Everyone’s favourite teen wizard has appeared at various places all over Britain in the Harry Potter films, so jump on your broomstick and discover these magical spots…
1. The Hogwarts Express
On its way to Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the flying Ford Anglia lands on – what is in real life – the Glenfinnan Viaduct, on the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland. There’s a regular diesel service, but if you want to cross the viaduct in a Hogwart’s Express-style steam locomotive, West Coast Railways run the Jacobite Steam Train during the summer season (May to October).
2. The setting for Hogwarts
Push further into Scotland to see Glencoe where the dramatic landscapes round Hogwarts were filmed. You’ll recognise the Steall Falls at Glen Nevis from the Tri-Wizard Tournament in the Goblet of Fire (2005). The rugged beauty and natural drama of the Scottish Highlands are the perfect background for the first 2 Harry Potter films – where the Quidditch matches were filmed against the backdrop of Glen Nevis (also used for Braveheart, Rob Roy and Highlander II).
3. Hogwarts School quadrangle
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was realised on film through a bewildering number of locations throughout the UK. One of the most spectacular is Durham Cathedral, one of the UK’s finest Norman buildings. Durham’s elegant cloisters became the snow-covered quadrangle, where Harry sets the owl flying in the first film and is also the scene of Ron’s slug vomiting in the Chamber of Secrets. The cathedral chapter house is the venue for Professor McGonagall’s class teaching the young wizards to turn animals into water goblets.
4. Hogwarts library and infirmary
Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library starred in 3 of the Harry Potter films. The medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library was used as the Hogwarts library and the elaborate fan-vaulted Divinity School became Hogwart’s infirmary. Tour this historic place of learning and you’ll also be seeing where Oscar Wilde, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien once studied.
5. Hogwarts’ broomstick-flying class
Grab your broomstick and head to Alnwick Castle, the site of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson in the first film. You can even have a go yourself with regular ‘broomstick flying’ sessions. Otherwise, discover 700 years of history, spectacular gardens with water sculptures and one of the world’s largest treehouses at this Northumberland castle. Alnwick was also used in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991) and Elizabeth (1997).
6. Leadenhall Market, London, England
The entrance to wizard’s pub the Leaky Cauldron is in real life an optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage, which you can find in Leadenhall Market in the City of London. Leadenhall is a superb example of a Victorian covered market with an ornate painted roof.
7. Platform 9¾
The Hogwarts Express departs from Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, which of course doesnt really exist, but you can still locates the spot at the the arched wall between Platforms 4 and 5. If that seems short on magic, head towards the entrance to Platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the west side of the station. There you’ll find a trolley disappearing into the magical realm through a wall marked ‘Platform 9¾’. Outside you’ll see the neo-gothic facade of St Pancras that appears in the background when the Weasley’s magical Ford Anglia takes off in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
8. Where Harry talks to the snakes
London Zoo‘s Reptile House is where Harry first discovers his gift for talking with snakes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). If you fancy chatting to snakes, or any other animals for that matter, London Zoo’s the place.
9. Look out for Moaning Myrtle
If you scare easily, then be careful if you visit the Cathedral of Gloucester, which has been a place of worship for over 1,300 years. While you may not meet Nearly Headless Nick or Moaning Myrtle in these halls, an ancient wooden door leads down to the old crypt, said to be haunted by monks from the old Gloucester monastery. Scenes from the first two films were shot here including the shots of Harry and Ron hiding from the troll.
10. Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s Shell Cottage
One of Wales’ top surfing beaches, this stretch of golden sand was chosen as a location for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s Shell Cottage in the last installment of the franchise. It’s no stranger to film crews and has also served in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (2010) as the backdrop to the climactic battle.
Now explore the Top 10 Harry Potter Locations in London.