Ten Harry Potter Filming Locations in the UK
The enchanting world of Harry Potter, with its wizards, witches, and breathtaking magical settings, has captured the hearts of fans around the globe. Many people, myself included until recently, don’t know that you can visit several Harry Potter filming locations in real life! On my recent trip to England, I was lucky enough to visit a few of these Harry Potter filming locations and get a taste of the magic for myself.
I visited three cities in South West England which are home to 10 Harry Potter filming locations: Gloucester, Lacock and Oxford. All three cities are easily reached by car within a couple hours of London. Both Gloucester and Oxford are easily reached by train bus from London, but Lacock is a little more difficult, although not impossible, without a car.
There are admission fees to several of these locations, and it is best to check their respective websites for up to date prices and opening hours before visiting.
Now, without further ado, here are 10 Harry Potter filming locations you can visit in South West England!
Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester
The first city I visited was Gloucester. Located in the south western part of England, Gloucester is a charming town steeped in history and surrounded by picturesque countryside. Though Gloucester is a rather large city, I only visited the area around the cathedral, which had a lovely high street and several shops and eateries to stop at.
Gloucester Cathedral stands as a testament to centuries of faith and craftsmanship. This masterpiece of medieval architecture dates back to 678 AD and boasts exquisite Gothic features, soaring vaulted ceilings, and intricate stained glass windows.
The cathedral is free to enter, but there is a recommended donation of £5.
1. Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters aka Hogwarts’ Corridors
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Gloucester Cathedral’s cloisters became the location where Harry Potter first encountered the Mirror of Erised. Additionally, the cloisters were featured in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” during Professor Lockhart’s dramatic introduction. Walking through the cloisters really does feel like you’re walking through the corridors of Hogwarts!
The cathedral can get crowded, so it’s best to visit early.
Lacock Village and Abbey
Located in Wiltshire, England, Lacock Village is a picturesque hamlet that seems frozen in time. The village is known for its remarkably well-preserved medieval architecture, charming streets, and historic cottages. Driving to Lacock is easy but to reach Lacock by public transport, you’ll need to take a train to Chippenham, which is the nearest major railway station, and then a short bus or taxi ride to the village.
Lacock’s timeless beauty has made it a popular filming location for numerous period dramas and movies, including Harry Potter, and it remains a delightful destination for those seeking a glimpse into England’s past. The village itself is quite charming, and I had a nice time walking around exploring the shops and eateries. Lackock is also the birthplace of photography and the photography museum at the abbey is worth a look.
Lacock Abbey, located just on the edge of the village, is a historic country house with roots dating back to the 13th century. Its distinctive architecture spans centuries, showcasing medieval, Tudor, and Gothic styles. The abbey is surrounded by beautiful gardens and lovely courtyards. Lacock Abbey was chosen as a filming location for multiple Harry Potter films, and its cloisters played a pivotal role in bringing the wizarding world to life.
Entry ticket to Lacock Abbey is £17/adult, £8.50/child, or free with a National Trust membership.
You’ll find these Harry Potter filming locations in the village and abbey:
2. James and Lily Potter’s House
A quaint and iconic residence known for its connection to the beloved series. There is a flash back to the cottage when Hagrid tells Harry what really happened to his parents all those years ago and how Harry became the boy who lived.
The cottage is located behind St. Cyriac’s church in the village, but unfortunately it was blocked off while I was visiting.
If you choose to visit, please remember it is a private residence and to be respectful of the people living there.
3. Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway
A charming cottage tucked away amidst the village’s medieval architecture, where the reclusive professor enjoyed his potions. In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore whisks Harry away to this home where Horace is hiding from the Death Eaters.
4. Sign of the Angel Pub aka The Babberton Arms
The charming Sign of the Angel Pub in Lacock Village played a role in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” You see the half timbered front as Dumbledore and Harry stroll through Budleigh Babberton.
5. Lacock Abbey Cloisters aka Hogwarts Corridors
Due to the massive size of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, several different locations were used to film the corridors of the school. The cloisters of Lacock Abbey are another of the locations you can visit to see Hogwarts’ corridors for yourself.
The most notable scenes filmed in these cloisters include the scene in The Sorcerer’s Stone where Professor McGonagall introduces Harry to Oliver Woods as a possible seeker for the quidditch team, and where Harry dons his invisibility cloak to escape Professor Snape.
There are also scenes from “Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets” where Harry hears the basilisk speaking to him through these walls.
6. Lacock Abbey Sacristy aka Professor Snape’s Classroom
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Lacock Abbey’s Sacristy Room was transformed into Professor Snape’s eerie and dimly lit potions classroom, where Harry learns about the Draught of Living Death. During filming the windows were covered to make the room appear as though it were underground. In reality, the room is light and airy and was once used to store the abbey’s most prized possessions – books!
7. Lacock Abbey’s Warming Room aka Professor Quirrell’s Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom
The Warming Room located in the abbey’s cloisters, was called so as it was once the only room in the abbey where a fire could be lit! During the filming of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the room was used as Professor Quirrell’s Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.
The bell metal cauldron in the middle of the room is not a leftover prop from filming, but rather a feature of the room that was made in Antwerp in the 1500’s and brought to the abbey shortly after and may have been used by the nuns for cooking.
Even though we may not love Professor Quirrell, seeing his classroom in person is something you can love.
8. Lacock Abbey Chapter House aka The Mirror of Erised
At the end of the cloisters entrance hall, you’ll find. The Chapter House. This room was used to film the scene where Harry discovers the enchanted Mirror or Erised.
It is actually a rather sad scene. After Harry removes his invisibility cloak he sees his mother and father in the mirror. Dumbledore later explains the mirror to Harry which later helps him to stop Voldemort from returning.
Christ Church College, Oxford
Oxford, often referred to as the “City of Dreaming Spires,” is a historic and famous city. It’s renowned for its prestigious University of Oxford, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world.
Founded in 1546, Christ Church College is one of the largest and most prestigious colleges at the University of Oxford. Its architectural splendor includes grand halls, tranquil courtyards, and the renowned Christ Church Cathedral.
Christ Church College in Oxford provided a wealth of inspiration and filming locations for the Harry Potter films. To visit Christ Church College, you’ll need to pay for either a guided or audio tour (£10 for a 30 minute guided tour of either the college or the cathedral, £16 for an audio tour of both). It is recommended to book in advance.
9. Christ Church College – Bodley Staircase aka Hogwarts
On your way to see Christ Church’s dining hall, you’ll ascend the Bodley Staircase. This beautiful staircase and the vaulted ceilings above were used in one of the first scenes at Hogwarts. You will recognize them from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” When Professor McGonagall leads Harry and the other first years into the Great Hall to be sorted into their houses.
10. Christ Church Dining Hall aka The Great Hall at Hogwarts
Perhaps the most famous, and most impressive of all the Harry Potter filming locations I visited (which ironically isn’t a filming location at all) is the Christ Church College’s dining hall. This hall served as the inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall, where students gathered for meals and memorable events in all the Harry Potter films. The similarities between the halls are uncanny. From the imposing wooden tables to the stunning stained glass windows, you can really imagine you’re standing in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. The dining hall is actually used for student’s meals, and is closed during meal times. Can you imagine taking your meals here as a student?
If you’re traveling through England and want to add a little magic to your adventure, I highly recommend visiting some or all of these Harry Potter filming locations. From the awe-inspiring cloisters to the grand halls and quaint villages, these places have etched their mark on the wizarding world and continue to captivate fans and visitors alike. Whether you’re a devoted Harry Potter enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of historic architecture, these locations offer an unforgettable glimpse into the magic of cinema and the wonders of our world.