With its crisp weather, gothic architecture and medieval history full of dark secrets with sinister twists, Edinburgh is a city that lives in a perpetual state of Halloween-esque magic. Among the cobblestone roads and 17th century closes, the capital of Scotland boasts a rich history of not-so-enchanting tales of the “witch epidemic” that spread across Europe beginning in the 15th century.
Scotland executed the most people in Castlehill, which sits at the top of the city’s infamous Royal Mile. Subsequently, Edinburgh is often said to be the spookiest city in the U.K. and is packed full of an ominous witchy charm in its own ancient way. If you ever find yourself across the pond, check out these four gems to fulfill all your occult needs.
The Witches Well is quietly situated in a very unsuspecting part of Castlehill– blink and you’ll miss it. Not far from the entrance of Edinburgh Castle, it’s a simple cast iron fountain with a plaque which honors the hundreds of women who were hung or burned at the stake during the witch trials. Eerily, the well is on the exact spot where most of these executions took place.
The Witchery is a five-star boutique hotel located just a bit further up the Royal Mile. It lavishly pays homage to the city’s witchy history by offering all the feel-good mystical bits: gothic interiors, tapestries, painted ceilings and antique church candle-lit tables. It’s perfect if you’re looking to experience an enchanting afternoon tea or dinner inside a four hundred year old part of the city.
The Wyrd Shop is a humble spirit shop located on the opposite end of the Royal Mile. They sell everything from tarot cards and crystals to incense and jewelry. With reasonable prices, it’s the perfect shop if you’re needing a witchcraft pick-me-up or an eccentric souvenir.
For Potterheads and witches alike looking to immerse themselves in the wizarding world, The Museum Context on Victoria Street is probably one of the least gimmicky Harry Potter shops you’ll find. This tiny, three-story shop is stacked wall to wall with carefully selected magical finds like wands, the Marauders Map, the Deluminator and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Plus, Victoria Street is believed to have inspired Diagon Alley, so enjoy the other colorful storefronts while you’re there.
While it’s no voodoo-filled New Orleans, Edinburgh offers its own magical taste of European charm with its castles, cathedrals and dungeons. But with all the mysticism and beauty comes years of gory stories that might have you believing it truly is the haunted, witchy city it’s made out to be.
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