Harry Potter filming locations you can visit in real life
When the enchanting world of witches and wizards first emerged on the big screen, it captured the hearts of millions of fans around the globe. The magical locations described in the Harry Potter books were able to come to life thanks to numerous destinations that provided the iconic fictitious settings, such as Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Even though the film franchise may have come to an end, you can still travel to the real-life destinations where all the action took place!
The London Zoo is shown in the debut Harry Potter film when Harry first realizes he can communicate with snakes, although he didn’t realize he was speaking Parseltongue at the time. The London Zoo Reptile House houses a black mamba snake within the same enclosure that was shown in the movie, and fans can fully experience what it was like for young Radcliffe to film within the dimly lit building. After standing where Harry Potter stood when he accidently released a python from its habitat, guests can explore the rest of London Zoo’s exhibits, such as the Land of the Lions or Butterfly Paradise.
Greyfriar’s Kirkyard (or churchyard) is a cemetery located in Edinburgh that doesn’t make an appearance in the films, but it provided plenty of ideas for J.K. Rowling to include in the series. Thousands of fans flock to this reportedly haunted graveyard to locate the graves of Tom Riddell and William McGonagall, whose headstones helped Rowling develop the characters of Tom Riddle and Professor Minerva McGonagall. The cemetery is even open 24 hours a day for adventurous fans who want to try ghost hunting!
This London street dates back to the 14th century, and its unique features were depicted as the curious wizarding marketplace known as Diagon Alley. The entrance of Leadenhall Market was shown in the very first film when Hagrid leads Harry around the various shops to purchase the required school supplies for Hogwarts. The building that doubled as The Leaky Cauldron is also located within Leadenhall Market, marked with a blue door that makes it easy for fans to find. Although you can’t buy a wand or owl in this real-life Diagon Alley, there are plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants that you can explore and visit!
Several of Oxford’s beautiful colleges were used in the film to show various scenes that portrayed the magic of Hogwarts. The world-famous Bodleian Library was the perfect setting for the Hogwarts Library, where Harry explores beneath his Invisibility Cloak in order to steal a restricted book. The 12th-century cathedral known as Christ Church was shown in multiple scenes, and it’s famous for the grand staircase that led the trio towards the Hogwarts Great Hall in the films. The hallways of Christ Church were also used when Harry first sees his father’s Quidditch trophy.
Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean makes its appearance in the first part of the Deathly Hallows film. Harry, Hermione, and Ron spend months within the Forest of Dean searching for Voldemort’s Horcruxes while hiding from Death Eaters and Ministry of Magic officials. This slightly creepy forest also gave J.K. Rowling some early influence for her ideas, as it’s reported that she grew up near the Forest of Dean when she was a young girl. Exploring the trails of this natural landscape is sure to entice Harry Potter fans due to its profound impact on the author’s writing, as well as its important role in the movies.
The 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct was made famous in the Harry Potter films, as it depicts part of the Hogwarts Express journey to the castle. You can take a ride on the Jacobite steam train to experience the same route as Harry, Hermione, and Ron did on their travels to Hogwarts. During some train ride tours, the conductor will even stop the train on the viaduct so passengers can take time to take photos and look at the incredible Jacobite Monument that the viaduct overlooks. For anyone who still feels a bit glum about not receiving a Hogwarts acceptance letter, this could be the trip of a lifetime!
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