Dobbies garden centre inundated with Harry Potter tourists looking for elf inspiration

Thousands of tourists are being taken to a Dobbies garden centre in Dalkeith near Edinburgh after being told that it provided the name for a character in JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels.

Harry Potter pilgrims stop off at Dobbies Carlisle garden centre  - image: HW
Harry Potter pilgrims stop off at Dobbies Carlisle garden centre - image: HW
Tour operators are saying Dobby the House Elf was named after Dobbies the business, but in reality the name is a nickname for tour guide Brian McCardle, who looks like the character.

Gray Line Scotland guide McCardle said: "The tourists love it. They get off the bus looking for JK Rowling."

Companies which use the Dobbies story include Cashel Travel, UK and Ireland tours, Scotland Tours, My Guide Britain, Marathon Travel and City Discovery.

The garden centre is now a stopping-off point on tours to the Scottish Borders and Rosslyn Chapel, which featured in the Hollywood blockbuster The Da Vinci Code.

Dobbies general manager Simon Martin said:

"We’re extremely amused and flattered to hear that one of Harry’s most magical friends might be named after us.

"JK Rowling perhaps got her inspiration from one of her trips to our garden centre outside Edinburgh – we’re very privileged that she has popped into our centre from time to time over the years.

"Since learning the news of our possible namesake we’ve been trying to think up ways to help entertain our coach-trip customers… perhaps a wizard soup in our restaurant, some Butterbeer in the Foodhall or a new line of Mandrake root in the garden centre".

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