The Ultimate Harry Potter Travel Guide to the U.K.

Can you believe that it has been more than a decade since the release of the last Harry Potter book (and almost a decade now since the release of the last Harry Potter movie?), and yet the fandom is going as strong than ever. Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon that may never go away.

I know this Harry Potter fan is here for life! And like most millennial fans, I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, which is why it holds such a special place in my heart. It was my first introduction for my love of books and imagination. It’s crazy to think that after all this time my favorite childhood book is still one of my favorites and it has brought me to travel to parts of the world that I may have not have even thought about twice!

Me and my husband Mitchell, who shares my same obsession, have gone on two different UK road trips to see all of the Harry Potter locations (yes two!), here are the locations we have visited so far to help you plan a Harry Potter trip of your own:

LONDON, ENGLAND 

When you think of Harry Potter locations your mind probably goes straight to London, right? It does for me at least. After all, the books and movie both start off in a suburb near London, the entrance to Diagon Alley is in London, the Ministry of Magic is located downtown, and the list goes on.  Here are some must visit locations in the iconic city:

The Georgian House Hotel

I could not recommend a more magical stay than the gorgeous Georgian House. Although, it claims to not be directly correlated to the franchise, its pretty clear where they are drawing their inspiration from.

When you enter the hotel it looks like any other London hotel. The hotel lobby is chic and beautifully decorated, but still unsuspecting of any wizard vibes. It’s only after you are given your hotel key (which is a legit old fashion key fit for the Leaky Cauldron) that you enter the “wizard chambers” through a secret passage book shelf door. All the wizard theme rooms are located beyond this passage!

HP hotel

I mean, just look at this enchanting space! Feeling like I’m right at home in my common room at Hogwarts. The Georgian House definitely goes above and beyond with the details to make the stay very special. The room was stocked with a pretty four poster bend, burgundy and golden drapes, a detailed tapestry, a cozy fireplace, mini fridge, and a coffee/tea station with biscuits included— this is England after all!

It even keeps the Harry Potter books in guest rooms and you can check out all the DVDs from the lobby!

Even the bathroom was fully decked out with a “Ministry of Magic Entrance”!

Evening Potion Making

The hotel provides an evening potion making class in muggle terms, cocktail making. This was an extra expense and if you book online it gives you the option to add this experience. It was a fun bonus to our stay.

However, if you’d rather save I recommended holding out for The Cauldron. The Cauldron is a fully immersive wizards bar in the city that is truly magical. I’ll talk more about this spot later on.

Wizard Breakfast

We didn’t actually order the wizards breakfast and opted to just eat what was included,  but still thought it was a cute touch.

Location: 35 – 39 St George’s Dr. Pimlico, London, United Kingdom

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

 

If there was an absolute must on this list, it’s the Warner Bros. Studio Tour! I’m sure if you’re reading this article then this is already in your London vacay. Seriously, we died when we were here. When we asked a member of staff how long it takes people to walk through the tour and she replied “3 hours on typically” we laughed because we had already been there triple the amount of time and they were kicking us out because they were closing. The majority of the filming was done here and the tour includes tons of real live sets, props, and costumes! So can you really blame us? We were in Harry Potter nerd heaven.

We got to visit for the second time last Autumn and it was still just as exciting and magical! And you can bet we will be going back for a 3rd visit next time we are in London, it’s that good!

The thing that keeps us wanting to revisit is that they are always changing up the theme and the props and sets they feature. For example, the first time we visited the theme was Goblet of Fire, so they had lots of props out from that film such as the triwards cup. For our second visit during October it was Dark Arts themed. The Great Hall was also all decorated and ready for Halloween!

The Potions set that was used from film 5 onward— this was definitely one of my favorite sets!

Great Hall

If I told you this was the cafeteria would you believe? Well it is! How magical, right? Feels just like you are dinning in the Great Hall.

Gringotts was stunning! It was hard to believe that you’re just on a set and in the actual Australia House Bank in London. The Australia House was the actual on location filming spot and they were able to recreate it for the 7th film.

HP Studio Tour

Location: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, United Kingdom

Note- The studio is in Waterford, about 20 minutes outside of London. If you don’t plan on renting a car I recommend taking the train to Waterford Junction from London Euston. The studio does provide transportation on a shuttle bus from Waterford Junction to the studio for £3.00.

The Cauldron 

The Cauldron

The Cauldron is a magical pub where you get to brew your own drinkable elixirs! After receiving a magic wand and your robe, you are led into the “dungeons” where you test out your magic. You get to first give your wand some practice by pouring your own welcome drink (shown below) from a kraken, werewolf, dragon, or phoenix.

The Cauldron_-3

You then choose two potions to brew from their range of potions. Each have different traits and effects! We seriously had a blast and totally felt like we were in Professor Snape’s potions class.

You pay a set fee for the 1 hr 45 min experience and if want to add any additional drinks you can do so for an additional cost.

Note: The Cauldron states that it is broadly inspired by fantasy and science-fiction and is not endorsed by, affiliated with or associated with Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling or otherwise connected with Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Location: 79 Stoke Newington Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 8AD, UK

Actual Filming Locations Around London

Leandenhall Market

London Total # (1)-4

What scene it’s from:

If you remember from the Scorer’s Stone Hagrid takes Harry to purchase his school supplies in Diagon Alley. To get to Diagon Alley they must first enter the Leaky Cauldron. On their way to the wizards pub they pass through Leandenhall Market!

Why you should visit:

Even non Harry Potter fans will appreciate this spot. Leadenhall Market is a really cool covered market in the heart of the city. The market dates back to the 14th century and is situated in what was the center of Roman London! Back then it was a meat, poultry and game market. Today it offers a number of boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and an award-winning pub.

Location: Gracechurch St, Langbourn, London, United Kingdom

Kings Cross Station

What scene it’s from:

Of course you all are familiar with Kings Cross Station. After all it’s where wizard students catch the Hogwarts Express. In the wizarding world, Harry and his friends get to the platform by entering through the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. You’ll see Kings Cross featured in most of the films as students head back to school.

Since Kings Cross is one of the most notable locations from the films and books it draws hundreds if not thousands of fans everyday. It has become so popular that the station created their own platform 9¾ so fans can have their own back-to-school moment. In addition, there is also the 9¾ Potter shop right next to it so you can get all your wizard needs for your perfect photo op.

Why you should visit:

Being one of the most iconic locations you might as well see it for yourself. I will mention how crazy packed it gets to try and get a photo here. The line probably took an hour and the Potter shop next door was just as crazy. So if you have your heart set on getting your photo here, be prepared to have lots of patience. Alternatively, you can snap a photo at 9¾ at the Warner Brothers Tour where they have multiple platforms so there is never that long of a line to get a great pic.

Location: GVJF+9M Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom

St. Pancras Renissance Station/ Hotel

St Pancras_-2

Ok, the only scenes from St. Pancras are from the outside, but how could I resist this interior? You’re probably wondering what scene this location is from then.

What scene it’s from:

Recall the scene from Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron can’t get through the barrier to platform 9¾? When they eventually decide to take matters into their own hands in Mr. Weasley’s Flying Ford Anglia, there is a shot of them flying away with the exterior of this hotel/station, which is directly across from Kings Cross Station.

Why you should visit:

I’ll be honest the staircase is really what brought me here. The hotel features a number of different films, TV series, and even a Spice Girls music video. It’s also a perfect location if your looking for a place to stay in the city (if you’re willing to splurge).

Location: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2AR, United Kingdom

Millenium Bridge

What scene it’s from: 

In the opening of the Half Blood Prince you see Fenrir Greyback and a small group of Death Eaters destroy Millenium Bridge to create chaos as the Death Eaters start rising to power once again.

Why you should visit:

It’s actually a pretty unique bridge! Not only is the bridge visually striking due to its perfect alignment with the south facade of St. Paul’s Cathedral, it was also the first new bridge to be built over the Thames in London for more than 100 years! Usually, all new bridges across the Thames require an Act of Parliament to be passed.

Location: Thames Embankment, London SE1 9JE, United Kingdom

20 Claremont Square

What scene it’s from:

Aka Number 12 Grimmauld Place, was the childhood home of Sirius Black turned headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. We first see this location on screen in the 5th film when the order members pick up Harry from the Dursley’s and take him to meet his Godfather, Sirius.

Why you should visit:

Since you flew your broomsticks all the way to King’s Cross, you might as well pop over to see 12 Grimmauld Place, which is only a 15 minute walk (or a 3 minute broom ride).

Location: 20 Claremont Square, Islington, London

Piccadilly Circus

London1-2

What scene it’s from:

Remember this location from the film and book? It’s the place Hermione decides to apparate herself along with Harry and Ron when the death eaters show up at Bill and Fleur’s wedding in Deathly Hallows part 1.

Why you should visit:

Piccadilly Circus is famous for it’s fountain that was installed in the nineteenth century and for its neon advertising that has turned it into a mini Times Square of sorts. Take a stroll and check out all the shops in this bustling square in the heart of London.

Location: Piccadilly, London, UK

Red Phone Booth

What scene it’s from:

The most recognizable phone booth from the series is when Mr. Weasley takes Harry into the Ministry of Magic (the public entrance) for his court hearing in Order of the Phoenix.

Why you should visit:

I mean did you even visit London if you don’t get a photo with a red phone booth? Apparently yes, because I didn’t! It was on my long list of things to when we were here and it never happened unfortunately. But that just means I need another visit, right?

Location: Scotland Place, Westminster, London

Note: the location I list is spot where the entrance to Ministry of Magic is however, the phone box itself was a prop specially brought in for the scene and removed once filming was complete. here are other phone booths nearby you can visit:

Location: Parliament St Westminster, London, UK

Shops

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾ 

The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾ is you guessed it, right next to the 9¾ Platform in Kings Cross Station. If you’re already passing by you might as well check it out. I will say it gets very crowded during the day like I mention previously. And it’s not anything particularly special, as it has all the same generic potter merchandise like every other Potter shop. I’d skip this one if you don’t have your eye on something already.

Location: Pancras Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AP, United Kingdom

House of MinaLima

Unlike the previous shop I listed, MinaLima is a must! The store is named for the two designers (Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima) who created most of the graphic props in the Wizarding World for the Harry Potter Warner Bros. films. They are the ones who created everything from the Daily Prophets,  Marauder’s Map, to school text book covers in the films! Get this— you can even buy your own legit Advance Potion Making text book from them and so much more!

Location: 26 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 5DE, United Kingdom

ENGLAND 

THE SHAMBLES, YORK

The Shambles

What scene it’s from:

How is The Shambles connected to the series? Unlike my other locations this not an actual filming location. However, it is said to be JK Rowlings major inspiration for Diagon Alley! Once you see it, you’ll instantly know why. In fact, when set builders started working on the Potter movies, the film’s designers visited this exact street to get ideas and make JK Rowling’s vision come to life.

Why you should visit:

Besides getting to feel like you’re at the real life Diagon Alley, the Shambles has quite an incredible history in itself. It is considered one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe. Although none of the original shop-fronts have survived from medieval times, the beautiful old buildings have been restored and now house adorable cafes, quirky boutiques, and is home to four different Potter shops.

The Shop That Must Not Be Named, World of Wizardry, and The Boy Wizard all sell official merchandise. Everything from wands, clothing, jewelry and more.

You can head down the street to brew your own“potions” at the old-fashioned apothecary shop,  The Potions Cauldron. They offer items such as Basilisk Blood, Serpent’s Venom Poison, and Elixir of Love!

Location: The Shambles, York, UK

ALNWICK CASTLE

Alnwick

What scene it’s from:

Both the Scorer’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed on location at Alnwick Castle. Probably the most iconic scene that Alnwick was featured was when the first years get a flying lesson from madame Cooch. The courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle were used to film Hogwarts students and staff going about their daily activities, one scene you may remember is when Ron calls Hermione a nightmare after the whole Leviosa fiasco. ​This is also where Harry and Ron crash-landed the Weasley family’s flying car!

Why you should visit:

It’s a stunning 11th century castle in the country side of England. It’s full of amazing history, Harry Potter aside. Its remained as a family home to this day with the Percy family residing in it for over 700 years! Also, Alnwick provides actual “flying lessons” with your own broom to borrow! Do you really need any more convincing?

Location:  Alnwick NE66 1NQ, United Kingdom

LACOCK ABBEY  Harry Potter Filming Locations in Lacock

What scene it’s from:

Various places in Lacock were used in the Scorer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Half Blood Prince, and, more recently, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Different places around the town served for different scenes such as the Potter residents and Slughorn’s hideout from the death eaters. However, the most notable is Lacock Abbey, which was used as the interior for Hogwarts.

If you have limited I definitely recommend at least checking out the Abbey. You’ll get to see the Hogwarts corridors, classrooms, and the room that had the mirror of erised!

Why you should visit:

Lacock is known to be one of the oldest medieval villages in England. It hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Its as if time has come to a halt, and you won’t find very many signs of the 21st century. Which makes sense that many period dramas, such as Downton Abbey, Pride and Predjudice, and Harry Potter alike have used the village of Lacock as a filming location.

WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER

What scene it’s from:

In one of the first scenes of the Goblet of Fire Harry and the Weasley family along with the Diggory’s head out on a trip to the Quidditch World cup. The White cliffs of Dover were used as the spectacular setting as they walk up a hill to find the port key which transports them to the game.

Why you should visit:

I honestly had no idea that England could be home to some of the most striking coasts I’ve ever seen. The White Cliffs of Dover are no different! It owes its unique appearance to its chalk composition and reaches heights of 350 feet (110m)! Dover offers an amazing day trip of hiking along its dramatic coast.

OXFORD

What scene it’s from:

There are many different locations around Oxford that were used for the films. Here are all the most recognizable spots that were used for the movies. To start this list off, there is the amazing Bodleian Library, which is the main library at Oxford University .

In the Bodleian Library you’ll find other smaller libraries inside, including the Duke Humfrey Library, aka the restricted section. In the Scorer’s Stone, you’ll remember Harry on a mission to find anything on Nicholas Flammel lurking under his invisibility cloak.

Also in Bodleian is the Divinity School, which was used as the Hospital Wing at Hogwarts. Another memorable location is New College. The cloisters are instantly recognizable here. This location was used for the fourth film, where Draco Malfoy is (justifiably) turned into a ferret by Mad Eye Moody.

Finally, let’s talk about Christ Church . The cloisters here were also used for scenes with students going about their daily routine and the area right outside the gift shop is where Hermione revealed to Harry that his father was also a brilliant seeker during his Hogwart years.

Another notable location in Christ Church is the stairwell. The stairwell was used for multiple scenes across the series, but they are in my opinion most recognizable from the arrival of Harry and his fellow school mates on their very first night at Hogwarts right before they make their big entrance to be sorted in Great Hall.

Why you should visit:

Like most of the film locations I’ve already mention in this article, Oxford is full of history. For over 800 years its been home to scholars and royalty. It has been an established town since the 9th century, although it is known that people have lived in the area for thousands of years! Oxford is so well worth a visit even if you’re not a Harry Potter fan.

Location: Oxford, England, UK

Note: For the Christ Church Oxford Harry Potter tour, you will have to purchase a ticket. An adult ticket costs £8 – £10 depending on the time of year.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

A visit to Edinburgh should be on any Harry Potter fan’s bucket list. After all it’s where JK Rowling first started writing the series. The first time I roamed its streets I instantly felt like I was inside the Wizarding World. It’s full of dark Gothic architecture and witchy vibes. It’s definitely easy to see how JK Rowling  was inspired by this incredible city. The beautiful Scottish capital has been her adopted home since the early 1990’s and is where she currently resides to this day!

Elephant House 

It is said that JK Rowling wrote the Potter books over coffee and cake in this relaxed, writer friendly cafe, whilst over-looking the Edinburgh Castle (Hogwarts connection anyone?). The coffee house even proclaims itself as the birthplace of Harry Potter proudly on the front door.

Probably the best part of visiting the Elephant House for Potter fans is the cafe’s bathroom. Why you ask? The white walls are filled with writings from fans from around the globe. Everything from heartfelt messages to Rowling to their favorite Potter quotes. The cafe used to crack down on the graffiti, but it’s now accepted it can’t be stopped.

Luckily the food is tasty too! Pop by for breakfast before a day of exploring. Make sure to try some their hot chocolates, perfect for a chilly Edinburgh day.

Location: 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN, United Kingdom

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Just a few minutes away from the Elephant House, you’ll find the eerie graveyard called Greyfriars Kirkyard. However, this is no ordinary graveyard. Rowling would most likely roam the grounds after visiting the cafe and clearly found lots of character name inspiration! If you search hard enough you’ll find names such as Potter, McGonagall, Riddle, and tons more.

Edinburgh Castle 

Vennel View Edinburgh

Remember me mentioning that while JK Rowling would write from the Elephant House she would have a view of the castle? Well, here it is in all its glory! The castle is situated on a hill, looming over the city. I can’t help but think of it’s similarities to Hogwarts! Which is why I included it on this list.

Location: 11, 1 Vennel, Edinburgh EH1 2HU, United Kingdom

Victoria Street 

Victoria Street is a gorgeous curving, cobbled stoned street, built between 1829 and 1834, by master architect Thomas Hamilton. It’s located in Edinburgh’s Old Town that connects George IV Bridge and Grassmarket.

The street is famous for its historic stone buildings with colorfully painted store fronts– very Diagon Alley-esque, don’t you think? While JK Rowling has never officially said that she drew inspiration from this street, it’s easy to envision while taking a stroll down it.

DG0A2520

The street is even home to a few Potter shops such as Museum Context and Boy Wizard. They’re filled with lots of goodies from wands to wizard artwork!

By far my favorite Potter shop I’ve ever visited is Museum Context. For the most part all the other Potter shops have all the same generic merchandise. Museum Context has a more authentic feel that allows you imagine yourself in Ollivander’s or even Flourish and Blotts perhaps. They have lots of unique items and they even have an area to snap a few photos in a robe with a school desk and all! If you only have time for one shop, make sure to check this one out!

The Witchery by the Castle 

The Witchery by the Castle has the most incredible dining atmosphere in the city by far! It’s so lavishly decorated with ornate gold candlesticks, red roses at each table, and all topped off a romantic candle lit glow. If a restaurant was my spirit animal, this would be it! It isn’t directly related with Harry Potter but if you want a magical dinning experience this would be my top recommendation.

Location: 352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF, United Kingdom

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct

What scene it’s from:

The real life Hogwarts express and bridge! Aka the Glenfinnan Viaduct and Jacobite train. The most recognizable scene comes from the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron are flying in Mr. Weasley’s car when they are trying to catch up with the train.

Why you should visit:

This location has always been at the top of my Harry Potter bucket list for some reason. Maybe its from childhood fantasy of taking a ride on a vintage train or the amazing landscape or the fact that I’d never seen a more impressive viaduct! In any case it was amazing to see this spot in real life and get see the real Hogwarts Express roll by!

Glen Coe 

Hogwarts Glen Coe

Glen Coe-2

What scene it’s from:

A lot changes from the first two films to the third. One of the notable changes was the location of Hagrid’s Hut. The Prisoner of Azkaban had much more dramatic landscape for the gentle giants home. You might remember Harry, Ron, and Hermione stopping by Hargid’s and having to climb down a steep hill in order to do so, unlike the Scorer’s Stone or Chamber Secrets where the could literally walk five feet from the castle.

Why you should visit:

When I pictured the Scottish Highlands Glencoe is excatly what I had imagined. It is breathtakingly beautiful and I don’t think I’ve said wow so many times back to back while driving through. It’s the perfect place for hill walking, mountaineering, and can also serve as an ideal base to explore more of the Highlands! JK Rowling has said that Hogwarts is somewhere in the North West Highlands. It’s fun to roam the remote, mountainous terrain in Glen Coe and imagine Hogwarts just feet away (disguised to keep it invisible to Muggles).

Location: Ballachulish PH49 4HX, United Kingdom

Hopefully you were able to get some ideas if you are wanting to visit these locations or learned something new about Harry Potter. Let me know what location is your favorite or if I’ve missed something that I should’ve included. I know there is about a million of different things I could’ve added here! Any comments are always appreciated. Thanks so much for reading and have a magical rest of your day!

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