A Muggle’s guide to visiting 24 real Harry Potter film locations across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published in the early ‘90s by an unknown author, J.K. Rowling, no one believed it would go on to become one of the world’s most beloved stories. The seven-book series broke records and went on to become an eight-film franchise. The accompanying novella, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, inspired a further three film instalments, and Harry’s story has been continued in a critically acclaimed theatre production, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Today, there are Harry Potter experiences around the world that allow Muggles to immerse themselves in the Wizarding World, from walking tours and theme parks to merchandise stores and themed cocktail and dining experiences. However, one of the best (and free!) ways to reconnect with the famous Boy Wizard is to visit real-life film locations dotted around the United Kingdom and Ireland. We’ve created an extensive answer to the question, ‘Where was Harry Potter filmed?’.
Where was Harry Potter filmed?
The eight-part Harry Potter franchise was filmed at many locations across the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the bulk of scenes captured on set at the studio in Watford, a township just outside of London. Harry Potter fans can now visit Warner Brother’s Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter to see sets, props and original costumes, shop from the merchandise store, try some sweets or taste Butterbeer at the Backlot Cafe.
Which Harry Potter movies were filmed in London?
All of the eight films of the Harry Potter franchise have scenes filmed in London.
Where was Harry Potter filmed in London?
Leadenhall Market is a beautiful covered market and retail precinct in central London that dates back to 1321. Leadenhall Market appeared as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron is actually the door to an optician on Bull’s Head Passage. Some early depictions of Diagon Alley were also captured within Leadenhall Market.
The Reptile House at London Zoo is where Harry has his very first magical experience, spelling away the glass from the Burmese python enclosure and unknowingly speaking Parseltongue.
King’s Cross Station
The Hogwarts Express departs from Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, and if you explore the railway hub today – particularly around platforms nine, 10 and 11 – you’ll find a Harry Potter trolley disappearing into the wall beneath the sign “Platform 9 ¾”. On 1 September each year, the station hosts Back To Hogwarts Day, an event that sees Hogsmeade appear on the departure board at 11am, while call-outs for Hogwarts students are sounded across the speakers followed by the Wizarding World theme tune. However, the actual scenes of the film were captured around platforms four and five.
Appearing as 12 Grimmauld Place in the Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows, the home of Sirius Black can be found at 23-29 Claremont Square in Islington.
St Paul’s Cathedral
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban there are scenes filmed in a beautiful circular stairwell that leads to the Divination Tower. This stairwell can be found in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Tucked away in Westminster is the intersection of Scotland Place and New Scotland Yard, which was presented as The Ministry of Magic when Arthur Weasley escorts Harry to his underage magic use hearing in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Harry, Ron and Hermione narrowly avoid being hit by a bus after apparating to Piccadilly Circus in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince after escaping the events of Bill and Fleur’s wedding.
The opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince features Death Eaters flying through London, destroying Millennium Bridge, which is very much still intact and can be visited in central London today.
In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry ends up spending some time on the bizarre purple triple-decker Knight Bus. As it stretches and squeezes through London traffic, one key location through which it speeds is Lambeth Bridge.
Where was Harry Potter filmed in England?
Oxford is a lovely college town about an hour outside of London, a picturesque day trip that offers plenty to see. The Oxford University Divinity School was used as the Hogwarts infirmary and is where Hogwarts students had dance lessons with Professor McGonagall for the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. The Bodleian Library at Oxford University also appeared as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry library in three films.
The Cloisters of Christ Church College were film locations for scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, specifically when Harry sees his father’s Quidditch trophy, and the dining hall is believed to have inspired the set of Hogwarts’ Great Hall.
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was the set for Madame Hooch’s flying class in Harry Potter at the Philosopher’s Stone. The castle occasionally hosts Harry Potter-related events and exhibitions.
Located in the Cotswolds, the Cloister of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire appeared in the first film as Professor Quirrel’s Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom, and as Professor Snape’s Potions Class. The Chapter House was Professor McGonagall’s transfiguration classroom, and where Harry stumbles across the Mirror of Erised. However, the village itself is where scenes for Lily and James Potter’s house in Godric Hollow were filmed, and the setting for Buddleigh Babberton where Professor Slughorn was residing in Half-Blood Prince.
Requiring a two-hour train ride from London, Gloucester Cathedral was built around 1089 and its cloisters acted as the halls leading towards the Gryffindor Common Rooms and other corridors in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral, is an ancient structure with a history dating back to 1093. It appeared as Hogwarts in the first and second films, while the cloisters masqueraded as the school quadrangle.
Goathland Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway appeared as Hogsmeade Station in the first film.
The real house that was used as the Dursley’s home can be found at 12 Picket Post Close in the town of Bracknell. However, a replica can be found on the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour London.
Malham Cove is a limestone formation in North Yorkshire and its rippled plateau appears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry and Hermione are camping for the night after Ron has abandoned them.
Where was Harry Potter filmed in Scotland?
Loch Eilt is a freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands between the villages of Glenfinnan and Lochailort, and it is where you’ll find Professor Dumbedore’s final resting place upon the island of Eilean na Moine. Loch Eilt was also used for other scenes throughout the franchise, such as when Hagrid is throwing stones in a lake after Buckbeak’s sentencing in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Glencoe is one of the most picturesque and popular valleys in Scotland. Its mountainous terrain, lush green hills and lakes are where many Harry Potter scenes were filmed, such as Hagrid’s Hut in Clachaig Gully for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Tucked away in the heart of Edinburgh is Greyfriars Kirkyard, a historic cemetery where eagle-eyed explorers will find the headstone for Thomas Riddle, believed to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s Lord Voldemort.
Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber is the iconic location for the Hogwarts Express train scenes. It’s located on the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig, and Muggles can ride the train by grabbing tickets for the Jacobite Steam Train.
Where was Harry Potter filmed in Ireland?
Cliffs of Moher
The coastal Cliffs of Moher on the western shores of Ireland are featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry and Dumbledore visit a cave in order to find and destroy a Horcrux.
Where was Harry Potter filmed in Wales?
Located near Castlemartin, Freshwater West Beach of Pembrokeshire in Wales was featured in the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 as the setting for Bill and Fleur’s Shell Cottage, and the final resting place of Dobby the house elf.
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