Discover the magic
Everyone's favourite teen wizard has appeared at various places all over Britain so jump on your broomstick and discover the magic...
On its way to Hogwarts, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the flying Ford Anglia lands on 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).
Push further into Scotland to see Glencoe where the dramatic landscapes around 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 two Harry Potter films - where the Quidditch matches were filmed against the backdrop of Glen Nevis (also used for Braveheart, Rob Roy and Highlander II).
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was realised on film in 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.
Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library starred in three of the Harry Potter films. The medieval Duke Humfrey's Library was used as the Hogwarts library and the elaborately vaulted Divinity School became Hogwart’s infirmary. Tour this historic place of learning to see where Oscar Wilde, C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien once studied.
Gab your broomstick and head to Alnwick Castle, the site of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson in the first film. Discover 700 years of history, spectacular gardens with water sculptures and one of the world’s largest treehouses. Alnwick Castle was also used in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991) and Elizabeth (1997).
The entrance to wizard’s pub, 'the Leaky Cauldron', is an optician in Bull’s Head Passage in Leadenhall Market in the City of London. Leadenhall is a superb example of a Victorian covered market with an ornate painted roof.
The Hogwarts Express departs from ‘Platform 9 ¾’ of King’s Cross Station, which is actually 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 9 ¾’. Outside you’ll see the Neo-Gothic facade of St Pancras where the Weasley's magical Ford Anglia takes off in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
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.
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.
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 latest instalment 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 with the French.
Keen for more Harry? Check out Filming locations for Harry Potter's Hogwarts