A list of places in the UK where Harry Potter was filmed, written, or inspired
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Year Visited: 2022
Time of Year: May
Harry Potter Places in the UK
There are SO many places for Harry Potter fans to visit in the UK. From filming locations, to places that inspired the story, to Harry Potter themed afternoon teas, it’s impossible to fit them all in one vacation (or one list!).
I guarantee there will be plenty more places to visit than just what this list mentions. But I have discovered quite a lot of Harry Potter places to visit, so this list will certainly get you started in your trip planning.
Map of Harry Potter places to visit in the UK:
Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is a must visit for fans of the series. With actual sets, costumes and props, plus butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and the best selection of Harry Potter themed merchandise around, it’s a mecca for Harry Potter fans around the world.
Get a sneak peak of the tour with this video:
Walk across this famous pedestrian bridge to cross from the Tate Modern toward the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Just hopefully the bridge won’t collapse from Death Eaters on your way over…
Platform 9 3/4
Visit the famous gateway to the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station.
The platform isn’t actually between platforms 9 and 10. It is at the far end of the main rail station lobby area. You know you’ve found it when you run into the line of people waiting to take a selfie.
Leicester Square Film Statues
The city of London recently installed 13 film inspired statues in Leicester Square. These include many beloved classics like Mary Poppins, Paddington Bear, and of course, Harry Potter.
Harry Potter Themed Afternoon Tea
There are all sorts of themed afternoon teas to try in London (although they are expensive!). We opted for the Romeo and Juliet themed afternoon tea at the Globe Theater, but you could do a Harry Potter themed afternoon tea.
There are several “wizard themed” afternoon teas in London. Here are a few you can choose from:
There are many majestic sites to see in Oxford, UK, but the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library might be the best.
You might recognize it as the filming location where the Gryffindors practiced for the Yule Ball dance. It is also the filming location for the school’s infirmary, where Harry spends no short amount of time.
There are other parts of the library that were also used for filming. You can book a timed entry into just the Divinity School, or you can book a 30 minute, 60 minute, or 90 minute tour of the library.
The city of Oxford is full of colleges, each with their own unique cloisters. You can visit all of them, usually for a small fee. Some are more notable than others for fans of the Harry Potter series.
The cloisters at New College are quite recognizable as the courtyard where “Mad Eye” famously turned Draco into a ferret.
Christ Church College
Christ Church College was another filming location for the Harry Potter movies. The hallways are where Hermione shows Harry the Quidditch trophy case with his father’s name in it.
While not used for filming, the dining hall of Christ Church is usually cited as the inspiration for the great hall at Hogwarts.
Please Note: The dining hall is usually closed to visitors from around 11:45-2, during the students’ lunch.
I only discovered this incredible cathedral, and site of several Harry Potter filming locations, after we returned home from England (which… is probably a good thing, because I have no idea how I would have fit it in!).
Located near the Cotswolds (those adorable little villages), Gloucester is less than a 2 hr. train ride from central London.
So if you’re not me, and you already know Gloucester is a must-see on your list, you can easily visit on a day trip from London.
Check out this article for all the information you need (plus pictures of how incredible it really is!).
The famous street in the medieval city of York might be the inspiration for Diagon Alley. It certainly looks a lot like we imagine the fictional street would appear, but it’s even cooler because it wasn’t trying to imitate Diagon Alley. This is just how the street is. And has been. For hundreds of years!
As a bonus, you can find several Harry Potter themed shops down this alley. So if you’ve dreamed of buying a wand in Diagon Alley… here’s your chance.
Located between York and Edinburgh, Alnwick Castle is a bit out of the way, but a beautiful place to visit for Harry Potter fans. It was used as a filming location in both of the first two movies (both the interior and exterior)!
One of the scenes filmed here is the learning to fly scene, and you can even recreate this scene with your own flying lesson at the castle! You can book a time slot for your flying lesson upon arrival at the castle, but note that they prioritize letting kids and teenagers into the class first, over the kids at heart (adults).
Try to avoid visiting during school holidays for a better chance of getting in the lesson (plus less crowds in general).
You can even have a meal at the magical Treehouse Restaurant in the Alnwick Castle gardens.
The Elephant House
The Elephant House is one of the cafes where writer J.K. Rowling penned the original books in the Harry Potter series.
Unfortunately, the building caught on fire in 2021, and much of the inside was damaged. It is currently being remodeled, and will hopefully open again sometime in the next year.
Who knows how much of the inside will be the same (including the famous bathrooms, where fans penned notes to JK and HP), but at the very least, the table where J.K. liked to sit was saved from the flames.
Thankfully, J.K. didn’t just write in one cafe. So even though we couldn’t visit The Elephant House in Edinburgh, we could visit Nicolsons Cafe (and the red velvet cheesecake was definitely worth it, Harry Potter fan or not!).
Although this cafe closed down and reopened under new management, it’s still in the same location, and is definitely playing up the Harry Potter connection. Plus, did I mention the cheesecake?
Department of Magic
The Department of Magic is an “unofficial” Harry Potter (wizard) themed bar and escape room. The best part about it is it’s in a secret location (or at least, down the hidden staircase).
There are some crazy potions (drinks) you can try, or you can come to the escape room (which we did). Fair warning, it was a pretty challenging escape room.
This kirkyard, or graveyard, is reminiscent of the graveyard where Tom Riddle’s father is buried in “The Goblet of Fire.”
You will definitely recognize some names as you wander through the tombstones, including Tom Riddle.
The city of Edinburgh has reported that the thousands of fans who visit the kirkyard has led to some erosion of the tomb, so please be careful and considerate if you do visit it.
The Jacobite Steam Train
The Jacobite Steam Train was used as the Hogwarts Express in several of the Harry Potter movies. You can visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct and watch it go by, or you can ride the train itself.
Be sure to bring some money to buy something off the trolley.
The historic Glenfinnan Viaduct is a stunning viewpoint to watch the Jacobite Steam Train roll by, either in the morning or the evening.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Harry Potter, it is a truly awesome sight to walk beneath this imposing structure.
If you’re driving through Glencoe Valley (an especially stunning part of Scotland), you can stop to see the location where they filmed Hagrid’s Hut.
We didn’t see this particular location, but Glencoe was absolutely gorgeous, and there are plenty of pull off spots to stop and take pictures and walk around.
There are lots of other movies that were filmed here too, including the James Bond movie “Skyfall.”
Honorary Quidditch Towns
Across the UK & Ireland
With the release of J.K. Rowling’s book Quidditch Through the Ages in 2020, 11 towns throughout the UK and Ireland were named “honorary Quidditch towns.”
What that means is they get a team banner and a Quidditch goal post set up in town, which makes a great photo op. There are also supposed to be Quidditch themed activity packs for Harry Potter fans that visit any of these towns.
There are 13 Quidditch teams in the book, but 2 of them are from ficticious towns. All 11 other towns mentioned were named honorary Quidditch towns:
Map of the honorary Quidditch towns:
Harry Potter Souvenirs
Harry Potter themed shops are EVERYWHERE in the UK. Here is a list of all the places I found Harry Potter souvenirs, and which ones were worth browsing.
In general, most shops will have the same merchandise.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
The studio tour is actually the best place for buying souvenirs. Their shops are definitely the most extensive, plus they are all themed. You can buy candy from Honeydukes, or a wand from Olivander’s.
I chose not to buy anything at the gift shops here, because I wanted to buy souvenirs from the Shambles (AKA the real life Diagon Alley!). But this is really the best place to buy souvenirs.
Be sure to spend some time browsing around the shops at the studio.
When you first arrive in London at Heathrow, you can visit the Harry Potter gift shop in terminal 5.
Please note: We arrived at terminal 2, and did not travel to terminal 5. You might need to go out of your way to visit this shop.
Platform 9 3/4
There is a Harry Potter themed gift shop at King’s Cross Station, near Platform 9 3/4, which is in the main lobby of the rail station (not between platforms 9 &10!).
The York Shambles
The Shambles are arguably the coolest street in England. They definitely have a Diagon Alley vibe, which I think makes it the perfect place to buy a wand.
There are several Harry Potter themed gift shops here, the largest one being The Shop That Must Not Be Named. Keep in mind that, even though it is a larger shop, there are still a lot of things you can find at the studios that you can’t find here.
The Jacobite Steam Train
If you choose to ride the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland, someone will come push the souvenir cart around so you “get something off the trolley.”
Of course they do not have a lot of options, as it is just a little cart, but you can get some unique steam train (Hogwarts Express) themed items here.
This is where the steam train stops off at, before returning to Fort William. We found a fun little shop here, hidden away down a secret alley.
Again, it was mostly the same things you will find at other gift shops, and because it is a smaller shop, the selection will be slimmer. It is fun, however, to find secret hidden shops that make buying Harry Potter souvenirs more special.
You can visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct to watch the steam train go by! And then of course, you can find buy Harry Potter souvenirs in their visitor center.
This is not strictly a Harry Potter shop though, and the selection is small. But you will find more Hogwarts Express themed merchandise, if you are not able to go on the actual train.
Literally Every Street in Edinburgh
Everywhere you go in Edinburgh, you will find stores advertising the “birthplace of Harry Potter.” It’s all the same merchandise, so there’s no need to wait to find something better somewhere else, if you do find something you want.
After traversing the UK in search of all things Harry Potter, I would conclude that the best place to buy souvenirs really is at the Studio Tour. So go ahead and consider this permission to blow all your vacation fund at their gift shops.
However, it is especially fun to buy Harry Potter souvenirs from Diagon Alley (the York Shambles) and the Hogwart’s Express (the Jacobite Steam Train).
But if you find something special, buy it at the studio. You can always buy chocolate frogs and every flavor beans at any Harry Potter shop you come to, but you might not find the same merchandise that they have at the large studio stores.
Map of the Harry Potter souvenirs:
Know of any other Harry Potter experiences in the UK?
Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Planning your own Harry Potter themed trip to the UK?
Save one of the pins below for future reference: