For the past week, I have been traveling in Scotland. I had been once before and I really love it here, despite the cold and the wet! As I am mostly staying in Edinburgh, I thought I would share a few witchy places to visit, in case you are ever in the area as well.
The Witches Well
This is one of the highlights of the city for witches, for sure. The Witches Well is a small memorial fountain by Edinburgh Castle in honor of the 300+ women who were executed here for witchcraft, mostly under the reign of King James VI. It’s interesting that the plaque here talks about the executed women as if they really possessed or practiced some kind of magic/magick, rather than all simply being victims of the era.
The Witchery by the Castle
Directly across from The Witches Well is this lovely, mysterious restaurant. Though very expensive, the food and wine list are incredible. I felt very glamorous indeed, dining here! The ceiling is painted with tarot symbols and the restaurant is lit pretty much only by candlelight. I’ve heard that the Hellfire Club used to meet here in the 18th century but haven’t been able to find anything to back that up.
The Wyrd Shop
The oldest pagan shop in the city, this little store is filled with pagan jewelry, tarot decks, crystals and adorable fairy figurines. A little bit of a walk down the Royal Mile, this one is definitely worth a visit.
Though rather small, this pagan bookshop in the Haymarket area is well-stocked and has delightful staff!
The Water of Leith
The small river that runs through Edinburgh is probably the wildest part of the city, especially for an area so close to major streets and shopping districts. The walkway along the river is lovely and peaceful, lined with mossy stone walls and overgrown gardens.
St. Bernard’s Well
Specifically, St. Bernard’s Well is located along The Water of Leith, and is a beautiful pagan temple in the center of Georgian Edinburgh. Though named for a Catholic saint that supposedly lived in a cave nearby, the structure over this natural mineral spring is a straightforward Classical temple to the Greek goddess, Hygieia, and was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Rome.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
This is the palace still used by Queen Elizabeth II when she visits Scotland. The ghost of Agnes Sampson, a woman accused of witchcraft by the real Geillis Duncan (interesting, if you’re an Outlander fan), and executed for it, is said to haunt the palace.
The Archivists’ Garden
This small garden off Princes Street is a mini botanical garden, documenting plants important to the history of Scotland. Plaques in the garden even discuss plants associated with witches and those used to make besoms!
Witches do love cemeteries, don’t we? I recommend Dean Cemetery for some beautiful, ornate graves, including some with incredible animal figurines such as lions, rams and egrets, and Greyfriar’s Kirkyard for the odd and intriguing inclusion of herb gardens amongst the headstones.