Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

On June 26, 1997, the first of seven books about the boy wizard Harry Potter was published. In twenty-one years, the novel series was translated into 67 languages ​​and sold 5,00 million copies, with eight film adaptations becoming some of the highest-grossing films in cinema history. We invite you to take a trip to Great Britain and Scotland – to the places where JK Rowling wrote novels and where the Harry Potter films were filmed.

1. Edinburgh is the city where the first Harry Potter book was published

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Brian Grzelewski

Scotland is famous for its tales of fairies, witches and elves and legends about the mythical monster living in Loch Ness. It was in this country, in the ancient city of Edinburgh, that the first and last Harry Potter novels were written.

Joan Rowling has lived in Edinburgh since 1994. It was a difficult time for the writer – she got divorced, lost her job and lived with a small child on benefits. The ancient architecture of Edinburgh inspired the writer: Edinburgh Castle towering above the city, surrounded by narrow streets, Victoria Street, which became the prototype of Diagon Alley. The first book was written in the cheap café Nicolson (later renamed the Spoon and erected a plaque to the writer) and The Elephant House (which introduced a £1 entry fee after an influx of Harry Potter fans),

where Joan could write while her daughter slept.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: F11photo/Shutterstock

The last book was written in the luxurious Balmoral Hotel, in room 552. The writer is reminded of her stay by the room’s door knocker in the shape of an owl and the inscription in marker “J.K. Rowling finished writing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room on January 11, 2007” on a marble figurine of the god Hermes.

2. The Scottish Highlands are home to fantastic beasts

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: iLongLoveKing/Shutterstock, Alnwick Castle

In an interview with JK Rowling, she mentioned that the prototype for Hogwarts was the 11th century Alnwick Castle,

located in Northumberland, on the border with Scotland, and Hogwarts is in the Scottish Highlands, dotted with lochs, glaciers and flower-filled valleys. It was in Alnwick Castle that they filmed how young wizards learned to fly on a broomstick under the guidance of Madame Hooch.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Warner Bros.

The Hogwarts Express, the train from London to Hogsmeade, is a vintage Jacobite Steam Train that runs on the Western Highland Railway from May to October. And the beautiful arched viaduct on which in the film “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” the flying Ford with Ron and Harry lands on the way to Hogwarts is the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Glen Coe Valley

‎Other episodes of the saga were filmed in the highlands: scenes in Hagrid’s hut were filmed in Glen Coe,

one of the most beautiful valleys in Scotland with clear rivers, lakes and a waterfall, Quidditch tournament in Glen Nevis,

and the Triwizard Tournament in the film “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – at Steele Falls.

3. Oxford, Gloucester and Durham – Hogwarts school, where Harry Potter studied magic

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: e X p o s e/ Dining room at Christ Church College

Many of the Hogwarts scenes were filmed in the ancient colleges of Oxford University. The prototype of the Great Hall of Hogwarts was the dining room at Christ Church College. The medieval Bodleian Library, home to 11 million valuable manuscripts, was filmed in the Hogwarts library.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Diliff/Wikimedia Commons. Medieval Bodleian Library

The huge oak tree where Draco Malfoy challenges Harry in the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire grows on the grounds of New College. And at the Oxford Divinity School they filmed the Hogwarts infirmary.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Pexels/CC0. Gloucester Cathedral

After Oxford you can go to Gloucester, located an hour and a half away by train. There is a huge cathedral built in the 11th century, which served as another prototype for Hogwarts. The episode where Ron and Harry escape the troll and the appearances of Moaning Myrtle and Headless Nick in the first two films were filmed here. There is a legend that in the crypt of the cathedral you can meet the ghost of an old monk of Gloucester monastery.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Tanasut Chindasuthi/ Durham Cathedral

In Durham, accessible by bus from London Central Bus Station, the Cathedral of Christ, Mary and St Cuthbert sits on the clifftop. In the first film, a snowy courtyard with an owl flying around was filmed here. And in the house of the abbot of the cathedral they filmed scenes of Professor McGonagall’s lessons.

4. London – in the suburbs of which Harry Potter lived and from where he went to Hogwarts

Many episodes from the Harry Potter films were filmed in London. The scene in “The Reptile House” where Harry talks to the python and realizes his magical abilities was filmed at London Zoo, home to 650 species of animals.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: 11photo/

Harry’s train journey to Hogwarts began at King’s Cross Station, on platforms 9 and 3/4, invisible to non-wizards, which can be reached by passing through the wall between platforms 4 and 5. There is now a trolley installed there , half stuck in the wall, next to which Harry Potter fans love to take pictures.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Lazyllama/Shutterstock

Diagon Alley was filmed in Leadenhall, a Victorian market with a glass painted ceiling, and the Leaky Cauldron pub was filmed in an optician’s shop in the market. The building of the Gringotts wizarding bank was filmed at the Australian diplomatic mission.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: pio3/Shutterstock. Millennium Bridge

The scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in which the Death Eaters attack Harry and his friends was filmed in Piccadilly Circus. And in the film “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” the same death eaters destroyed the Millennium Bridge, which offers an excellent view of St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Visit Dartmoor

And just 30 kilometers from London, in Black Park (so named because it is dark even on sunny days) in Buckinghamshire, the Forbidden Forest, where unicorns and centaurs live, was filmed.

5. Warner Bros. studio, where fantastic costumes and sets were created

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo: Warner Bros. Studio

In the town of Leavesden in the suburbs of London, which can be reached in 40 minutes by train from London Euston station, there is a Warner Bros. studio where all eight films were shot over the course of 10 years.

In the studio pavilions there is a Harry Potter museum, where costumes, magical utensils, decorations of rooms and entire streets are collected. The museum will tell you how films were made, costumes and special effects were created. Here you will see the scenery of Hogsmeade village, Hagrid’s hut, Diagon Alley, Harry’s house and the Weasley family’s flying car, drink butterbeer, try on a wizard’s hat and learn to fly on a broomstick.

Traveling in the footsteps of Harry Potter

Photo:, Warner Bros. Studios.

Be sure to buy your tickets in advance at and don’t be late – the studio is only allowed during the hours indicated on the ticket. It is almost impossible to buy tickets on the spot – a limited number of visitors are allowed into the museum, and all tickets are usually sold out several weeks in advance.

Preview photo: NavinTar/

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