Harry Potter And The Locations Of Filming Follow in Harry Potter's footsteps with Empire's handy travel guide
If you're lucky enough to call Britain home, there's a world of Harry Potter locations out there right on your doorstep. Okay, not literally - you'd probably have noticed a group of house elves and a camera crew outside your front door - but you know what we mean. There are familiar landmarks, Muggle and magical, dotted across these fair islands, if ye know where to go. Platform 9 3/4, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Station are just a few of the iconic locales used during the eight Potter films. Take our - wait for it - Harry Pott-tour and discover where to find them...
Professor Flitwick's Classroom Location: Harrow School
Hogwarts' tiny Charms professor, Filius Flitwick, instructs his pupils in the art of Wingardium Leviosa in Harrow School's oldest classroom, the Fourth Form Room that dates back to 1615. It's a great place to kick off a Pott-tour of London locations. Harrow has lots in common with Hogwarts: a sport that defies logic (Fives), some natty uniforms and a direct train from King's Cross, albeit on the entirely steam-free Metropolitan Line. Like Hogwarts, it has an entrance exam, although you don't need to do magic to pass it.
Platform 9 3/4 Location: Kings Cross Station
...That handy train line will then whisk you straight to Kings Cross, the bustling terminus at which Harry, Hermione, Ron and friends board the Hogwarts' Express. Obviously, Platform 9 3/4 doesn't really exist (sorry kids) but there is a bronze plaque marking the spot where it would stand, and a luggage cart halfway through the wall that's ideal for photo ops. In a parallel world, Harry and co. would have boarded the train just down the road, at the station J.K. Rowling was visualising when she wrote the book ("I was actually thinking of Euston," she told the BBC, "so anyone who's been to the real platforms 9 and 10 in King's Cross will realise they don't bear a great resemblance to the platforms in the book"). The exteriors are different too - Harry and Ron's Ford Anglia ride began next door outside the much more scenic St. Pancras. If they'd boarded the train there, they'd have ended up in Paris.
Reptile House Location: London Zoo
Like Withnail And I's Withnail - who in another parallel, spent his schooldays at Harrow School - Harry takes a trip to London Zoo in The Philosopher's Stone, although there's a lot less soliloquising to the timber wolves. The scene was filmed in the Reptile House, and you'll find another plaque marking the spot. A 20 minute stroll across Regent's Park will get you there. The Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus), with whom Harry has his close encounter, was shot in a glass case that's normally home to a black mamba (Snakus poisonous holy-shittus). The two aren't difficult to tell apart: the mamba is much more poisonous and much less talkative.
Cafe Attack Location: Piccadilly Circus/Shaftesbury Ave
The cafe where Harry, Hermione and Ron's have their fraught late-night cuppa is buried somewhere on a Leavesden soundstage, but even if it did exist we can't recommend going there - it's crawling with Death Eaters and the service is terrible. It's a simple business to follow in their Deathly Hallows footsteps, though. Just take the tube to Piccadilly Circus, pick the exit marked 'Shaftesbury Avenue' and head that way. If you're travelling by Apparate spell, aim for the Gap outlet.
Ministry Of Magic Location: Great Scotland Yard, Scotland Place
As Rufus Scrimgeour (Bill Nighy) intones at the beginning of The Deathly Hallows, it's a time of murder, disappearances and raids, so it's fitting that the Ministry of Magic's exterior shots were filmed at Great Scotland Yard where such things are all in a day's work. It's an easy trip across the West End, if your flying car is in for a service, follow in the footsteps of Arthur Weasley and take the tube to shiny Westminster Tube Station. From there, it's a short mosey along Whitehall to Scotland Place. Sadly, you won't find the red phonebox that Harry and Mr Weasley use to enter the Ministry in The Order Of The Phoenix, but, as you'll discover in The Deathly Hallows, there's a new route in anyway.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank Location: Australia House, Strand
It's to the home of London's head Aussie, the Australian High Commissioner, rather than Diagon Alley, that we go next to find Gringotts Bank. The interior shots of the Bank were shot in this grandiose corner of the Strand. We'd like to say that you'll find goblins galore here, but any attempts to exchange the contents of your wallet for wizarding money will probably be meet with polite requests to "rack off". You can, however, request a visa to visit Australia. The Exhibition Room, used for Harry's personal banking scenes, is closed to the public, but the building is well worth a visit anyway. It was built during the First World War, donchaknow, with marble shipped all the way from Australia. Strewthius incrediblus.
Millennium Bridge Location: St. Pauls
It took a really long time to stop the Millennium footbridge wobbling, and what do the Death Eaters do but turn up and knock it down. Boo! Happily, it's standing again now and you can walk across it without (much) fear of a watery death plunge a la Half-Blood Prince. From the bridge you can just spy the Gothic spires of the Houses of Parliament, past which Harry and his fellow members of Dumbledore's army whizz on broomsticks in The Order Of The Phoenix. Lambeth Bridge, across which the Knight Bus squeezes in The Prisoner Of Azkaban, is only a bend in the river away upstream.
Diagon Alley Location: Borough Market
That hair-rising Knight Bus ride ends up at the secret entrance of Diagon Alley, known more commonly as gastro-paradise Borough Market and the perfect spot for lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You're more likely to pick up a skinny latte than a foaming tankard of butterbeer, but a pumpkin pastie is not out of the question. Harry's Knight Bus screams to halt here, via Palmers Green, Lambeth and that inconveniently parked car, to drop him at The Leaky Cauldron. Along with Leadenhall Market, Great Newport St and Smithfields (which are, confusingly, not even slightly close together), Borough is one of the labyrinthine surrogates for Diagon Alley, although the most magical thing you can buy here is a piece of Roquefort, a single sniff of which will reduce a grown adult to tears.
The Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley Location: Leadenhall Market
Just across London Bridge you'll find Leadenhall Market, an ornate Victorian emporium of all things fruit, veg and meat. It's a second home to Diagon Alley, with exterior shots of the market appearing in The Philosopher's Stone. Hagrid and Harry enter the fantastical thoroughfare via Glass House Opticians, which you can still find at 42 Bull's Head Passage. You can even buy a broomstick at Leadenhall, although it probably won't be a Nimbus 2000. From Leadenhall, Potter completists will want to head up to Lincoln's Inn Fields to find the home of Sirius Black, 12 Grimauld Place, which is not as unplottable as all that.