The movies were one big love letter to the U.K., and many of these locations are available to at least walk around. You might even be able to find a Potter-themed tour, while you're at it. Here are the filming locations to visit that'll satisfy all your cravings for movies, muggles, and magic. Accio!
Picket Post Close, Bracknell
Also known as the "Harry Potter house," this actual residence was used as the set for No. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, in the first two films. It was auctioned off in 2003; It's probably still a private residence, so we wouldn't recommend asking to go inside, but you can certainly walk around.
Black Park, England
The filming location for several different scenes throughout the series, you may recognize it as the location of Hagrid’s hut during the first two films, the Forbidden Forest, or where Hagrid showed Harry the dragons in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
London Zoo's Reptile House, London
Harry frees a python and realizes he can talk to snakes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Both inside and outside the real-life Reptile House were used for this scene.
Loch Shiel, Scotland
Loch Shiel was one of the two gorgeous lakes used for Hogwarts Lake. It made an appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Buckbeak dipped his feet in the water while Harry rode on its back and again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Harry and Hermione looked across Hogwarts Lake from the Astronomy Tower at the end of the movie.
Big Ben, London
It's just for a moment, but Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are two landmarks in the background when Harry first travels to London with Hagrid.
Leadenhall Market, London
This famous covered market in London is where Hagrid takes Harry to the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron Pub (42 Bull's Head Passage, in real life). London’s most beautiful Victorian market was the location of some of the Diagon Alley scenes. Leadenhall Market also houses the shop used as the entrance of the Leaky Cauldron from the fourth movie in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
King's Cross Station, London
All real Harry Potter fans have wondered about finding the magical platform to get to Hogwarts. At Kings Cross, not only will you find Platform 9 ¾, but you’ll also find a shop where you can stock up on Harry Potter gear. Don’t forget to get your picture taken with the famous luggage trolley before you head out on your magical journey!
Hagrid takes Harry to King's Cross so he can board a train to his new wizarding home.
At the time of the shooting, platforms 4 and 5 were apparently temporarily renumbered 9 and 10. There actually is still a Platform 9 3/4 sign to this day (although you can't board the Hogwarts Express, sadly) with a cute disappearing trolley.
King's Cross was also used in other Harry Potter films, all the way through Deathly Hallows.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glenfinnan
This railway viaduct in Scotland was used for those gorgeous aerial shots of the Hogwarts Express. Nowadays, West Coast Railways has a train service that will take you over it as part of an 84-mile trip.
Goathland Train Station, Goathland
And this station served as the location of Hogsmeade Station, where the students get off for Hogwarts. Does Goathland Station not ring a bell? That’s because Warner Bros. transformed it into Hogsmeade Station. This charming station acted as the final stop where students would happily disembark to start another year at the best school for witchcraft and wizardry in the world, Hogwarts.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
In the first and second Harry Potter films, Alnwick Castle acted as the set for Hogwarts; A number of other productions have also filmed there, including Downton Abbey and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
The location is stunning and expansive. It also (if you happen to be a fan of the Royal Family as well) was the location for Prince William's BFF Thomas van Straubenzee's wedding to Lady Melissa Percy. Built-in the 11th century, the castle grounds are where Harry and his friends first learned to fly their broomsticks in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Alnwick Castle is also where Harry learned the rules of Quidditch.
Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester
The cathedral doubled as the inside of Hogwarts on multiple movies, including The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Half Blood Prince. Including when Harry and Ron spot an enormous troll down a long hallway. And here's a shot of the late Alan Rickman (a treasure, gone too soon) shooting the Half-Blood Prince.
Harrow School, Harrow
Professor Flitwick teaches Harry how to use a wand in the Harrow School's Fourth Form Room (the classroom dates all the way back to 1615). The Crown has also apparently shot at Harrow School. There are public tours, but check to see when. You can see the very room where Hermione learned to levitate a feather in Professor Flitwick’s Charms class at Harrow School. A tour of this real-life boarding school will give you a firsthand look at the Fourth Form Room where the wizards tried to perfect the Wingardium Leviosa spell.
Duke Humfrey's Library, Oxford
The scenes in the Hogwarts Library where Hermione reads, where Harry steals a restricted book was one of a few locations filmed at Oxford.
4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey
Only true Potterheads will take a trip to the suburbs to visit Harry’s childhood home. 4 Privet Drive was where we first met Harry and the unpleasant Dursley family in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Technically, the home for the movies was filmed in Berkshire, so you’ll find all the crowds taking their pictures at 12 Picket Post Close in Martins Heron.
Divinity School, Oxford
In The Half-Blood Prince, Ron recovers in the infirmary after being poisoned which was actually shot inside the Divinity School.
Piccadilly Circus, London
Think back to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 when Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to leave Bill (Ron’s older brother) and Fleur’s wedding when they learned Death Eaters were after them. That scene where they were running through the West End was filmed in Piccadilly Circus.
Balmoral Hotel, Scotland
Room 552 of this five-star hotel is where J.K. Rowling completed the final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You can book the J.K. Rowling Suite and a package that includes a private tour and Harry Potter-themed cocktails starting at £2,500 per night.
New College Cloister, Oxford
In The Goblet of Fire, Mad-Eye Moody transforms Draco Malfoy into a ferret, right in this courtyard.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Travel back to your childhood and experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Explore Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, and even take a ride on the Hogwarts Express. With one in Los Angeles, one in Florida, and one in Japan, you have three opportunities to enjoy roller coasters, shops, and restaurants that bring the world of Harry Potter to life :)
Christ Church Dining Hall, Oxford
And, even though filming actually didn't take place in this iconic dining hall, it was the inspiration for the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Christ Church’s Great Hall was the inspiration for the impressive Hogwarts Dining Hall. When you visit Christ Church, you may also notice it’s home to the staircase where Professor McGonagall first met Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire
Walk the footsteps of Harry Potter and all the students of Hogwarts as you explore the grounds of Lacock Abbey, which stood in for Hogwarts in two of the Harry Potter films. Used for multiple Hogwarts interior scenes throughout the series, you may remember it from the Mirror of Erised scenes, as well as the location of Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell classrooms. The abbey served as another set for Hogwarts. Harry is chosen for the Quidditch team and attends Snape's classes here. Yes, you can take tours of the abbey.
The Elephant House, Scotland
Grab a coffee and a good book so you can enjoy the coffeehouse where J.K. Rowling spent countless hours creating one of the most popular book and movie series in the world. Make sure you bring a marker with you so you can add to the heartfelt messages on the bathroom wall.
Durham Cathedral, Durham
And Durham Cathedral also contributed exterior and interior locations for various scenes in the early films including one where Harry walked with Hedwig through a snowy, secluded courtyard.
This Scottish village was used for many an outdoor shot—the bridge to Hogwarts and Hagrid's hut, to name a couple. It's as close as we'll probably get to an actual Hogwarts campus.
Virginia Water, Windsor
Meanwhile, this was the set of Hogwart's Lake when Harry rode on a hippogriff, as well as scenes between Harry, Ron, and Hermione in The Goblet of Fire.
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Do you remember when Harry went into Hogwarts’ library undetected due to his invisibility cloak? Well, the Duke Humfrey’s Library, the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library, was where all that magic was filmed. To see this part of the library you’ll need to book a private tour, unless you have an invisible cloak like Harry did! The Bodleian Library was also the site of the infirmary in four of the Harry Potter movies.
Millennium Bridge, London
The Millennium Bridge collapsed into the River Thames during the dramatic open of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. While the Death Eaters destroyed the bridge in the film, in reality the pedestrian-only bridge still stands strong and offers great photo ops of the river and of the St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The Jacobite, Scotland
Book your ticket on the Hogwarts Express! This train runs from Fort William to Mallaig, and will take you across the “bridge to Hogwarts”. The Hogwarts Express route is open from March to October in 2018, and you can get your ticket starting at only £30.00.
Czocha Castle, Poland
The College of Wizardry uses this medieval castle to make your dream of becoming a witch or wizard come true. Here you’ll be part of a huge four-day/three-night live-action role-playing experience. You’ll attend magical arts classes and live in one of the “Houses of Czocha Castle”. This is a wizarding experience you won’t soon forget.
Georgian House Hotel, London
Want to spend a night at Hogwarts? Book a stay at Georgian House Hotel. They offer Harry Potter-themed rooms decorated with spell books, potions, cauldrons, trunks, and faux castle details such as stained glass windows and stone walls. To make sure you get the full Harry Potter experience, the hotel also offers a walking tour of London attractions that were featured in the Harry Potter series and “The Making of Harry Potter Tour” at Warner Bros. Studio London.
Harry Potter: The Exhibition
The Exhibition travels internationally to allow Potter fans to view thousands of authentic costumes, props, and creatures in the best film sets from the movies. You’ll get to see elaborate recreations of sets like the Gryffindor common room and dormitory as well as the Forbidden Forest, you can even test out your skills in the Quidditch area. This exhibition is a must-see for any true Harry Potter fan. Visit their website for their current location.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London
Warner Bros. Studio has created an award-winning experience that brings the wizarding world to life as you discover how they created the magic of Harry Potter. With amazing sets, authentic costumes, and genuine props, you’ll feel like you’re actually on the set of a Harry Potter film. You can buy your tickets to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour here.
Many of the outdoor scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were filmed in beautiful Glencoe. Though the sets have been removed, Glencoe was home to Hagrid’s Hut and the Bridge to Nowhere, and HP fans can still take in the breathtaking sceneries we enjoyed so much during the movie.
Seven Sisters Country Park, England
You’ll recognize Seven Sisters Country Park from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The famous scene from this site happened when Harry walked up the hill and found the boots that transported him and the Weasleys to the Quidditch World Cup.
Steall Falls, Scotland
This gorgeous waterfall is the second-highest of its kind in Britain. It was also the location of the Triwizard Tournament where Harry battled the Hungarian Horntail dragon in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
We know it’s still hard to grasp that the owl never delivered your Hogwarts letter. But a visit to any of these destinations will make you forget about that as they bring the magic of Harry Potter back to life.