Harry Potter is the boy wizard that millennials grew up with and he is an icon that they know and love. When reading the books, you dream of a magical place where kids can become wizards by attending Hogwarts, and there are new lovable characters that appear around every corner.
The filming locations of all the Harry Potter films stayed true to the magical yet fictional Britain. For the most part, they didn't venture too far outside of the UK territory unless they were filmed in the Hollywood Studios.
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. debut of the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (USA Today). What could possibly be a better year than to pack your bags and book the next flight to London where you can venture to where your favorite fictional wizard inhabited?
Your childhood will literally come back to life as you have imagined the scenes in each of J.K. Rowling's novels. Only Harry Potter had the power to get children to read 800+ page novels just for fun, and not too many famous characters in literature can accomplish that.
Grab your Nimbus 2000 and your Phoenix feather-wand and explore these 25 destinations that any Harry Potter fan will be thrilled about.
25 Alnwick Castle, England: AKA Hogwarts
Alnwick Castle is located in the historic market town of Alnwick in the northeast of England about 450 km from London and is instantly recognizable as Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter movies, according to gonewiththefamily.com. Scenes that were filmed at Alnwick include the flying lesson on broomsticks in The Philosopher's Stone and the crash landing of the flying car in The Chamber of Secrets.
This is one of the most popular family-friendly attractions in England and its a beautiful venue for weddings, events and birthday parties. Alnwick Castle was built in 1309 as a medieval fortress and was home to the Percys, Earls, and Dukes of Northumberland. The castle is open each year from April 1st to October 31st and attracts more than 200,000 visitors.
24 The Elephant House, Scotland: Where It All Began
The Elephant House is a quaint tea and coffeehouse opened in 1995 and is considered one of the best coffee shops in Edinburgh. What made this place the most famous is the fact that this was J.K. Rowling's go-to spot while she was working on the first Harry Potter novel. She spent much time in the back room during the development of her early novels overlooking the Edinburgh Castle.
The Elephant House has become a major tourist attraction making people wonder what sparked J.K. Rowling's imagination. Ian Rankin, author of the bestselling Rebus novels, and Alexander McCall-Smith, author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency and other series of novels, have also frequented The Elephant House.
23 Leadenhall Market, London: Diagon Alley And The Entrance Of The Leaky Cauldron
London's Leadenhall Market is an ornate 19th-century painted roof with cobbled floors located in the historic center of London’s financial district. Even before it appeared in the Harry Potter films, it was a magical place.
The Victorian market is one of the oldest markets in London, selling meat and fish in streets since the 14th century. In the Harry Potter series, it was the film location for some of the original exterior shots of Diagon Alley, the cobblestoned shopping hub of the wizarding world where Hogwarts students can stock up on school supplies like spell books and wands, according to atlasobscura.com.
22 The Jacobite, Scotland: The Hogwarts Express
In real life, the Hogwarts Express is really a train named the Jacobite and yes, it is in full service. Harry Potter fans can now take the tour around Western Scotland which runs across 84 miles of railway in the United Kingdom. Now, even Muggles can ride this famous train and run along what is considered "the greatest railway in the world."
The Jacobite boards in Fort William and Mallaig, which is near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis. The train runs past the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar, and passes the deepest seawater loch, Loch Nevis (nationalrail.com). Muggles can take a 2-day tour to see all the stops on this journey.
21 Black Park, England: Hagrid's Domain
The Black Park is a country park in Wexham, Buckinghamshire, England that was used to film the Forbidden Forest scenes in the Harry Potter series. Owned by Buckinghamshire County Council, it consists of 618 acres of vast heath and woodland, according to pinewoodgroup.com.
In addition to being the filming location for the Harry Potter films, Black Park was the filming location to Casino Royale, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Alexander, and Phantom of the Opera. Its misty scenery gives off an old-world vibe has a versatility that Hollywood eats up like candy.
20 Czocha Castle, Poland: The College Of Wizardry
Czocha Castle in Leśna, Poland has become a major tourist attraction and renamed as the College of Wizardry. Once you buy a ticket and go inside, you will see real life actors role playing your favorite scenes from Harry Potter. There are 140 “players” from 29 countries, joining an unofficial re-creation of the magical world of Harry Potter, according to theguardian.com.
Upon entering the College of Wizardry, guests can dress up like a wizard and be whisked away as new students at Hogwarts. The College of Wizardry (CoW) is a live action role play (LARP), meaning each person involved takes on a character and acts out the life of a witch or wizard for the weekend, according to Business Insider.
19 Georgian House Hotel, London: Hogwarts Dorm Rooms
The Georgian House Hotel in London offers Wizard Chambers for tourists who have ever wondered what it is like to sleep as a wizard. Concealed behind a bookcase door, curious guests can enjoy venturing to the Wizard Chamber on the lower ground floor of our 19th-century hotel. Pass through a portrait-lined passageway that is bathed in candle light that casts dancing shadows across the walls, according to the hotel's website.
Created to conjure a mysterious and gothic feel, each room features faux castle details such as stained glass windows, stone walls, archways, trunks, cauldrons, four-poster beds hung with velvet curtains and an abundance of other curious artifacts. Wood burning stoves, cauldrons in fireplaces and tapestries complete the look (georgianhousehotel.co.uk).
18 The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter: Los Angeles, Florida, Australia, Or Japan
Just like Disney, the Harry Potter franchise has capitalized on multiple theme park locations. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has locations in California, Florida, Japan and Australia. When you step inside, the magic becomes so real that it will make you want to cry tears of joy.
Inside the each of the theme parks, you can visit the iconic Hogwarts castle and explore Hogsmeade village. For a limited time this summer, the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle within the Wizarding World in Hollywood have been turned on to make it all the more enchanting.
17 Kings Cross, London: Secret Entry To Hogwarts
In the city of muggles walking about, wizards need to have a secret passage to Hogwarts that allow for a sneaky entrance. Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross Station in London is a landmark for all Harry Potter fans who secretly wish that they will be teleported to the magical world of Hogwarts.
Located in London’s King’s Cross Station, the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 holds the secret entrance to the magical platform that can only be accessed by running straight ahead – directly into the barrier. For all witches and wizards, they must take this first step to separate themselves from the muggle world.
16 Bodleian Library, Oxford: Hogwarts Library
Housed at the University of Oxford, the Bodleian Libraries make up the largest university library system in the UK, as well as being one of the oldest libraries in Europe, according to The Telegraph. In the Harry Potter series, it was filmed as the located for the Hogwarts Library where wizards and witches could study new spells and learn the magical arts and sciences.
Not only was the Bodleian Libraries used for filming the Harry Potter franchise, but was also the filming location for X-Men: First Class and The Golden Compass.
15 Christ Church, Oxford: Original Inspiration For Hogwarts Dining Hall
The 16th century Oxford Christ Church Cathedral and college complex was used as a backdrop for the Hogwarts Dining Hall in the Harry Potter series. Since the film's release, fans have been flocking there with more than 350,000 visitors a year. he staircase which leads up to the Great Hall was used for the arrival scene for new Hogwarts students in the first two Harry Potter films, according to BBC.
Tourists can now pay to go on the path of the college and the cathedral. Four centuries before Harry Potter was even a thing, Henry VIII founded the university college and cathedral institution in 1546 and Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design the famous bell tower in 1682 (BBC).
14 Harrow School, London: Professor Flitwick’s Charms Class
In the scene where Hermoine Granger manages to levitate a feather and declare "Wingardium Leviosa!" in Professor Flitwick's Charms Class, is the Fourth Form Room of Harrow Old Schools, Harrow-on-the-Hill in Greater London. In Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone, this is where he learns how to wave his wand for the first time.
More recently, Harrow School was recently shot as the interior of Trinity College in Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory Of Everything. Believe it or not, this is an actual school where London's elite shell out the big bucks to send their kids to school.
13 Millennium Bridge, London: Where The Death Eaters Attack
Think of the Millenium Bridge as the Golden Gate Bridge of the UK. This particular bridge was built not long before the Harry Potter franchise was created. Construction of the Millennium Bridge first started in 1998, and the total completion cost came to about £18.2 million (which was £2.2 million over budget), according to strawberrybustours.com.
The bridge has been featured in many London-based films besides Harry Potter. It was also the filming location to the 2014 film, Guardians of the Galaxy. This is definitely one of those places to visit if you are in London for a short period of time.
12 Harry Potter: The Exhibition (Various Locations In The World)
In the Harry Potter Exhibition, guests have a chance to see the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating the iconic props and costumes for the Harry Potter movies. The original artifacts are on display in elaborate settings designed to replicate Hogwarts. This includes the Gryffindor Common Room, Hagrid's Hut and the Great Hall.
Big Harry Potter fans get the once in a lifetime opportunity to step inside the wizard's magical world and see first hand what it truly takes to be a wizard. Harry Potter: The Exhibition made its world premiere in Chicago in April 2009 before traveling on to Boston, Toronto, Seattle, New York, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Edmonton, Sweden, Cologne, Paris, Shanghai, Brussels, The Netherlands, Madrid, and Milan (harrypotterexhibition.com).
11 The London Zoo, London: The Reptile House
The London Zoo is was the filming location of the famous scene where a Burmese python speaks to Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe for the first time in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In fact, that specific enclosure is home to the black mamba.
The building itself was desiged by Dr Joan Beauchamp Procter, Curator of Reptiles, with the architect Sir Edward Guy Dawber. The reptile sculptures at the entrance to the building are by the sculptur George Alexander. At the time, the building was hailed as one of the most sophisticated building of its type in the world (zsl.org).
10 Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London
Warner Bros. not only used a studio in Hollywood to film the Harry Potter films but they also had a studio in London. This is the ultimate tour if you are a real Harry Potter fan.
Once filming wrapped on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 in 2010, the production crew were left with a treasure trove of thousands of intricate and beautifully-made artifacts, many of which wouldn't have been saved on a typical production (wbstudiotour.co.uk). What better way to preserve the memory of Harry Potter than make a tour out of it?
9 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey: Dursley Family Household
No one could ever forget everyone's favorite Muggle family...none other than the Dursleys! The iconic house at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey is actually located at 12 Picket Post Close, Bracknell, Berkshire—about 40 miles west of London, according to Forbes.
The residence sits in the same suburban county as Windsor Castle and Ascot Racecourse—where Kate Middleton’s parents and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May own homes, so it's safe to say that it's in a ritzy neighborhood (forbes.com). Warner Brothers only filmed in that house for two weeks during Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and then built their own Privet Drive in a studio.
8 Goathland Station, England: Hogsmeade Station
Goathland Station is a must-see landmark because it became the Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film. The charming village of Goathland is just a few minutes’ walk up the bank from the station, with a great range of shops and pubs. You could explore the national park; embark on a country walk along the Rail Trail back to Grosmont or to the Mallyan Spout Waterfall (nymr.co.uk).
Goathland Station even has its very own shop with a tea room for the most quaint experience. Take a day and tour England's countryside in Goathland.
7 Lacock Abbey, England: Also Hogwarts
Even though Hogwarts is one venue in the film, it was captured in multiple different locations while filming, which just made the fantasy even bigger. Much of the interior to Hogwarts was filmed in Lacock Abbey, England which is an 800 year-old downtown abbey that used to be a medieval nunnery, with beautiful cloisters are some of the finest in the country.
The medieval village of Lacock in Wiltshire, with its timber-framed cottages and stunning abbey, has to be one of the prettiest villages in England (suitcasesandsandcastles.com). Harry Potter fans of all ages will have to content themselves with the thrill of discovering the room where Harry looked into the Mirror of Erised and Professor Quirrell’s classroom from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
6 Balmoral Hotel, Scotland: Where J.K. Rowling Completed 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'
The Balmoral Hotel is the inspirational landmark where J.K. Rowling finished her final novel of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel that has been in business for over 100 years.
If you enter the hotel, pass the hall and turn right into the elevator, go to the fifth floor, exit the elevator and walk through the corridor to the right, you will find the door of Room 552 in the corner, decorated with an owl and a small golden sign: The J.K. Rowling Suite (therowlinglibrary.com).
5 Glencoe, Scotland: Where Many Outdoor Scenes Were Filmed
Filming for the third Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, took place on location in Glencoe in May and June 2003. Regular visitors to Clachaig Inn and Glencoe will spot a familiar looking backdrop in the film, and in subsequent Harry Potter films (glencoescotland.com).
During filming, three sets were built near the bottom of Clachaig Gully and just across the street from Clachaig Inn. The amazing scenery was overlooking the Torren Lochan, and the Signal Rock forest to the rugged hills of the glen. This sort of nature never fails to take visitor's breath away.
4 Seven Sisters Country Park, England: The Portal To The Quidditch World Cup
One of the most exciting scenes in the Harry Potter franchise are the scenes where the sport of Quidditch is played. The Seven Sisters Country Park, Sussex is the location where all the excitement began. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the cliffs are where Harry found the boot that transported him and the Weasleys to the Quidditch World Cup.
The Seven Sisters, the cliffs that give the park its name, are entirely made of chalk from the English Channel (visitbritainshop.com). There are regular rail services from London to Brighton, Seaford and Eastbourne in order to get there.
3 Loch Shiel, Scotland: Hogwarts Lake
JK Rowling found her home in Edinburgh, Scotland to be an inspiration for many of the scenes that were filmed for the Harry Potter books. One of the most eventful parts of the Harry Potter series is the Quidditch tournaments for all wizards and sports lovers alike.
Loch Shiel was transformed for some of the Triwizard Tournament scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (scotsman.com). It is a narrow lake in the northwest Highlands of Scotland that is about 17 miles long which empties into Loch Moidart, a sea loch.
2 Piccadilly Circus, London: Fleeing From The Death Eaters
Piccadilly Circus is located in central London and is always seen full of tourists. It is almost like the Times Square of England, for a brief analogy. One of the most memorable scenes in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is where we see Harry, Hermione and Ron rushing through London’s West End. These are wizards who are completely out of their element running around in the Muggle World.
In this scene, we see our three heroes narrowly escape death by jumping out of the way hitting a London bus. Piccadilly Circus is a busy and well-known film location, which made it challenging to film.
1 Steall Falls, Scotland: Triwizard Tournament
Steall Falls is a very beautiful waterfall tumbling into 120 meters into a wide open scenic valley backed by tall mountains (world-of-waterfalls.com). This scenic valley is a popular route for hikers and the sites will take your breath away.
Steall Falls made a cameo appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The cascading waterfall is featured in the scene where Harry faces down a Hungarian Horntail dragon in the Triwizard Tournament. There was no better choice to film the Quidditch scenes than in large, open and scenic areas.