Wandering through the corridors of Hogwarts, exploring the lands of the old castle and strolling past the shops of Diagon Alley – the dream of every Harry Potter fan! What if I told you that this is possible in many different places in the UK, and not only in the Harry Potter film studio?! Come with me on a journey into the world of witches and wizards, where you can let your imagination run wild!
A common question asked when watching the Harry Potter films: is it all fiction, and do the picturesque and magical places from the films exist? In this article, you will find out where the makers of Harry Potter found their inspiration, and which places in London, and the whole of the UK, have become the locations of the famous film series. The visits to these areas are usually free. If you like, you can make your own tour to the different places, without paying for an expensive guided tour. As true fans, you should definitely not miss out on these Harry Potter filming locations!
Harry Potter filming locations: where magic prevails!
It’s here where Harry’s exciting journey begins. Platform 9 ¾ is the secret entrance to the famous Hogwarts Express for all members of the wizarding world who live among us Muggles. But now I’m going to have to disappoint you. Unfortunately, I was unable to track down the real Hogwarts Express – I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter to arrive. But I have located the platform, or at least the place where J.K. Rowling envisaged the portal to the magical world to be. Between platforms 9 and 10 in Kings Cross station, you’ll find a small ‘monument’ where you can reenact a scene from the film – as if they were striding with their luggage trolley through the enchanted wall. It’s also worth paying a visit to the fan shop next door, which will remind you a little of Ollivander’s Wand shop in Diagon Alley.
While the scenes of the films which were set at the King’s Cross station in London were shot inside the building, a different station was used for the outer facade. Do you remember the scene from the second film, with the sky blue Ford Anglia where Harry and Ron leave the station and fly over the roofs of London? The red brick building you see here is by no means the facade of Kings Cross, but rather St. Pancras station. This station was more suitable for filming, as Kings Cross had to undergo some rebuilding work at the time.
Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland
After Ron and Harry are finally on course for Hogwarts, there is a life-threatening situation in which Harry is almost flung out of the car. What comes to mind in this scene? Well, the picturesque viaduct and the fairytale-esque landscape in the background, of course! The good news is this beautiful landscape does actually exist! In beautiful Scotland, you can admire the Glenfinnan Viaduct with your own eyes, and feel as if you are in the world of Harry Potter!
Ever dreamed of strolling through the corridors of Hogwarts and taking in the atmosphere of the famous magic school? Luckily we have it on our doorstep, right here in England! It’s no secret that J.K. Rowling was inspired by the typical college life in England. The old universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford, have a special magical charm today. It’s no surprise then, that the University of Oxford is full of Harry Potter filming locations! For example, the Christ Church College has been used as a film set for many popular films. Have a stroll through the corridors of these impressive buildings – you’ll recognize a lot here!
The corridors of Hogwarts inside cathedrals
As well as the universities, Durham Cathedral and the cloisters of the glamorous Gloucester Cathedral also feature in the films. These locations are increasingly visited by tourists, who long to stride through the corridors of Hogwarts, at least once. The dream of walking through the hallowed halls of Hogwarts really can come true!
Hogwarts Feeling at Alnwick Castle
If you’re a true fan, you’ll definitely recognize this medieval castle as one of the Harry Potter filming locations, from an exterior view. Alnwick Castle was taken over for several scenes of exterior filming. It immediately reminds you of the first flight attempts of Harry, Ron and Hermione, on their broomsticks. You can experience real Hogwarts flair in Northumberland in England, where this impressive property is located.
Harry Potter filming locations in the middle of London
Moving swiftly on! The ride on the so-called ‘knight bus’ in the third film will probably be remembered by all of you. The magic bus took us through the streets of London, most notably over Lambeth Bridge, directly by the Houses of Parliament. On the middle of the bridge, the knight bus forces itself between two oncoming buses, just to reach its destination more quickly. Oh, how practical magic can be if you are struggling with the London traffic!
The Millennium Bridge
Another bridge which plays an important role in ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ is Millennium Bridge, in the heart of the city. Admittedly, the destruction of the bridge in the film looked pretty real, but in reality, you can still cross the elegant structure without being attacked by wizards of the Dark Arts!
Go to Gringotts Bank!
You’ve been impressed by the architecture of Gringotts Bank? You’d like to know where the inspiration for the marble building with its high ceilings, and diligently working goblins came from? Then you should definitely stop by Australia House in London. This building was used as a film set for Gringott’s Bank, and various indoor scenes were shot here. It also strongly resembles Gringotts from the outside. Unfortunately, no gold is deposited behind the marble walls, because the building is actually home to the Australian Embassy.
Have you found the entrance to the Diagon Alley?
If you have watched ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’, the following picture should remind you of the entrance to the ‘Leaky Cauldron’, and thus also the shopping area for magicians. The Leadenhall Market is very inviting, with its quaint alleyways and the small shops. This is the middle of the Diagon Alley!
The Harry Potter Studios in London
If these original locations were not enough, you can also take a trip to the Leavesden Film Studios, where large parts of the Harry Potter films were recorded. In a 3-hour studio tour, you can admire the real props and premises, which were used during the shooting. Among other things here, you can stroll through the Great Hall of Hogwarts, or pay a visit to the Gryffindor common room. A perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of magic!
Just as cool is, for example, the Harry Potter World in California, which was only recently opened, as well as the Universal Studios in Florida. No costs or efforts were spared when recreating the Harry Potter world here: the finest details have been included.
So, that was my list of Harry Potter filming locations in the UK. I hope that you enjoyed it and that you are now in the mood for a small trip around London and the UK, to follow the tracks of Harry, Hermione and Ron. Of course, there are a lot more places where you can experience the unique flair of England, and feel as if you were in the middle of one of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy novels.