Learn More About The Historic City Of Oxford
Enjoyed learning about the buildings and sites in Oxford that played a starring role in the Harry Potter franchise? Keep expanding your knowledge of our beloved city with even more articles about the History of Oxford.
Alternatively, if youre between the ages of 13-24 and interested in exploring the actual city yourself, why not consider joining us for an academic summer course in Oxford?
Not only will you have the opportunity to explore these incredible sites and buildings for yourself, but, most importantly, youll get to experience an unforgettable learning experience here in the UK.
With over 40 academic courses to choose from, expert tutorial teaching from top academics, and the chance to learn in the UKs leading university theres so much to gain from a summer course with us.
Watch A Quidditch Match In Oxford
There are many similarities between Oxford University and Hogwarts, one of them being that both schools have a Quidditch team!
Unfortunately, the Oxford Quidditch team arent able to fly around the pitch, however, they do run around with a stick between their legs chasing a human snitch!
Bizarre right?! Oxford seem to be pretty good at it though as the Radcliffe Chimeras are currently ranked 7th in the UK!
Watch this crazy phenomenon for yourself on Wednesdays and Saturdays afternoons in Oxford, which is when the OUQC train.
They train in University Parks on South Parks Road and you can find out the latest news or get in touch with the committee directly on their if youd like more information.
Address: University Parks, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RF
Christ Church: Bodley Tower Staircase
There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide, sweeping ones narrow, rickety ones some that led somewhere different on a Friday some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to remember to jump.
Probably one of the other most famous filming locations in the franchise, the grand stone staircase which is located inside Bodley Tower at Christ Church College is a prominent feature in the first two Harry Potter films.
Fans will recall several memorable scenes which have been filmed here from Harrys first day at Hogwarts to a flashback sequence between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore to the scene near the end of the first movie where Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione after being released from Hogwarts Infirmary, it certainly holds a special place in many Potterheads hearts.
Today, the staircase is used by students at the university as a way of gaining access to Christ Church Dining Hall, where they can enjoy the same magical walk as the Hogwarts students. Whenever students join us for our summer courses in this historic college, this staircase is one of the most hotly-requested sites to visit. Nothing quite beats walking to formal up these iconic stone steps.
How Long Does An Oxford Harry Potter Tour In Oxford Take
Fans can go on many different Harry Potter Oxford tours around the city to explore the different filming locations that are featured throughout the movie franchise. You can book a Harry Potter tour with professional tour guides who can give you facts and stories about where Harry Potter was filmed in Oxford, as well as other iconic landmarks around the city.
As the main filming locations in Oxford are only located in a few buildings, namely New College, Christ Church College and the Bodleian Library, you can complete a Harry Potter Oxford tour in a couple of hours. However, theres plenty of other interesting historical sites to see within the buildings, so you may find yourself lingering to admire the carved stone structures and ornate statues that line the long corridors.
The distances between the locations only take about 10 minutes or so, which gives you a chance to enjoy the other sights of the city of dreaming spires along the way.
Duke Humfreys Library Bodleian Library
The Duke Humfreys Library in Bodleian Library is what youll recognize as the restricted section of the library at Hogwarts.
Duke Humfreys Library features in Philosophers Stone in the scene where Harry uses his fathers invisibility cloak to explore the Restricted Section hoping to find information on Nicholas Flamel. The setting of that restricted section is Duke Humfreys Library.
The library looks exactly like what you think the library at Hogwarts would look like. There are shelves of books from the floor to the ceiling. The book spines are in those ancient greens, reds and browns that youd picture old books being coloured in. The coolest thing is that theyre actually set up so that an alarm goes off if you touch them which is quite reminiscent of the book that screams once Harry opens it in the restricted section.
Fun fact that we were told on the tour of the library is that no fire was allowed during the filming because the library completely forbids it. The fire you see in the big lamp that Harry is holding was added in with effects after the fact.
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New College Oxford Harry Potter Location #3
The Cloisters at New College are instantly recognisable to Harry Potter fans and walking through them will make you feel like youre walking through the corridors of Hogwarts.
These particular cloisters are used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Draco Malfoy is turned into a ferret by Mad Eye Moody.
New College is one of the biggest and oldest colleges at Oxford so it is well worth a visit even if youre not a Harry Potter fan.
If you are touring all things Harry Potter at Oxford during the winter months , then entry to New College is free.
However, if you go during the warmer months , you will need to buy a ticket for £5. Find out more about visiting New College here.
Courtyard & Tree New College
The New College Courtyard is featured in a particularly memorable scene from The Goblet of Fire. In the scene Draco Malfoy is seated in a large Oak tree which you can actually find in the Courtyard of the New College. Harry and Malfoy get into a verbal disagreement but very memorably, Professor Moody interferes and Malfoy gets turned into a ferret.
I unfortunately didnt get to see New College as it was closed on the day I went but I did get to see the famous tree from the outside. Its located right past the Bridge of Sighs . You can also transport yourself there with this .
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Where Was Harry Potter Filmed In Oxford
The city of Oxford and its historic university buildings were used to film some of the most iconic and mesmerising scenes from Harry Potter, as well as serving as a source of inspiration for the filmmakers to create larger-scale sets at their Warner Bros. Studios here in the UK.
Keep reading to learn more about the Oxford colleges that appeared in the Harry Potter film series, as well as how you can visit them for yourself!
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Hidden away in the world-famous Bodleian Library, the Duke Humfreys Library reading room revels in a magical atmosphere. With parts of the room dating back to 1487, it is filled from floor to ceiling with books, ancient manuscripts and dark wooden beams, offering a wealth of history. Despite being the oldest reading room in the building, you may be surprised to find that this iconic room is still being used today by current students at the University of Oxford.
Designed with imposing high walls and an intricately painted ceiling, even the smallest of Harry Potter fans will find it difficult not to be captivated by its striking beauty. Acting as the main Hogwarts Library in the film series, it is most memorable for the scene in The Philosophers Stone, when Harry uses his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak into the restricted section of the library.
Photo credit: Experience Oxfordshire
New College Courtyard & Tree
From the cloisters you can make your way to the beautiful courtyard, which is where Harry manages to catch up to Cedric to let him know about the dragons.
While here, youll notice a large tree in the courtyard and it is said to be over 200 years old. It also happens to be the location of one of the more memorable scenes in Goblet of Fire.
Harry is walking through the courtyard and hears Malfoy calling his name. He looks over to find him sitting in that oak tree.
When Malfoy slides out of the tree, he confronts Harry and tells him that he doesnt think he will last 10 minutes in the Tri Wizard Tournament and that his father, Lucius, says he wont even last 5.
After some harsh words Harry turns to walk away and, unbeknownst to him, Malfoy has drawn his wand and is aiming it at his back.
Professor Moody spots this and immediately stuns Malfoy before turning him into a ferret! Eventually Professor McGonagall appears and, realising the ferret is a student, turns Malfoy back to his original form.
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Which Oxford Colleges Featured In The Harry Potter Films
There were two main Oxford colleges that featured as Harry Potter locations New College and Christ Church College. Both buildings are hundreds of years old, as New College was founded in 1379 and Christ Church College was founded in 1546.
New College is an impressive medieval building, with long corridors, great arched windows and cloisters that all helped to successfully create the illusion of the magical boarding school in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One such scene involves Harry pushing his way through a sea of students in the college courtyard to try and speak to Cedric Diggory, whilst the people around him wear Potter Stinks badges.
Another scene that was filmed in the New College courtyard features a shot of the big oak tree and the college cloisters in the background. This was where Mad-Eye Moody transfigures an unsuspecting Draco Malfoy into a ferret. Throughout the scene, viewers are able to see the famous arched windows and stone pillars of the New College.
It costs £8.00 for adults to look around New College and £7.00 for under 16s and students. However, the college cannot accommodate tour groups larger than 20 people at once. The college offers tours throughout the year, although the hours are reduced between October and Easter.
A perceptive Harry Potter fan may also recognise these stairs from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron are caught by the caretaker Filch after they crash the flying car.
Oxford Universitys Bodleian Library
While the Bodleian Library may have been around since 1602, the majority of people around the world probably know it better as the Hogwarts Library. Or, more specifically, the Restricted Section. Starring in four of the Harry Potter films, this is one of the most popular tourist locations in Oxford.
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How Long Does An Oxford Harry Potter Tour Take
It depends on you but here are my suggestions:
- 1-1.5 hours at Christ Church after paying £15 entry, make the most of the college and grounds!
- 30-60 minutes at Duke Humfreys depending which tour you pick
- 15 minutes at the Divinity School its just one room
- 30-45 minutes at New College
- 10-?? minutes at Turf Tavern .
Total entrance fees: If you follow this Harry Potter Oxford tour exactly, your entrance fees will come to £22 or £27 .
Cloisters Bridge Of Sighs & Oak Tree
Conveniently easy to spot behind Oxfords very own Bridge of Sighs, the giant Oak tree which featured during a duel between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire can be seen in New College Cloisters.
And while the cloisters themselves are closed to the public, a photo of the tree can still be snapped from the roadside, making this one of the best free Harry Potter locations in Oxford to visit!
For those more interested in the history of Oxford University , the Bridge of Sighs has a rather unique history. This structure spans the space between Hertford College and New College and is now a Grade II listed building, making it a must-see Oxford landmark.
Constructed at the beginning of the 20th-century, the bridge was meant to be Oxfords very own version of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. Somehow, however, the architecture was quite literally lost in translation and so this bridge actually resembles the Rialto Bridge of Venice!
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Christ Church Dining Hall
While no filming actually took place here, Christ Church’s dining hall served as inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall. Photographs of the hall were used to create the set for the Great Hall, and it’s easy to see the similarities. High ceilings, long dining tables with a head table up front, and elaborate windows all create a Great Hall feel. The only thing that’s missing? Floating candles, an enchanted ceiling, and a row of magical professors. Visitors will need a ticket to Christ Church to see the dining hall.
Why This Is A Free Tour And Other People Charge 15 To 30 For The Same Tour
- Yes Its Free To Pay As You Like! Other tour companies charge £15 to £20 per person for this same tour. Free To Pay As You Like, is fair pricing for visitors, where you pay the price that you are confident in.
- Is there any entry fee for going inside the historic Oxford University sights?
- Our tour includes visiting the old colleges, old lecture halls, old graduation venues, the old exam school, the old Bodleian library, the Weston library, old school quads where lecture were given earlier and historic chapels for free. Only £2.50 entry fee is optional for visiting a Medieval Lecture Hall known as School of Divinity which is also a Harry Potter filming location.
Premium Scholars Walk Tours wants everyone who visit Oxford to learn about Oxfords inspiring history, traditions and unique student experience.
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Tours Of Harry Potter Filming Locations
We have yet to find a tour which covers all the Harry Potter filming locations in the UK. However, there are plenty of tours which cover at least some of the above, which we think you will be interested in. Some suggestions we recommend are as follows.
- This walking tour of some of the key locations in London from the films
- This tour that includes a visit to the Harry Potter Studio as well as time in Oxford
- A walking tour of the Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford
- A full day private tour of both Lacock Abbey and Gloucester Harry Potter locations
- A full day tour from Edinburgh to Alnwick Castle, as well as other stops in the Scottish Borders and northern England
Budget Option The Harry Potter Oxford Tree From Outside
Dont want to pay £5 entry? Dont worry. You can see the tree for free. Of course Id recommend going inside New College if you have the time and budget but if not, locate the Bridge of Sighs and stand under it. When facing New College, you should be able to glimpse the tree.
Next, find the tiny alleyway entrance to your left. This is called St Helens Passage and leads to our next Harry Potter location in Oxford
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Lacock Village And Abbey
This 13th-century abbey in Wiltshire and the pretty nearby village were used extensively for Harry Potter filming locations in England.
In The Philosopher’s Stone, the village of Godric’s Hollow and Godric’s Hollow Parish Church can be recognised in Lacock, and Harry’s parents cottage was filmed at the end of Church Street.
Lacock Abbey was yet another stand-in for Hogwarts, with the most recognisable location being the cloisters which were used as the halls of Hogwarts Castle. The Abbey ‘s Warming Room, containing a giant cauldron, was Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Professor Snape’s Potions Class was held in the Sacristy, and the Chapter House was where Harry found the Mirror of Erised in The Philosopher’s Stone.
Finally Take A Harry Potter Tour Around Oxford
While it is easy enough to visit all the locations of Harry Potter in Oxford yourself, if time is tight or you would like someone to deal with the logistics then a tour could be right for you. Theres a great tour from London that takes in the Harry Potter studio and a tour around Oxford or an Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter Tour that takes around two hours.
Even without the Harry Potter link, Oxford and Christ Church College in particular is beautiful and a wonderful place to spend an afternoon its inspiring and you can feel the history of centuries of studies at every turn. We loved it, all for different reasons and definitely recommend it.
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New College Cloisters Courtyard And Tree
In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the cloisters and courtyard within New College are seen as Harry makes his way through a crowd of his peers who are ridiculing him by wearing “Potter Stinks” pins. In the courtyard at New College, Harry tells Cedric Diggory that the first task they’ll face in the Triwizard Tournament is dragons. Also in the courtyard is the tree where Malfoy sits taunting Harry, which prompts Professor Moody to turn Malfoy into a ferret. Visitors can take self-guided tours of New College by paying an entrance fee.