www.thebalmoralhotel.com for more info
Stars charmed by the highlands
"There is some Scottishness in me, she [my mother] is sitting right next to me. And I love haggis and kilts."
"We were in Scotland to do the camping scenes, and it was magic. The mountains up there looked kind of blue and the weather was great."