Harry Potter is one of my favorite movie series and when I moved to England, I knew I had to visit EVERY HARRY POTTER FILMING LOCATION! Total fan girl here, no shame. Some of my favorite places to visit have been the Hogwarts filming locations because you literally feel like you are walking through the real Hogwarts! *insert fangirl scream*
Hogwarts Filming Locations in England
If you can only visit one of the Hogwarts filming locations, visit Alnwick Castle. It’s a bit of a trek for those coming from London, but if you are setting up base in the north for a couple of days, you can make this a day trip from York.
Alnwick Castle actually appears as part of the Hogwarts model they used for exterior shots! So you can walk through the entrance to Alnwick Castle and you are actually walking through a part of Hogwarts!!
Take a flying lesson at Alnwick Castle (left), Arches used in some “walking to class” scenes (right)
One of most famous scenes is also filmed here, the infamous flying lesson where Harry eventually ends up securing his spot on the Qudditch team. You can actually take a flying lesson and take some magical photos in the exact spot where Harry learned!!
You’ll remember Hagrid dragging the Christmas tree through this entrance, or Hagrid and the gang walking together when they were heading to his hut.
Fun Fact – There’s a high bank that runs along to the entrance, so during filming Robbie Coltrane would walk on the higher ground, while the other three actors would walk on the regular path… this was just one of the tricks they used to make Hagrid seems larger than he was!
Alnwick Castle entrance, used as the exit to Hagrid’s hut
This beautiful cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the small city of Durham in northern England. Tourists will also find this Hogwarts filming location a challenge to visit, but definitely worth making the trip. If you are trying to cram your itinerary, you can do Durham Cathedral and Alnwick Castle in a day.
The courtyard of the cloisters has a notable scene where Harry carries Hedwig into the snow covered quad and releases her into the sky.
This is also where Ron tells Malfoy to eat slugs, but his wand back fires the spell on him.
This courtyard also makes an appearance in the Hogwarts castle model.
Cloisters at Durham Cathedral
The chapter house, which is just off the cloister, is the filming location for Professor McGonagall’s classroom. This one takes a little work to get into, as it’s usually closed to the public. If there is nothing going on that day, then the guided tour will take you into the room for a little peek, there’s also special weeks and special events that happen in the chapter house. You just need to time it right.
Entrance to the Chapter House (left), Durham cloisters (right)
I haven’t been in the chapter house *yet*, but hopefully my timing will be perfect next time. I did try to ask one of the volunteers to give me a little peek and I was shut down.
I have to admit, Gloucester Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals I’ve been to in England (and I’ve been to A LOT!). But what makes this cathedral so special are the fully intact cloisters with the intricate ceiling. This fancy ceiling is a Hogwarts staple and you’ll recognize it throughout the first two movies.
Gloucester Cathedral cloisters
When the bathroom starts to flood because of Moaning Myrtle and you see the water running down the hallway, you’ll notice the beautiful ceiling of Gloucester Cathedral. This is also where Harry and Ron hide from the troll.
Remember in the Chamber of Secrets when Ginny disappears and “the Chamber of Secrets has been opened… enemies of the heir beware!” message is found on the wall, that was here too!
Percy leads the first year Gryffindor students down the south cloister walk and straight to the Fat Lady portrait at the dorm room entrance.
The hallway Moaning Myrtle flooded (left), The wall with the Chamber of Secrets messages (right)
- They didn’t want to ruin the floor with water (of course!), so they built a container for the water to run down, however, not everything was returned to it’s original condition, the floor still has some tape marks on the side where the container was held down.
- They also didn’t want to ruin the wall, so a fake one was put up!
- All the halos had to be covered up because it’s Hogwarts, not a church!
- There’s a stain glass window of Adam and Eve which was dressed with clothes and lightning marks added to their head.
Another one of my favorite Hogwarts filming locations is in Lacock, a National Trust village which has been kept well preserved…. they don’t even have power lines!! In fact, it’s a major filming location for period pieces because of its unspoiled appearance.
The village of Lacock has a few other Harry Potter filming locations… but we’re only talking about Hogwarts here!
Lacock Abbey cloisters (left), The Chapter House – Mirror of Erised location (right)
Head to the abbey in the morning so you can beat the tour bus crowd from London and you’ll be rewarded with the entire abbey to yourself! The only part that was used in the movies is the cloister area. This is the only Hogwarts location that is free to enter (BUT only if you are a National Trust member), otherwise it’s £14.00 per person.
This is a BIG filming location, it’s the location of Snape’s potion class! While the sacristy room in Lacock Abbey was only used for filming during the first film, they built a replica of the room in the studio to use for the next six!
The warming room was used as the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom in Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, however, it was never used again and the classroom set they built for the rest of the movies was not modeled after this room.
The chapter house was used as the room where the Mirror of Erised was located AND then again in the next movie as the study hall room when Harry hears the other students contemplating if he is the heir to Slytherin.
Sacristy Room, Snape’s Classroom
The cloisters were used for the usual “walking to and from class” scenes, but most notably, when Harry *almost* gets caught by Snape leaving the restricted area, only to find him arguing with Professor Quirrel (once he’s arguing with Quirrel though, they are standing in the Gloucester Cathedral cloisters). Yeah, they hop around a lot!
*BONUS* The cloisters were used as the hallways of Hogwarts for the flashback scene in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald!!
Oxford is full of Harry Potter inspiration and filming locations… you can actually see the most Hogwarts filming locations if you visit Oxford and it’s super easy to take a day trip from London to Oxford.
Oxford is such a great historical city to visit and Christ Church is one of the (most well known) colleges in the University of Oxford. With the buildings being almost 500 years old, it’s no wonder the crew chose this as a location.
This is definitely one of the most busiest filming locations, not only are you competing with Harry Potter fans, but the other visitors that want to see the university’s most popular and beautiful college, which houses Oxford’s cathedral.
You can’t just wander around, there’s a visitor path you have to follow.
The stairs the students walk up when they first enter Hogwarts (left), The cloisters (right)
The first location you’ll come to is the entrance hallway and staircase. This is where we first lay eyes on the interior of Hogwarts. These are the stairs the students walk up when they first get to Hogwarts and they stop at the top of the stairs so Professor McGonagall can welcome them and explain the hat sorting ceremony.
The next location you’ll come to isn’t actually a filming location, BUT it’s the inspiration for the great hall! The food hall in Christ Church was going to be used for the great hall scenes, however, they couldn’t fit four rows of tables, so the hall was recreated in the studios!
Dining Hall in Christ Church used as the inspiration for the Great Hall
Once again, the cloister here was used, the most notable would be the scene where Hermione is showing Harry his father’s Quidditch trophy after Harry becomes a part of the team.
You can knock off four Hogwarts filming locations if you go to Oxford! This is number two. Luckily New College is less crowded than Christ Church. This one comes with a smaller fee and you don’t have to pre-book your ticket, HOWEVER, they are not open every day, all day… so check the website!
New College cloisters (left), The courtyard oak tree Malfoy sits in (right)
Once you enter New College, head to the left and you’ll come across *you guessed it* the cloisters! These were used in hallway scenes AND a courtyard scene was filmed here for Goblet of Fire.
There’s a big oak tree that Malfoy was sitting in when Mad Eye Moody turns him into a ferret after he taunts Harry and raises his wand to him, “why so tense, Potter?”. The oak tree is real, not a prop. Oh, and you can’t sit on it yourself – there’s signs!
The Divinity School
This beautiful building is attached to the Bodleian Library (which is the country’s second largest library). It was used as a lecture and oral exam hall when it was built in the 15th century. This room is magical! I can see why it was chosen for filming.
This room was used as the infirmary in ALL hospital scenes and then shows up in Goblet of Fire as the room where McGonagall embarrasses Ron by dragging him up in front of the class to give him a quick one-on-one dance lesson before the Yule Ball.
Duke Humfrey’s Library
This beautiful library is actually a part of the Bodleian Library. You need to take a timed, guided tour into this part of the library and you must store your belongings in the provided lockers. No photos are allowed and you must purchase your ticket in advance.
The 30 minute tour comes with access to the Divinity School AND Duke Humfrey’s Library, it’s £6.00 per person.
This medieval library is where Harry, Hermione, and Ron did all their research for polyjuice potion, the basilisk, and the sorcerer’s stone.
It’s also the location of the restricted section, where Harry sneaks around in his invisible cloak.
The Making of Harry Potter
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour – Making of Harry Potter is the studio where every single Harry Potter movie was filmed. It’s located in Watford, which is just outside of London. This is the ultimate Harry Potter experience. Everything from props to costumes, sets to creatures, behind the scenes snippets from the actors and producers, and of course, the Hogwarts castle model.
Hogwarts Castle model from the bottom (left), Alnwick Castle section of the Hogwarts Castle model (right)
This model was used for ALL the exterior shots in every film. They even added snow to it during the winter scenes. Can you imagine cleaning that up? Well they recreate it every holiday season, when you can visit during Hogwarts in the Snow and see some of the sets, including the castle, dressed up for the holidays.
You’ll start from the top of the model and continue the walk down and around until you get to the bottom. The lights change from day to night
Have you visited any of these Hogwarts filming locations? Are you planning to?! LEMME KNOW in the comments below!
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Tags : County Durham, England, Gloucestershire, Harry Potter, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire
In Travel, United Kingdom