Harry Potter Film Locations
by Ben Johnson
You’ve read the books, you’ve seen the film – now discover the superb film locations.
J.K. Rowlings’s Harry Potter books are some of the best selling children’s books in history. The books follow the adventures of an 11 year old boy, Harry who lives in a cupboard under the stairs in a house with his aunt, uncle and spoilt cousin Dudley. Harry’s own parents died when he was a baby, not as he believed in a car crash but in a fight with a powerful evil wizard who also tried to kill Harry. He is amazed to find out that his parents were also wizards and that he has inherited magical powers of his own! He is transported from his ordinary life to Hogwarts, a boarding school for wizards. There, he meets new friends, learns new skills ( broomstick flying, for example!) and ends up confronting the evil person who killed his parents.
Our Harry Potter tour starts at the Dursley’s house, Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey which is in fact an ordinary house in Martins Heron near Bracknell, Berkshire.
Several locations in London were used for the filming. The scene early in the film when the Dursleys go to the zoo and Harry talks to the snake, was filmed at London Zoo. Set on the edge of Regent’s Park, historic London Zoo is home to more than 600 species of rare and beautiful animals. It is in the reptile house here where Harry first learns of his ability to talk to snakes.
The scene where Harry catches the steam train Hogwarts Express was also filmed in London, at Platform 4 at Kings Cross Station. This central London station was built as the Great Northern Railway’s London terminus in 1851- 2. In the film, the steam train leaves from Platform 9¾ and takes the students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry .
The train arrives at Hogsmeade Station where Harry and the other students disembark for Hogwarts School. It is the station for the village of Goathland in Yorkshire, already well known as the fictional village of Aidensfield from the British TV series, Heartbeat. The village station itself has barely changed since it opened on July 1, 1865.
The interior and exterior shots of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are taken from a number of locations around England.
Magnificent Gloucester Cathedral has been a place of worship for more than 1,300 years and is renowned for its stunning Gothic architecture. The cloisters are regarded as one of the most beautiful architectural features in Britain and the cathedral provides the setting for several scenes in the film. Perhaps the best shot of the cloisters is from the Girls Lavatory door in the Troll scene in the film. Pupils from King’s School, which adjoins the cathedral, were used as extras.
The lovely medieval village of Lacock in Wiltshire, now in the charge of the National Trust, is the location of picturesque 13th-century Lacock Abbey. A historic manor house, Lacock Abbey retains its medieval cloisters as well as later Tudor features. It was the home of William Fox-Talbot, one of the inventors of photography. The Abbey was the setting for various interior scenes at Hogwarts School.
The historic Bodleian Library is the main research library of Oxford University. Both Duke Humfrey’s Library and the Divinity School were used as some of the interiors at Hogwarts. The Divinity School’s vaulted ceiling is regarded as a masterpiece of English Gothic architecture.
Christ Church’s Great Hall. Author: Mtcv. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License
Also in Oxford, Christ Church and it’s Great Hall is used as a double for Hogwarts School. Oxford’s largest college, re-founded by Henry VIII in 1546, is the only college in the world with a cathedral within its walls. Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) also used Christ Church as inspiration for his story ‘Alices adventures in Wonderland’.
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited castle in England after Windsor Castle, and has been home of the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309. It has featured in many film and television productions over the years, and was seen recently in ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves’ and ‘Robin of Sherwood’. The castle grounds are used as the location for some of Hogwarts’ exteriors, for example the scene where Harry and his classmates have their first flying lesson with broomsticks.
Above: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
Why not visit some of these superb locations and experience the magic for yourself!
Harry Potter Studio Tour, Go on the magical journey yourself and take the incredibly popular Warner Bros. Studio Tour London walking tour.
London Zoo, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY Web: www.londonzoo.co.uk
Gloucester Cathedral, Westgate Street, Gloucester GL1 1LR Web: www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk
Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 2LG Web: www.nationaltrust.co.uk
Alnwick Castle, The Estate Office, Alnwick, Northumberland NE55 1NQ Web: www.alnwickcastle.com
Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BG Tel: 01865 277224
Christ Church College, St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DP Web: www.chch.ox.ac.uk
Castles, please click on the following link to view our interactive map detailing more than 200 Castles in England
Getting around Britain, please click on the following link to view our UK Travel Guide
Harry Potter – Platform 9 and Three Quarters
For those of you that have ever read a Harry Potter book or seen one of the films, Platform 9 3/4 needs no introduction. For those of you who haven’t, this pseudo-fictional location at Kings Cross train station is where the Hogwarts Express begins!more details