The Harry Potter universe is a fictional world created by British author J.K. Rowling, which has captured the imagination of millions of people around the world. It centers around the story of a young wizard named Harry Potter, who discovers that he is a famous wizard and is enrolled in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The world of Harry Potter is a magical one, full of fantastical creatures, spells, and potions. It is set in a version of the real world, where witches and wizards exist in secret, hiding from non-magical people, known as Muggles. The universe also features various magical locations, such as the Hogwarts School, the Ministry of Magic, Diagon Alley, and Hogsmeade.
Since the publication of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in 1997, the Harry Potter universe has become a global phenomenon, captivating readers of all ages. The series has sold over 500 million copies worldwide, been translated into 80 languages, and has spawned movies, merchandise, theme parks, and even a stage play.
A Global Phenomenon Was Born
The popularity of the Harry Potter universe has led to the creation of numerous film adaptations, which have been filmed in various locations around the United Kingdom. The majority of the films were produced in the United Kingdom, with the majority of the interior shots for Hogwarts School filmed at Leavesden Studios, just outside of London. Other filming locations in the UK include Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Durham Cathedral, and the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland.
This incredible universe attracts millions of visitors to the United Kingdom every year. Let’s explore some of these incredible places, Harry Potter fan or not, these places are well worth a visit. On this journey through exploring the real Harry Potter universe, we will start off in London, head west to Wales, northern England and ending our journey in Scotland. Without further a do, lets discover the real wizarding world of Harry Potter!
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The Making of Harry Potter – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a popular attraction that offers visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Harry Potter film series. The tour is located at the Warner Bros. Studio complex in Leavesden, just outside of London, and is open to the public year-round.
The tour takes visitors on a journey through the various stages of production, from the early concept art to the final special effects. Explore sets, costumes, props, and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience the magic of the Harry Potter universe firsthand.
Your journey begins with a brief introduction to the Harry Potter film series, followed by a walk through the Great Hall set. Visitors can see the authentic costumes and props used in the films, as well as the actual food and drink featured in the movies.
Other highlights of the tour include a visit to Diagon Alley, where visitors can explore the shops and storefronts that make up the magical street, including Ollivander’s Wand Shop and Gringotts Bank. Visitors can also see the Hogwarts Express steam engine, as well as the Platform 9 3/4 set, where Harry and his friends board the train to Hogwarts.
The tour also features several interactive exhibits, such as the opportunity to ride a broomstick, explore the Forbidden Forest, and visit the wand room, where visitors can learn about the different types of wands used in the films.
Throughout the tour, visitors can also learn about the various techniques used to bring the world of Harry Potter to life, including special effects, creature design, and makeup.
The Making of Harry Potter – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a must-see for any Harry Potter fan, offering a unique and immersive experience that brings the magic of the films to life. The tour is suitable for all ages and is accessible for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. Tickets must be booked in advance, and visitors are advised to allow at least 4-6 hours for the tour.
Calling all Harry Potter fans!! Ever wanted to dine in the great hall…….you’re a fan so of course you have! You can now enjoy a Harry Potter themed afternoon tea at the Warner Brothers studio tour in London. Feast on an array of creatively hand-crafted indulgent sweet and savory treats all served with a selection of loose teas. Tuck in underneath the enchanted ceiling of the Food Hall and enjoy the meal of a lifetime. Vegan option available.
Platform 9 ¾ is a famous landmark located at Kings Cross Station in London, England. The platform is a key location in the Harry Potter universe, as it is the departure point for the Hogwarts Express, the magical train that takes students to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The platform was first mentioned in the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and has since become a popular tourist attraction. In the book, the platform is described as being hidden between platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross Station, and can only be accessed by running through a solid brick wall.
In real life, Kings Cross Station has a section of the concourse dedicated to Platform 9 ¾, complete with a replica of the wall and a luggage cart half-embedded in it. The cart is designed to look like it is about to disappear into the wall, as if it were heading off to Hogwarts.
Visitors to Platform 9 ¾ can take photos with the luggage cart, which is set up in front of the replica wall, and can also purchase a range of Harry Potter merchandise from a nearby gift shop. The area is staffed by attendants in Hogwarts robes, who are available to help visitors take photos and answer questions.
The Cauldron in London is a witches and wizards themed magic bar that offers potion classes, unique cocktails and a very cool atmosphere. This is a great place for Harry Potter fans to get their wizarding fix. Wonderful experience for kids and kids at heart with a selection of non-alcoholic drinks, pre-booking is essential!
The House of Spells is a Harry Potter-themed shop located in the heart of London, England. The shop is designed to look like a magical emporium, complete with antique furnishings, mysterious artifacts, and a variety of themed merchandise.
The House of Spells shop features a wide range of Harry Potter merchandise, including wands, robes, jewelry, and other magical items. The shop also offers a range of unique items, such as potion bottles, quills, and other objects that are featured in the Harry Potter universe.
One of the main attractions of the House of Spells shop is the wand room, which features a variety of handcrafted wands made from different materials, such as wood, crystal, and metal. Visitors can also purchase personalized wands, which are made on-site and can be customized to their individual specifications.
More Than A Store
In addition to the merchandise, the House of Spells shop also features a number of interactive exhibits, such as a photo booth where visitors can take photos in front of a green screen and have their images superimposed onto scenes from the Harry Potter films. There is also a display of magical creatures and a section dedicated to Hogwarts house merchandise.
The House of Spells shop is located in the busy tourist district of Piccadilly Circus, making it easily accessible for visitors to London. The shop is open year-round and offers a range of Harry Potter-themed events, such as wand-making workshops and treasure hunts.
Overall, the House of Spells shop is a must-visit for any Harry Potter fan visiting London, offering a fun and immersive way to experience the magic of the wizarding world.
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is a two-part stage play that premiered at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End in 2016. The play was written by Jack Thorne, based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Thorne, and John Tiffany. It is set 19 years after the events of the seventh and final book in the “Harry Potter” series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
The play follows the story of Harry Potter, now an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus Potter, who is struggling with the weight of his family’s legacy and the expectations placed upon him. When Albus befriends Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry’s old nemesis Draco Malfoy, the two boys embark on a journey through time to try to right the wrongs of the past.
The play is performed in two parts, each lasting around two and a half hours. Audience members can choose to see both parts on the same day, or on consecutive evenings. The production features elaborate stage effects, including illusions, projections, and intricate set designs, as well as a large ensemble cast.
While “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” has been met with mixed reviews from fans of the original book series, it has been a commercial success, winning multiple awards and drawing large crowds to the Palace Theatre. It has also been adapted into a book and has been staged in other locations around the world, including on Broadway in New York and in Melbourne, Australia. After checking out the play, why not head West to Wales and pay your respects at the grave of one of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter universe, Dobby.
Freshwater West Beach is a beautiful and expansive beach located on the western coast of Wales in Pembrokeshire. It is a popular spot for surfing and other water sports, and has been used as a filming location for several movies, including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”.
In the movie, Freshwater West was used as the filming location for the fictional “Dobby’s Grave” scene. This scene takes place towards the end of the movie, where Harry Potter and his friends visit the grave of Dobby, a beloved character who sacrifices himself to save Harry and his friends from danger. The grave is located on the beach, surrounded by beautiful sand dunes and stunning scenery.
Freshwater West is known for its rugged and wild beauty, with its strong winds and powerful waves making it a popular destination for surfers and kite-surfers. The beach is also home to a variety of wildlife, including seabirds, seals, and sometimes even dolphins.
Overall, Freshwater West is a beautiful and memorable location that has captured the hearts of many Harry Potter fans, and continues to be a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike. Now we head north to Liverpool!
The John Rylands Research Institute and Library was established in 1890 and is a part of the University of Manchester. It offers up stunning architecture reminiscent of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter Series. It houses rare books and manuscripts. This incredible library also features a café and shop.
Durham Cathedral was founded in 1093 and is considered one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. It was built to house the shrine of St Cuthbert, an important Christian saint in the North East of England. Over the centuries, the Cathedral has played a significant role in English history, including during the English Civil War and the Reformation.
Listen up Harry Potter fans, parts of the first two Harry Potter films were filmed at Durham Cathedral, including scenes featuring Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Cathedral was used as a location for the cloisters and the chapter house.
The Cathedral has a range of facilities for visitors, including a cafe, gift shop, and restrooms. There is also a visitor center where you can learn more about the Cathedral and its history. Continuing north to visit the location of the Hogwarts Express train station as well as perfect our broom flying skills at Alnwick Castle!
Alnmouth is a picturesque coastal village located in Northumberland, England. It is situated on the mouth of the River Aln and is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint cottages, and historic architecture.
In the Harry Potter series, Alnmouth is the location of the fictional wizarding school of Hogwarts’ train station. The station depicted in the movies is actually the real-life Alnmouth railway station, which dates back to the 19th century and is still in use today.
Another popular attraction in Alnmouth is the opportunity to see dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins can often be seen swimming in the waters off the coast of Alnmouth, particularly in the summer months from June to August. Boat tours are available for visitors who want to get a closer look at these beautifully magical creatures.
Alnwick Castle is a medieval fortress located in Northumberland, England. It has a rich history dating back over 1,000 years and has been home to the Percy family for more than 700 years. Today, the castle is open to the public as a popular tourist attraction and has been featured in a number of films and TV shows, including the “Harry Potter” film series.
Alnwick Castle is perhaps best known to “Harry Potter” fans as the location used for filming Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two films of the series, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” The castle’s medieval architecture and surrounding gardens provided the perfect setting for the exterior shots of Hogwarts, including the famous scene where Harry and Ron crash the flying Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow.
In addition to its role in the “Harry Potter” films, Alnwick Castle has a number of other connections to the wizarding world. The castle has a long history of hosting archery and falconry displays, which inspired the sport of Quidditch and the use of owls as messengers in the “Harry Potter” books. The castle’s library also houses a first edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” that has been signed by J.K. Rowling.
Today, visitors to Alnwick Castle can take part in a variety of “Harry Potter”-themed activities, including broomstick training, wand-making workshops, and guided tours that highlight the castle’s connection to the series. Now we best get some supplies from Diagon Alley up in Edinburgh.
Victoria Street is a historic street located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and it is widely believed to have inspired the design of Diagon Alley, the famous wizarding shopping district in the “Harry Potter” series.
J.K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh while she was writing the “Harry Potter” books, and it is known that she drew inspiration from many of the city’s historic buildings and streets for her descriptions of the wizarding world. It is believed that Victoria Street, with its narrow, winding cobbled streets and colorful buildings, was the main inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Just like Diagon Alley, Victoria Street is home to a variety of unique and quirky shops, many of which are housed in buildings that date back to the 17th century. The street is also known for its charming architecture, with buildings that feature a mix of bright colors, ornate turrets, and curved walls that create a sense of whimsy and magic.
Today, visitors to Edinburgh can explore Victoria Street and see many of the same features that inspired the creation of Diagon Alley. There are a number of “Harry Potter”-themed shops and attractions located in the city, including a wand shop and a themed walking tour that takes visitors to some of the locations that inspired the series. Additionally, the city is home to the Elephant House, a café where J.K. Rowling is said to have written much of the first book in the series.
The Witchery by the Castle is a stunning restaurant that sits right beside the famous Edinburgh castle. Walk down a narrow pathway lined by flowers and plants and enter into a wonderful two-story dining area. Decorated in dark mahogany wood, stone accents and with flower chandeliers and candles, you will feel as though you have been transported into the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
They serve both lunch and dinner, however, I recommend going for their spectacular afternoon tea, which is served between 3pm and 4pm. Tuck into 3 tiers filled with cakes, sandwiches, scones and more. They also serve vegan and vegetarian options. This is a must while in Edinburgh.
J.K Rowling is one of the most famous authors on the planet. Made famous by her hit books Harry Potter of course which got a lot of its inspiration from the city of Edinburgh. Just like the handprints on the Hollywood walk of fame, you can view the famous author’s handprints in this courtyard. To find them, just look down. This is a must-visit for Harry Potter fans, to touch the handprints of the woman who wrote the books that shaped the childhood of a generation.
Greyfriars Kirkyard is a historic cemetery located in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland. The cemetery is located adjacent to Greyfriars Kirk, a 17th-century church that was once a prominent place of worship in Edinburgh. The cemetery was established in the 16th century and has been in use ever since, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in Scotland. Greyfriars Kirkyard is famous for housing the grave of the unwavering loyal dog, Greyfriars Bobby and the grave of Thomas Riddle, he who shall not be named from the famed books by J.K Rowling.
The Cauldron in Edinburgh is a unique and immersive experience that transports you to a world of magic and wizardry. It’s a bar and restaurant that offers a one-of-a-kind experience where you can create your own magical potions and cocktails in a setting that feels like you’re in the world of Harry Potter.
When you arrive at The Cauldron, you’re greeted by a friendly host who explains the experience and hands you a wand to use throughout your visit. You’re then led to your own work station, where you’ll use your wand to control the magical ingredients and brew your own potions.
The potions are made using a combination of interactive technology and traditional mixology techniques. You’ll use your wand to activate bubbling cauldrons, smoke, and other special effects as you mix together ingredients like herbs, fruits, and spirits.
In addition to the potions, The Cauldron also offers a glorious afternoon tea with variety of food and drink options. The menu features a range of cocktails, beers, and wines, as well as a selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Waxy O’Connor’s is a themed Irish pub but really it is a fantasy tavern that looks like it was pulled straight out of Harry Potter but of course without the proper licensing from Warner Brothers, we shall just call it a themed pub. This is a large and absolutely stunning themed pub, from the floor to the ceiling and even the urinals! Live music is often played here along with major sporting events on the big screen. On their menu you can find steak and Guinness pie, fish and chips, all-day breakfasts, roast chicken, haggis and best of all their Irish cream cheesecake. Don’t forget your camera! Now full of food, we can continue our trip exploring the real wizarding world of Harry Potter into the Scottish highlands.
Hagrid’s Hut from the Harry Potter movies was filmed at several locations in Scotland, but there is one site in particular that was used for filming scenes that took place outside the hut. This location is called Glencoe, which is a beautiful valley in the Scottish Highlands that is famous for its stunning scenery and dramatic landscape.
Glencoe was used as the backdrop for a number of outdoor scenes in the Harry Potter movies, including scenes in which Hagrid leads Harry and Ron to his hut, as well as scenes in which they make their way through the Forbidden Forest. The area is also home to the stunning Steall Falls, which was used as the location for the Triwizard Tournament in the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is a great location to visit for both fans of Harry Potter and nature enthusiasts. Please note that the hut is not here.
Loch Eilt is a stunning lake that was frequently used as a Harry Potter filming location. Most notably, this is the location of Dumbledore’s grave. This beautiful lake is surrounded by dramatic, greenery-clad hills and that little island with the tall trees is what made this lake famous. Please be aware that this lake is remote and there are not any facilities here. A must-visit for Harry Potter fans.
This iconic rail bridge was made famous by the hit movie and book series, Harry Potter. You can see the Hogwarts Express travel along this curved, 21 arch railway viaduct in the movie franchise. Built in 1901, a steam train passes about 3 times a day. Contact the visitor centre ahead of time to check the train schedule for the day you intend to visit so you can catch a glimpse of the train passing through. There are toilets, a café and souvenir shop at the visitor center. Parking is also available for a small fee. You can view the bridge from the visitor centre lookout or you can venture up the trail for a 15-20 minute walk to get a better view. A must for every Harry Potter Fan! Now last but certainly not least, let us end our journey on the Hogwarts Express!
This is often referred to as the greatest railway journey in the world. West Coast Railways Jacobite Steam Train runs from Early April through to the end of October. It does not run in the winter months. This steam train is the real life Hogwarts express from the famous Harry Potter books and film series. Embark on this 84 mile round trip through the Scottish highlands. You will pass incredible sights like Ben Nevis, Arisaig, Loch Morar and Loch Nevis.
There are several different ticket options to choose from, standard, first class, first class with table and your own private compartment which can seat up to 6 people(this is the compartments you see on the Hogwarts express). What’s more you can even order high tea for the journey which lasts around 6 hours in total return. What an experience not only for Harry Potter fans but those who appreciate old steam trains.
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Interested in more of what London has to offer, check out: London: Top 10 Historical Places
or more fantasy then check out: Game Of Thrones, Northern Ireland: Winter Is Coming!
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