Many a Harry Potter fan watched the movies with a mix of anticipation and awe as they slowly rolled out into movie theaters and it wasn't just due to the characters being brought to life with a little Hollywood magic. Rather, it was the enchantment behind every moving staircase, every incredible mountain vista, all the English charm, and the magic inside every forest scene. Thanks to the many settings around the UK, these scenes became second to know and were incredibly memorable for fans around the world who could only imagine them prior to that moment. In short, the filming locations chosen to appear in the Harry Potter movies were second to none.
While some of these locations can be picked out by an eye that's familiar with London's most picturesque city locations or Scotland's more glorious natural backdrops, there are some places that only inspired what fans witnessed on the big screen. However, that doesn't mean they can't be visited - these are all the fan-favorite destinations that fans can actually seek out and explore for themselves, and maybe even find some magic of their own along the way.
Known for its infamous poison garden, Alnwick Castle is a fairly well-known landmark in England. Sitting on a generous acreage in Northumberland, this castle was used as the original setting for Hogwarts castle in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as well as Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This castle is most noteworthy, of course, thanks to its appearance in these films but it has also appeared in others, such as Elizabeth and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The best part about visiting this castle? Alnwick offers lessons in 'broomstick riding' as well as 'wizardry.'
Glencoe is a stunning place to visit even for those who aren't enamored with Harry Potter lore. Fans will recognize this glen from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, however, it has also served as the location for the homes of several beloved characters and scenes. Hagrid's famous hut, for example, was built in this glen with its iconic rolling hills and mountainous backdrop. The valley served as the location for several backdrops that are easily recognizable from the films, and its beauty was well-matched for the magic that seemed to pop off the screen.
Glenfinnan Viaduct In Scotland
Believe it or not, the Hogwarts Express is actually a real train. While it's obviously not called the Hogwarts Express and doesn't come equipped with a trolley serving chocolate frogs and jelly beans that taste scantly of boogers, it is a real-life train that visitors can ride. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is famous all on its own and travels through the picturesque landscape that was seen in the movies and the train car itself, the 'Jacobite,' is an actual steam train that Harry Potter was seen traveling on in the movies. Visitors can explore the train line for themselves or take up hiking in the valleys surrounding the tracks, which is equally as stunning as taking a ride on the Hogwarts Express - er, we mean the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
King's Cross In England
King's Cross is also a real place that many local Londoners were familiar with before the Harry Potter movies even came out. The train station, which served as the location for Platform 9 3/4, looks almost identical to the movie with the exception of the movie magic that allowed Harry and friends to pass through the brick wall. Funny enough, there is a sign in the train station between the platforms numbered nine and 11 which says 'Platform 9 3/4' but despite its seemingly real qualities, we're sad to report that no - running into this wall does not actually bring one to the Hogwarts Express. Sorry!
Christ Church In England
Christ Church is in Oxford and those who are familiar with the steps at the entrance to Hogwarts will definitely recognize this location. While the interior was not where the movies were filmed, it was the inspiration for the famous dining hall that's responsible for so many memorable scenes, including where Harry is almost sorted into Slytherin rather than Gryffindor. With its long tables illuminated by candlelight, it's easy to see how the Great Hall inside of Christ Church could have inspired the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies. Oxford is also home to several other locations that were used in the films as well as plenty of England history, so it's worth a walk around to explore everything.