Potterheads rejoice! Although Harry’s tale has ended, the legacy of his story is thriving long past his overcoming of Voldermort. In fact, you could probably argue that Harry Potter as a franchise has never been as popular as it is right now. Whether it’s attractions dedicated to it, adaptations & prequels, or even just merchandise – people go mad for it. Now whilst it’s great to have so many things going on, it is a little difficult to keep track of what’s happening where. We are simplifying that for you with this convenient list of Harry Potter locations.
Whether you want to see the real world locations of the films, visit experiences that will make you feel like you’re in them, or simply enjoy some Harry Potter trivia we’ve got you covered. Wizards, witches, and muggles get ready for a guide that bounces around more than hopping into Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia.
Activities & Attractions
Starting off with the only time sensitive entry we have Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in Cheshire (no need to trek too far for this one). It is back for its second year and is just as magical as you would expect. Delve into the forest and uncover the magic hidden within. From Hippogriffs, Unicorns, Nifflers and more make sure you keep your eyes peeled. Along the way be sure to enjoy the light trail that even George and Fred would be proud of as well as the many photo opportunities scattered across the forest. If you’re feeling peckish or parched just head into the village, anyone up for a Butterbeer™? Be sure to get yourself down there soon though, as the magical creatures will be going into hibernation after December 4 so there won’t be much to see after then except the trees.
The Palace Theatre, London
So you’ve seen all eight films already (or seven depending on how you see Deathly Hallows) but did you know that the story continued beyond then? Not in a hypothetical “what if” fan-fic way either. J.K Rowling teamed up with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany to continue the story of the marked one in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Premiering at The Palace Theatre in London’s West End back in 2016, the theatre has remained its proverbial home despite the play being taken across the globe. The sign for the show still hangs above the theatre’s entrance six years on, and you can still catch a performance of it there all year round. So if you haven’t had enough of your Potter fix and want to see what happens to Harry’s descendants, make sure you see this globally acclaimed show.
Georgian House Hotel, London
Technically not Harry Potter related. Technically as in: it’s not included in the name. Tucked away in Pimlico is the Georgian House Hotel, a Grade II listed building that has been around since 1851. Whilst the townhouse alone would offer plenty of charm they also offer guests the option of staying in The Wizard Chambers, The Enchanted Chambers or popping in for a potion making class or a wizard afternoon tea. Not only does it sound straight out of Hogwarts, the aesthetic will make you double take and wonder if you’re about to receive a letter courtesy of Hedwig. Definitely not your average hotel stay, even he who shall not be named would let his hair down for this.
The Elephant House, Edinburgh
If you go even further north and into Scotland, you can find a quaint cafe that is central to Harry Potter. You probably don’t recognise it and don’t worry you don’t need to scan through all of the books to find where it’s mentioned. That’s because it’s not actually mentioned. The Elephant House is one of the locations J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter in. It’s not quite the birthplace of the book, but the actual birthplace is a flat in Clapham above some shops. Not quite as enchanting is it? The cafe is at the moment temporarily closed due to a fire, but we’re hopeful it will open its doors again soon.
Warner Bros. Studios, Watford
Last but by no means least for the attractions is Warner Bros. Studios in Watford. This is the most authentic attraction you can visit as the exhibition takes place in the soundstages used to film the franchise’s eight films. What you’ll be after is the ‘Warner Brothers Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter’ which is about as much of a mouthful as Ron’s backfiring “eat slugs” curse. We prefer the much easier Harry Potter Studio Tour, but that’s just us. It is a self-guided tour which in our books means “spend as long as you want getting lost in the magic“. There is plenty of information on offer and interactive displays and with the fact it had £100m go into the exhibition to recreate sets, props, and more it’s one of the best and most authentic Potter experiences you can have.
When it comes specifically to the films, there’s plenty of Harry Potter locations for you to explore. Granted a lot of them are in London, but that doesn’t matter right? If anything maybe it just means it’s time to get prepared and plan a themed trip to experience all the Potter you can handle.
Kings Cross Station, London
First off we have Kings Cross Station and you can already guess why. It is of course for that famous platform between platforms, Platform 9 & 3/4. If you want a photo opp to show your friends going through the wall with your trolley, follow the signs towards platforms 9, 10, and 11. Handily there’s also a Harry Potter shop next door. If however, you head over to the arches between platforms 4 and 5 you might get a sense of nostalgia. You’re not losing your mind, that’s where the scene was actually filmed, and you could essentially get an even more authentic picture here and do it away from the crowds.
Leadenhall Market, London
Leadenhall Market is home to an iconic location of the film, Diagon Alley. Don’t worry, you won’t have to find that specific bin, go three up, two across, and tap a magic brick to get there either – thankfully. If we want to be pedantic, the market is actually home to The Leaky Cauldron pub from Diagon Alley. You can find the shop front which previously served as the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron on Bull’s Head Passage, which is an alleyway off Gracechurch Street by the market. Whilst only partially being a film location for Diagon Alley, the market did however serve as the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Millenium Bridge, London
Millenium Bridge is probably not one you’d particularly think of when it comes to Harry Potter, but it does have a nice cameo in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. In the film we see Millenium Bridge destroyed by death eaters, thankfully no bridges actually fell down for this.
Jacobite Steam Train/ Glenfinnan Viaduct, Fort William (Scotland)
Take a deep breath before you carry on reading because this one’s kind of insane. You can take the Hogwarts Express in real life! Not a replica Hogwarts Express, not a random train route that seems like the Hogwarts Express – the actual Hogwarts Express as seen and used in the films. You’ll just need to shift yourself up to Fort William in Scotland if you do fancy it. The Jacobite Steam Train is the Hogwarts Express and it is a functional train that takes you on that picturesque route to Hogwarts. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the most famous section of the journey which goes over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you’re lucky, time permitting, the train will stop at the viaduct, giving you a chance to take in the gorgeous view at your leisure and truly take in living out a piece of movie magic.
University of Oxford, Oxford
The University of Oxford is Hogwarts for all intents and purposes. It plays host to so many locales in the film you’d be hard pressed to find any other location that could stake as strong a claim. The area you’ll probably be most interested in is Christ Church College although the Bodleian Library and New College are also must visits for Potter lore. The first thing to mention is that the Christ Church Great Hall was the inspiration for Hogwarts’ dining hall, and the similarities will be apparent to you immediately. So whilst that wasn’t a location from the film, it did play a big role inspiration wise. Locations that were used in the film include cloisters in both colleges, courtyards, Divinity School, and the Bodleian Library. Across those locations you have: the Hogwarts Infirmary, the restricted section of Hogwarts Library (the invisibility cloak was here), the hall from the Goblet of Fire where students practised their dances, Hogwarts corridors, and more.
Durham Cathedral, Durham
Whilst not Hogwarts, Durham Cathedral’s Chapter House plays a central role in the films. It is the location the scenes of Professor McGonagall’s classroom were filmed. It is a stunning location and extremely easy to see why it was scouted for the Potter films. The downside of this location is that it isn’t always open to the public, in fact you’ll need to check ahead as the location is often in use by cathedral staff. You can still see other Harry Potter locations here if you visit the cloister and cloister garth. If you do decide to visit, make sure you do the guided tour for the full experience.
Virtual tour on Google Maps
Don’t fancy actually leaving the house to see the sites? No worries. Google maps have a virtual Harry Potter tour that covers some of the locations mentioned in this list. It might not be quite as exhilarating as actually getting out to see the locations in person, but it’s a nice bonus idea. It’s definitely a lot more accessible and cheaper than visiting all the sites at least. An added bonus to this is that the tour comes with some fun facts and locations not on this list.