Even though it's been 11 years since the last Harry Potter book was released and 7 years since the last movie of the series came out, many people are still obsessed with it. They keep on rereading the books and rewatching the films. They pay attention to the tiniest details and find the Easter Eggs. They also keep on coming up with fan theories and writing fanfics, imagining the alternative series of events.
Most likely, when J.K. Rowling only began writing the first book back in the 1990s, she couldn't even imagine how huge it would become. But when the writer finally found an editor who agreed to publish her first books, she became rich and famous almost overnight.
Now, Rowling and her series have fans all over the world. Partly, it happened thanks to the well-made screenings of the books. The movies about Harry Potter didn't only tell us the story about the Wizarding World. They actually allowed us to feel the atmosphere of this special world, because the filming locations were chosen wisely. The Hogwarts Castle and everything around it, the magical and Muggle settings in London - all these places looked perfect.
For this reason, all Potterheads dream of visiting these locations and feel as if they've become part of the Wizarding World themselves.
Take a look at this exhaustive list of Potterverse-related sites that take us right from the place where it all began, to London, to the Scottish Highlands and back to London, and prepare for the journey!
20 The Elephant House, Scotland
Let's start with the place, where it all began. The place J.K. Rowling was frequently visiting to write the first novels about Harry Potter and the wizarding world. This place is called "The Elephant House", and the people who work there are very proud of being such a cozy and inspiring place for Rowling. They even stated on their website that they served as an inspiration to the writer and put a sign that says "Birthplace of Harry Potter" near the entrance into the cafe.
Of course, Potterheads from all over the world strive to visit "The Elephant House", make a selfie, and add their Potter-related drawing to the graffiti-filled toilet walls.
19 12 Picket Post Close, Bracknell, Berkshire, England
Let's get things straight first. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey was actually filmed at 12 Picket Post Close, Bracknell, Berkshire. So this is where everyone sees crowds of fans taking photos.
It's not surprising that they come here. This is the house, where Harry Potter lived through his childhood years. He hated going back to this house every time another Hogwarts year ended, but Potterheads surely like visiting it and seeing Harry's first home with their own eyes.
It's interesting that the first people who moved into the house after the movies were made didn't even know how special the house was. Only when crowds of fans started coming there, they realized what they got themselves into!
18 The London Zoo, London
This is the place, where Harry discovered his magical powers and spoke in Parseltongue for the first time, so it also has a special meaning for the fans.
The famous scene from The Philosopher's Stone was filmed in the Reptile House of the London Zoo in November 2001. Since then, the London Zoo has been receiving the visitors, who wanted to see this memorable place.
It's fun that the zoo managers decided to use it to their advantage and created a special tour for Potterheads, where they show all the creatures that are somehow related to the Wizarding World. For instance, they tell about different snakes, spiders, salamanders, and other animals. Needless to say, a lot of Harry Potter fans find it very interesting.
17 Australia House, London
Australia House's impressive interior was used to shoot the scenes inside the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. For this reason, Harry Potter fans should take a walk along Strand, Central London, to see how the place actually looks like.
Let me share a little bit of history of Australia House for those who'd like to learn more about this special location. Its construction began in 1913, but the completion was delayed because of World War I and it was opened only in 1918. Since then the building has served as Australia's first diplomatic mission in the UK.
It's interesting to note that some of the scenes of Wonder Woman were also filmed in Australia House.
16 Leadenhall Market, London
Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in London (its construction dates back to the 14th century), so it's no surprise that it was chosen to shoot some of the scenes near the Leaky Cauldron and the Diagon Alley.
Originally, Leadenhall Market was a meat market. In 1881, it was designed by Sir Horace Jones and turned into a Victorian covered market that quickly became a tourist attraction. In 1991, the market was redecorated to transform and enhance its structure. Today, especially after becoming a shooting location for the Harry Potter series, it receives even more tourist attention and offers a lot of interesting small shops for the visitors of London.
15 Georgian House Hotel, London
Before proceeding to the next point of our trip, we might want to have some sleep. To avoid disrupting the Harry Potter-themed journey, we should choose a hotel, where we'll also feel like part of the movie.
Fortunately, there's such a hotel in London! Georgian House Hotel offers everyone a chance to sleep like a wizard in their Wizard Chambers and Enchanted Chambers. The rooms are equipped with numerous castle details, from archways and trunks to four-poster beds hung with velvet curtains. Sleeping there, you'll certainly feel like you're already in Hogwarts!
Full English breakfast is included into the room price, so you'll be full enough to get to the next point in our trip, which is...
14 Kings Cross, London
...Which is Kings Cross train station! This is where Harry Potter and all other Hogwarts students left for school. But, as all Potterheads remember, they didn't board their train on a usual Miggle platform. Theirs was Platform 9¾, and to reach it, they had to slam into what seemed to be a brick wall!
These days, this place at Kings Cross is super popular. Fans come there to take a photo with a trolley that's standing half into the wall. Nearby, there's a Harry Potter-themed shop, where fans can purchase their wands and Hogwarts House scarves to make their trolley photo look even more realistic!
Just mind that the site can get busy at times and be ready to stand in a line to take the much-desired photo.
13 The Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland
After Platform 9¾, we logically proceed to the Hogwarts train, following the footsteps of Harry Potter and his friends. Believe it or not, you can actually ride this train and feel as if you're a wizard yourself, heading towards the best School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!
Real-life Hogwarts Express (that's actually called the Jacobite) runs across 84 miles of railway and passes a number of locations that will look familiar to all Potterheads, as well as other sightseeing sites of Scotland, including Loch Morar, Loch Nevis, Glen Coe, and Glenfinnan. The latter is known as the bridge to Hogwarts. It looks impressive, being 31 meters high and 380 meters long, so pay attention while riding over it!
12 Goathland Station, North Yorkshire, England
And the Hogwarts Express arrives to Goathland Station. Well, at least it does in the movies, because this location was used to film the scenes at the Hogsmeade Station. Right there, students would disembark from the train and get into their carriages that would take them right to Hogwarts.
Of course, the real-life Goathland may not look as majestic as it did in the films, but the station still has a lot of value for Potterheads. I mean, it's the place, from where we first saw Hogwarts! Needless to say, the station is popular among tourists, who come there wearing Hogwarts robes and take lots of photos.
11 Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England
Scenes of students and teachers in and around Hogwarts were filmed in a number of different locations across the UK. One of them was Lacock Abbey. If you take a look at its cloisters, you'll certainly recall some of the scenes from the films. The first one that comes to mind is the scene in The Chamber of Secrets, where Harry walks along the corridor and hears the Basilisk crawling inside the walls.
Besides, the scenes in the office of professors of Defense Against the Dark Arts were also filmed in the Lacock Abbey, as well as the scene, where Harry finds the Mirror of Erised in The Philosopher's Stone.
10 Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England
Multiple scenes of the Harry Potter series were filmed in and around the Alnwick Castle. In particular, they were the scenes, where Madam Hooch introduced first-year students to the science of flying the brooms and where Harry learnt the rules of playing Quidditch from Oliver Wood in The Philosopher's Stone. Besides, the interior of the castle was also used to shoot the scenes, where Hogwarts students were going around the school and doing their everyday activities.
Alnwick Castle served as a location for lot of other exterior and interior scenes, as well. It's interesting that this particular castle was chosen among others, because it looked perfectly, while most other old castles were too damaged and unfit for the filming.
9 Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, England
The Great Hall that also served as a dining room for Hogwarts students was replicated from the Christ Church Cathedral in the Oxford University. Besides, the University's staircase was also used in The Philosopher's Stone in the scene, where students just arrived to Hogwarts and Harry met Draco Malfoy for the first time.
Since then, the Cathedral that was established in the 16th century became widely popular among tourists. Thousands of Harry Potter fans come there from all over the world and pay a fee to get into the Cathedral, see these special rooms with their own eyes, and, of course, take some memorable photos.
8 Black Park, Buckinghamshire, England
Now let's proceed to the outside natural places that served as filming locations and begin with the Black Park that turned into the Forbidden Forest for the Harry Potter series. In real life, the park has a rich fauna and includes some rare species of insects. However, in real life, huge spiders, unicorns and centaurs don't live there (for better or for worse...).
In fact, the Black Park is famous not only among the fans of Harry Potter, because a number of other popular movies were also filmed there, including Casino Royale, Sleepy Hollow, Bugsy Malone, Captain America: The First Avenger, Robin Hood, and 47 Ronin. It seems that filmmakers have a thing for this forest!
7 Glen Coe, Scotland
Glen Coe served as a location for filming a number of scenes, as well. For instance, Hargid's hut was constructed there, as well as the bridge leading to the entrance into the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The sets are removed now and it can even be hard to understand where certain scenes were made, but the location is certainly worth visiting!
The scenery of Glen Coe is so picturesque that it's not hard to guess why it was chosen for the movie. If you ask me, I can tell you that it's one of the most beautiful natural settings I've ever seen! I mean, it has everything - lush greenery, narrow rivers, lakes, hills, and mountains. What else do you need for filming a movie about wizards?
6 Loch Shiel, Scotland
Loch Shiel is a very beautiful freshwater lake located in the Scottish Highlands. During the filming of the Harry Potter series, it was used to shoot some of the scenes near the Great Lake. To remind you of a particular scene that was made there, it was the place, where Buckbeak dipped his toes into the water, carrying Harry on his back in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
These days, fans of the Potterverse are offered to take a cruise on the Loch Shiel and feel as if they live in the magical world of their dreams.
It's worth noting that mostly close-up shots were filmed at Loch Shiel, while wide shot were made at a similarly gorgeous Loch Morar.
5 Steall Falls, Scotland
Steall Falls, also situated in the Scottish Highlands, is the second highest waterfall in Scotland and one of the most picturesque areas of the country. If you're struggling to remember why it should be a site of interest for Harry Potter fans, we're here to remind you why.
One of the most memorable scenes of The Goblet of Fire was filmed near the waterfall. In particular, it was the scene of the First Task of the Triwizard Tournament, where Harry fought with the Hungarian horntail dragon. If you were too thrilled by the fight and didn't notice the beautiful setting, it's high time to rewatch the movie and pay attention to the lush greenery around the arena.
4 Malham Cove, North Yorkshire, England
Some of the grimmest and darkest scenes of the Harry Potter series were filmed in Malham Cove. Potterheads should remember that we're talking about The Deathly Hallows, Part 1 and the scenes, where Harry and Hermione were hiding out from Death Eaters on their quest for Horcruxes.
The limestone formations of Malham Cove have always attracted tourists to the place. It's popular among rock climbers, cave divers, and nature enthusiasts for its splendid sights and rich fauna. And now it's also popular among Harry Potter fans, which is so good, because this place is certainly worth visiting for everyone who likes natural settings and gorgeous views.
3 Claremont Square, London
And we're coming back to London to see several more places that carry a special meaning for Potterheads. We're going to proceed with Claremont Square that served as a location for filming scenes outside of the Grimmauld Place, ancestral home of Sirius Black’s and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
You might remember that the name of the Grimmauld Place derives from the word play on a "Grim Old Place", and if you take a look at the Claremont Square in the twilight, you will understand why it was chosen as a filming location. I mean, the facade of these buildings does look kind of grim...
2 Millennium Bridge, London
Every fan of the Harry Potter series will recognize this bridge from the first look. I mean, who doesn't remember the dramatic opening scene of The Half-Blood Prince? Right there, Death Eaters attack the Millenium Bridge in London and the bridge collapses into the river.
Of course, the scene was made using special effects and the bridge didn't actually collapse. In reality, this pedestrian-only bridge still stands over the Thames River and attracts multiple Potterheads, who like to take photos, recall this dark scene and feel thankful that the collapse didn't actually happen.
But the bridge doesn't only attract Potterheads. Other tourists who come to London also like it for gorgeous views on the river and St.Paul's Cathedral.
1 Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London
And for those, who think that visiting the filming locations listed above wasn't enough to get the ultimate Harry Potter experience, we also offer to take a Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London!
The experience you'll get there will be unforgettable. You'll get to "discover the filmmaking magic" and "follow the footsteps of Harry Potter" and his friends. You'll see the props that were used in the movies and the costumes that the characters were wearing. By witnessing the sets, you'll actually get behind the scenes and learn how it feels to find yourself in the Wizarding World! And, of course, there're a number of gift shops, where you can purchase everything you need to look like a wizard.
Are you ready to begin your Harry Potter-themed trip now?
References: Lonely Planet, Get Surrey, ZSL, Trip Savvy, Kings Cross, National Rail, The Sun, Alnwick Castle, BBC, The Culture Trip