Based on the books by JK Rowling, Harry Potter has to be one of the most popular films of this generation. From the beginning of the eight films, viewers follow Harry, Ron and Hermoine from the time they enter the school in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the time their tenure at Hogwarts ends in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. But, did you know that all their adventures were filmed in the UK?
This cinematic sensation was filmed in some of the most picturesque and amazingly iconic locations in the UK, locations that are visited by tens of thousands of Harry Potter fans a year. But, these locations also double as cathedrals, markets and natural landscapes that are just as fascinating to those who aren’t fans of Harry Potter.
But, for anyone who loves the movies knowing where the scenes were filmed, experiencing these locations first hand will be a dream come true.
Here is a list of some of the most prominent locations in Harry Potter’s films.
Harry Potter Filming Locations in London, England, and Scotland
Most of the filming for Harry Potter takes place in London and greater England, but there are also some spectacular exterior shots (like shots of Hagrid’s hut) that are shot in Scotland.
Plenty of the most iconic shots in Harry Potter were filmed in London. From exterior shots of the train station that started it all to Diagon Alley, the most recognisable market in Harry Potter.
King’s Cross Station – Platform 9 3/4
In the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry struggles to find his way to Hogwarts since he can’t find Platform 9 ¾. While trying to find the platform on the station he meets the Weasley’s who help him travel to Hogwarts through the Hogwarts Express. Throughout the film’s series, Platform 9 ¾ is filmed at King’s Cross Station in London.
To create the scene, Platforms 4 and 5 at King’s Cross Station were renumbered 9 and 10. Now you can find the hidden Platform 9 ¾ with a half a luggage cart disappearing into a wall at the station. And experience what travelling to Hogwarts would have been like in real life.
Leadenhall Market – Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley
The Leaky Cauldron features prominently in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone. But, did you know that exterior footage of this old world pub is shot at Leadenhall Market in London? Not only that, but plenty of the exterior footage of Diagon Alley is shot at Leadenhall Market as well.
So, if you want to feel like you’re shopping in the Harry Potter universe Leadenhall market is a must-visit.
Built in 1881, the Market still has that old-world feel, as it’s one of London’s remaining Victorian markets.
Warner Bros Studios, London
Although the exterior shots are what add to the cinematic experience, and will be enjoyed by many of Harry Potter’s true fans. Most of the recognizable places are actually inside the Warner Bros studios in London. And can be experienced on the Warner Bros Studio Tour.
Here you’ll truly be able to experience what it was like to film Harry Potter, because, besides the behind-the-scenes look at production you’ll have access to the most iconic sets of all time.
Many of the recognisable scenes are shot in the rest of England. From the corridors of Hogwarts to the Quidditch World Cup, there were plenty of Harry Potter scenes filmed outside of London.
Alnwick Castle – Hogwarts
If you ever wondered what Hogwarts would look like in real life you only have to go as far as Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England to find out. This extremely breathtaking castle is where the exterior shots of Hogwarts were filmed for the Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
Gloucester Cathedral – Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and the Half-Blood Prince
Interiors for three of the eight Harry Potter films were filmed at Gloucester Cathedral. That’s because the cathedral’s cloisters are exactly what you’d imagine when thinking about a world of wizardry.
Several momentous scenes were filmed within the Cathedral, which had to undergo a slight makeover to make it more old-world and wizard-friendly. This included covering modern keyholes, signs and locks, in addition to hiding any features that reveal that the scene is filmed in a cathedral. So, before filming, the crew prepared the cathedral, and plenty of those coverups remain to date.
As for the scenes filmed in Gloucester Cathedral, these include the scene in the corridor that spelt out “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened! Enemies of the heir beware!”
It’s also the location for the original door to the Gryffindor Common Room, and where Potter overhears Snape and Draco talking about the unbreakable vow in the Half-Blood Prince.
Durham Cathedral – Philosopher’s Stone, the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Something ominous is always happening in the corridors of Hogwarts and requires equally ominous surroundings to make it feel realistic. Of course, these spectacular scenes had to be filmed somewhere equally historical. No wonder another beautiful cathedral features on this list. This time Durham Cathedral is used for Hogwarts quadrangle shots and Hogwarts transfiguration room.
Some of the scenes shot at Durham cathedral include the change of season in Philosopher’s Stone where Harry lets Hedwig go. But, it also makes an appearance when Professor McGonagall scares Ron and Harry for being late in the Philosopher’s Stone.
Beachy Head – Quidditch World Cup
For anyone who has ever watched a Harry Potter film, the Quidditch cup is a stand out event. Although sections of the quidditch cup have been shot elsewhere, the Quidditch world cup was shot at Beachy Head. The most noticeable part of the world cup has to be the chalk cliffs that surround the students as they set up camp and participate in one of the wizard’s most prominent sporting events.
Reptile House, London Zoo – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
You don’t need an additional reason to travel to London Zoo’s reptile house. But, in case you do need additional motivation to interact with reptiles, it’s good to know that, Reptile House is the place where Harry learns he can talk to snakes in the Philosopher’s stone. In fact, the scene where he liberates a Burmese python is shot in the enclosure where a black mamba is kept. To this day, you can find a plaque commemorating the iconic scene beside the enclosure.
Although it isn’t featured as prominently as the London and Greater England locations, Scotland still makes an appearance for the more rural shots in Harry Potter.
Loch Etive – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Loch Etive was used as the location for Harry, Ron, and Hermoine’s camping trip in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. The tent in which Harry, Ron and Hermoine stay in for most of their last year in High School features prominently in the Deathly Hallows Part 1, making Loch Etive one of the most prominent locations in the movie. As this is where Harry’s adventure to kill Voldermort begins. All of the scenes at Loch Etive are filmed at the northernmost part of the lake.
Glen Coe – Hagrid’s Hut
In the movie, Hagrid’s Hut is at the edge of the forbidden forest. Although it’s right next to Hogwarts, in reality, the hut is far more distant and is actually located in Glen Coe, Scotland. This remote destination is the perfect place for Hagrid’s Hut as the surroundings are lush, green and predominantly deserted.
The Jacobite Steam Train – Hogwarts Express
Ever wanted to travel the way Ron, Hermoine, Harry, and the rest of the students travelled to Hogwarts? Well, it’s as simple as boarding the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland. This steam train was used in all the Harry Potter movies as Hogwarts Express and therefore forms a valuable part of any fan’s desire to recreate Harry’s experience.
Now that you know where many of Harry Potter’s filming locations are, the question remains, would you want to recreate the most memorable scenes of the films? Or is it just great knowing what it was like to make your favourite film?
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