Harry Potter is one of the most well-loved franchises in books as well as in the movies. While most of the places mentioned in the books are fictional, with the exception of London, most of them are real film locations. Unfortunately, most of them are closed to visitors. Here are some of the London locations where Harry Potter movies were shot.
Harry Potter lived a normal life in suburban London in the fictional town of Little Whinging. There in that little town, Harry became an orphan and was raised by an anti-magic aunt and uncle. The London Zoo Reptile House was the sight of where 10-year old Harry realized his magical powers when he talked to a boa constrictor. Soon he was invited to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Other sites in London used for Harry Potter films are the Big Ben and Parliament where Harry was welcomed to the modern city inhabited by the Muggles; King’s Cross Station where Harry took the train to Hogwarts. A red steam train—the Hogwarts Express—took Harry and Ron from the Scottish countryside to the Hogwarts, where Harry will be spending his next seven years. Other famous London attractions featured in Harry Potter movies are the Tower Bridge, London Eye, Millennium Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.
Most scenes depicting the mysterious side of Hogwarts were shot in the elaborate, fan-vaulted corridors of the Gloucester Cathedral, 50 miles north of Bath. The scene were Harry was being selected for Gryffindor’s Quiddich team was shot in The Sorcerer’s Stone was shot in the 13th century Lacock Abbey. The scene where Harry, Ron, and Hermione took refuge in the woods in the first Deathly Hollows was shot in the Swinley Forest area of Windsor’s Great Park
Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s wizarding preparatory school, is made up of several locations, most of which were real locations in Oxford. Christ Church College was the site of the dining hall scene throughout the films. In the Sorcerer’s Stone, the scene where Harry sneaked in to the restricted book section was shot in Duke’s Humfrey Library in Oxford. At the end of the same film, the scene where Harry woke up in the Hogwarts infirmary was shot in the Divinity School. This is also the site of the scene where Ron recovers from being poisoned in The Half-Blood Prince.
Durham and Northeast England
Durham Cathedral was where Harry walks with his white owl Hedwig, through a snowy cloister courtyard. The scene in Deathly Hollows Part I where Harry and Hagrid escape a pack of Death Eaters was shot in Liverpool’s Queensway Tunnel.
In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry walks with his white owl, Hedwig, through a snowy cloister courtyard located in Durham’s Cathedral.
Harry first learns to fly a broomstick on the green grass of Hogwarts’ school grounds, filmed inside the walls of Alnwick Castle, located 30 miles from Newcastle. In The Chamber of Secrets, this is where the Weasleys’ flying car crashes into the Whomping Willow.
In the second Deathly Hallows (2011), the pivotal scene at Lily and James Potter’s home in Godric’s Hollow — when Harry becomes the “Boy Who Lived” — was shot in the medieval town of Lavenham, Suffolk, about 75 miles northeast of London.
Shell Cottage, which served as the home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour as well as a hideout for other characters appeared in the two Deathly Hallows movies. This is also where Harry, Ron, and Hermione washed up after jumping off the back of a dragon in Part II.
Most of Fort Williams and Glencoe was where many of the movies’ exterior shots was filmed. The Hogwarts Express was shot on actual line running between Fort William and Mallaig. The train passes through the real-life Glenfinnan Viaduct, where the Dementors tortured Harry in The Goblet of Fire. A train bridge near Loch Shiel appeared in The Chamber of Secrets and was used again when the Dementor boarded the train in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Steal Falls was the location where Harry battled a dragon in the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire. Finally, Glencoe was where outdoor filming for The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half-Blood Prince was shot.