The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our daily routine, and as many of us face weeks locked within the confines of our own home, the prospect of getting out and about has never felt so appealing. Throughout the self-isolation era, home workouts and rearranging furniture for the umpteenth time will only get you so far, and being tied to your sofa isn't nearly as thrilling as previously imagined. Thankfully, some of our favourite TV shows and films can offer a form of virtual vacation, so why not take a trip around the UK with the Harry Potter films? Because this magical franchise transports viewers to some truly enchanting locations.
The most recognisable backdrops of the eight Harry Potter adaptations, including Diagon Alley, Shell Cottage, and, of course, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, were filmed at some of the most visually-appealing filming spots the UK has to offer. London's King's Cross railway station, the Scottish Highlands, and Gloucester Cathedral, are just a few examples of the impressive locations you can expect to stumble across while settling down to enjoy these fantasy flicks.
So, if you're in dire need of a quick getaway, pack those imaginary bags, and look no further than the Harry Potter movies.
Nestled within London's financial district is the historic Leadenhall Market, which for Harry Potter super fans is instantantly recognisable from the franchise's first movie. This beautiful part of the country's capital acts as the backdrop for Hagrid and Harry's first visit to London, just before they head inside the Leaky Cauldron and onward to Diagon Alley.
You can spot the atmospheric Alley during Harry Potter and
The annual Quidditch World Cup is a staple event of the Hogwarts calendar, and in Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys make their way there by portkey alongside Cedric Diggory and his dad. The scene leading up to Harry's first portkey experience was filmed within the picturesque Ashridge Woods, which offers a taste of the great outdoors many of us so desperately long for. If you're missing the days of Sunday strolls through the woods, this virtual setting works as a nice alternative.
The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is arguably the most prominent location of the entire franchise. Unfortunately, the otherworldly institution doesn't actually exist. However, the magnificent Alnwick Castle — which was used occasionally as the exterior of the fictional school — is very much based in reality.
Situated in Northumberland, the castle was the setting of various iconic moments from the fantasy film series, and although taking a trip out to admire Alnwick is currently off the cards, simply laying eyes on this historical structure is a treat in itself.
Freshwater West Beach
The fictional home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, better known as Shell Cottage, first appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Scenes featuring the cosy hideout largely centred around Harry, Ron, and Hermione's escape from Malfoy Manor — and was filmed on the stunning Freshwater West beach in Wales. So, if you like to be beside the seaside, fast-forward your way to Shell Cottage.
For those of us in lockdown, a brief back garden jaunt is about as thrilling as it gets (that is, if you're lucky enough to have one). However, if you're in need of a more exciting view, the Harry Potter universe can transport you to some of Scotland's most breathtaking landscapes.
Loch Etive and Shiel are just a couple of Highland highlights to appear throughout the films, which were used for scenes within Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, and The Prisoner of Azkaban, respectively.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Each year, Hogwarts students travel to Platform 9 and 3/4s to hope aboard the Hogwarts Express. But remember the time in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry and Ron couldn't get through the wall in King's Cross Station and end up flying in Mr Weasley's car all the way to school? It was a nightmare for the two friends but a visual spectacle for us movie goers as Ron and Harry fly over beautiful landmarks, including the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.
After being featured in the Philosopher's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, and the Half Blood Prince, it's fair to award Gloucester Cathedral is a Harry Potter hotspot. The Cathedral is used for several Hogwarts interiors, including the lead to the Gryffindor Common Room. And if you're itching for some historical surroundings, revisiting scenes based within the complex might just do the trick.
Another fascinating Harry Potter backdrop is the mighty Durham Cathedral, which appeared frequently in the franchise's earlier releases for various exterior and interior shots. If you're on the hunt for some architectural eye-candy, any scenes based within the impressive structure will be appreciated now more than ever before.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct
The towering Glenfinnan Viaduct became known as the bridge to Hogwarts after being featured in several Potter flicks, including the Chamber of Secrets, the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Goblet of Fire, and more. Views of the magnificat bridge offer Potterheads a brief escape to the serenity of the Scottish Highlands, which in these uncertain times, is just what the doctor ordered.