Harry Potter movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Harry Potter filmed?

2001

About Harry Potter

Harry Potter is arguably one of the biggest book and movie series and is known widely around the world. The series of seven books were written by British author J.K. Rowling between the years of 1997 and 2007. The books were so popular that they earned themselves a total of eight movies that were filmed and released between 2001 and 2011.

The main cast of the films remained relatively the same throughout the franchise, with Harry Potter being played by young Daniel Ratcliffe, Ron Weasley played by Rupert Grint, and Hermione Granger by Emma Watson. Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris for the first two films of the series, but after his death, the role was taken over by Micheal Gambon. Voldemort, the evil wizard who threatens to take power of the wizarding world, was played by Ralph Fiennes.

Throughout the series, we follow the orphaned boy Harry Potter and his friends, the closest being Ron and Hermione, as they attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It doesn’t take long for Harry to notice that he is no regular boy and that his name is known all around the wizarding community, as he is The Boy Who Lived. He was given this title after Voldemort had tried to kill him as a child but failed, making him the only person to survive an attack.

Voldemort is a wizard with a corrupted mind and a thirst for power who wants to rule the wizarding world and, according to a prophecy, Harry Potter is the only one who can stop him. The series follows our main characters as they meet new creatures, go on exciting adventures, discover the secrets of Harry’s past and learn more about the magic and dangers of the world around them. Eventually, they are thrust into the war taking place in the wizarding world and Harry Potter must rise to the task to face Voldemort himself.

City Locations

Oxford, London, Gloucester, Lacock, Yorkshire, Durham, Alnwick

Location Types

Castles, NatureScapes, House, Schools/Colleges, Cabins

Location Styles

Cabin, Castle/Chateau, Gothic/Victorian

Harry Potter Locations

J.K. Rowling took lots of inspiration for the world that she created in her series from the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. However, none of the filming actually took place in that city. Instead, the cast and crew traveled to other locations around the UK and many of the scenes were shot in cities like Oxford and London.

Are you a huge Harry Potter fan, like so many other people around the world? If so then you might be interested in making a Harry Potter tour of all the film sets and movie locations around the UK. Keep reading to find out where some of your favorite scenes from the movies took place! Many of them are easy to find and open to the public, so you can feel like a wizard yourself as you visit all of the places that your favorite characters went to.

Fun fact:

Did you know that the Harry Potter books were translated into about 80 different languages? No wonder it was so popular around the world! Spoiler alert: below we are going to discuss the different Harry Potter filming locations throughout the entire series, so if you haven’t watched all of the movies yet, you might get some spoilers.

Hagrid brings Harry shopping in Diagon Alley scene in Harry Potter

The Leadenhall Market

In the first film of the series, called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is told about his acceptance to Hogwarts by Hagrid. After hearing this news Hagrid tells him that they will need to do some back-to-school shopping since Harry has nothing that a wizard should have! Harry is handed a peculiar list and looks it over; “All students must be equipped with… one standard size two pewter cauldron and may bring if they desire either an owl, a cat or a toad. Could we find all this in London?” Hagrid answers, “If you know where to go.”

The friendly giant takes Harry into Diagon Alley through a secret entrance in The Leaky Cauldron, a pub that is used to connect the wizarding world to the muggle world. The entrance to Diagon Alley is hidden so that normal people cannot get in, but thankfully Hagrid knows how to make the hidden door open and they continue on their mission to find Harry a wand, robes, and random school supplies as well as the beloved Hedwig the owl.

As Harry mentions, this scene does in fact take place in London. The Leadenhall Market in the heart of the city is easy to get to by car or bus, and was used as a filming location for Harry Potter scenes taking place in Diagon Alley. The very entrance inside The Leaky Cauldron that Hagrid brings Harry through is actually an optician's office. The market dates back to the 14th century and is open 24 hours a day!

Harry boards the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾ scene in Harry Potter

Kings Cross Station

Another one of the best scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is when Harry has to enter through the famous Platform 9 ¾. Of course, he has never done this before and does not know how to enter through the barrier. At this point Hagrid has had to leave Harry to meet up with Dumbledore, so Harry is alone to find his way to the train.

He tries to ask a guard for directions but doesn’t get much help. This is when Harry notices the Weasley family and hears them mention Muggles, so he knows that they are wizards as well. He watches as one of them runs straight through a wall, and soon asks Mrs. Weasley for help. “Now, all you’ve got to do is walk straight at the wall between platforms 9 and 10. Best to do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous.”

This is one of the most memorable scenes in the entire franchise, and one of the most famous places for fans of the series as well. It was filmed at another location in London at Kings Cross Station. If you make your way here you will even notice a trolley similar to those in the movies sticking out through the wall, and it is a popular place for enthusiasts to snap a photo!

Harry meets Ron and Hermione on the Hogwarts Express scene in Harry Potter

Glenfinnan Viaduct

After gathering his supplies and making it to the platform to board the Hogwarts Express, it is time to depart for Hogwarts. But the eager wizards still have a long journey ahead of them, and this is a chance for new students to meet their classmates and make friends. This is exactly what happens when Harry sits down and is soon accompanied by Ron Weasley, and the two become quick friends.

After getting to know each other and buying the entire trolley of amazing wizard snacks, like chocolate frogs and Bertie’s Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, the two friends finally meet Hermione. She only passes by for a couple of minutes while searching for Neville Longbottom’s toad, but is quick to make an impression.

Ron tries to perform a spell that would turn his pet rat, Scabbers, yellow, but it doesn’t work. Hermione reacts by saying, “Are you sure that’s a real spell? Well, it’s not very good, is it? Of course, I’ve only tried a few simple spells myself, and they’ve all worked for me.” She proceeds to show off and fixes Harry’s broken glasses.

This scene gives us an insight into how talented Hermione really is. This scene and others that take place on the Hogwarts Express are complemented by beautiful shots of the train traveling through an open landscape. The very track that the Hogwarts Express took in this scene and many others in several of the films throughout the franchise took place at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If you are interested in seeing the one used in the films you can take a ride from Fort William to Mallaig on the train called Jacobite!

Harry, Hermione and Ron find a bloody message on the wall scene in Harry Potter

North Walk of the Gloucester Cathedral

This next scene is from the second film in the Harry Potter franchise, called Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is the climax of the movie when Harry, Hermione, and Ron are trying to figure out why Harry has been hearing voices, and why people are being petrified around the castle. At this point, it is the maintenance man Filch’s cat, named Mrs. Norris, who has been petrified.

Right before finding her, the trio notices some ominous writing on the walls of one of the halls in Hogwarts. It says; “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware”, and it is all written in blood. This obviously causes alarm and some panic in the school, and it leads the three main characters closer to discovering the entrance to the Chamber themselves.

This scene with the bloody writing as well as several other scenes taking place inside the halls of Hogwarts takes place in the north walk of the Gloucester Cathedral at the east end. Construction for this cathedral began all the way back in 1089. It was actually used as a filming location for three of the Harry Potter movies, so it is well worth a visit if you want to stop by some of the Harry Potter locations. It is open daily and free to visit but donations are encouraged.

Harry visits his parent’s grave scene in Harry Potter

Lacock

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, the wizard war is at a climax as Harry and Hermione do their best to track down the Horcruxes and stop Voldemort. At this point, they are in possession of the locket and are searching for the sword of Gryffindor, which they know is another Horcrux. They have reason to believe that it lies in Godric’s Hollow and head there next.

Although Hermione suggests a Polyjuice potion, Harry doesn’t want to disguise himself, “No. This is where I was born. I’m not returning as someone else.'' While they are here, they visit the graves of his parents, and Harry recognizes his old childhood home as well. Then they are taken to Batgilda’s house where they are attacked by Voldemort’s snake Nagini.

The Harry Potter filming location used as Godric’s Hollow is actually a small village in Lacock, and the cottage that posed as Harry’s parents' house is still standing. Feel free to stop by and take a picture with it, but be aware that it is private property so please give the property owners space.

Harry buries Dobby scene in Harry Potter

Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire

Definitely one of the most touching and sad scenes in the series is when Dobby, the now-free House Elf that Harry befriends, gets killed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2. The events leading up to it take place at the Malfoy Manor where Ron, Hermione, and Harry had been taken after being captured by Fenrir Greyback. They are met with several Death Eaters who begin contacting Voldemort to tell him that they have caught Harry Potter.

The three wizards manage to escape but just barely, and it is all thanks to Dobby who manages to disarm Narcissa so that the others could teleport away. After Ron and Hermione disappear we see Harry grab both Griphook and Dobby and also disappear from the Manor, but not before Bellatrix Lestrange throws a knife at them. Once they arrive Harry notices that the knife was teleported with them and that it has hit Dobby. The elf soon dies, saying his last words; “Such a beautiful place, to be with friends. Dobby is happy to be with his friend, Harry Potter.”

This is a truly memorable scene, and if you want to visit the Harry Potter location you can head to the Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire. There used to be a grave for Dobby made by fans where people would leave signed rocks, gravestones, and socks, however, it became harmful to the local ecosystem and environment and was taken away. You can still go to the very place where Dobby died in the franchise!

Conclusion

These locations used as Harry Potter film sets attract lots of tourists as they travel to see where these iconic scenes took place. Despite being popular because they were used in the franchise, these places are also beautiful to see on their own.

If you’ve been waiting for your Hogwarts letter in the mail then this is your chance to go to all of the places that Harry and his companions went in their fight against Voldemort! Go to Harry’s parents' house, ride the Hogwarts Express or even stroll through the castle’s hallways yourself.