Harry Potter is adored by fans around the world. But at its heart it’s as British as a cup of tea. The films were shot in some of the most beautiful and iconic locations that the UK has to offer. In our handy guide, we’ll show you where to track down the best Harry Potter landmarks – and how to make the most of your stay in nearby luxury holiday houses.
Where it all began
All the famous Harry Potter tourist attractions can be rooted back to one person – JK Rowling. She was born at Yate General Hospital in Gloucestershire and moved to Tutshill when she was nine. She may admit that she was ‘never as clever or annoying as Hermoine’ at school, but she definitely has a magical way with words!
Best of all, there are a vast array of Cotswolds holiday homes just a stone’s throw from both villages.
Harry Potter’s home
The Boy Who Lived was born and received his iconic scar in Godric’s Hollow. In real life, this took place in Lavenham. The Suffolk village was chosen for its ‘ethereal quality’. This made it the ideal choice for the location where Harry’s parents faced Voldemort.
That’s not all. The home of the dreaded Dursley’s isn’t film fiction either. 4 Privet Drive is actually a real house. You can see it at 12 Picket Post Close, Winkfiled Row in Bracknell, Berkshire. However, people do still live there so remember to be respectful if you visit.
The parseltongue encounter
Harry first discovered that he could talk to snakes on a visit to the zoo. The snake enclosure is real and can be found at London Zoo’s Reptile House – the first of our London landmarks for Harry potter. While you won’t find talking Burmese Pythons, the tank is home to a venomous Black Mamba in real life.
Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron
If you want to do your own magical shopping at another Harry Potter attraction? Head to Leadenhall Market in London. This is where the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron can be seen in the first film. In real life there isn’t a secret passageway… The Leaky Cauldron is actually an optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage.
Platform 9 ¾
The scene of Harry crashing into a wall as he tries to reach Platform 9 ¾ will be remembered for years to come. Unfortunately, there isn’t a real walkthrough wall. But there is a commemorative plaque in London’s King’s Cross Station on platforms 4 and 5.
Font Hall is one of many beautiful properties on the outskirts of London, which offer easy access to all the Harry Potter landmarks in London. See Kings Cross, Leadenhall Market and London Zoo along with all the capital’s other wonders.
All aboard! The iconic train is one of the key images of the Harry Potter world. The train left a lasting impression when it nearly ran over Ron’s flying Ford Anglia on its way to Hogwarts. This was filmed at the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the town of Lochaber in Scotland, which stands 100ft above the ground. You can’t ride the real Hogwarts Express, but you can travel over the viaduct on the Jacobite steam train which was used as the Express during filming.
Everyone wants to go to Hogwarts. And now you can. Head to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland for some of the stunning exterior imagery. This beautiful castle was only used for iconic shots, such as Harry’s broomstick flying lessons. Nearby holiday homes, The Coast House and Fairspring Mill, have plenty of room for the whole family on your enchanting getaway.
For even more Hogwarts fun, you can see a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts Castle at the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford. This miniature marvel was used for more exterior footage and aerial shots of the school.
Keep an eye out for Nearly Headless Nick when you take a trip to Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucestershire. This was one of 5 locations used to make Hogwarts seem like a real school for witches and wizards. You can take dedicated tours when you visit the church and find out fun filming facts. Did you know that they had to cover the halos of figures in stained glass windows with coloured paper? You’ll find out even more with a tour guide to lead the way.
Want to make the most of your stay in Gloucestershire? Foxcote Grange is a stunning property just a few miles from the Cathedral, so you can see the sights from your own magical surroundings.
If you would love to study in Hogwarts library then your best chance is in Oxfordshire. Oxford University’s own Bodleian Library was used in three Harry Potter films, so you can get reading just like Hermione!
Professor Snape’s Potions Classroom and Others
Just a short drive from the glorious Chalke Valley House, you’ll find the quaint village of Lacock in Wiltshire – home to more than one Harry Potter landmark. At Lacock Abbey, you can see the room that stood in for Professor Snape’s potion classroom.
The Warming Room in the Abbey also acted as Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and even features a giant cauldron. Take a stroll around the village and you may also spot Professor Slughorn’s house from The Half-Blood Prince.
Shell Cottage and Dobby’s Grave
While most of the tourist attractions are magical and nostalgic, you can also visit the site where loyal house-elf Dobby was laid to rest. Used in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2, filming took place on Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Shell Cottage – home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour – was built on the beach’s sand dunes for the films.
Plan a Harry Potter trip with our helpful map.
Truly enchanting holiday homes
Want to plan a getaway that’s as magical as Harry’s adventures? At kate & tom’s, we aim to make that dream a reality. We have an array of spellbinding holiday homes across the UK, near all the most iconic filming locations.
Best of all, we have a team of travel experts on hand to help you find the perfect holiday cottage. Give us a call on 01242 235151 to start planning your holiday of a lifetime.
Call us now on 01242 235151. We’re open 7 days a week.