Leave your Muggle life behind for these magical destinations
London, Oxford, and Edinburgh are straight up magical. Like, lush hills, enchanting castles, and mesmerizing accents magic. Not to mention, these cities are where some of your favorite Harry Potter scenes were filmed, and where J.K. Rowling found inspiration for the book series.
For all the dedicated fans out there who waited hours in line for midnight book releases, drew lightning bolts on their forehead for movie premiers, and still refer to their ex as “He (or she)-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” when you visit London, Oxford, and Edinburgh, these are the places you need to go to live out your Harry Potter dreams.
King’s Cross Station & St. Pancras
When Harry actually manages to catch the train, he’s picking it up at King’s Cross Station. Head over to Platforms 9 and 10 in King’s Cross to get a photo with the trolley sticking out of the platform wall on its way to the wizarding world. Forgot your robes at home? Pick up some props before your photo op from a selection of house scarves and wands. After you’re done, head over to St. Pancras, the neighboring station that was used for the exterior shots.
Keep an eye out for Death Eaters when you’re crossing this well-known pedestrian suspension bridge. Though you saw it destroyed in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, the bridge is still intact and a great spot for Harry Potter inspired selfie.
The Leadenhall Market
Known by Muggles as Leadenhall Market, this charming shop- and restaurant-filled area is better known to HP fans as Diagon Alley. This is THE place for Hogwarts students to buy their school books, ogle at a Nimbus 2000, and match with their perfect wand. In addition to serving up some seriously magical vibes, Leadenhall is great place to grab a bite and pick up souvenirs. So, make room in your suitcase, come hungry, and prepare to feel enchanted.
If there’s one thing Harry and his classmates are really good at, it’s getting sick or injured (or petrified). All. The. Time. So this place will definitely look familiar to you, even with bookshelves lining the walls instead of hospital beds. Visit Bodleian Library at the Divinity School in Oxford and see the room that was used as the Hogwarts infirmary throughout the films. (TBH, Madam Pomfrey didn’t get the appreciation she deserved.)
New College Cloisters
This green courtyard in Oxford’s New College will give any Harry Potter fan instant “Goblet of Fire” feels. Stroll across the grass and compare Charms notes, then stand under the oak tree where Malfoy was acting like a tool (per usual) to Harry, and Professor Moody transfigured him into a ferret.
The Christ Church provided multiple filming locations for the Harry Potter movies, including the staircase and some hallways, but none as iconic as the Tudor Great Dining Hall. This grand room was the inspiration for, you guessed it, the Great Hall in Hogwarts. Which, when you re-watch the movies, the Hogwarts students aren’t nearly excited enough about endless platters of food magically appearing in front of them every day. Those House Elves put in work.
George Heriot’s School
A castle-like building where students are divided into four houses, attend classes, and wear uniforms; it’s no wonder George Heriot’s School provided inspiration for Hogwarts. The only thing missing is a 3-headed dog, a very angry willow tree, and some pumpkin juice.
The Elephant House
Be prepared for some major crowds at this coffee house, because it’s a must-visit for Harry Potter fans. Located at 21 George Street in Edinburgh, this is the very cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first and second books. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and wait for your spark of genius. Maybe lightning will strike twice here?
Located near the Elephant Cafe is Greyfriars Kirkyard, a historic graveyard J.K. Rowling strolled around while writing the first book. Walk through the graveyard and see if you can find Thomas Riddle’s gravestone, an actual grave that many believe inspired the name Tom Marvolo Riddle. Intense Potter fans have been known to pay their respects to Lord Voldemort by visiting the grave and leaving notes. The nearby gravestone of poet William McGonagall is thought to be the reason behind Professor McGonagall’s name.
Though we haven’t perfected our ability to apparate to these magical places yet, you can still escape your #MuggleLife and dive into a world of witchcraft and wizardry on these trips.