Other Harry Potter Sites You Can Visit
If you are in Scotland, you may also want to consider the Harry Potter related sites in Edinburgh Scotland. You might also want to consider a day trip to Alnwick Castle, one of the more dramatic Harry Potter locations located in northern England, which is located less than 2 hour drive from Edinburgh.
Where To Stay When Exploring Harry Potter Sites
The majority of the filming locations are in northwestern Scotland, around the Highlands town of Fort William. This is where we would recommend basing yourself if you want to explore a number of these locations over a couple of days.
Fort William is also where The Jacobite steam train starts its journey. It is a pleasant town offering museums, a historical fort park, restaurants, and a pleasant walkable city center area. It is within a relatively short drive of Glencoe and Ben Nevis, and there are a number of hiking, skiing, and water activities in the area.
The town is easy to access by car, bus, or train, and is even a stop on the Caledonian Sleeper.
You can also search a full list of lodging options here, but here are a few suggested accommodation options to check out in and around Fort William across budgets:
Edinburgh can be a good base if you are just looking to do a day trip from Edinburgh to see some of the Harry Potter filming spot highlights. If you are wanting to explore by taking a tour, the majority of tours leave from Edinburgh although you can also find tours from Glasgow and Inverness.
Here are a several lodging options in Edinburgh we recommend for Harry Potter fans :
Week Harry Potter Uk Itinerary By Car
If you have access to a car, then a driving itinerary will let you see a good many Harry Potter filming locations in the UK. Heres a quick itinerary.
Day 1 London
Spend a day exploring all the Harry Potter sights in London. You can do this either on your own or on a walking tour. Wed advise doing this by public transport rather than using your car, as driving in London is slow, parking is expensive, and you have to pay a congestion charge.
Overnight in London.
Day 2 Oxford
From London, drive up to the Harry Potter Studio Tour . Expect to spend 3 4 hours here. Then drive for another hour across to Oxford where you will spend the rest of your day exploring the Harry Potter filming locations here.
Overnight in Oxford.
Day 3 Gloucester
Finish any sights you missed in Oxford on the previous day, then drive to Lacock Abbey . Explore Lacock and Lacock Abbey for 2 4 hours.
From Lacock, head north to Gloucester . Explore the beautiful cathedral .
Day 4 Durham
From Gloucester, head up to Malham, around a 4 hour drive. Stretch your legs on the hike out to the cove . Then drive up to Durham, which is another couple of hours drive.
Day 5 Edinburgh
Explore Durham Cathedral in the morning for an hour or two. After finishing in Durham, head north to Alnwick Castle, which is an hours drive away. Explore the Castle for a few hours, then drive up to Edinburgh, which will take you just under two hours.
Day 6 Edinburgh
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Chesil Beach Dorset Aka Home To The Burrow
While of course, the exterior of the impossible gravity-defying Burrow was accomplished through CGI, and the interiors were all shot on sets in Leavesden, the backdrop for the Burrow was inspired by a marsh near Chesil Beach in Dorset.
According to Stuart Craig, the HP production designer, this remote location seemed like the perfect place for the Burrow given its flatness really accentuated the weird impossible structure of the building.
Harry Potter Filming Locations In Oxford
Date of Publication: 20 April 2019
For decades, the city of Oxford has been the backdrop of some pretty epic film and TV scenes. And as a place thats earned worldwide recognition for its statement architecture and leading UK education, its no surprise that one of the largest ever blockbuster franchises, Harry Potter, has used its grandeur and respected reputation as its backdrop for its films.
Home to some of the most pertinent Potter scenes, the city of Oxford is a great place to visit for die-hard Potterheads and admirers of the films. From the sweeping staircases of Bodley Tower staircase to the instantly recognisable grand Dining Hall of Christ Church, the magic of the movies can be felt all around this historic city so its no wonder that thousands of tourists flock to its streets each year, all eager to soak up some of its mystique.
All conveniently located in the main city centre, tourists can take part in local Potter tours, stroll around the open city themselves, or even have the opportunity to eat, sleep and dine in some of the actual colleges that were used for filming when they join us for one of our summer courses in Oxford.
Read through our guide to the Oxford Harry Potter filming locations below to discover the seven iconic buildings and filming locations used in the city and get planning your trip to see them for yourself.
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Other Locations On The Third Floor
- Main article:Restricted Section
The Restricted Section was an area in fourth floor section of the Hogwarts Library closed off by a rope and only accessible to students with permission from a professor. In order to enter, they had to present a signed note from a professor. The books within the Restricted Section typically discussed the Dark Arts or other information not for the general public or young children. They could be studied by older students for Defence Against the Dark Arts.
Shell Cottage: Freshwater West Pembrokeshire Wales
This stretch of golden sand was the location for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacours Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When Harry found himself inside the whimsical cottage he could hear nothing but the ebb and flow of the sea. Although the cottage was taken down after filming, you can still follow in the footsteps of Harry and friends.
It’s also the spot to catch surfers expertly riding waves kicked up by the strong rip currents just off the beach. The south-westerly facing spot boasts Wales best waves.
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Climb Durham Cathedral Tower
If you really wanted to get an impressive view over Durham Cathedral and County Durham then I would recommend taking one of their Durham Cathedral Tower visits.
It allows you to climb up 325 winding steps to the very top of the cathedral and from here you can see a perfect birds eye view of the Cathedral Cloisters Quad aka Hogwarts! Just like Hedwig.
It is a bit of a climb but the views are breathtaking over the city and you can even see as far as the Angel of the North over towards Newcastle.
There are only six Durham Cathedral Tower sessions each day and they run on the hour. So, make sure to book your tickets as soon as you arrive at the cathedral so you dont miss out!
Access to Durham Cathedral tower is subject to weather conditions. See here for the latest opening times and prices.
The views from Durham Cathedral Tower!
What Harry Potter Sites Can I Visit From York
Whilst York wasnt a filming location for Harry Potter, it does make a good base for a number of Harry Potter locations which you can visit on a day trip. These include:
- Malham Cove
- Goathland train station
- Durham Cathedral
If you do plan to visit York, see our guide to spending a weekend in York for more ideas.
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Stalk A Villain At Hardwick Hall
The much-married Bess of Hardwick who, after Queen Elizabeth I, was the biggest celebrity of the Elizabethan Age, built herself a remarkable house in the Peak District. It has so many windows and so much extraordinary glass that, that soon after it was built the rhyme, “Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall,” was often said. At night, with all its rooms blazing with candles, it was said to look like a magic lantern on a hill.
But on wintry mornings, surrounded by mist, the house takes on a decidedly more mysterious look which is probably why it was chosen as the scene of considerably darker doings for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. In the film, Hardwick Hall’s exteriors were the sinister stand-ins for grim Malfoy Manor.
Owned by the National Trust, Hardwick Hall is considered the most complete Elizabethan house in Britain. It’s open to the public and hosts a raft of family oriented events in the holiday and school vacation seasons. While you’re there, visit the Chamber of Magic and become Harry Potter or Hermione with the hall’s own wizard wands and capes.
Other Things To Do At Alnwick Castle
As well as the magical Harry Potter experiences, dont leave without checking out all that Alnwick Castle has to offer you.
In the Inner Bailey, they often have archery lessons if you wanted to try your hand at it like Robin Hood. Or, you can watch Jousting in the North during the summer!
Nearby is Dragon Quest that is also included in your ticket where you can help Henry Hotspur and the Dragon Catcher. Youll battle mystical forces and a terrifying dragon.
Dress up in medieval clothes, play medieval games and perfect your ancient crafting skills in the Artisans Courtyard.
Or, treat yourself to some lunch in the Courtyard Café.
A new thing that they have started doing is firing a replica Napoleonic cannon on select days of the year. This was something that would happen daily in the Georgian Era at the castle.
The Alnwick Castle staterooms are completely magnificent and they have some of the most gorgeous paintings and artefacts inside. The Percy family history dates back 700 years and so there are lots to see. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed.
Oh and keep your eyes peeled for the Alnwick Vampire! Legend has it that a servant who worked for the lord of the castle caught his wife having an affair. He jumped off the castle and broke his neck. They buried him but he was spotted walking around the town!
They have some spooky events to honour their haunted halls around Halloween.
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Other Locations On The Ground Floor
- Main article:Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase was a massive structure in Hogwarts Castle, mainly used to access each floor of the castle, including the dungeons. There were hundreds of Portraits covering the walls in this tower, some of which concealed secret passages to other areas within the school. The multiple staircases in the Grand Staircase led from platform to platform and went as high as the seventh floor where they came to an end.
Durham Cathedral County Durham
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Look out for:
The cloisters, which overlook the courtyard where Harry sets Hedwig flying in the first movie and where Ron vomits slugs in the second movie. Various other exterior and interior shots were used within the first two movies as well.
How to visit:
Durham Cathedral is open year-round, and is technically free to enter, although they do suggest a £3 donation if youre able to afford it.
Durham Cathedral, The College, Durham, DH1 3EH
Other things to do in Durham:
- Take a guided tour through the historic Durham Castle
- Stop to smell the roses in the Durham University Botanic Gardens
- Climb to the top of High Force waterfall in the North Pennines National Park
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These Magical Destinations Were Used In The Harry Potter Movies
These locations are so iconic that fans will be able to pick out exactly which movie they’re from, and which scene they were used in.
Many a Harry Potter fan watched the movies with a mix of anticipation and awe as they slowly rolled out into movie theaters and it wasn’t just due to the characters being brought to life with a little Hollywood magic. Rather, it was the enchantment behind every moving staircase, every incredible mountain vista, all the English charm, and the magic inside every forest scene. Thanks to the many settings around the UK, these scenes became second to know and were incredibly memorable for fans around the world who could only imagine them prior to that moment. In short, the filming locations chosen to appear in the Harry Potter movies were second to none.
While some of these locations can be picked out by an eye that’s familiar with London’s most picturesque city locations or Scotland’s more glorious natural backdrops, there are some places that only inspired what fans witnessed on the big screen. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be visited – these are all the fan-favorite destinations that fans can actually seek out and explore for themselves, and maybe even find some magic of their own along the way.
Courtyard Archway Where Hagrid Drags The Christmas Tree
Christmas is always a special time at Hogwarts, the whole castle is decorated and Christmas spirits are singing carols.
The film production team made it snow heavily on the castle grounds with fake snow! Apparently, It was a nightmare to clean up afterward and the staff kept finding it inside the castle for months.
If you head through to the inner courtyard archway, this is the spot where Hagrid drags the Hogwarts Christmas Tree through to the Great Hall.
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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
St Pauls Cathedral Staircase Aka The Divination Tower Stairwell
Appeared in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Alright sorry to leave you hanging about St Pauls! Heres a little known fact about this famous cathedral and Harry Potter: unknown to most, one of St Pauls stairwells was actually used as the stairs to the Divination Tower in Prisoner of Azkaban then in Goblet of Fire as the stairs to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. You know, after that first class with Mad Eye Moody .
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Shh Hogwarts Library And Infirmary: Bodleian Library And Christ Church College Oxford England
Oxford Universitys magnificent Bodleian Library, dating back to 1602, starred in three Harry Potter films. The medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library, part of the hallowed institution, was used as the Hogwarts library, whilst the elaborately vaulted Divinity School next door became Hogwarts hospital. Students were admitted for all sorts of scrapes, from falling off broomsticks to touching a cursed opal necklace.
At Christ Church College, a 10-minute walk away, you can see where we were first introduced to Hogwarts with Harry and the other first-year wizards ascending the 16th-century stone staircase to the Great Hall.
Harry Potter Film Locations
Youve read the books, youve seen the film now discover the superb film locations.
J.K. Rowlingss Harry Potter books are some of the best selling childrens books in history. The books follow the adventures of an 11 year old boy, Harry who lives in a cupboard under the stairs in a house with his aunt, uncle and spoilt cousin Dudley. Harrys own parents died when he was a baby, not as he believed in a car crash but in a fight with a powerful evil wizard who also tried to kill Harry. He is amazed to find out that his parents were also wizards and that he has inherited magical powers of his own! He is transported from his ordinary life to Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards. There, he meets new friends, learns new skills and ends up confronting the evil person who killed his parents.
Our Harry Potter tour starts at the Dursleys house, Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey which is in fact an ordinary house in Martins Heron near Bracknell, Berkshire.
Several locations in London were used for the filming. The scene early in the film when the Dursleys go to the zoo and Harry talks to the snake, was filmed at London Zoo. Set on the edge of Regents Park, historic London Zoo is home to more than 600 species of rare and beautiful animals. It is in the reptile house here where Harry first learns of his ability to talk to snakes.
The interior and exterior shots of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are taken from a number of locations around England.
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The American School Of Magic
Theres another castle used in the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them where J.K. Rowling has confirmed that theres another school of magic in the US.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them takes place in New York City, there, Newt Scamander meets a variety of people who were taught by an American School of Magic.
It is also revealed that this school is not whin NYC, but is instead of immigrant origin.
Pottermore shows us that theres a total of 11 wizarding schools in the world.
While it was not confirmed nor denied in using a real castle for the shooting, Rowling might reveal its valid location someday.