Millions of kids around the world grew up reading and imagining the magical world of Harry Potter. They always wondered what it would be like to walk in the same footsteps as the cast and crew of the billion-dollar movie franchise. If you are one of those millions of Potterheads out there, then it is your lucky day as we will be highlighting some of the locations in England and Scotland everyone should visit that were significant in the Harry Potter movies.
12 Picket Post Close, Bracknell, Berkshire – 4 Privet Drive, Surrey
Let’s kick off the list with the place where the whole franchise starts, the Dursleys. Yes, the house from the nightmares of many young Potterheads. Similar to the way it was shown in the movie, the Dursleys’ house is located in the middle of a peaceful suburban neighbourhood in Bracknell, Berkshire, with photocopies built adjacent to each other.
A “privet” is a shrub planted as hedges in suburbia In England. These plants are considered boring and unimaginative. Also, the word “privet” is a wordplay of “private” and means “prohibition”, which symbolises the Dursleys’ preference of keeping things on the down low or private. One interesting fact very few people know is that author J.K. Rowling was never for of the number 4 and so, she “slapped it on the Dursleys’ front door”.
Leadenhall Market, London – Diagon Alley & Leaky Cauldron
Who could have possibly imagined that the cobblestoned wizarding alley and shopping area behind Leaky Cauldron was actually inspired by the lovely Leadenhall Market in the city of London? This is one of the oldest markets in the city and the version seen today was actually built in 1881. The gorgeous Victorian architectural details covering the labyrinth of arcades and shops, bring the writer’s imagination of the alley to life. Although no matter how hard you look for it, you will not find Ollivander’s Wand Shop here.
The name “Diadon Ally” probably originated from the word “diagonally”. This was the “one-stop” place where Harry could find everything on his Hogwarts checklist. There was an assortment of restaurants, shops and other sights featured in this alley as shown in the movies. On the back of the Leadenhall Market, you will come across a cute blue door with detailed victorian glasswork over it in the corner. This was the inspiration for Leaky Cauldron.
Australia House, Central London – Gringotts Wizarding Bank
For the next stop let’s move on to the place where Harry needed to make large withdrawals before buying his school supplies, the Gringotts Wizarding Bank, though the muggles know it as Australia House in central London. Dating back to 1913, Australia house is the oldest active foreign embassy in London. The structure is guarded by stern statues at the entrance, which provided a solemn and serious environment for the bank run by goblins in the franchise.
In the books as well as the movies, the Wizarding Bank was located in the north of Diagon Alley, London, England, and the most secure place in the world after Hogwarts. The marble-tiled floor and several large and thick poles on both sides of the aisle as you walk towards the head counter will make you think of the scene from the first Harry Potter film when harry goes there for the first time.
St. Pancras and King’s Cross Stations
The only place students can board the train to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on platform 9 ¾ on September 1 at 11 am is the King’s Cross Station, London, England. The scene where Harry and the Weasleys meet and pass through the wall between platforms 9 and 10 was originally shot in the King’s Cross Stations between platforms 4 and 5.
However, a fun fact that very few people know is that during the scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in which the Weasley twins, Ron and Harry fly over the city on their magical Ford Anglia, the elegant Victorian Gothic-style station which was seen from above was actually St. Pancras Station. Though The exteriors of the St. Pancras Station are prettier, the interiors of the King’s Cross Station remain unmatched to this day. Thus adding two meticulously engineered locations in the Harry Potter film series.
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber, Scotland
Speaking of the scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in which the Weasley twins, Ron and Harry fly their magical Ford Anglia to rescue Harry from the Dursleys, you have definitely noticed the railway viaduct that Ron lands on momentarily. That is the Glenfinnan Viaduct located West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig, Scotland.
This viaduct is a common sight for wizards on board the train on their way to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If you want to have the same experience as the student travelling to Hogwarts and riding a steam locomotive to cross this viaduct, then you will be glad to know that the West Coast Railways conduct a ride of Jacobite Steam Train twice a day.
Scotland Place and Scotland Yard – Entrance to the Ministry of Magic
The Ministry of Magic is among the very popular places mentioned and shown in books and movies. It is the Primary Governing body of the magical community and is responsible for regulating and enforcing laws pertaining to it, which also include maintaining their invisibility among the muggles. A place with such magnitude of power can’t be imagined to reside in Westminster, can it?
When the Ministry of Magic was first shown in the Harry Potter movies, Harry entered it by being whisked off through the iconic red phone booth in London and teleports to a location which is known by the real-life muggles as Scotland Place and New Scotland Yard in Westminster.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland – Madame Hooch’s Broomstick Flying Lesson
Apart from maintaining peace and harmony between the wizarding world and the muggles, love, friendship and family, if there is one more thing that plays a huge part in the overall plot of Harry Potter books and movies, it is quidditch. Then again, aside from casting spells the one thing witches and wizards are known for is flying on a broomstick.
Just on the outer bailey of the medieval Alnwick Castle located in Northumberland, England, Harry and his classmates were seen attending Madame Hooch’s Broomstick flying class during Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone making this one of the important locations in the series. This was also the place where Oliver Wood, the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team taught Harry the rudimentary rules of the game. The inner courtyard was also used for filming showing some of the daily activities of the other students and staff of Hogwarts. If you ever plan on going there, then you should look forward to broomstick training, magic shows and costume tours and you will only leave with good memories you will cherish forever.
Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire
Countless notable and interesting events had taken place in the grand corridors of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. From casually being walked through by ghosts of Nearly Headless Nick to being startled by the sudden cries of Moaning Myrtle to being attacked by giant trolls, one always had to stay alert while passing through this corridor.
Most of these events took place under the fan-vaulted roof of the 1,300-year-old Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucestershire, England, which served as one of the shooting locations for the first, second and sixth Harry Potter Movies.
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