Tracing Harry Potter in the UK
Looking for vacation ideas? The UK is be your place-to-be as a Potterhead! Here’s a guide for Harry Potter-related locations in the country, from places that inspired J.K. Rowling to those spotted by the production crew. Get your luggage ready and let’s transport ourselves to Harry Potter’s wizarding world. 5 stops in your itinerary, from Edinburgh to London.
This is where J.K. Rowling transformed the adventure of young Harry from idea into words. Among the several cafes she did her writing, The Elephant House is your must-see. With the view of the Edinburgh castle, the cafe claims to be the birthplace of Harry Potter.
Fans of the saga even leave messages to Rowling on the wall of the ladies’ room!
There are of course other places that inspired the writer in the city. The magnificent Greyfriars Kirkyard is where you will find the grave of Thomas Riddle, whose epitaph is believed to have inspired the idea of the famous anagram “I am Lord Voldemort” (Tom Marvolo Riddle).
Victoria Street is also part of the inspiration for Diagon Alley.
Jacobite Steam Train
Who doesn’t dream of boarding onto the Hogwarts Express? Well, you can have your dream come true!
Jacobite Steam Train (the steam train’s real name) receives its travelers from April to end of October every year. The 2-hour journey starts from Fort William, traveling along the Glenfinnan Viaduct (one of the most iconic scenes with the steam train!), all the way till Mallaigh, a small fishing village.
If you want to see a steam train passing the Glenfinnan Viaduct with your own eyes, the best is to go to the Glenfinan Station, walk along a walking trail for the best viewpoint!
Book fast and way in advance as the tickets are sold rapidly! Journeys with regular trains are also available at a lower price.
Northumberland, the north-most county in England houses Alnwick Castle, the second largest castle in the UK. The castle is open to its visitors from the end of March to the end of October every year. This is where outdoor scenes at Hogwarts are shot.
London has been a great inspiration to both J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers. A stop at the King’s Cross station is a must. It was where the young witches and wizards pass through the wall to enter the famous Platform 9 ¾.
Attention - in reality, this wall is located between the platforms 4 and 5. For some real magic, head to the west near the entrance to the platforms 9, 10 and 11. You will find a trolley trapped inside a wall. Rowling chose this station in particular as it is where her parents met on their way to Scotland.
There are of course more highly recognizable locations spread around the city. As you recall, the Millennium Bridge was destroyed by the Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Don’t miss out Picadilly Circus also where Harry, Ron and Hermione narrowly avoided being hit by a London bus.
While Charing Cross Road in the West End is believed to be another inspiration for Diagon Alley, two places in the British capital actually proudly served as the filming location. Leadenhall Market was used as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but the shooting of Leaky Cauldron later moved to Borrough Market in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Warner Bros Studios
Visit the studios in which the actors grew and evolved with the movies for over a decade. One hour and a half from central London, what Warner Bros is showing you is definitely worth the travel. This excursion will provide its visitors a genuine magical experience.
Magic starts from the second the tour begins, from the Cupboard Under the Stairs to the different decorations in the movie... Don’t forget to take an audio guide so that you don’t miss out any details nor anecdotes! (Spoiler alert: over 3000 wands were fabricated for the movies, among which, 80 were broken by Daniel Radcliffe!) Allow yourself at least 5 hours to fully enjoy the experience.
Source: TVA Nouvelles