If you grew up reading the Harry Potter series, you know the feeling of desperately wishing to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, seeing which House you’d be sorted into, and helping take down the Deatheaters and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. We all may be mere Muggles, but, luckily, there are plenty of locations you can visit to get the magical feeling of being a real wizard. Grab your passport and head over to the U.K. to visit these 15 real-life Harry Potter locations!
1. The Zoological Society of London’s Reptile House:
Who could forget the iconic scene where Harry learned that he could communicate with snakes—before he even knew that he was a wizard. In the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he meets a boa constrictor that is so tired of annoying visitors tapping on his glass tank and dreams of returning to his home. When the snake escapes, he winks at Harry.
The Reptile House of London Zoo in Regent’s Park, you can find a variety of lizards, a Chinese Giant Salamander, and, yes, a giant snake. The snake housed in the cage seen in the film is the Zoo’s black mamba—which is much more dangerous and poisonous than the one Harry encountered. In the film, the boa constrictor was played by a Burmese python and, no, it can’t actually wink because it has no eyelids.
2. The Leaky Cauldron:
The popular wizarding pub and inn serves as the entrance to Diagon Alley and, indirectly, Knockturn Alley. To Muggles, the pub appears to be a broken-down shop front on Charing Cross Road, or, to most Muggles, it appears as the storefront of an optician on 42 Bull’s Head Passage, Leadenhall Market, London.
3. Diagon Alley:
The Leadenhall Market is the original filming location of the Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The visually stunning colors of the real market give you the magical feeling of almost being in Diagon Alley—though, you probably can’t get fitted for a wand there.
4. Gringott’s Wizarding Bank:
The exterior of the famous Wizarding bank filled with goblins, dragons, and stacks of cash is based off of the Australia House. Built during WWI as the Australian Embassy, the outside and inside were the inspiration for Gringott’s. Sadly, you can’t go inside because it is an embassy and all—though maybe it’s because it’s hiding Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. We poor Muggles may never know.
5. Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station:
Talk about free promotion! To board the Hogwart’s Express, Harry Potter and other wizards entered through a wall between Platforms 4 and 5 at King’s Cross Station. The real station now features a fun memorial to it’s role in Harry Potter by featuring a luggage trolley—that appears as though it’s halfway through the wall—between platforms 9 and 10. Feel free to take photos, just about everyone does!
6. The Hogwarts Express:
The train that travels the witches and wizards to and from Hogwarts travels over the real Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland. The perfect location can be seen in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
7. Hogsmeade Station:
The Goathland Train Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway served as Hogsmeade station in all of the Harry Potter films. In the films, the station serves both the school and the town of Hogsmeade. The real train serves the village of Goathland in the North York Moors and has remained virtually unchanged since it was build in 1865.
8. Hogwarts Great Hall:
The main gathering area at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is easily the Great Hall. It’s where we saw Harry sorted into Gryffindor, Ron receive a scathing owl post from his mother, and where the most epic of Halloween parties is hosted. The real location, is Christ Church College’s high-ceilinged dining hall in Oxford.
9. Quidditch lessons:
Watch out for flying brooms! The iconic scene where we saw Harry’s seeker skills just outside of Hogwarts Castle can be found on the grounds outside of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, just a few miles away from Newcastle.
10. Potions Class:
Synonymous with Severus Snape, Potions is a required subject for all students from their first to fifth year. The real location is Lacock Abbey, famous for its beautiful cloisters, seen in both Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
11. Hogwarts Castle courtyards:
Known as the hilarious scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where Mad-Eye Moody turned Draco Malfoy into a ferret can be found in the New College cloister at Oxford. It’s also seen in many of the movies where the students skitter off to classes through the courtyards of Hogwarts.
12. Hogwarts Infirmary:
Madam Poppy Pomfrey is one of the most essential characters in the quest to take down Voldemort given that she saved both Harry’s, Ron’s, and Ginny’s lives in the Hospital Wing. The infirmary scene can be found in Bodleian Library’s Divinity School in the first two Harry Potter films.
13. #12 Grimmauld Place:
The ancestral home of the Black Family, protected by a Fidelius Charm, is invisible to the muggle neighbors in the Borough of Islington, London served as the Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix. It was used as a hide out until Umbridge located the hideout and the ragtag team of wizards abandoned the property.
You can find 12 Grimmauld Place in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, a square where you’ll find the closest types of people to wizards—British layers, who inhabit many of the buildings in the square.
14. The Cave by the Sea:
Who could forget when Dumbledore and Harry apparated to the Cave by the sea to acquire the hidden locket of Salazar Slytherin, one of Tom Riddle’s seven Horcruxes? The real location is the famous Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Easy to spot, you can see where Harry and Dumbledore stood before entering the Cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
15. Millenium Bridge:
As one of the few locations seen in the films that is a real representation of a famous British site is the Millennium Bridge. Who could forget when the Deatheaters callously destroyed it and likely killed the Muggles walking on it in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Thankfully, the beautiful pedestrian bridge remains intact and walkable—a popular site for sunset strolls.