Happy July 31st to all the muggles out there…and for those in the know, happy birthday, Harry!
Who is ready to celebrate?
I am undeniably a Potterhead—I did the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, I visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (by myself!), and wandered around Universal Studios Hollywood during the holidays!
But, I still wanted to see where else I could go to explore more of Harry’s world. My obsession is a bit of a Sirius problem…but don’t worry, I’m Neville gonna stop. 😉
So, are you a diehard fan like me?
Sit back with a butterbeer, because you might just have to plan your next trip to one of these destinations!
From Portugal to Japan, these are the most magical Harry Potter destinations around the world!
Universal Studios Hollywood
I visited Universal Studios Hollywood just before Christmas and loved it! While it is fabulous at any time of year, it was especially fun to be able to explore when all of the crowds were away…plus all that Christmas magic can’t be beat!
Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
If you are a Potterhead, you’ve got to see these 20 photos to inspire your trip there! Plus the absolutely enchanting video of my experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that might just put a spell on you!
And, of course, you’ve got to check out my Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World!
Gather round all you goblins—here is the real hidden gem of Harry Potter destinations! Did you know that J.K. Rowling actually lived in Portugal while she was working on the first Harry Potter book?
As much as we think of it as a true blue British book, parts of it were inspired on the sunny Iberian peninsula.
According to J.K. Rowling, it was “in those first weeks in Portugal I wrote what has become my favourite chapter in the Philosopher’s Stone, ‘The Mirror of Erised’ – and had hoped that, when I returned from Portugal I would have a finished book under my arm. In fact, I had something even better: my daughter, Jessica.”
Pretty heartwarming story, isn’t it?
It’s said that she frequented the Livraria Lello Bookstore (a must-visit—but be warned that it gets crowded, you’ve got to pay 3 euros to step inside, and you can’t take pics…but still cool!).
Fellow muggles are going to love the local kids’ school gear, which features capes and all—and apparently inspired the uniforms at Hogwarts!
Harry Potter Studio Tour in LondonAccio
Harry Potter Studio in London
Harry Potter in the UK has its own special magic. If you can fly across the pond, you absolutely must see the Harry Potter Studio in London. For the ultimate Potter experience, get your pic taken on a broomstick!
Be sure to book well in advance and check out my essential tips for visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London!
You might know this one as the Brockdale Bridge and it is another iconic London destination for Harry Potter lovers!
Did you know that Leadenhall Market’s covered passageways were used in the first Harry Potter film? Hagrid and Harry stroll through the market and ultimately enter into the Leaky Cauldron through a blue door!
Make sure to arrive hungry and ready to shop when you go to the Leadenhall Market!
Moonlighting as the beautiful interior of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, the Australia House (at the corner of Aldwych and Strand) is where Aussies deal with their documents while they are in the United Kingdom.
Okay, okay, so maybe there aren’t actual goblins inside (that photo is from the London Studio Tour)…but can you imagine?!
King’s Cross Station
You might already know, but this is where the mystical and magical Platform 9 and 3/4 is located! And since it’s in the heart of the city, it’s nearly impossible to keep off your agenda. This railway station connects to all the top attractions.
No, you can’t actually walk through the walls here…as much as you may want to. But you can pose for a pic!
A gorgeous place in its own right, Durham Cathedral’s ancient cloisters served as a filming location for part of the first movie!
If your plans are in London, this is definitely a bit out of the way (it’s 3.5 hours from London by train). On the other hand, if you’re heading from London to Scotland, it’s an easy detour!
Christ Church College
Oxford isn’t quite as far from London and it is a stunning town, plus it’s as close as you will ever get to Hogwarts! As you tour Christ Church College, you will be transported to the place that inspired the dining hall!
Sure, it might look a *little* different, but use your imagination. 😉
Also to note, the stairway to the Great Hall was used for a number of the Harry Potter movies!
Another Oxford must-see, you will recognize this library the second you walk in the door! The Divinity School served as the Hogwarts Infirmary after Harry’s first confrontation with Voldemort.
And then remember when Harry was using his invisibility cloak to steal a book in the library? That was filmed in Duke Humfrey’s Library—part of the Bodleian Libraries—however, it is only accessible on a private tour.
Before it shot to stardom, Bodleian Library was best-known as the research library of the University of Oxford and one of Europe’s oldest libraries!
Located in the sleepy town of Alnwick,
this is another treasure of North England that you can check out en route to Scotland. You will remember it from the broomstick class and a few other scenes!
Freshwater West Beach in Wales
Back down in the southern part of the UK, you will find the sad memorial spot where Dobby passed away. At Freshwater West Beach in Wales, you can make your own contribution to the collection of flowers that fans leave.
Wander Gloucester’s Harry Potter trail to explore the corridors of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The BBC did a detailed rundown of exactly where the films were shot—so read up before you go!
Edinburgh is where J.K. Rowling wrote a large portion of the series. Explore the cemeteries (yes, there is a grave for Tom Riddle!) and the streets that inspired her.
You will definitely recognize some names as you walk the Greyfriar’s Kirkyard cemetery. Meanwhile, Victoria Street will transport you to Diagon Alley.
Bring your notebook to The Elephant House and Spoon Café, where Rowling used to write, and see if any inspiration strikes!
Once you’ve got your first draft written, book the J.K. Rowling Suite at the Balmoral Hotel, where she finished Deathly Hallows!
Want more? Research the many Harry Potter tours in Edinburgh that will take you to the key sites of her life!
On the western coast of Scotland, you will find a site that you are sure to remember! Glenfinnan Viaduct is where Ron and Harry travel over to get to Hogwarts.
And, indeed, you can book your own ticket on Hogwarts Express!
Another Scottish treasure, Glencoe is where Hagrid’s hut (or at least the exterior shots) is located. It is also a stunning place that is perfect for unwinding after a long tour of the UK.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Japan
Harry Potter can unite fans all over the world. Did you know that there is a Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka, Japan? While I personally haven’t been, I’d love to hear if you’ve visited this location!
Happy birthday, Harry! Tell me about the enchanting Harry Potter places you’ve visited and all about your experience in the comments below! Which places do you still need to check off your list?
Consider mischief managed! 😉