Harry Potter road trip: UK filming sites worth visiting

There’s are many filming locations for the Harry Potter movie franchise scattered over the UK and Scotland, but frankly, not all of them are visit-worthy. For instance, the campsite Harry and Hermione find themselves in during the last book and movie is really more of a sewage treatment center with some grass outside. Other sites, however, have been destinations in their own right for years, and a few gems were virtually undiscovered by visitors until Harry Potter put them on the map. We’ve compiled our favorites. All you need to do is grab a flight and rent a car to check out these stops along a Harry Potter road trip of the UK.

harry-potter-uk-road-trip

Start in London:

King’s Cross Station: Visiting King’s Cross, the site of famous Platform 9 3/4 is a must for most Harry Potter fans. The wall that witches and wizards run into to access it is actually located between platforms 4 and 5. You can check out the location, then enjoy the decidedly Muggle ambiance of the busy station.

London Zoo: The Reptile House where Harry first learned he could talk to snakes on Dudley’s birthday looks just as it appears in the movie. Plan to stay and enjoy the rest of the London Zoo for at least the better part of a day. The zoo has an excellent lion exhibit and ‘sunset safari’.

Whitehall: The Palace of Whitehall was the main residence of the English monarchs in Londonfrom 1530 until 1698. While filming the Harry Potter series, the Ministry of Magic was set between Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

whitehall

 Drive to Oxford:

From London, take A40 to M40 to Oxford. Once in the area, there are numerous Harry Potter sites to visit.

Oxford Library: The Hogwarts library, pictured numerous times, including when Harry researches Nicholas Flamel, is located in Oxford’s Duke Humphrey’s Library, which is one of the special collections reading rooms at the Bodleian. Hermione also reads about Polyjuice Potion there, and Harry and Hermione discuss who to take to Slughorn’s Christmas party here.

Divinity School: The Divinity School at Oxford is the setting for the Hogwarts infirmary. Even if you know nothing of Harry Potter, stop in here. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

divinity-school-oxford

From Oxford, continue on A40 to Gloucester:

Gloucester Cathedral: The corridor that leads to The Fat Lady and Gryffindor’s common room is located in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, beautiful to visit whether a Potter fan or no. You may also recognize it as the corridor where Ginny writes “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened” in blood on the walls.

Drive to Wiltshire:

Drive the A417 out of Gloucester to the A361 to Wiltshire. Continue out of town to Lacock.

Lacock Abbey: Lacock Abbey is a treasure trove of Harry Potter sites. Professor Snape’s classroom is located in the Lacock Abbey Sacristy. Also located in the Wiltshire Abbey is professor Quirrell’s classroom. Of note: this room houses a genuine cauldron. The room where Harry views his deceased parents in the mirror is also in Lacock Abbey. In Chamber of Secrets, professor McGonagall uses the same room for her lesson on how to turn animals into water goblets. Horace Slughorn’s house is nearby in Chapel Hill, Lacock, Wiltshire.

lacock-abbey

Return toward London:

12 Picket Post Close, Martins Heron: Better known as 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, this is the exact home depicted as the Dursleys’ house in the films. Martin’s Heron in en route back to London, but it’s fairly close to the city, so this stop can certainly be done as part of your London itinerary as well.

Going further afield:

To continue your Harry Potter tour through the north, start by driving up A120 toward Suffolk.

Lavenham: This charming village is the filming site of Godric’s Hollow. A wonderful medieval village worthy of your visit, Lavenham may not be covered in snow during your visit, as it was during Harry’s Christmas pilgrimage, but you’ll still find plenty to occupy yourself here.

Goathland Station: The station that serves both the village of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts is actually Goathland Station, on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

More to see in Scotland:

alnwick-castle

Alnwick Castle: Known as a popular filming location (it was featured in Downton Abbey, Robin Hood, and more), Alnwick Castle, Northumberland is the location for Madam Hooch’s first flying lesson. You’ll need to walk to the Outer Bailey (courtyard). Harry and Ron also land the Ford Anglia here in Chamber of Secrets.

Loch Shiel, Glencoe: The setting for the Hogwarts Lake (most of the time, anyway), Loch Shiel is located near the Glenfinnan Viaduct. You can definitely see both in a day.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber: One of the most recognizable settings from Harry Potter, this viaduct is the one the Hogwarts Express is crossing when Harry and Ron almost crash the Ford Anglia. During the summer months, you can take a ride along the track through West Coast Railways.

Bonus stops:

Wales: In scenic Pembrokeshire, Dobby’s tragic death takes place at Freshwater West.

Ireland: The well-known Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast of County Clare are featured when Dumbledore takes Harry to find the Horcrux in the sea cave. If you also want to see the rock on which Harry and Dumbledore stand, however, that’s 90 miles away off Iveragh Peninsula.

harry-potter-road-trip

This post was written in partnership with Alamo Europe. Photo credit

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About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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