This post focuses on Harry Potter film sites in and around London, including the top 10 must-see places.
- Top 10
- More London Locations
- Locations Outside of London
- Guided Tours
- Harry Potter World
- Things to Do in London
Must-See Harry Potter Locations in London
Not only does Harry journey to and through London throughout the 7 best-selling books, but numerous scenes from all 8 movies were also filmed right here in the capital of the U.K.!
Below is our list of the top 10 locations in London for Harry Potter fans. Oh, and there's even a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea.
By now the most famous station in the world, Kings Cross is the station that holds the magical Platform 9 ¾.
This is where Hogwarts students catch their train up to Scotland at the beginning of the term and travel back down on when the school year is over.
It was actually on platforms 4 and 5 that scenes for the films were recorded but if you try hard enough, you can find the entrance to Platform 9 ¾...if you know where to go!
Also here you will find the grand Victorian St. Pancras Station just next door.
The outer facade of St. Pancras was used for filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron decide to travel to school in a flying Ford Anglia when Harry cannot get through the barriers to the Hogwarts Express.
2. Harry Potter Bridge (Millennium Bridge)
Watch out for Death Eaters as you make your way from the north to the south bank of the Thames over the Millennium Bridge.
Originally intended to be opened in the year 2000, the bridge was not structurally sound and it had to be closed for a further 2 more years.
From 2002 it remained in place, spanning the river until a gang of Death Eaters battled on top of it and completely destroyed the entire structure!
Well...in the Harry Potter universe that is. This bridge served as one of the scenes of the dramatic air-borne broomstick battle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
3. Diagon Alley
Cecil Court - The Inspiration for Diagon Alley?
The Court here is lined with original Victorian shop fronts and sells a wide variety of antique books, with a few shops fittingly providing a supply of books on the subject of magic!
In fact, the first shop on the right is actually called The Witch Ball!
On Cecil Court, you will also find Watkins Books which claims to be the oldest occultist and mystical bookshop in the entire world!
Keen Harry Potter fans with an eagle eye may also spot a large display of Gringotts bank notes located in one of the shop windows here.
It is safe to say that Cecil Court has a touch of magic to it, easily believable as the entrance into Harry’s world on Diagon Alley.
Harry and Hagrid walk down Charing Cross Road itself in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Whilst Harry is on the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban he travels down Charing Cross, and Ministry cars drive down the road in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
4. The Ministry of Magic
Home to Muggle politicians, Whitehall, and Old Scotland Yard was used to represent the magical counterpart to our muggle organisations.
Here you will find the exteriors used for the Ministry of Magic during filming for the Polyjuice potion scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Shots taken here are also used for the trip that Mr. Weasley and Harry Take in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
In the books – and the films – there is a red telephone box outside the Ministry of Magic that wizards use to access the Ministry.
From the phone box, one must dial ‘62442’ and the phone booth acts as a lift, taking visitors down underneath the ground to the Ministry.
The red phone box used in the film was actually a prop brought in specifically for shooting so sadly, no journeys to the Ministry can be made any longer!
5. The Leaky Cauldron
Leadenhall Market has sat in this location since the 14th century!
However, most of what you can see today dates from the late 1800s and served as another filming location for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, this is the location that was used for the filming of Diagon Alley.
In fact, at 42 Bull’s Head Passage you will spot a storefront for an optician.
However, this shop front – painted blue – was used to serve as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in the first Harry Potter film.
6. Leaky Cauldron #2
In the muggle world, this shop is a charming florist with a prime location in the historic and popular Borough Market.
But in the world of Harry Potter, this is actually the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, as seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
It is just outside of this shop that the Knight Bus slams to a halt and drops Harry off (via Palmers Green and Lambeth) just outside the pub on Diagon Alley, setting off a car alarm in the process!
The interior shots of the Leaky Cauldron were filmed on a soundstage, however, so it’s just the facade that was used during filming.
7. Westminster Underground Station
It is to Westminster Underground Station that Mr. Weasley and Harry go to when visiting the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
At the station, Mr. Weasley struggles at the barriers, not sure how to work the exits properly – much like many of us during our first visit to London!
For the filming of this scene, Westminster Underground Station was closed for an entire day (a very rare occurrence)!
8. St. Paul's Cathedral
Harry Potter fans know that the Divination Staircase featured in the Harry Potter films actually lies here in St. Paul's Cathedral.
Known as the Geometric Squares, it is located in one of the front towers of the church.
It's normally not visible to the public but if you join one of the regularly scheduled guided tours, you'll get a chance to have a look for yourself!
Learn more about visiting St. Paul's Cathedral.
9. 12 Grimmauld Place
Tucked away on an unassuming street in Islington lies Claremont Square, the location of Sirius Black’s familial residence, Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
The house eventually is inherited by Harry and used as the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix.
This square was used for filming on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The muggles that live in the square have long come to accept the mistake in numbering the buildings here, what with 11 and 13 being right next to each other.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t spot Number 12, it’s kept under wraps by the Fidelius Charm, meaning only Secret-Keepers can access the building.
10. Number 10 Downing Street
It is inside the Prime Minister’s office that the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes place.
It is revealed that there is a portal from the wizarding world to that of the muggle world so that the Prime Minister of the U.K. and the Minister for Magic can occasionally speak.
It is also here that Kingsley Shacklebolt works during his time as a bodyguard to the Muggle Prime Minister.
Take a virtual tour of 10 Downing St.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank
The longest continuously occupied diplomatic mission in the U.K. (and built with entirely with marble shipped all the way from Australia), Australia House served as the setting for Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
Long rows of wooden benches and dozens of goblins working away under heavy, sparkling and cob-webbed chandeliers is the site that greets Harry as Hagrid takes him to the wizarding bank for the very first time in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The actual room used for filming is The Exhibition Room which is, unfortunately, not open to the public.
A polite word with the security officers at the door may reward you with a peek through the windows, but this is not always guaranteed.
NOTE: You can visit the bank on the set of Harry Potter World.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields
(Number 12 Grimmauld Place 1 of 2) [Lincoln’s Inn, WC2A 3TL – Tube Stop: Holborn]
A charming square with buildings now occupied by lawyers and surgeons, many believe that Lincoln’s Inn Fields holds the inspiration for the outside of Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Muggles may have trouble viewing the house, of course, since there are a number of charms placed on it to protect its’ exact location.
However, if you take a look near number 13 you may just see a glimmer out of the corner of your eye that will clue you into the houses’ precise location.
It was here in Trafalgar Square on the 7th of July 2011 that the final Harry Potter film began its’ premiere celebrations.
On a huge stage erected near Nelson’s Column stood Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, J. K. Rowling and dozens of others who spoke to the crowd of thousands.
A huge screen was erected where clips and trailers could be shown to members of the public.
From the Square, the cast and Rowling herself then walked the world’s longest red carpet to Leicester Square where the film debuted simultaneously at three different cinemas!
Trafalgar Square is also glimpsed during the opening flight battle of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as the Death Eaters fly over central London.
On the run from Death Eaters at Bill and Fleur’s wedding in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry Ron and Hermione apparate straight to central London.
In the books, they arrive at Tottenham Court Road and go to a nearby restaurant.
For the Deathly Hallows Part, I film, however, the trio turns up right in front of a passing No. 19 bus in the middle of Piccadilly Circus (Hermione tells us “I used to come here with Mum and Dad.”).
They arrive at night with Piccadilly’s world-famous electric lights on display which lend a little magic of their own to this popular London destination!
Just off Piccadilly Circus up Shaftesbury Avenue, you can spot a row of stone pillars that the trio walk past as Hermione explains to the boys where they are.
Somewhere along this road is the cafe where the trio stopped to have a rest and end up in a violent duel with Death Eaters...so mind your step!
In addition to these major locations, there are a couple of smaller London locations in the Central and southwestern parts of London that are mentioned in the Harry Potter series.
In the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, it is a local zoo that Harry is taken to for his cousin Dudley’s 11th birthday. At the zoo,
Harry comes face-to-face with a snake when the glass separating him from a boa constrictor disappears and the snake spills out onto the floor.
Harry accidentally causes the removal of the glass as well as speaking to the snake in the rare language known as parseltongue (although Harry has no idea about this until much later on in the series).
It is the reptile house at the London Zoo that was used during the filming of this scene.
For those who have made the effort to both get to the zoo and pay for entry, you will be rewarded with a small plaque placed inside the Reptile enclosure that commemorates the spot where the actual filming took place.
At No. 2 Laburnum Gardens in Clapham, south London, lives Sturgis Podmore, a member of the Order of the Phoenix and part of the Advance Guard that helps Harry escape from Privet Drive in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Clapham is also where J. K. Rowling lived after she graduated from the University of Exeter and moved to London!
Elephant & Castle
A location investigated by Mr. Weasley in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as the site of exploding toilets; a prank pulled on muggles by a man named Willy Widdershins.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Knight Bus squeezes between two oncoming double-decker buses as it travels along the wrong side of the Bridge, with Harry being jostled around inside.
It is from a shop on Vauxhall Road that Tom Riddle buys his diary – which would eventually become a horcrux - as detailed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Nearby was an orphanage build in the 1800s, perhaps the location of the orphanage that Riddle grew up in?
An area in eastern London, West Ham is home to West Ham United F.C., a popular muggle football club.
Dean Thomas, in Harry’s year at Hogwarts, is a big fan of West Ham United and hangs football posters of the team in their dormitory.
Ron was seen poking at some of the pictures of West Ham players on the walls in an effort to try to get them to move.
In the East End of London, Bethnal Green is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as a location where Mr. Weasley is sent to work.
There he investigates a series of exploding toilets, charmed by Willy Widdershins to prank unsuspecting muggles!
The BT Tower (Seen from the flying Ford Anglia)
581 feet (177 meters) tall, the BT Tower is a communications tower that has stood here since 1964.
The tower features prominently in a scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Ron and Harry fly past the tower in their Ford Anglia.
In the books, it is reported in the Evening Profit that the boys were seen as they flew through London.
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Harry is dropped off at Paddington Station by Hagrid so that he can catch a train back to the Dursley’s house in Little Whinging where he will stay before his term at Hogwarts begins.
While Hagrid and Harry are waiting for the train to arrive, Hagrid hands Harry his ticket for the Hogwarts Express and kindly buys Harry a hamburger from a nondescript restaurant within the station.
This scene was completely omitted from the films, however.
Harrow School (Professor Flitwick’s Classroom)
[5 High Street, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, HA1 3HP – Tube Stop: Harrow-on-the-Hill]
Potentially only for the most potty of Potter-heads is Harrow School, the filming location for Professor Flitwick’s Classroom in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Located in northwest London and founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1572, Harrow still operates as a well-respected school for boys. It is in the oldest classroom here, the Forth Form Room (dating back to 1615) that the wingardium leviosa feather-levitating scene was shot.
Although a bit of a trek outside the northern parts of London, it is possible to book a visit with the school by writing ahead of time to request to join one of their tours
If you’re prepared to travel to capture the magic of the world of Harry Potter, we’ve got what you need.
What follows is an overview of Harry Potter locations easily accessible from our capital city!
We also offer Harry Potter Tours in Edinburgh.
Privet Drive, Little Whinging
[Picket Post Close in Berkshire (Martin’s Heron Station) and the Warner Bros.’ Studios in Watford]
Little Whinging is actually named after a small village in Gloucestershire that J. K. Rowling visited as a child however, Little Whinging in the Potter books is located in Surrey.
Little Whinging in the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone actually took place in an area called Martins Heron in Berkshire.
To be specific, external scenes were shot at a house in Picket Post Close (Number 12 standing in for 4 Privet Drive).
Potter film crews found shooting on location was impractical, however, so Little Whinging and Privet Drive were partially re-created at the Warner Bros’ Studios in Watford, where all subsequent Little Whinging shots were filmed.
The Forbidden Forest
[Black Park in Iver (Langley Station), Ashridge in Hertfordshire (Berkhamstead Station) and Swinley Forest, Bracknell (Martin’s Heron)]
Ashridge, a 1581 acre country estate served as the filming location for many outdoor scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
All scenes taking part in Hagrid’s Hut were filmed here as well as the scene where Harry finally tames Buckbeak in Prisoner of Azkaban, and the scene where Hagrid shows Harry the dragons before the next task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire.
A large portion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts I and II takes place in the countryside of the U.K. Most of these scenes were filmed in Swinley Forest in Surrey. Notable scenes are the one in which Ron leaves the trio, then Scabior and the gang of Snatchers turn up, and the scene where Neville faces a large crowd of Snatchers and Death Eaters at the covered bridge.
Film scenes set in Hogwarts have been filmed literally all over the country. From courtyard shots to exteriors, classrooms to cloisters, the halls and walls of Hogwarts are made up of dozens of different locations throughout the U.K. Here is a list of the ones you can visit.
Hogwarts Great Hall [Christ Church College, Oxford (Oxford Station) http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/visiting]
Established in 1546, Christ Church College in Oxford served as the set for many parts of Hogwarts – interiors, stairways and halls. But the primary location recognised by fans of the series will be the Great Hall. Christ Church’s Great Hall was entirely recreated on set at Warner Bros. Studios to create Hogwarts Great Hall. If you can remember the first time Harry enters Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the scene of the first years climbing the steps to come face-to-face with McGonagall outside the Hall was filmed here at the College.
For those who can’t make it out to Oxford, there is an additional Potter-related location in London: Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament. Westminster Hall was built in 1097 and its’ famous hammerbeam roof (the largest one in northern Europe!) was completed in 1399. This magnificent hall and its’ roof were used as inspiration when it came to designing to sets for Hogwarts’ Great Hall. In fact, there is a model of the roof at the Warner Bros’ Studio in Leavesden that was used during production of the Hall set.
Hogwarts Library [Bodleian Library, Oxford (Oxford Station) http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/bodley]
Both Hogwarts Library and the Hogwarts Hospital Wing scenes were filmed here at the Bodleian Library, which is the primary research library for the University of Oxford. The actual parts of the Library used are the Duke Humfrey’s Library (Hogwarts Library) and the Divinity School (Hogwarts Hospital Wing). Any shot showing Hogawarts students in the library was filmed in this location.
Hogwarts Corridors [New College, Oxford (Oxford Station) and Gloucester Cathedral (Gloucester Railway Station) http://www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk/]
The cloisters at New College served as the backdrop for a number of Hogwarts scenes. The most notable of which is the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when Mad-Eye Moody turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret!
Gloucester Cathedral served as a set depicting Hogwarts corridors and passages leading to the Gryffindor Common Room in both Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as well as Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Filming here caused much controversy as many people felt the theme of the Potter films was unsuitable for a church. Notable scenes here include the Fat Lady portrait from Philosopher’s Stone and the writing on the wall from Chamber of Secrets.
Ghost-hunters among you should keep a keen eye out as well since it was also here at Gloucester Cathedral that the scenes containing Moaning Myrtle were filmed!
Hogwarts Cloisters and Professor Quirrel/Lockhart’s Rooms [Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire (Melksham Station) http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lacock/]
The scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Harry leaves Professor Lockhart’s room and heads the basilisk in the wall was filmed here in the early 2000’s. In 2007, for four days, Lacock was also used to film footage for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In addition to this, Warner Bros’ says that any scenes set during ‘spooky nights’ in Hogwarts were all recorded here as well.
The remarkable scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Harry, and later Dumbledore and Ron as well, gaze into the Mirror of Erised were filmed here as well.
Godric’s Hollow [Lavenham, Suffolk (Sudbury Station)]
Lavenham, a small village in Suffolk dating back to the 11th century served as the setting for Godric’s Hollow in the Harry Potter films. The entirety of the Godric’s Hollow scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I were shot here as well as the scenes from Serverus Snapes’ memories in Deathly Hallows Part II.
The Potter’s House and Budleigh Babberton [Lacock Village, Wiltshire (Merlksham Station)]
This tiny but beautiful village has served as the backdrop for a number of films and it was here that the Potter’s house and a nearby church was filmed for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The village also served as Professor Slughorn’s temporary Budleigh Babberton home in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.