Harry Potter for the tourist

Harry Potter may have started off as a creation of literary imagination, but over the years has become very real to many people. Thanks to the success of the books and the films (not to mention the excellent marketing), Harry Potter has entered into our collective imagination and achieved cult status. And in a few years time, the books will probably be hailed as a classic. Already, there are talks of including the books as part of the syllabus and I saw quite a few blog posts recently on “management lessons learnt from Harry Potter”.

So it is no surprise that Harry Potter is also an attraction for tourists to the UK who try to visit places from the books as well as places where they were filmed. There are guided tours which undertake Harry Potter tours for the besotted tourist/fan. For example, London Walks (which conducts guided walks in and around London), has three different Harry Potter walking tours (you can read more about them here).

Now, while I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I am not a great fan of the Harry Potter films. So while I did not join any of the guided Harry Potter tours, it didn’t stop me getting all excited whenever I chanced upon a location during the course of my travels.

This is Australia House in London and apparently the setting or inspiration (I'm not sure which one) for Gringotts Banks

Christ College, Oxford: The interiors of this college served as the setting for the Dining Hall of Hogwarts. Unfortunately, i could not see it as on the day that I was visiting, there was a programme in the college and it was a "No Visitors" day.
The Divinity School, Oxford: This was the setting for the sick bay at Hogwarts, as well as the setting for the ballroom dance rehearsal in Harry Potter 4
St. John's Hostel, Cambridge: The two towers in this picture formed the background fo the quidditch match practice in Harry Potter 1
Gloucester Cathedral: Anybody recognise this corridor?
Gloucester Cathedral: The cloisters have also been used for many a scene in the Harry Potter films
Gloucester Cathedral: This area was used of the OWL examination scene in Harry Potter 5

The next “Harry Potter” photograph is only one that I actively sought out like a tourist.

At one corner of King's Cross Station is this much-loved, and much photographed touristy little piece: Platform 9 and 3/4 😀

It was wonderful to visit these locations and try to imagine them as film sets and match the scenes from the films to the locations. 🙂 However, there were also many film locations that I did not visit. Likewise, there were locations  described in the books, that I visited but did not photograph—for example, the Forest of the Dean and Tottenham Court Road (from the last Harry Potter book).

Have you visited any of the locations from Harry Potter (either the book or the film)? I’d love to see your photographs too.

29 thoughts on “Harry Potter for the tourist

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Chintan. I’m pretty sure that if you are a Harry Potter fan, yo would want to go and check out the places yourself 😀


  1. Harry Potter might be hailed as a classic! Oh no. I beg to differ. The novels are great but certainly not that great. Just imagine someone equating Gone With the Wind or Great Expectations to the Harry Potter series! 😉
    The pictures you have uploaded are beautiful, Sudhagee. I hope I’ll get the opportunity to attend one such tour in the times to come.


    1. The operative word is “might”, Chhavi. I am more worried about Chetan Bhagat’s books being hailed as classics as I overheard in students discussing this in the canteen !

      England is a beautiful place, Chhavi and nearly every place has some connection or the other with some book or film or the other.


  2. These are such lovely pictures! I am no Harry Potter addict – and I admit to not having seen any of his films – but these pictures and their descriptions intrigue me. That corridor is surely some sight. And yes, like Jeyna said, Hogwarts seems to be real enough, 😀 Nice collection Sudha!


  3. It’s wonderful how the universities/colleges are open for visitors on holidays and people are allowed to shoot inside them. Wish they allowed it in India:( Always good to locate places from your favourite films. particularly like the old world charm exuded by these monuments:)


    1. Actually, even I have always wondered why we do not have tours around places where films have been shot, and then realised that very few films have been shot on location. They have either been shot in studios or abroad. 😦


  4. thanks for sharing the pics! how wonderful to visit the places.. i hope i get a chance to do so sometime in the distant future! i also want to visit the harry potter theme park in the usa.

    i read a post the other day about harry’s birth date being july 31, 1980, and was thrilled to note that we share a birth year!! (but how strange to think of harry as a few months older than me..) -http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2011/07/happy-birthday-harry-potter/


    1. I am so glad that you liked them, MD. I had a blast visiting each of these places and discovering the Harry Potter connection. And MD, you’ve just reveled your age 😉


      1. yeah, in the awe and excitement of knowing harry’s age and that we are both eighties’ children, i am not at all bothered 😛


  5. Such a delightful post this is. My mouth refuses to close. Thanks for sharing this link. I really had not seen the pictures of any except the popular platform. I would loooooooooove to visit it someday!

    And, I am not a fan of the movies and haven’t watched all yet. hey have done an admirable work with settings but please give me the books anyday! 🙂


    1. Thank you, fellow HP fan. Glad you enjoyed it. Like you, I too prefer the books to the movies, but seeing the film settings was such fun. I could almost imagine each place as Hogwarts or Gringotts or whatever else that they were supposed to be. It was also interesting to see a change in location for just a scene or even a particular shot !


  6. i had chanced upon the 93/4 Platform at Kings Cross on my first day in London.. As luck would have it I had to take a train from platform 9. I was not even aware of this but I was very happy to see it.


    1. The interesting thing about the KIng’s Cross Station of Happy Potter is that the description is of the nearby Euston station. I believe that the authorities at King’s Cross got so fed up that they just built a touristy thing for people like me to go and take a photo of 🙂


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