Prepare to be spellbound
When you think of the world of Harry Potter, the first place that springs to mind is Hogwarts, complete with its impressive Great Hall, floating staircases and mysterious Forbidden Forest.
But did you know that many of these magical settings were inspired by real-life locations? We’ve rounded up 10 attractions across the UK that Harry Potter fans will recognise from the films.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Northumberland’s Alnwick Castle is best known as one of the locations that served as Hogwarts. The Outer Bailey is where Harry first learned to fly a broomstick, and you may recognise the Inner Bailey as the place where Ron crash-landed the Weasley’s family car.
Bodleian Libraries, Oxfordshire
Located in the heart of Oxford, the Restricted Section of Hogwarts’ library was filmed at the Bodleian. If the magnificent gothic architecture of the Divinity School also looks familiar, it’s because this was used as the Hogwarts Infirmary in several of the films.
Christ Church, Oxfordshire
Oxford’s largest and most-visited college is the one most associated with the wizarding world. Follow in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s footsteps up the Bodley Staircase and through the cloisters. Perhaps most famously, the college’s spectacular dining hall served as inspiration for Hogwarts Great Hall.
Durham Cathedral, County Durham
Durham’s enchanting Norman Cathedral features in both The Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. The Cloister Garth provided the wintry setting for Hedwig’s first flight around Hogwarts, while The Chapter House was used as the location for Professor McGonagall’s Transfiguration classroom.
Glencoe & Dalness Visitor Centre, Highland
Glencoe has long been known for its atmospheric and awe-inspiring scenery – which made it the perfect place for several scenes from The Prisoner of Azkaban. It also provides the location for Hagrid’s Hut; while the set itself is sadly no longer there, the backdrop is still recognisable.
Glenfinnan Monument, Highland
A short walk up the hill from the Glenfinnan Monument Visitor Centre will see you rewarded with a fantastic viewpoint for the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the Hogwarts Express famously crosses over in The Chamber of Secrets. Keep an eye out for the Jacobite Steam Train on your visit.
Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire
Gloucester’s dramatic cathedral was the setting for many of the interior Hogwarts scenes in the first two films. The historic cloisters were transformed into corridors, while the south side doubled as the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room. The east walk is also the setting for the bathroom haunted by Moaning Myrtle.
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
You may recognise this striking Elizabethan masterpiece as Malfoy Manor, the formidable family home of the Malfoy family. All the exterior scenes were shot here – wander the extensive gardens on your visit and venture inside to discover the hall’s own fascinating history.
Lacock Abbey, Fox Talbot Museum & Village, Wiltshire
Lacock is the birthplace of modern photography, so it’s fitting that both the abbey and village feature in a number of films. Harry Potter’s parents’ house can be found in Lacock; a walk around Lacock Abbey will also reveal the rooms used as Snape and Quirrell’s classrooms.
ZSL London Zoo, London
The Reptile House at London Zoo played host to one of the most memorable scenes in The Philosopher’s Stone. It’s here that, during Dudley’s birthday trip to the zoo, Harry first realises his ability to talk to snakes.