TV & Movies

How To Visit Hogwarts For Real

You don't need to go to Universal Studios to get the wizarding experience.

by Christine DiStasio
Originally Published: 
Warner Bros.

If you're still waiting for your Hogwarts letter, there's some good news: there's a way to visit the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series without one. And no, I don't mean by taking a trip to Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Though many of Hogwarts' exterior shots were filmed at the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden, England, the first two films in the franchise — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — were filmed at a real castle. Where is this place, you ask? Here's what you need to know:

Alnwick Castle

Located in Northumberland, UK, this castle has been inhabited by the Percy family for 700 years and has a recorded history of 1,000. As one of Britain's most iconic castles (and the largest inhabited on), it was the perfect setting for Hogwarts and has been used for a variety of films and television shows. The best part? Not only can you vist, you can get married there.

Warner Bros. Studio, Leavesden

The Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden became a home base for the Potter films for 10 years and houses this scaled model of Hogwarts castle that was used for many of the aerial shots included in the films. You can visit, but you'll want to book far in advance.

Universal Studios, Orlando/California

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter : Hogsmeade opened its gates in 2010 along with its crowning feature: a scaled-up model of Leavesden studio's Hogwarts. It may not be the real thing, but you can actually get inside of this replica, which features recreations of Professor Sprout's greenhouse, the House Points jars, and Dumbledore's office. Oh, and there's a ride, too — if you're into that.

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