Have you ever dreamed of visiting the filming locations for the most successful movie franchise in history? Although it’s true that the story of Harry Potter is just a fantasy from the mind of J.K. Rowling, there are many real-life locations any fans of the saga can visit and appreciate. With the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 on home video, let’s take a final trip down memory lane as we visit some of the most memorable places where the story of the boy who lived came alive.
The Reptile House at the London Zoo
This is where it all began for Harry Potter. In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry first becomes aware of his wizard powers when communicating with an encased Burmese python. The scene was filmed at the London Zoo’s Reptile House in November 2000 and a plaque was placed there to commemorate the moment. Of course, make sure to visit the rest of the zoo which contains over 750 species of animals and is located in Regent Park in the heart of the British capital.
Leadenhall Market (London)
Nearby is Leadenhall Market which was extensively used as Diagon Alley throughout the entire saga. While Harry and company make regular trips there to buy school books or withdraw gold from Gringotts Bank, this classy covered market has been a shopping area for Muggles dating back to the 14th century. If you intend to visit this spot, make sure to look up and admire the ornate roof structure which was designed in 1881.
King’s Cross Station (London)
King’s Cross Station is the place where Harry catches the Hogwarts Express at the end of every summer on his way to Hogsmeade. Naturally once you are there, you must check out the notorious wall that leads to Platform 9¾ which is invisible to these insufferable Muggles. There, a luggage cart poses half-way through the wall so make sure to bring your camera and pose for a picture!
Glenfinnan Viaduct (Lochaber, Scotland)
On the way to Hogsmeade, how can anyone forget the gorgeous 21-arch railway viaduct which is seen throughout the saga as the Hogwarts Express steams across the Scottish Highlands. Built between 1897 and 1901, the viaduct overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel. Best of all, you can ride the Hogwarts Express (a.k.a. the Jacobite Steam Train as Muggles call it) in the summer to see the landmark up close by traveling the scenic West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig.