Harry Potter was a series that grew up with a generation. Going back to read the first book, you realize that not only did the characters grow with you, the writing and topics in the books grew with you as well. I can remember waiting in agony for the next Harry Potter book to be written and begging my parents to pre-order the hardcover for me so that I could dive right back into the story as soon as it was possible to. I couldn't get enough of the magical world that J.K Rowling created for us and wanted to know how Harry Potter and his friends were going to save the wizarding world from its darkest days.
Of course, then there were the movies to fall in love with. The characters came to life right before my very eyes and made me believe, if only for the couple hours that I was watching it, that magic was real and that Harry Potter and the gang truly did exist. The movies brought to life the beauty and mystery that was Hogwarts. They made me long to see things like the Forbidden Forest, the Great Lake, and the Hogwarts castle in real life.
When the movies ended so many fans were left with a bit of a hole. The story that we loved so much had come to a final end, but we had not had enough yet. Potterheads will be Potterheads for life. We'll always want to re-live the magic that those stories brought to us. So here are magical places that you can visit that will have waves of nostalgia wash over you. Get out your pen and get ready to create your ultimate Harry Potter to-see bucket list.
30 Seven Sisters Country Park
The Quidditch World Cup was an amazing adventure for Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys. I mean, at least it was an amazing adventure before the Death Eaters spoiled all the fun. That wonderful scene where Harry is excited and curious and is walking up the big hill only to find an old boot (which happens to be the Portkey that transports him and the Weasleys to the Quidditch World Cup) was shot at the Seven Sisters Country Park in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
29 Steall Falls
This stunning waterfall is gorgeous enough that it merits a visit simply on its own, but for those who loved the magic of the Harry Potter movies will have another great reason to visit the Steall Falls in Scotland. This location is where they shot part of the Triwizard Tournament where Harry battled against the particularly aggressive Hungarian Horntail dragon in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Don’t worry, visiting here the only thing that you’ll have to fight off is other tourists hoping to snap that perfect picture. No dragons and no golden eggs to steal here!
28 balmoral hotel
This place is one that only a true and devoted Potterhead will understand the significance of. Mainly, they will understand why room 552 of the Balmoral Hotel was integral to the ending of the series. This five-star hotel is where J.K Rowling finished the story that we grew up with and closed the Harry Potter series with the Deathly Hallows. You can book room 552, which comes with Harry Potter packages that include tours and Potter-themed cocktails, but it’s going to cost you around £2,500 per night.
27 lacock abbey
Hogwarts was such a grand and sprawling school with such a distinct architecture and feel to it that it was difficult to find places to shoot interior scenes in that captured the magic and history of it all. Yet the Lacock Abbey was one such place that was perfect. Many scenes, like Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell’s classrooms, were shot in Lacock Abbey. Also, the Mirror of Erised where Dumbledore finds Harry sitting and staring was another shot that was filmed in Lacock Abbey.
26 4 private drive
If you’re willing to take a trip to the suburbs, you won’t be disappointed when you see where Harry Potter lived with the Dursleys. Number 4 Privet Drive is where Harry lived in the cupboard under the stairs before Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia gave him one of Dudley's spare bedrooms purely out of the goodness of their hearts (and not for fear of any kind of magic being used against them). You’ll be able to see this spot at 12 Picket Post Close in Martins Heron in Berkshire.
25 millennium bridge
While the Death Eaters may have destroyed the bridge in the movies, in real life the bridge is still standing strong. This is also just a great touristy place because you can get a photo of yourself and the bridge and the River Thames as well as the St. Paul Cathedral. Which, of course, means that if you’re dragging muggles and non-Potterheads to London, England with you, you can probably easily convince them to go with you to see it without having to talk about its significance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
24 harrow school
Wingardium Leviosa. You can actually view the very room where Hermione schooled Ron in the pronunciation of charm that lets you levitate a feather. Of course, that is the moment where you either admire her intellect or get annoyed with her supposed bossiness. This scene was filmed in the real-life boarding school, Harrow School. Head over to the Fourth Form Room there and see where Professor Flitwick taught his class. Just make sure to tell someone close by that it is Levi-OH-sa and not Levi-o-SAH.
23 westminster tube station
The Westminster Tube Station had to be closed for an entire day while the Harry Potter movies were being filmed. In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, and Arthur have to travel to the Ministry of Magic to plead his case for the use of magic in front of muggles when he was defending his nephew from the dementors that were attacking him. Head here and pretend that you are traveling to your job at the Ministry of Magic for the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department.
22 christ church
Christ Church in Oxford is another must-see place. The massive and overwhelmingly welcoming Dining Hall that gathered the students and teachers at Hogwarts was filmed in the Great Hall of Christ Church. Remember the scene where Professor McGonagall first met Harry, Ron and Hermione...well, and all of the other first years? That was such an important moment for Harry’s path as a character as he rejects Malfoy's extended hand and decides that he can make his own friends. That was also shot in Christ Church.
21 harry potter and the cursed child at the palace theatre
There have been widely debated opinions about the Cursed Child and whether or not you can consider the story to be canon for the Harry Potter franchise or not. Whether you’re pro or con for Cursed Child, you wouldn’t be a true Harry Potter fan if you didn’t head over to see the place at the Palace Theatre if you’re doing a Harry Potter trip. Whether you go to enjoy it or to poke holes in the plotline, it’s an absolute must for your to-see list.
20 bodleian library
The scene where Harry Potter goes into the Library at Hogwarts and manages to be completely undetected because of his invisibility cloak gave us full visibility of this large gorgeous and vintage looking library. This shot was filmed in Duke Humrey’s library which is the oldest reading room in the Bodleian Library, which now makes sense why the shot felt so magical and beautiful. Old libraries have a touch of magic to them, don’t they? For the record, the Bodleian Library was used in four of the Harry Potter Movies.
19 hardwick hall
The Malfoy Mansion is intimidating, and impressive, and overwhelming. To find a place that would capture all of the things that the Malfoy Mansion would have to be—a symbol of wealth and power and extravagance and elegance—would not be an easy task. Fortunately, the filmmakers found the absolute perfect place in the Hardwick Hall. While the Hardwick Hall used to be a private residence, the public is now fully welcomed to it, which is great news for any Potterhead.
18 georgian house hotel
Okay just imagine this: there is a hotel that has Harry Potter themed rooms. I’m talking details like stone walls and stained glass windows that make it feel like you’re in a castle. Spellbooks, trunks, cauldrons, and potions decorating the room. Does that sound like somewhere you would want to stay? Yes? Me too. You can have that experience at the Georgian House Hotel in London. Make sure you also ask the hotel about walking tours! They arrange really great ones there for any Harry Potter movie fan.
17 harry potter and fantastic beasts graphic art at house of minalima
All of the artwork and lettering within the Harry Potter movies (and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies) was so perfectly created to bring the vibes and tones of the stories to life. The designers of this artwork were Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. They have a free exhibition to showcase these magical and fantastical designs at House of MinaLima. You’ll get to see movie props and all of the nostalgic wonders that will make you want to re-watch the films.
16 goathland train station
The Goathland Train Station is located in this stunning little village in North Yorkshire. It’s so picturesque that of course it would be used to shoot the scenes where the Hogwarts Express arrives in Hogsmeade. When reading the books or watching the movies I always dreamed of getting to experience Hogsmeade, so anything that can make me feel close to the experience in real life is going on my bucket list. I want to experience absolutely all of it!
15 czocha castle
If you’re a Harry Potter fan then you have dreamed of getting your own Hogwarts letter and attending the wondrous school. While it might not be Hogwarts and you may not be a witch or wizard, The College of Wizardry is the next best thing. You can head there and stay overnight for three nights as you get a first-hand real-life experience of what it would be like to be a student at a magical school. There are even magical art classes that you’ll attend!
14 harry potter tours in london
There are so many Harry Potter Tours that you can sign yourself up for when you’re in London. Some of them are walking tours, some of them are bus tours, and some of them are boat tours, but all of them are the amazing tours that you’re going to want to experience. If you have a wand (if you don’t, you should by now if you call yourself a Potterhead), bring it with you as you experience the magic by an incredibly knowledgeable and savvy tour guide.
13 claremont square
12 Grimmauld Place is such an interesting and integral backdrop to the story. On one hand, it’s a place of sadness as Sirius’ childhood here as part of the Black family was less than ideal. On the other hand, the place serves as headquarters to a strong resistance against evil. The dichotomy of these two things fighting at the same time is captured beautifully by London’s Claremont Square. It was featured mostly in The Order of the Phoenix movie and should be on any Potterhead’s to-see list.
12 black park
Black Park plays a few key roles in the filming of the Harry Potter world. First, you’ll immediately recognize the Forbidden Forest when you visit the Black Park. It’s where Harry and Draco serve their detention (even though kids were warned to stay away because it’s too dangerous, so what is Dumbledore thinking?!). This location was also shot as the place where Hagrid tells Harry about the dragons for the Triwizard Tournament. It also served as Hagrid's hut in the first two of the films.
11 st pancras international station
For the beautiful shots that happen outside of the Hogwarts Express, they filmed the absolutely stunning St Pancras International Station. This gorgeous station absolutely captures the magic and wonder that the Hogwarts Express holds. The station is beautiful enough on its own but remembering that Harry and Ron parked the flying car here and later flew over this station in the movie will have waves of nostalgia crashing over you. Make sure to put this one on your Potterhead bucket list as a must-see place when doing any kind of self-guided Harry Potter tour.
10 loch shiel
I always wondered why the Trio didn’t spend more time near The Great Lake when they were at Hogwarts. I love water and the stunning shots of The Great Lake in the movies always looked mesmerizing. The stunning freshwater lake in the Scottish Highlands that was used to film these amazing shots was the Loch Shiel. Head there and try to listen for mermaids. Just don’t forget the Gillyweed if you plan on taking a dip to the bottom (please don’t actually try this).
9 the jacobite
Whenever I think about the Hogwarts Express, I think about what it must have been like for first years. Imagine going to a brand new school away from home, not knowing what to expect, and having to board this train and find a compartment to sit in. Of course the trolly of treats would be my go-to way of distracting myself from the nerves. Well, if you want to know what it’s like to ride the Hogwarts Express head to The Jacobite in Scotland. Tickets are around £30.00 and travels from Fort William to Mallaig, including taking you right across the “bridge to Hogwarts.”
8 piccadilly circus
When Harry, Hermione and Ron had to quickly escape from the wedding and run from Death Eaters in part one of the Deathly Hallows, it was at Piccadilly Circus where the whole scene was filmed. Although you won’t have any Death Eaters out to get you, it’s fun to retrace the steps of the trio here. It might have been a small scene, but the implications of it were huge, which makes this an absolute must-see for any fans of that movie.
7 king's cross
Platform 9 and ¾ was one of the most pivotal places for Harry Potter. It was literally his transition from the muggle world into the Wizarding world and it was the fateful place where he met his best friend, Ron Weasley. Seeing the station in person is a quintessential stop for any Harry Potter fan. You can appreciate Harry’s confusion as he tries to find the platform. Since the great following of the books and movies, there has since been a sign and half-trolley sticking out of the wall installed for visitors to admire at the station.
6 leadenhall market
So the Leadenhall market is such a beautiful place to visit in any sense, but Potterheads have an even better reason to visit other than it just being a wonderful experience. So many of the Diagon Alley scenes in the movie were filmed in this stunning Victorian market. The entrance to The Leaky Cauldron from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was also filmed at Leadenhall Market. You can feel as if you are a witch or wizards gathering supplies for your upcoming year at Hogwarts as you walk along the shops here.
5 tower bridge
Remember in the movies when the Death Eaters are causing mayhem in not only the wizarding world, but also the muggle world? They destroy a bridge as the rain pours down and the weather shows us that we are in fact in dark times. Well that was actually filmed over the Millennium Bridge. And Tower Bridge is where Harry Potter flies over the Thames in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While these are just quick scenes, the impact of those scenes on the story were so big that any true Potterhead will want to experience these places in person.
4 reptile house at london zoo
Parseltongue may not be a common skill among wizards and witches alike, but that does not mean that I have not tried to talk to snakes ever since reading Harry Potter. If you’re doing a Harry Potter tour, you will definitely want to make a stop at the Reptile House at the London Zoo where Harry first realizes that there is something different about him. Sidenote, isn’t it cute when he asks the snake if he usually talks to people? He had no idea at the time of the great power that he had inside of himself the whole time.
3 australia house
The Australia House was used to shoot the Gringotts scenes in the Harry Potter movies. Although it’s actually a place for Australians to vote and take care of official government business so you won’t be able to get inside, even just seeing the gorgeous outside of the building will be enough to take you right back to the first movie where Harry learned about the tricky business of a goblin run-bank and just how many galleons his parents left him with.
2 the elephant house
Only true Potterheads will immediately get why this coffee shop is such a vastly important part of any Harry Potter sightseeing. Before the magical world of Hogwarts was ever held in our hands through the beautiful words of the Harry Potter series, J.K Rowling spent hours and hours in this cute place creating the stories that we know and love. You should grab a delicious coffee and bring along your favorite Harry Potter book and settle down in this coffeehouse and enjoy reading about the world that was created there so many years ago.
1 alnwick castle
Remember in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when Harry first discovered flying on a broomstick? He had this wonderful natural gift for it as he commanded the broom to fly up into his hands, as Hermione’s broom danced around the ground, refusing to listen. And then remember Harry’s face when he first learned about Quidditch? Well, you can relive those moments when you visit the Alnwick castle in England and explore the outdoors. You can set foot in the same place where Harry learned the sport that brought him such amazing joy.
References: visitbritainshop, contiki, ricksteves, thefw