ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER:Spot while you watch – top Harry film locations
Everyone’s favourite teen wizard has travelled all over Britain, often prompting viewers of the film series to wonder where the action is taking place, and sometimes even inspiring a desire to visit in person – one day! Following is a list of the some of the notable locations that appear in the film:
Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This stretch of golden sand was the location for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour‘s Shell Cottage in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. When Harry found himself inside the whimsical cottage, he could hear nothing but the ebb and flow of the sea. Although the cottage was taken down after filming, the footsteps of Harry and friends can still be followed. It’s also the spot to catch surfers expertly riding waves kicked up by the strong rip currents just off the beach, which boasts Wales’ best waves.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber, Scotland
This viaduct, 30.5 m. above ground, is captured in several Harry Potter films on the route to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and travellers can journey through the magical landscape, just as Harry and friends did, aboard the Jacobite steam train used as the Hogwarts Express in the movie. Riders can try to spot where, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Arthur Weasley’s baby-blue flying Ford Anglia lands on the viaduct.
Glencoe, Argyll, Scotland
The natural drama of the Scottish Highlands provided the perfect backdrop for the first two Harry Potter movies. The Quidditch matches – inter-house broomstick ball games – were filmed in front of Glen Nevis and fans will recognise the spectacular Steall Falls there from the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Once voted Scotland’s most romantic glen, it’s also a beautiful scenic place with plenty of holiday lodges and cottages. Or for those into hill walking, it’s a great entry point to the Highlands.
Bodleian Library and Christ Church College, Oxford, England
Oxford University’s magnificent Bodleian Library, dating back to 1602, starred in three Harry Potter films. The medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library, part of the hallowed institution, was used as the Hogwarts library, while the elaborately vaulted Divinity School next door became Hogwarts hospital. Students were admitted for all sorts of scrapes, from falling off broomsticks to touching a cursed opal necklace. At Christ Church College, a 10-minute walk away, one can see where film-watchers were first introduced to Hogwarts with Harry and the other first-year wizards ascending the 16th-century stone staircase to the Great Hall.
Durham Cathedral, Durham, England
Durham Cathedral’s Chapter House was where Professor McGonagall taught the young wizards to turn animals into water goblets. Elsewhere in the Norman cathedral, admire the magnificent cloisters which became the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry set Hedwig the owl flying in the first film, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” It’s also where Ron Weasley fell victim to his own (seriously gross) slug-vomiting curse, in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Leadenhall Market, London, England
Wizard pub, The Leaky Cauldron, was set in what is now an optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage, Leadenhall Market. Behind that was where the glittering Diagon Alley shopping street was imagined, selling spell books and potions so enticing that Harry wished he had eight eyes to see. Whilst visitors probably won’t find any magic shops, the ornate Victorian marketplace is a splendid place to pick up some Harry Potter inspired British fashion, such as a classic wax Barbour jacket, as sported by Ron Weasley in Sorcerer’s Stone.
King’s Cross Station, London, England
The Hogwarts Express departs from Platform 9¾ of King’s Cross Station, which is actually the arched wall between platforms 4 and 5. Or head towards the entrance to platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the west side of the station to find a trolley disappearing into the magical realm through a wall marked ‘Platform 9 ¾’. Outside is the Neo-Gothic facade of St. Pancras where the Weasley’s magical Ford Anglia, with its powers of invisibility, takes off in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Reptile House, London Zoo, England
Harry first discovered his gift for talking with snakes, in the first film at London’s Zoo’s Reptile House. In the scene, Daniel Radcliffe speaks to an enormous Burmese python, but the enclosure filmed is actually home to the venomous black mamba, recognizable for its distinctive inky black mouth. But don’t leave it at that: London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, dating back to 1828, and offers all sorts of incredible animal experiences, including a butterfly paradise and Land of the Lions.
Warner Bros Studios, Leavesden, England
At the Warner Bros Studios Tour, just outside London, discover some of the actual sets and props used in the films and a model version of Hogwarts.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England
Madame Hooch’s broomstick flying lesson, seen in the first film, takes place in the Outer Bailey of medieval Alnwick Castle. Broomstick training still takes place and visitors can also see wizardry magic shows or join a tour with a costumed guide regaling behind-the-scenes stories from when the Harry Potter crew were filming.
Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, England
Look out for Nearly Headless Nick or Moaning Myrtle and see where Harry and Ron hid from the troll in the spooky corridors of 1,300-year-old Gloucester Cathedral – one of five locations used for Hogwarts.
The cathedral had to be altered for filming in a number of fascinating ways! Electrical points were disguised under panels painted to look like the stone walls, while anything that would reveal the set as a church was concealed. For instance, halos on the stained-glass figures in the cloister windows were covered with coloured plastic filter paper to blend in with the glass around it.
Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, England
Lacock Abbey’s Warming Room – which contains a giant cauldron – was Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and Professor Snape’s Potions Class was held in the Sacristy. It was in the abbey’s Chapter House that Harry stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised, which shows the user’s heart’s deepest desire. And amid all that selfie wizardry in the lab, the abbey’s South Gallery includes the very spot where William Henry Fox Talbot took the world’s first ever photograph.
First published at Travel Industry Today