It’s hard to believe Harry Potter’s been part of our world for two decades – but June 26 marks 20 years since Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was first published.
Superfans will no doubt have ‘apparated’ themselves across the globe in search of locations that inspired JK Rowling, and were used as locations in the subsequent films. For everyone else, we’ve conjured up a list of the top Harry Potter spots you need to see...
1. King’s Cross Station
Where better to start our whistle-stop tour of Potter locations than the place where Harry’s very first journey to Hogwarts began? From Platform 9 ¾ to be exact, which Harry and his wizarding pals reached by running through a wall. Today, the books and films are commemorated with half a luggage trolley disappearing into a wall. Don’t miss the Harry Potter Shop for all your souvenir needs!
2. Glennfinnan viaduct
In the second book, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Harry and Ron Weasley fly to Hogwarts, racing the Hogwarts Express over this stunning Scottish viaduct, which opened in 1901. From May to October, West Coast Railways run the Jacobite Steam Train, so you could follow in the Hogwarts’ students’ footsteps and cross the viaduct by rail.
3. Goathland train station
Hogsmeade Station is the main station for Hogwarts and the real-life station, at Goathland in the Yorkshire Moors, also featured in the TV show Heartbeat. There are services from Whitby and Pickering.
4. Durham Cathedral
Numerous old buildings were used for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizarding, but perhaps the most spectacular is Durham Cathedral. Its cloisters became the snow-covered quad where Harry sets his owl off in the first film, while the Chapter House was the venue for one of Professor McGonagall’s classes.
5. Christ Church Hall
When they were scouting for locations, the production team on the Harry Potter films were so impressed by the enormous Renaissance hall at Oxford’s Christ Church College, they built a replica to film scenes where the students eat and are ‘sorted’ into houses in Hogwarts’ Great Hall.
6. Warners Bros Studio Tour
The Making of Harry Potter experience at Leavesden first opened in March 2012 – after the studios played host to filming the eight movies for more than a decade. The Studio Tour offers visitors the chance to explore two sound stages and a backlot crammed with original sets, animatronic creatures and special effects. On March 31, the Forbidden Forest opens, with giant trees hiding Buckbeat the Hippogriff and Aragog the Acromantula.
7. Leadenhall Market
Used in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone as the exterior for the wizard shopping street Diagon Alley, where Harry buys his wand, and the Leaky Cauldron, the pub you have to go through to get to it.
Leadenhall is a beautiful Victorian covered market, and the Leaky Cauldron’s entrance in real life is an opticians in Bull’s Head passage.
Hagrid’s hut, complete with pumpkin patch and smoking chimney, was constructed here in the summer of 2003, overlooking the serene Torren Lochan.
While the hut is long-gone, the lake will be around for centuries. Also in the Scottish highlands, Glen Nevis will be familiar as the backdrop to Quidditch matches in the first two films – and Steall Falls featured in the Tri-Wizard Tournament in Goblet Of Fire.
9. London Zoo’s reptile house
In The Philosopher’s Stone, Harry discovers his ability to talk to snakes in parseltongue in the reptile house at London Zoo – and liberates a Burmese python.
Have you visited any of these or other Harry Potter locations? Tell us in the comments box below