Top Harry Potter film locations

Everyone's favourite teen wizard has travelled all over Britain. So jump on your broomstick and come with us as we discover the magical world of Harry Potter...

View over Glenfinnan valley with steam train on viaduct and Loch Shiel in the background, Highlands, Scotland.

Harry Potter film locations in Scotland and Wales

Off to Hogwarts we go: Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber, Scotland

This viaduct, 100ft (30.5m) above ground, is captured in several Harry Potter films on the route to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can journey through this magical landscape just as Harry and friends did, aboard the Jacobite steam train used as the Hogwarts Express in the movie. 

See if you can spot where, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Arthur Weasley’s baby-blue flying Ford Anglia lands on the viaduct. The head of the Weasley family modified it to fit eight people, six trunks, two owls and one rat.

Hiker jumping from a rock, Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands, Scotland.

Quidditch matches and more: Glencoe, Argyll, Scotland

The natural drama of the Scottish Highlands provided the perfect backdrop for the first two Harry Potter movies. The Quidditch matches – inter-house broomstick ball games - were filmed in front of Glen Nevis. You'll recognise the spectacular Steall Falls there from the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Once voted Scotland’s most romantic glen, it’s also a beautiful scenic place with plenty of holiday lodges and cottages. Or if you’re into hill walking, it’s a great entry point to the Highlands. 

Shell Cottage: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales

 Man surfing at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales., Credit to VisitBritain/©Visit Wales/Crown Copyright

This stretch of golden sand was the location for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour‘s 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.  

 

Harry Potter film locations in England

Professor McGonagall's classroom: Durham Cathedral, Durham, England

Man walking past college buildings on a street in Oxford.

Durham Cathedral’s Chapter House was where Professor McGonagall taught the young wizards to turn animals into water goblets. 

Elsewhere in the Norman cathedral, admire the magnificent cloisters which became the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry set Hedwig the owl flying in the first film - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

It’s also where Ron Weasley fell victim to his own (seriously gross) slug-vomiting curse, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 

Shh! Hogwarts Library and Infirmary: Bodleian Library and Christ Church College, Oxford, England

 

Oxford University’s 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. 

 

Broomstick flying: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England

Exterior view of 11th century Alnwick Castle, Northumberland.

Madame Hooch’s broomstick flying lesson, seen in the first film, takes place in the Outer Bailey of medieval Alnwick Castle. Broomstick training still occurs and you can also see wizardry magic shows or join a tour with a costumed guide regaling behind-the-scenes stories from when the Harry Potter crew were filming.

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, the castle’s dedicated exhibition includes photography, costumes and props from the Christmas special filmed there in 2014. 

The Leaky Cauldron: Leadenhall Market, London, England

Wizard pub, The Leaky Cauldron, was set in what is now an optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage, Leadenhall Market. Behind that was where the glittering Diagon Alley shopping street was imagined, selling spell books and potions so enticing that Harry wished he had eight eyes to see.

Whilst you probably won’t find any magic shops, the ornate Victorian marketplace is a splendid place to pick up some Harry Potter inspired British fashion. Bag yourself a classic wax Barbour jacket, as sported by Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

 

Platform 9¾: King’s Cross Station, London, England

The Hogwarts Express departs from Platform 9¾ of King’s Cross Station, which is actually the arched wall between platforms 4 and 5. 

Or, head towards the entrance to platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the west side of the station where you’ll find a trolley disappearing into the magical realm through a wall marked ‘Platform 9 ¾’. To help you get into character there’s a shop selling fun accessories from round Harry Potter specs to Hufflepuff hair scrunchies. 

Outside is the Neo-Gothic facade of St Pancras where the Weasley's magical Ford Anglia, with its powers of invisibility, takes off in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

 

Charming snakes: Reptile House, London Zoo, England

Harry first discovered his gift for talking with snakes, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, at London Zoo's Reptile House. In the scene, Daniel Radcliffe speaks to an enormous Burmese python, but the enclosure filmed is actually home to the venomous black mamba, recognisable for its distinctive inky black mouth.

But don’t leave it at that. London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, dating back to 1828, and offers all sorts of incredible animal experiences. Once you’ve seen the snakes, immerse yourself in a butterfly paradise or get up close to big cats in the Land of the Lions.

 

Hidden halos: Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, England

Look out for Nearly Headless Nick or Moaning Myrtle and see where Harry and Ron hid from the troll in the spooky corridors of 1,300-year-old Gloucester Cathedral – one of five locations used for Hogwarts. 

The cathedral had to be altered for filming in a number of fascinating ways! Electrical points were disguised under panels painted to look like the stone walls, whilst anything that would reveal the set as a church was concealed. For instance halos on the stained glass figures in the cloister windows were covered with coloured plastic filter paper to blend in with the glass around it.

For signs of the cathedral’s ancient past, you can enter a wooden door that leads down to the old crypt, said to be haunted by monks from the old Gloucester monastery.

 

Potions class: Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England

Lacock Abbey's Warming Room – which contains a giant cauldron – was Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, whilst Professor Snape’s Potions Class was held in the Sacristy. It was in the abbey’s Chapter House that Harry stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised, which shows the user’s heart’s deepest desire.

And amid all that selfie wizardry in the lab, the abbey’s South Gallery includes the very spot where William Henry Fox Talbot took the world’s first ever photograph.

 

Hogwarts and all: Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden, England

At the Warner Bros Studios Tour, just outside London, we find a model version of the whole of Hogwarts. The 1:24 scale construction was used for filming the exterior and aerial shots of the school and is filled with props used in the productions. 

Now it's time to treat yourself to a tankard of butterbeer – this delicious non-alcoholic drink tastes of shortbread and butterscotch. 

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Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter (departure from London Victoria)

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter (departure from London Victoria)
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Isle of Skye tour & Jacobite Steam Train journey - 3 days (Highland Explorer)

Isle of Skye tour & Jacobite Steam Train journey - 3 days (Highland Explorer)
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Isle of Skye tour & Jacobite Steam Train journey - 3 days (Highland Explorer)

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