The world of Harry Potter is a magical place filled with Quidditch Matches, Dementors, Wizards, House Elves, Centaurs, Deatheaters, and more. There are so many impossibly awesome things it may seem hard to think that any of them could be real. Of course, though, with eight films made between 2001 and 2011, many real-world locations served as parts of Harry’s magical universe. Over all parts of Britain, there are many places that you can visit and have your own magical experience.
1. Alnwick Castle
If you want to learn how to ride a broom, you’ll find Madame Hooch’s class on the grounds of this real castle in Northumberland. The castle’s main courtyard was where Harry first learned to use a broom in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and was also used for several exterior locations of Hogwarts. More than just a touring castle, it is actually the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, and the home of the Percy family. To help finance the castle’s upkeep, it is open to visitors for most of the year and the castle also has broom riding classes that you can take (though actual flying may be a bit more difficult).
2. King’s Cross Station
Platform 9 ¾ is one of the most well-known locations in the world of Harry Potter and you can find it at King’s Cross Station in London. While the platform is reached by running through a column between platforms nine and ten, the Platform 9 ¾ that you can visit is actually a wall in the western departures concourse. The station has placed not only a sign, but half a trolley mounted to the wall so that visitors can have their pictures taken traveling to the Hogwarts Express. There’s also a Harry Potter gift shop nearby, but pick your time to go carefully, as it is a very popular location.
3. Oxford University
Several parts of the university serve as different locations in Hogwarts. Christ Church College’s grand stairway is the same as the one first year students ascended before entering the Great Hall, which in reality is the college’s dining hall. Duke Humfrey’s Library doubles as Hogwarts Library, though it’s lacking a forbidden section. Lastly, Oxford’s Divinity School served in the films as the school’s infirmary.
4. Goathland Railway Station
This real railway station in North Yorkshire should be very familiar to Potter fans as Hogsmeade’s train station in multiple Potter films. The station serves the nearby village of Goathland and appears in both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as well as Order of the Phoenix. You might want to just make a day trip of this one, though, as the only nearby accommodation is a camping coach and there isn’t too much touristy stuff in the area. Besides Harry Potter, the station has featured in the film Keeping Mum and the programmes Heartbeat and All Creatures Great and Small.
5. Durham Cathedral
Like Oxford, many of Hogwarts’ farmous locations can be found within the walls. Many of the wizarding school’s classrooms and corridors were filmed at Durham Cathedral, including Professor McGonagall’s Transfiguration classroom, Harry’s snowy scene with Hedwig, the time Ron puked up slugs, and more. While the Cathedral certainly welcomes tourists, it’s worth keeping in mind that it is still regularly used for church services and other events, so all parts may not be available some of the time. However, some photography in places outside the actual sanctuary is permitted (which is where you’re likely going to want photos anyway), but be sure to mind the rules lest you be asked to delete your photos.