To say that Harry Potter is one of the world’s favorite book series would be an epic understatement. If you are one of the millions who have read and loved the Harry Potter series (or one of those lazy people who just watched the movies), then you’ll be excited to know that there are dozens of Harry Potter locations! The real world is full of magic, after all. Whether you’re headed to London or planning a family vacation in Florida, there are plenty of awesome Harry Potter destination options.
Here are a list of 11 of the coolest Harry Potter destinations in the world, from filming sites to behind the scenes tours to fantastic theme parks!
1 Durham Cathedral
An impressive World Heritage Site in Northeast England, Durham Cathedral has been famous for a long time (we’re talking hundreds of years), but it’s become a pop culture icon since it was featured as part of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film series. This stunning 11th Century building was used to film parts of Hogwarts scenes in the Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets.
2 King’s Cross Station
According to the Harry Potter series, King’s Cross Station is the entry point for Hogwarts. Believe it or not, you can actually visit platform 9 ¾ at this station! This is a popular photo op for fans, and it’s a place you can’t miss if you’re in the London area.
3 Alnwick Castle
This is another old British building that has found new life and popularity as the setting for favorite TV shows and movies. You may not remember it from Downton Abbey, but you’ll certainly remember its role as Hogwarts Academy. When you visit, you can take a behind the scenes tour of the building!
4 Elephant House
This café in Edinburgh, Scotland is where Harry Potter was created. J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter as she sat at those very tables! Ardent fans can sip a cup of the same coffee Rowling drank, taste the same food she ate, and sit in the place where she sat. Cultish? Maybe a little, but it’s also pretty fun.
5 Gloucester Cathedral
This gorgeous cathedral was built in the 14th Century as a cloister as well as a place of worship. The ancient halls have taken on new life in several Harry Potter movies, in which it was used for indoor Hogwarts scenes. Walk through the hallowed halls and imaging you’re headed to your next magic class.
6 Jacobite Steam Train
The train to Hogwarts Academy is a real train, and you can actually ride on it! The Jacobite Steam Train isn’t exactly mundane, even aside from its famous movie role. The beautiful scenery of the Scottish countryside and charm of taking a steam train make this a fun activity all on its own. Still, the magic of Harry Potter is what brings fans to join the many muggles who take the train for transportation purposes.
7 Wizarding World of Harry Potter
There are actually two Wizarding Worlds out there! One is in Florida and the other is in California. The Orlando version is located at Universal Studios, and it’s one of the classic attractions of the South’s theme park city. Walking through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter feels just like you’re in Hogwarts! You can ride the Hogwarts Express, visit Hogsmeade Village, and see tons of movie memorabilia! Plus, you can buy Hogwarts uniforms, if you want to permanently mark yourself as a total nerd. The Hollywood version of this theme park is similar, although it’s much younger: it opened in 2016.
8 Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London
Universal Studios London has a super cool tour of the filming of the Harry Potter movies. If you take this tour, you’ll get to see all kinds of costumes, sets and props from the movie series, plus learn how mythical creatures were created using animatronics and computers. If you’re both a Harry Potter fan and a movie buff, this will be the highlight of your London vacation!
9 Balmoral Hotel
J. K. Rowling finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. She stayed in room 652, where she signed her name and the date somewhere in the room once she finished writing. You can book the same room where all the magic happened and search out the famous signature.
10 Reptile House of the London Zoo
The place where Harry first talks to snakes is the reptile house at the London Zoo. Think you might have the same talent? Head to the zoo and find out! Even if the snakes aren’t in the mood for conversation, there’s still plenty of other interesting things to see at the zoo. After all, it is one of the best in the world!
11 Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge makes appearances in three Harry Potter movies, a video game, and, yes, the LEGO Harry Potter game. Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames. This bridge was built in 1999, and opened in 2000. Hence the name. If you want to walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter, this is a great place to start!
Indulge your obsession with the Boy Who Lived. Harry Potter fans can travel to Platform 9 ¾, take a ride on the Hogwart’s express, down a mug of butter beer and more at these real-world destinations.