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Updated on Dec 6, 2019. Posted on Jul 21, 2019

Here's The "Harry Potter" Road Trip Every Fan Needs To Do ASAP

For when you're all out of floo powder.

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The Harry Potter films have some seriously impressive and beautiful cinematography.

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Shot on location at various places around the UK, from castles and abbeys to lakes and rolling hills, it's basically eight films of a tourism campaign.

If you've ever dreamed about taking a road trip through the English countryside to visit the shoot locations for yourself, then look no further. Here's the best route to take to ensure you're hitting everywhere worth seeing.

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This is an obvious first stop on your road trip. Despite a lot of the film taking place in the countryside, London is teeming with filming locations.

There's the IRL Grimmauld Place, the zoo that saw Harry break out a python, and, of course, Platform 9 and 3/4. Here's our handy guide of all the filming locations around the city, which will take at least a day to explore.

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Then head up to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour where you can see the real sets and props from all eight films, grab a Butterbeer, and even walk through the Hogwarts Express. Leave yourself a whole day to get there and explore; it's not something you'll want to rush through!

Also, if you can get your hands on tickets, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a must. While the story itself is controversial amongst fans, the production is mind-blowing and definitely a bucket-list experience.

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From London, the drive to this charming university city should take just under two hours. Aim to spend a day here exploring the old buildings, and find yourself a cute pub for dinner.

There are three main filming locations you'll find in Oxford. First, head to Christ Church and visit Bodley Tower and the Hall Staircase. You'll recognize it immediately as the spot where Professor McGonagall welcomed the first years to Hogwarts in Philosopher's Stone. While the adjoining dining room wasn't used for filming, it was used as inspiration for Hogwarts' Great Hall. Continue on to the college's cloisters to see the hallway where Hermione told Harry that his father was on Gryffindor's Quidditch team.

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The next location you should hit up is Bodleian Library. The only way to get in to the library itself is with a guided tour, which is well worth the £6. You'll start in a high-ceilinged room which served as the Hogwarts hospital wing in most of the films — the place we got the iconic "Alas, earwax!" line. The tour takes you up to the old library, which was used for the Restricted Section scenes in the first film. They have books here from the 1300s, so it's an incredible place to visit even without the Harry Potter connection.

Lastly, visit New College, a beautiful and quiet campus where you'll find a courtyard that looks very familiar. Remember that scene where Mad-Eye Moody turns Draco into a ferret? That was filmed right here under the tree in the middle of the cloisters. There are usually less tourists here, so there's a good chance you'll get it to yourself.

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Lacock is only an hour and a half drive from Oxford, so you could just stop in for a half-day on your way to Gloucester. It's a small village, but here you'll find a surprising amount of recognizable locations.

In the town itself, there's a small house that served as the Potter's house during the flashback in Philosopher's Stone when Hagrid told Harry the story of Voldemort killing his parents. You'll find it at the end of Church Street, just past St Cyriac’s Church. There's also a stately home which was used as the house where Slughorn hid from Death Eaters in Half-Blood Prince. It's conveniently marked on Google Maps as "Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway".

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Next, wander over to Lacock Abbey, a 13th-century building that became Hogwarts classrooms and hallways during filming. You can walk through the corridor where Harry freed Dobby with his sock, rooms that were used for Snape's Potions class and Quirrell's Defence Against the Dark Arts class, and the chamber where the Mirror of Erised was kept. The Abbey also featured in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes Of Grindelwald, during the Hogwarts flashback scenes.

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After your morning in Lacock, Gloucester Cathedral is just another hour away. Spend an afternoon wandering through this 1000-year-old church pretending you're in the hallways of Hogwarts. Here you'll find the stretch of wall where "Enemies of the heir...beware" was written when the Chamber of Secrets opened, as well as corridors that were used for the troll scenes in the first film. Keep an eye out for the West Slype door which served as the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

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From Gloucester head north for a few hours — it's going to be a longer drive today, but there's a perfect place to stop: Hogsmeade. OK, not really, but Goathland station in the north-east of England was used to film the Hogsmeade train scenes in Philosopher's Stone. It's a tiny station with only one train a day and not much going on in the adjoining town, but it's well worth a visit. You can grab a coffee in the station's cafe and dream about catching a train to Hogwarts.

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Continue on the road for another hour and a half and you'll get to Durham where you'll find — you guessed it — another castle! There are so many throughout the UK, but somehow they're all unique and special. Durham Castle is no exception, with an architecturally stunning cloister where Ron vomited slugs after his faulty wand backfired. The courtyard was also covered with snow for the scene in Philosopher's Stone where Harry lets Hedwig fly off into the sky as the seasons change.

The Cathedral Chapter House was used as McGonagall's classroom in the first two films — when she transfigures into a cat in front of Ron and Harry, and when she teaches the students about the Chamber of Secrets. Unfortunately, it's often closed to the public unless you go in as part of an organised tour.

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Drive north for one more hour to reach the stunning Alnwick Castle with its bright green lawns. There are a couple of areas within the grounds that need to be on your hit list. First, you'll recognize the outer bailey instantly as the location where Harry and his fellow first years have a flying lesson with Madam Hooch. The inner bailey is the spot where Harry and Ron were thrown from the flying Ford Anglia after being attacked by the Whomping Willow.

The Lion Arch was used as an entrance for Hogwarts, in the scene where the trio head to Hagrid's to confront him about Fluffy. Keep your fingers crossed that it's a bright sunny day when you're there, as the verdant grounds really give the castle its ~Hogwarts feel.~

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Today, we cross over into Scotland. It's less than two hours up to Edinburgh, and every mile of highway is more beautiful than the next. While Edinburgh doesn't have any filming locations to visit, it's still ripe with Potter hotspots. You can't miss a visit to The Elephant House, the café where J.K. Rowling sat to write some of the books. It's a tourist hotspot; the bathroom walls are covered in hand-written messages of love for the series. The nearby Spoon café is a more-chilled out alternative. The building it's in used to house Nicolson's Café, which was apparently one of Rowling's favourite places to sit and write.

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It's not just cafés that are worth your time in Edinburgh, there are plenty of other places around town that helped inspire the book series. Greyfriars Kirkyard is a cemetery with gravestones that Rowling allegedly drew character name inspiration from. Strolling through, you might find a grave belonging to a McGonagall, or a Thomas Riddle. The Balmoral is a five-star hotel where Rowling finished writing the seventh book, and The Writers' Museum has exhibits about the Harry Potter series.

You can check out our guide for the lowdown on everything Potter fans need to see and do in Edinburgh.

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From Edinburgh, it's time to head even further north into the Scottish Highlands. There are a couple of filming locations scattered around, but it shouldn't take more than a day to visit them all.

Near the village of Glencoe you'll find a little lake surrounded by steep grassy banks, on which Hagrid's hut and pumpkin patch were built for Prisoner of Azkaban. You can park at the Clachaig Inn and walk to the site, which is conveniently marked on Google Maps as "Site Where Hagrid's Hut Was Filmed."

The slopes around Glencoe were the backdrop for a lot of the exterior shots for the third film, including the iconic scene where Hermione punches Malfoy in the face. There are also some great hikes around here if you've got the time.

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One of the first movie's most memorable shots has to be the Hogwarts Express steaming through the UK countryside, taking Harry and co. off to school. Remember that giant bridge the train passes over, surrounded by hills and valleys? This is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and it's just as beautiful in real life. You'll find it an hour's drive from Glencoe.

You can actually catch the train across the bridge — though it is expensive and needs to be booked months in advance. Otherwise, you can get a great view of it going past from the valley. Follow the walking path from the Glenfinnan train station for the best angle. There's one or two trains a day during summer, but the timetable changes so check online. It'll go over the bridge about half an hour after leaving Fort William station.

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Just up the road from the bridge, you'll find Loch Eilt which served as a few locations in the Potter films. The most recognizable part is Eilean na Moine island, at the western end of the loch just off the main road. This is where the trio find Hagrid skipping stones after Buckbeak's sentencing, and where Harry chats with Lupin. It was also used as the island where Dumbledore's tomb was located.

If you're really feeling it, from here you can drive south for an hour to Loch Shiel, a beautiful lake that was the backdrop for Harry's Hippogriff flight during Prisoner of Azkaban, and as the view from the astronomy tower at the end of Half Blood Prince.

And that's it!

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From here, you can drive back down to Edinburgh or Glasgow, or continue north and end your trip in Inverness. Mischief managed.