The Ultimate Harry Potter Travel Bucket List
Did you know that you can actually take magic lessons in a castle or sign a wall in the cafe where J.K. Rowling began to write her famous series? Potterheads who love history, fun book and movie facts, and endless amounts of Harry Potter memorabilia should – no, must – visit these themed spots all over the world. From majestic castles and train rides over rolling Scottish hillsides to historic hotels and secret wizarding shops, Muggles fulfilling this Harry Potter travel bucket list will be entirely convinced that magic truly does exist. Check out every place that will feel like home to Muggles and wizards alike.
– Additional reporting by Lauren Harano
Leadenhall Market, London
Leadenhall Market in London is the inspiration for the wizarding shopping center known as Diagon Alley. It’s on this bustling street that you will find the front of the Leaky Cauldron used in the Harry Potter films.
The Jacobite, Scotland
The Jacobite steam train runs from Fort William in Scotland to Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland. The train ride gives great views of the rolling Scottish hills and passes over the same bridge that the Hogwarts Express runs through in the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, The Jacobite is lacking when it comes to pumpkin pasties and chocolate frogs.
The Elephant House, Scotland
When J.K. Rowling began writing the Harry Potter series, she was a single mother who was struggling financially. She spent much time in the back room of the Elephant House coffeehouse in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, creating the wizarding world that we now know and love. Fans of the series have written heartfelt and hilarious messages all over the bathroom walls of the establishment, and it’s hard not to feel a connection to Harry Potter and Rowling when settled inside the comfy cafe with a good book in hand.
Black Park Country Park, England
Despite being the filming location for the Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter films, the real forest in Black Park in Iver, England, does not hide centaurs, unicorns, or Aragog’s giant spider family. At least not that we know of . . .
Czocha Castle, Poland
If you spent your entire childhood waiting for your Hogwarts letter to come and dreaming about what your life would be like in the wizarding world, then you probably were just as excited as we were when Polish live-action role players invented their own College of Wizardry. Guests can actually attend magic classes complete with real-life professors and overnight accommodations mimicking those described in the Harry Potter series.
Alnwick Castle, England
Harry Potter and his classmates had their very first flying lesson on the grounds of the Alnwick Castle in Alnwick, England, a historical structure that has been around since the late 1000s. Other exterior shots of the Hogwarts castle were filmed at Lacock Abbey, Christ Church, Oxford University, and Durham Cathedral.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London
Book a tour at London’s Warner Bros. Studios for amazing photo ops and realistic reenactments that will make you feel, if only for a second, as if the magical world might really exist.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Florida
When you enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, prepare to be overcome with childlike wonder – no matter how old you are. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village are some highlights, but don’t miss out on the wand-choosing ceremony and a glass of frothy Butterbeer.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Japan
Japan’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka has its own Great Lake – also known as Black Lake – live owls, Hogsmeade Village, and special attractions like the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.
Goathland Station, England
Goathland Railway Station in North Yorkshire, England, was used as Hogsmeade Station in the films, and the quaint station makes for great photos – although fans will have to hop on The Jacobite steam train for the full Hogwarts Express effect.
Kings Cross, London
You can’t go to London without stopping by the iconic platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station, where the bespectacled 11-year-old boy from the Harry Potter books and movies made his first attempt to cross from the Muggle world into the wizarding one waiting for him. The station recently added a Platform 9 3/4 shop next to its trolley, so fans can shop for Hogwarts gear before imagining their trip through the brick wall.
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Scenes in the Hogwarts library were filmed in the famous Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. We think even Hermione would be impressed with the real-life version of her favorite spot in school.
Lacock Abbey, England
Lacock Abbey, founded in the early 13th century, is located in the village of Lacock, Wiltshire, England. Fans will recognize the alley from scenes in both Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Christ Church, Oxford
In addition to being the facade of some of the movie’s castle scenes, the vast interior of Christ Church in Oxford was also home to Harry Potter‘s Great Hall in the films.
Harrow Hall, London
Professor Flitwick, the Charms professor and head of Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts, did his best to teach students how to levitate objects and perform magic without harming themselves or fellow students, though he didn’t always succeed – especially when Seamus Finnigan and Ron Weasley were involved. Fans can view the room used to portray his class in Harrow Hall at the real boarding school in London.
Balmoral Hotel, Scotland
The beautiful Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, was known as one of the great railway hotels in the early 1900s, but Harry Potter fans will find that the most important fact has nothing to do with trains. J.K. Rowling finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book of the series, in the grand suite of the hotel. The door knocker is an owl in her honor.
Millennium Bridge, London
While sights of the bridge that the Death Eaters brought down in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may make Potterheads cringe with the memory of it, we assure you that the real thing is intact and a great sight to see.
Whimsic Alley, Los Angeles
4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey
Get a good look at where it all began for The Boy Who Lived with a trip to 4 Privet Drive. The home for the movies was actually filmed at 12 Picket Post Close in Martins Heron, Berkshire, which is where many people go for photos. However, hardcore fans have scoped out the actual location of the Muggle abode and say it can really be found in Surrey, although the house is quite different than the one in the movies. If you can’t make it to either of these, then don’t miss Privet Drive on the London Studio Tour (pictured here)!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Los Angeles
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Hollywood is all kinds of magical. With sights from the movies and tasty wizard-approved treats, make sure you cut out enough time to enjoy it all.
Quidditch World Cup
Yes, Quidditch is now a real sport, and yes, there is an actual World Cup that players and fans alike can attend. Cheer on your favorite (nonflying) team at the US Quidditch World Cup on April 18 and 19, 2020, at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Charleston, WV. The US Quidditch Cup 14 will be held on April 17 and 18, 2021, at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City, UT.