Are you a Harry Potter fan who loves travelling? This article is perfect for you then! You will discover all the Harry Potter places in the world. From England to the USA, we tell you everything!
The Harry Potter books were written by the British author JK Rowling. Although she was English, she also spent a great deal of time in Portugal and Scotland.
When the rights for the Harry Potter films were bought, one of her conditions was that everything would be filmed in the UK.
It’s also important to note that Warner Studios, the movies’ producer, belongs to an American company, Universal.
England, Scotland, Portugal, USA… all these places had an influence on the Harry Potter books and movies.
This means that if you want to discover all the Harry Potter places in the world, this is where you will want to go!
In this article, we will discover the main Harry Potter filming locations, places of inspiration for names, the real version Diagon Alley, the Warner Bros Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
So are you ready little Potterhead? Let’s dive right in!
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If you love the original Harry Potter stuff and by then I obviously mean the Harry Potter books, then Scotland is the place for you!
J.K Rowling spent most of her life in Scotland and this is where she wrote all the Harry Potter books. She used to go walk around Edinburgh with her daughter and a lot of things in Edinburgh inspired her! School, graveyard, shops, streets… there are so many Harry Potter things to see in Scotland.
Later on, when the movies started to be produced, loads of places in Scotland were chosen as filming locations, including the Hogwarts Express!
Edinburgh is the birthplace of Harry Potter. Although JK Rowling got the idea in a 4 hour delayed train from Manchester to London, it’s in Edinburgh that she shaped the story and characters. If you love the Harry Potter books, Edinburgh is where you want to go!
First of all, let’s set the space! JK Rowling is not Scottish. She is from England and lived for a while in Porto, Portugal, with her ex-husband and her daughter, Jessica. In 1993, she leaves her abusive husband and decides to move back to the UK. Her sister was living in Edinburgh at the time and as we all know, when things go wrong we want to be with people we love. Even though she didn’t really know Edinburgh, she moved up there.
She got to Edinburgh with her daughter, pretty much broke, 3 chapters of Harry Potter and more important with many dreams in her head.
She explored the city more than most people would and her attention to detail was a big part of her inspiration for the books. She discovered the streets, the graveyard and many other places when she was going out for a stroll with her daughter. She also tried to understand the Scottish culture and folklore.
By doing this, she picked up on names, mythical creatures, architecture styles…
All of this combined with what she already knew about places like London or Porto was then beautifully put together in the Harry Potter books.
The first books were mainly written in cafes such as The Elephant House or Spoon (fka Nicolson’s café).
If you go to Edinburgh, it’s a return to the sources that you will get. You will just get to see all these little things that inspired her and more importantly realise how impressive her attention to detail and observation skills are.
If you want to discover Harry Potter in Edinburgh, there are many places you can check including:
- The Elephant House
- Spoon Café
- Greyfriars Kirkyard
- Royal Mile
- Victoria Street
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Edinburgh
ACTIVITIES IN EDINBURGH: I highly recommend to go on a Harry Potter walking tour in Edinburgh. It’s perfect to discover everything about JK Rowling and Harry Potter in Scotland! If you are staying for a few days, there are plenty of other tours you can book in Edinburgh.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO EDINBURGH: Edinburgh is perfect for people who love the Harry Potter books! I would highly recommend to re-read them or Buy the Harry Potter books before your trip!
Have you ever dreamt of going on the Hogwarts Express? Well, that dream is just about to come true!
The real-life version of the Hogwarts Express is named the Jacobite Steam Train. It travels from Fort William to Mallaig along the West Highland Line.
The train itself is very similar to the Hogwarts express, itself inspired by the old Scottish steam trains. But it’s not the only thing you will get to see!
The outside scenes of the train in the movies were filmed in Scotland, on that exact same train route. By taking the Jacobite train you will travel over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct and enjoy views of Loch Shiel from your window, another key location in the films.
The ticket costs between £36 and £65.
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Fort William
TICKETS AND TOURS FOR THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS: If you want to organise everything by yourself, you can go on the Jacobite train website and book from there. The other options are to:
- go on a day trip from Edinburgh
- go on 2-day Highlands tour with Hogwarts Express
- go on a 3-day Highlands tour with Hogwarts Express and Isle of Skye
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO FORT WILLIAM: If you want to make the best of that Harry Potter Experience, I would recommend getting the following things for your train journey:
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter movies, England will be your paradise! Why, you ask? Because you will get to discover some amazing filming locations and the studios!
As a matter of fact, Harry Potter films were all filmed in the UK, exclusively! That was one of the conditions JK Rowling had! You will get to re-live some legendary scenes such as the one when Harry, Ron and Hermione are fleeing from the Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (yep! That was in London!)
So are you ready? Let’s discover the best Harry Potter things to do in England!
Harry Potter in London is a completely different experience than in Edinburgh. In Edinburgh, you can feel the story behind the books. In London, you get to see everything about the movies. It’s not about the feel, it’s about seeing and doing.
When the Harry Potter movies starting to be produced, JK Rowling made sure all actors would be British and everything would be filmed in the UK. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened!
Many filming locations are in central London. This includes the following places:
- London Bridge and the Tower of London
- Piccadilly Circus
- Kings Cross station and St Pancras International
- London Zoo
- Millennium Bridge
- Charing Cross Road
- Leadenhall Market
- Australia House
- Westminster Tube Station
- Lambeth Bridge
But the rest of the movies were mainly filmed in the Warner Bros Studios in Watford, North London. For almost a decade these studios became the crew’s home. Most sets were built there. Today, you can visit the studios for £49. You will get to see the main sets such as:
- The dining hall
- Hogwarts castle
- Gryffindor common room
- Gringotts Bank
- Diagon Alley
But also the costume, the CGI studios and many other things.
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter movies, this is where you want to go! It’s a wonderful experience. You will get to discover not only the aesthetic aspects but see and understand the behind the scenes.
London West End is also home to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the play. Located near Piccadilly Circus, The Cursed Child is an amazing show. The actors, the stage, the costumes, the special effects… are just brilliant! A must-do!
You can buy tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the official website!
Plan your Harry Potter trip to London
TICKETS AND TOURS IN LONDON: I would definitely start off with a Harry Potter walking tour and check out the filming locations before doing anything else. That said, tickets for the Cursed Child and the Warner Bros studios have to be booked in advance. You can book your tickets for studios on the WB website directly or with transfers here.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO LONDON: London is home to the Harry Potter movies so I would definitely recommend watching them before your trip. Once you’re there, you will find many amazing photo opportunities so if you want to make them extra special, I’d recommend getting a Harry Potter hat, sweater, leggings, bag or scarf!
Oxford is also one of the main filming locations of the Harry Potter movie. Perfect as a day trip from London, it’s a great opportunity to discover a real-life version of Hogwarts.
Most colleges in Oxford actually do look like Hogwarts and are still in use which means that Oxford students are pretty much muggles going to Hogwarts. Quite cool right?
The main Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford are the Bodleian, New College and Christ Church.
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Oxford
TICKETS AND TOURS IN OXFORD: If you are staying in London, you can book a Harry Potter day trip to Oxford. Alternatively, if you choose to catch a train to Oxford, you can go on a HP walking tour once there.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO OXFORD: I would recommend doing the same things than before going to London which are: watching the movies and get yourself a Harry Potter hat, sweater, leggings, bag or scarf (there are loads of photo spots in Oxford).
Other locations in England
London and Oxford are the main Harry Potter locations in England. However, there are other places you can visit. These Harry Potter filming locations were only used once or twice in the movies but they are awesome too!
– Goathland station
We had to wait until the 7th movie to see a scene filmed in Wales but there is one! Remember in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when they land on a beach and Dobby dies? Yes, this is it! Shell Cottage filming location is in Wales!
Dobby’s grave is located on Freshwater West Beach. Part of Pembrokeshire Coastal National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Wales, the beach is easily accessible by car. It will take about 2 hours from Cardiff.
Portugal is one of the most interesting Harry Potter places in the world in the way that there is nothing that is directly related to Harry Potter but yet everything else is! Before moving to Scotland, J.K. Rowling lived for a few years in Portugal and this place became a big source of inspiration. It is believed that she shaped the foundations of her magical world in Portugal, before she even had the idea of Harry Potter!
As previously mentioned, before moving to Edinburgh, JK Rowling was living in Porto. Although she didn’t write anything else than the first 3 chapters there and none of the movie took place in Porto, there is plenty of Harry Potter things to discover in Porto.
Porto is where Harry Potter came to life in JK Rowling’s imagination and we can see the influence of that beautiful city in the books.
In Porto, the streets are colourful and shops quirky. There are cute cafes and bookshops. Perfect to get inspired!
Here are a few things you should check out:
- Majestic cafe
- Livraria Lello
- Escovaria de Belomonte
- Fonte dos Leões
If you want to know more about Harry Potter in Porto, you can go on a walking tour. The guide will tell you everything you need to know about Harry Potter and its relationship with the Portuguese capital. It’s a beautiful addition to the ones in London and Edinburgh.
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Porto
TICKETS AND TOURS IN PORTO: You can book a Harry Potter walking tour in Porto.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO PORTO: I would highly recommend reading the books again as you will find some places that inspired them there. There are also loads of photo opportunities so a Harry Potter T-shirt, leggings or bag would be perfect!
United States of America
Last but not least: Harry Potter places in the USA! So, I know I mentioned before that JK Rowling got inspired in Portugal, wrote her books in Scotland and then filmed the movies in England mainly. So why are the States here? I hear you ask! This is a good question and here is the answer!
Harry Potter was produced by Universal and as you may already know, Universal has 2 main theme parks in the USA, in Florida and California.
Once Harry Potter cast his spell on the world, it was only normal for the producers to open not only one but two Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter in the Universal Studios!
Like everywhere else in the world, Harry Potter was a massive success in the USA. Warner Bros, who produced the movies, is an American company. Being part of the Universal group, it was only normal to add Harry Potter world to Orlando’s Universal Studios.
Orlando is the world’s theme park capital and if you are a Harry Potter fan, Universal Studios are a must-do in Orlando!
Inside, you will get to discover the wizarding world of Harry Potter and explore the corridors and classrooms of Hogwarts.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is made up of two lands:
– Hogsmeade located in Islands of Adventure
– Diagon Alley located in Universal Studios Florida
They are connected by an actual working Hogwarts Express! Quite cool right?
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Universal Studios Orlando
ACCOMMODATION IN ORLANDO: If you want to make the most of your Universal Studios experience, you can book a room in one of the resorts on-site.
You will also find a plethora of Harry Potter Airbnbs near Orlando and the Wizarding World.
TICKETS: You can book tickets directly on the Universal Studios website. If you live in the UK, you can also book your tickets here.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO ORLANDO: There are many photo opportunities at Universal Studios California, if you want your photos to look awesome, I would recommend to get a Harry Potter t-shirt, leggings, bag or scarf.
Although the one in Florida is much bigger, there is another Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the USA! You will find it in California, in the Universal Studios Hollywood. This time, it’s only one land, very similar to Hogsmeade. You will get to discover the Hogwarts Castle and go on many rides.
The amazing thing about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in California is that it’s easily doable in one day, unlike the one in Florida.
Plan your Harry Potter trip to Universal Studios California
ACCOMMODATION IN HOLLYWOOD: If you want to make the most of your Universal Studios experience, you can book a room in one of the resorts on-site. Alternatively, you can either Book a hotel, a hostel or an Airbnb in Hollywood or LA.
TICKETS: You can book tickets directly on the Universal Studios website. If you live in the UK, you can also book your tickets here.
HARRY POTTER THINGS FOR A TRIP TO HOLLYWOOD: There are many photo opportunities at Universal Studios California, if you want your photos to look awesome, I would recommend to get a Harry Potter t-shirt, leggings, bag or scarf.
So… are you ready to go on a Harry Potter world tour? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about these amazing Harry Potter places in the world!
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