Throughout the Harry Potter productions, the team have used some of the UK’s most famous and magnificent locations as backdrops for the wizarding world. Many of these locations can still be visited today and look almost identical in real life as they do on screen. Others have clearly inspired aspects of the films, from the halls of Hogwarts to the natural vistas surrounding Hogsmeade.
There are countless Harry Potter-related tours that fans can take, thus gaining access to these beautiful pieces of architecture. There’s also a studio tour that further details the production process and showcases some of the sets that complement these locations so well.
ten Honorable Mention: The Warner Bros. Studio Tour
While the Harry Potter The series was filmed in a range of famous Harry Potter fantasy locations, sometimes things have to be practically produced in a studio in order to really create the magic. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford, England highlights many of these amazing sets, allowing fans to really follow the films’ path.
From the Great Hall to the Ministry of Magic, these intricate places still stand thanks to the ingenious way they were constructed. These architectural marvels are mostly made from authentic materials to give a sense of authenticity. They are brilliantly complemented by great accessories and sets that bring this world to life. For Harry Potter fans it’s worth the detour.
9 Alnwick Castle
Hogwarts Castle is of course not an actual location, but there are many fantastical structures across the UK that provide brilliant backgrounds when it comes to specific aspects of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry . The location is in Alnwick, Northumberland.
The first and second films were actually filmed on location here, and scenes such as the Quidditch practice sequence with Madame Hooch on the Outer Bailey and the flying car crash on the castle’s outer courtyards were filmed here. The walk to Hagrid’s Hut also included Lion’s Arch in Alnwick.
8 Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Hogwarts Express is an iconic piece of Harry Potter imagery and one of the most magical aspects of early films. It represents a new journey into the unknown, and the bridge it crosses is very much like a threshold crossing into the wizarding world.
The so-called Scottish Bridge is actually the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the West Highland Line at Glenfinnan in the county of Inverness. It is indeed located in the West Highlands of Scotland above Loch Shiel and has hosted four Potter movies, including the thrilling train-to-car Weasley chase sequence in Chamber of Secrets.
7 Durham Cathedral
While castles were crucial in drawing inspiration from Hogwarts, several churches and cathedrals across the UK also had the perfect kinds of Gothic imagery and architecture that could help bring the school of wizards to life. Durham Cathedral was among those used.
Located in Durham, England, several scenes were filmed here in the first two films. The Cloister served as the outer hallways of Hogwarts where Harry, Ron, and Hermione congregated, while the Garth Cloister hosted the slug-eating sequence. The Chapter House also serves as the Transfiguration Classroom where McGonagall teaches.
6 Leadenhall Market
London is a diverse city full of great filming locations. In the history of cinema, it has hosted all kinds of great productions and Harry Potter called the city home for a while. Of all the locations throughout the films shot in the English capital, those of Leadenhall Market stand out.
The area is instantly recognizable by its low ceilings and interesting buildings. It is the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and by extension, Diagon Alley in the movies and it was above all a remarkable place for The stone of the philosophers (sorcerers) as young Harry experienced the wizarding world for the first time.
5 Goathland Railway Station
The Hogwarts Express marks the magnificent journey to the famous school but it has to stop somewhere. Hogsmeade Station is its point of arrival and where students first set foot in truly magical territory. The actual location is actually Goathland Station.
It is an actual railway station operating in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England rather than Scotland as in the films, and is part of the Moors Railway. Everything in the area is the same, including the bridge and the small office building. The most famous scene, besides the laying down of plans, occurs when Hagrid says goodbye to the students.
4 Christ Church College
Castles and cathedrals boast of this historic Gothic architecture, as do universities and colleges in England. When it comes to classical and historically significant structures, Christ Church College is certainly one of the most famous in the world.
Entering the incredible buildings is really like stepping foot in Hogwarts itself. Oxford, England is where the college is located (as it is part of the University of Oxford) and actually other Harry Potter filming locations like the Bodleian Library. The college in particular hosted scenes like the hallway sequence with the Quidditch cup and the staircase of McGonagall greeting the students.
3 King’s Cross Station
King’s Cross is the starting point of the Hogwarts Express. The working London station is such an important part of Harry Potter traditions. This is where Harry runs against the wall and also serves as the backdrop for Platforms 9 and 3/4. Fans from around the world flock to this real-world setting.
King’s Cross played into the fame of the series and actually created points for tourists to interact with the area. There’s a wizard’s shop with all kinds of awesome wares and a photo op with the cart in the exact spot on the wall where wizards enter the platform.
2 Whitehall Phone Booth
the Harry Potter world has a lot of disguised entrances to confuse Muggles. While the famous station platform can use a wall, the Ministry of Magic uses a restroom and the public hotspot of a red phone booth. The box itself is a London staple and a traditional piece of English iconography.
The phone booth used in filming for entrances like The order of the Phoenix is located in Whitehall. It is still standing today and is an operational phone booth that fans often take pictures of. Interestingly, Westminster Road is located at the heart of London and its governance, as is the ministry itself.
1 Gloucester Cathedral
Another cathedral that has all the architecture necessary for the aesthetics of Hogwarts, Gloucester is an example of Harry Potter continue to shoot on location in later films. Although the sets were used in a larger capacity as the films progressed, there were still plenty of opportunities to shoot in the real world.
The cathedral which is in Gloucester, England was used for various hallway scenes in early films and even up to Half-Blood Prince where Ron and Harry had a run-in with McGonagall. The Cloisters in particular saw Harry and Ron hide from troll attack, before becoming the home of the Chamber of Secrets’ message written by blood.
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