I’m a huge Harry Potter fan… just like 99% of the population. I’ve seen the movies more times than I can count, I’ve read the books so many times they literally fell apart, I’ve drank butterbeer on two continents and I know way too much about the characters, the books and the films. My travels over the years have taken me to a large number of places that either served as inspiration for the films or as actual film sets! A few days ago we saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which has inspired me to put together an ultimate guide to some of the very best Harry Potter Destinations around the world! Now there are twenty places on the list below, I’ve been lucky enough to visit 14 and plan to tick the other 6 of as soon as possible! Have a read through and let us know how many you’ve seen and which ones you are itching to visit!
WARNER BROTHERS STUDIO TOUR, ENGLAND
The Harry Potter film series was filmed on set at Leavesden in the UK for more than ten years! Once the final film wrapped up the production crew were left with thousands of beautiful artefacts, props, costumes and sets that were made just for the films and so they decided to preserve and showcase these iconic props, costumes and sets so that Harry Potter fans could experience the magic of filmmaking first-hand. Set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made, the Studio Tour offers the chance for visitors to explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animated creatures and breathtaking special effects. Many of the original cast and crew even returned to reassemble the sets and record their memories from filming and on March 31 2012, the magic of the Studio Tour began! We visited in winter during their annual “Hogwarts in the Snow” and it was incredibly magical, especially for any Harry Potter fan (oh and there was even fake snow which this Aussie LOVED)!
ALNWICK CASTLE, NORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND
Alnwick Castle was used for Hogwarts Castle in Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! It was also the very spot where Harry and his classmates had their famous first broomstick lesson! Alnwick, along with Christ Church, Oxford, Durham Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral and Lacock Abbey together made up the Hogwarts exteriors and interiors! If you visit Alnwick today you can take part in one of their famous broomstick training sessions, in the exact same spot that Harry had his first flying lesson!
GLENFINNAN VIADUCT, SCOTLAND
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the famous bridge and train line which the Hogwarts Express travels along to get them to Hogwarts. I’m a big Harry Potter fan so was pretty speechless to see it in real life! The countryside surrounding the Viaduct is breathtaking and allows for some incredible hikes, which we did even with all the rain! During the summer months you can even take a ride on the “Jacobite Steam Train” which is an 84 mile round trip through the beautiful Scottish countryside which also crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct!
FRESHWATER WEST BEACH, PEMBROKESHIRE, WALES
Freshwater West, one of Wales’ premier surfing beaches not only sees surf buffs but also countless numbers of Harry Potter fans. The unspoilt surfing beach was also the site of the Shell Cottage in the final Harry Potter film and it is also where Dobby is buried.
GEORGIAN HOUSE HOTEL, LONDON
Unfortunately a lot of us didn’t receive a Hogwarts letter and so for the next best thing, book your London stay at the Georgian House Hotel in one of their Wizard Chambers! The Harry Potter themed rooms are concealed behind a bookcase door and are complete with four poster beds hung with velvet curtains, cauldrons, tapestries and potions! Top off your stay with a Muggle Tour of London and a deliciously magic breakfast at the hotel! I don’t know about you but on my next trip to London I can’t think of a better place to stay for a night!
GOATHLAND RAILWAY STATION, NORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
Goathland Railway Station was used for Hogsmeade Station in the Harry Potter films and the Warner Bros film crews turned this small village railway station into a film set within just a few days! Harry Potter fans still flock here to get a photo at the station.
CHRIST CHURCH COLLEGE, OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ENGLAND
Christ Church College’s Great Hall was the inspiration for the incredible Hogwarts Great Hall! Take the time to explore the college and wander the stairways which were also used to film some of the scenes in the films!
BODLEIAN LIBRARY, OXFORD UNIVERSITY, ENGLAND
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 as well as where Professor McGonagall taught the students how to dance and the elaborate Divinity School became Hogwarts infirmary.
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER, ORLANDO, USA
I absolutely LOOOOOVED The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando and can happily say that ANY fan of Harry Potter will too! It literally felt as if we had been transported to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade with all the gorgeous themed shops under the towering castle along with the music playing throughout along and a butter beer in hand! It was like a dream to be walking through a fictional place that I had been reading about and imagining myself in for over a decade! One of the most famous & most popular parts of Harry Potter World is the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Ride which everyone in our group raved about for hours, especially with the incredible special effects!
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER, LOS ANGELES, USA
This year, Universal Studios Hollywood opened the doors to their very own Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Here you can explore the mysteries of Hogwarts Castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade and eat some of the best delicious wizard food out there! In addition you can experience thrilling rides and attractions that will without a doubt transport you into the world of Harry Potter and all things magic!
Glencoe is one of the most beautiful regions in Scotland with dramatic landscapes and breathtakingly beautiful scenery. We fell in love when we drove through the area on our roadtrip of the Scottish Highlands earlier this year. A number of scenes were filmed in Glencoe for the series including scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince and of course it was also the location of Hagrid’s Hut, complete with pumpkin patch and smoking chimney!
AUSTRALIA HOUSE, LONDON (aka Gringotts Wizarding Bank)
Australia House on Strand in central London became the location of Gringotts Wizarding Bank with many scenes filmed in its grand interior!
MILLENNIUM BRIDGE, LONDON
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince began with a dramatic attack on London by the Death Eaters which saw the Millennium Bridge destroyed! The Millennium Bridge is a footbridge which crosses the River Thames and links Bankside with the City, also offering dramatic views of St Paul’s Cathedral as you cross the river from south to north.
REPTILE HOUSE, LONDON ZOO
The Reptile House at the London Zoo featured briefly in the first movie when Harry famously discovered he could talk to snakes! Whether you are a fan of the movies or just of animals then the London Zoo is well worth a visit when visiting the capital! It is home to more than 650 different species of animals!
PLATFORM 9 3/4, KINGS CROSS STATION, LONDON
The beautiful, iconic Kings Cross Station in London is home to the very famous Platform 9 and 3/4! This is where Harry and all other members of the wizarding community leave the Muggle world behind! Whilst you won’t be able to run through the wall, you are able to join a (very long) queue of fans to get a snap pushing your luggage trolley (and Hedwig) through the wall! Trust me it’s totally worth the wait for the photo!
Strolling the charming old streets of Edinburgh transports you to a magical world, it is full of Harry Potter inspiration every where you look! In addition J.K.Rowling began writing Harry Potter at the Elephant Cafe and checked into the luxurious Balmoral Hotel to complete the final installment of the epic series! She even left her mark on a marble bust in her room, writing “JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11th Jan 2007!” How incredible is that?!
Durham Cathedral’s ancient cloisters served as the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry released Hedwig the owl from his hands in the first film. In addition, during the second film the Cathedral chapter house became the location for Professor McGonagall’s classroom where we saw Harry, Ron and Hermione turn animals into water goblets!
THE SEA CAVE, CLIFFS OF MOHER, IRELAND
During Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry and Professor Dumbledore apparate to a rock which is moving towards a sea cave in the face of a towering cliff. They are on the hunt for horcruxes and the sea cave where they end up in is at the foot of the very spectacular Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland.
LEADENHALL MARKET, LONDON
Leadenhall Market, built in 1881, is London’s most beautiful Victorian Market. It is also the location where some of the exterior Diagon Alley scenes were filmed. The entrance to The Leaky Cauldron is in real life, an optician’s in Bulls Head Passage.
Read more: Harry Potter Studio Tour: Hogwarts in the Snow, Old School 11 Self Catered Apartments Loch Ness, Exploring the Magical Scottish Highlands, The Ultimate Guide to Harry Potter Destinations around the World
Are there any other Harry Potter destinations you would add to our list?