Britain’s 10 Best Harry Potter Locations

STORY BY Patrick 25th February 2021

Nearly 25 years after the first book was released, Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon, with J K Rowling selling more than 500 million books in the series and the best part of a dozen movies from the ‘Harry Potter universe’ now available. That’s just the start of course with endless merchandise, games and theme parks too.

Thanks to the films there are dozens of locations around the UK which – when travel restrictions end – we can visit, to see where films were shot. Many of these are in some of the UK’s most stunning locations so worth a visit anyway. There are also companies that have tracked down the locations Rowling herself is believed to have used as inspiration for her books, so you can sign up for a walking tour of Edinburgh, where the author lived when the first books were written.

Now trading site has done a little research in to the most Instagrammed Harry Potter locations – as well as the least Instagrammed ones, should you wish to avoid the crowds!

Of the 15 filming locations they looked at, the least Instagrammed filming location is Australia House in London. This is the basis for Gringotts Wizard bank and is instantly recognisable from the minute you step inside.

Getting in to the great outdoors though for our 10 top locations, the most northerly on the list is the Glenfinnan Viaduct (pictured top credit Marcin Kadziolka Shutterstock), located in the sunning beauty of the Western Highlands of Scotland.

Many other scenes from the films were filmed in Scotland Glencoe including the famous Quidditch scenes at Glencoe, the second most Instagrammed location – although due to its history and  spectacular location it is renowned for many other reasons besides Harry Potter, so that may not all be down to the films.

Scotland and particular Edinburgh was where several of the books were written and local experts Pottertrail say Greyfriar’s Kirkyard – the graveyard where Greyfriar’s Bobby is buried – is one of the key locations,

“Rowling used to go wandering in there from the Elephant House café where she wrote when she was looking for new ideas. In there you’ve got a plaque dedicated to William McGonagal (whose namesake was taken for the Professor), and a grave to a Tom Riddell (along with his son, Tom Riddell). Just across from it you also have Victoria Street, which is believed to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley, and along which you can find loads of Potter-esque sights and shops,” explained Sam Thorne who leads Harry Potter themed walking tours in Scotland’s capital – hopefully resuming this spring.

Edinburgh’s Victoria Street may have been the inspiration for the books but in the films its London’s Leadenhall Market that was used for the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the films.

Other popular locations include Freshwater West in Wales where scenes for Shell Cottage and Dobby’s death were shot. Unfortunately, you can’t see the cottage as it was erected just for filming, but you can find Dobby’s grave and leave a stone (or even a sock) at the site.

Goathland Train Station is Hogsmeade Station in Harry Potter and Malham Cove (pictured above credit Dave Head, Shutterstock) is where Harry and Hermione set up camp in the Deathly Hallows.

Puzzlewood was used as the Deathly Hallows Forest and Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is where Quidditch players learnt to fly. Lacock Abbey was used as Snape’s classroom and Durham Cathedral  as Professor McGonagall’s classroom.

Lots of these can be reached by train and if you head up to Edinburgh on the train why not take the express from Kings Cross via Durham and passing Alnwick.  You can see the luggage trolley stuck in the wall through to Platform 9 ¾ there.

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