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Harry Potter is a series of fantasy novels, written by J. K. Rowling, and made into a series of eight films from 2001 to 2011.

The Harry Potter stories are set in a fictional version of the United Kingdom, where some locations are inaccessible or invisible to muggles (people without magical abilities).

It is possible to visit many of the places that inspired the books. The series was filmed in a variety of locations around the UK at the behest of J.K. Rowling.

Starting from 2016, a new prequel film series entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being made, with J. K. Rowling herself making her screenwriting debut for the series. The first film in the series went on to win an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, achieving what had eluded all eight films in the original series (which received a total of 12 Oscar nominations, but never won).

Themed attractions[edit]

Entrance to Warner Bros. Studio Tour

All these themed locations are home to souvenir shops where you can purchase Harry Potter memorabilia. These are also the only four locations where you can drink a real-world version of butterbeer, a drink that features in the books and movies. Unlike the book version, real butterbeer is not alcoholic.

Film locations[edit]

Map of Harry Potter tourism
Steam train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • 1 Glenfinnan Viaduct, West Highlands. A large railway viaduct, crossed by the Hogwarts Express train in several films. During the summer you can travel on The Jacobite, a similar style of steam train which runs from Fort William to Mallaig. Glenfinnan Viaduct (Q1155735) on Wikidata Glenfinnan Viaduct on Wikipedia
  • 2 Glen Nevis, Near Fort William. Impressive scenery including Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, used as the backdrop for several Quidditch games.
  • 3 Glencoe. A backdrop for several scenes, including Hagrid's Hut, the set was built on the hillside close to the Clachaig Inn. Glen Coe (Q92671) on Wikidata Glen Coe on Wikipedia
  • 4 Black Rock Gorge, Evanton, near Dingwall. A narrow, steep-sided gorge, appears in the Goblet of Fire. Black Rock Gorge (Q14995561) on Wikidata Black Rock Gorge on Wikipedia
  • 5 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland. Used as exteriors for Hogwarts School. Alnwick Castle (Q1320427) on Wikidata Alnwick Castle on Wikipedia
  • 6 Goathland Station, North York Moors. A station on the preserved North Yorkshire Moors Railway, appears as Hogsmeade station. Goathland railway station (Q5575368) on Wikidata Goathland railway station on Wikipedia
  • 7 Gloucester Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity), 12 College Green, Gloucester GL1 2LX (Gloucester), +44 1452 528095, . Completed in 1499, this Gothic building has a beautiful design and heritage. It was used for filming in several of the Harry Potter movies. Free. Gloucester Cathedral (Q262500) on Wikidata Gloucester Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 8 Christ Church, University of Oxford, St Aldate's, Oxford OX1 1DP (Oxford), +44 1865 276492, . One of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, founded in 1546. The staircase in front of the Hall was used as a filming location for the staircase leading to the Great Hall of Hogwarts in the films. While not actually used for the filming, the Hall itself served as the inspiration for design of the Great Hall of Hogwarts set for the films. £7. Christ Church (Q745967) on Wikidata Christ Church, Oxford on Wikipedia
  • 9 New College, University of Oxford, Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3BN (Oxford), +44 1865 279253 (summer), +44 1865 279555 (winter). 11am - 5pm. Despite its name, the New College is actually one of the older constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, and was founded in 1379. The cloisters of the college were used to film some of the Hogwarts cloisters scenes in the movies. £4. New College (Q1376987) on Wikidata New College, Oxford on Wikipedia
  • 10 Durham Cathedral. M-Sa 7AM-6PM, Su to 5:30PM, late Jul-Aug daily til 8PM. This cathedral was used to film some of the exterior shots, cloisters and Transfiguration class in the first two movies. Suggested donation £3. Durham Cathedral (Q746207) on Wikidata Durham Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 11 King's Cross Railway Station, Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AL (London), +44 20 7431-4001, . The station where Harry and his friends boarded the train to Hogwarts. Of course, platform 9 ¾ does not actually exist, and the filming was actually done between platforms 4 and 5, as the real platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks. The magical entrance to platform 9 ¾ has been recreated at the station entrance for fans to have their photos taken, but figure on spending at least 2 hours in the queue with throngs of other fans. A Harry Potter souvenir shop is also located in the station for fans to purchase memorabilia. The exterior shots in the film were not filmed using the real King's Cross Railway Station, but rather were filmed using the adjacent St Pancras Railway Station, which is far more elaborate and impressive than the relatively plain King's Cross. Free. London King's Cross railway station (Q219867) on Wikidata London King's Cross railway station on Wikipedia
  • 12 Millennium Bridge, City of London/Southbank, London, SE1 9JE. Pedestrian bridge across the River Thames. In Half-Blood Prince it is attacked by Death Eaters and collapses. Free. Millennium Bridge (Q44057) on Wikidata Millennium Bridge, London on Wikipedia
  • 13 Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Chippenham, SN15 2LG. A former Augustinian nunnery in the county of Wiltshire whose cloisters were used for the filming of some of the Hogwarts cloisters scenes in the movies. Some of the rooms were also used to film some of the Hogwarts classroom scenes. Free. Lacock Abbey (Q1148460) on Wikidata Lacock Abbey on Wikipedia
  • 14 Malham Cove (Malham). Several scenes in the first Deathly Hallow film were shot on the limestone pavement here. Free. Malham Cove (Q1789790) on Wikidata Malham Cove on Wikipedia
  • 15 Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QJ (Chesterfield). Used for the exterior shots for Malfoy Manor in the Deathly Hallows films, albeit in a digitally altered form. £15.15 (adult), £7.60 (child). Hardwick Hall (Q2526406) on Wikidata Hardwick Hall on Wikipedia
  • 16 Freshwater West. The beach that stood in for the "Cornish" beach that Dobby transported Harry and his friends escaped to from Malfoy Manor in the first Deathly Hallows, where Dobby in died in Harry's arms and was later buried. Free. Freshwater West (Q5503127) on Wikidata Freshwater West on Wikipedia
  • 17 Cliffs of Moher. In Half-Blood Prince the cliffs are shown as the location of the horcrux cave.
  • 18 Surbiton Station, South London. While the film hardly shows its best side, this art-deco South London station was used to film the opening scene where Harry meets Dumbledore in Half-Blood Prince. Free. Surbiton railway station on Wikipedia

Edinburgh inspiration[edit]

Map of Harry Potter tourism

J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh while writing many of the books, and several locations in the city may have provided inspiration, especially around the historic Old Town.

  • 19 The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge. This cafe claims to be the "birthplace of Harry Potter". Rowling wrote much of the early books in here.
  • 20 Spoon Café Bistro, 6A Nicolson Street, EH8 9DH. Previously Nicolson's Cafe, another location where Rowling wrote the first book.
  • 21 The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, +44 131 556-2414, . Luxury hotel, overlooking Waverley Station. Rowling stayed here in 2007 while writing Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series. It is possible to stay in that room, number 552, now named the "J.K. Rowling Suite". Balmoral Hotel (Q3700280) on Wikidata Balmoral Hotel on Wikipedia
  • 22 Greyfriars Kirkyard (Off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge, close to the National Museum). Historic graveyard and church, close to The Elephant House cafe. It contains the grave of Thomas Riddell, which may have provided the name of Voldemort. Nearby is the grave of the poet William McGonagall, who Professor Minerva McGonagall was named after. Also famous for the story of Greyfriars Bobby. Greyfriars Kirkyard (Q2876448) on Wikidata Greyfriars Kirkyard on Wikipedia
  • 23 George Heriot's School, Lauriston Place, +44 131 229-7263, . Prestigious private school in the city centre, may have been inspiration for Hogwarts. The Gothic-style building has several impressive towers. It is not open to the public, but can be viewed from Lauriston Place or Greyfriar's Kirkyard. George Heriot's School (Q5540543) on Wikidata George Heriot's School on Wikipedia
  • 24 Victoria Street (Between George IV Bridge and the Grassmarket). A curved cobbled street, with tall buildings and a variety of colourful shops, cafes and pubs. It may be the basis for Diagon Alley.
  • 25 J. K. Rowling Handprints (City Chambers quadrangle, off the Royal Mile). In 2008, Rowling was presented with the Edinburgh Award, from the city council. In honour of this, a cast was taken of her handprints, and set in stone in front of the city chambers.


  • 1 MinaLima, 157 Wardour Street, Soho, London, +44 203 214 0000, . A shop and gallery showcasing the work of the designers who create the letters, signs, newspapers, and many other props and graphics in the Harry Potter movies. Lots of prints and souvenirs available for purchase.
  • The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾, Kings Cross Station, London. Buy yourself a wand, house robes, and plushy owl, before getting your picture taken pushing a trolley laden with trunks through the solid brick wall which hides the Hogwarts Express. Muggle money accepted, though the exchange rate means extortionate price tags. Platform Nine and Three Quarters (Q1951222) on Wikidata


Parseltongue, the language spoken by the various characters when talking to snakes, is, perhaps surprisingly, not just gibberish but an actual language that was constructed by University of Cambridge linguistics professor Francis Nolan for the films. Given the limited amount of Parseltongue dialogue in the film, the vocabulary is, of course limited, but there are nevertheless several Harry Potter fan groups who have dedicated significant resources towards learning and studying the language, and several online translators to Parseltongue are available. As snakes do not know how to write, there is, of course, no written language for Parseltongue.

See also[edit]

J. K. Rowling maintains a web-site dedicated to the Harry Potter universe with several fun activities to keep fans occupied.

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