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3 unmissable Harry Potter locations to visit in the UK

31 July means one thing and one thing only to Potterheads: Harry Potter’s birthday. JK Rowling’s very own boy wizard, Harry James Potter, was born to James and Lily Potter on Thursday 31 July 1980. Do the maths and that means The Chosen One turns 42 on the 31 July, 2022. If you needed an excuse to visit one of the UK’s many Harry Potter-inspired locations, the main character’s birthday is definitely it. There are absolutely loads of places to pick from up and down the country, so we’ve picked out our top three to get you started. You can get to each one with megabus, so start planning your Harry Potter-themed trip now.

Go on a Harry Potter tour in Oxford
Oxford is a must for HP fans. You’ll recognise lots of Oxford University's buildings from the Harry Potter films, but the best way to pinpoint exactly which locations were used for each scene is to set off on a walking tour. There are plenty of guided tours to choose from where you’ll have an expert guide to fill you in on all the insider info, but a self-guided tour is a great way to see it all at your own pace. This tour starts at Christ Church College, home to Christ Church Great Hall – better known as the inspiration for Hogwarts’ dining hall. It’s also where you’ll find Bodley Staircase, which features in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when the new students walk up to Hogwarts for the first time to be greeted by Professor McGonagall.


And while you’re here…

Pay a visit to the Bodleian Library’s Divinity School. You’ll recognise it from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and it also had a stint as the Hogwarts Infirmary.

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Get a snap at Platform 9 and three quarters in London
London has no shortage of Harry Potter locations, from Warner Bros Studios to Leadenhall Market. But the famous Platform 9 and three quarters in King’s Cross station is a must-visit for anyone who’s read the books. While the Hogwarts students walk straight through the wall between platforms nine and ten, it’s a little bit easier for muggles to spot it. Just look for the queue of people waiting for a photo and get in line for that all-important shot of you half-disappearing through the wall.

And while you’re here…

Stock up on HP goodies in the next-door Harry Potter shop. It’s stacked to the rafters – quite literally – with souvenirs and gifts.

 

Trace JK Rowling’s footsteps in Edinburgh
If you want to go right back to the roots of the Harry Potter books, it’s got to be a trip to Scotland. And where better to start than Edinburgh – where the author lived and penned some of the very first stories in the local cafés. Specifically, she was a regular at The Elephant House café and her first book was published while she was writing in the back room here. It’s also walkable from Greyfriars Kirkyard graveyard, AKA the most haunted graveyard in the world, and another Potter location to tick off. If you’re feeling brave, take a wander through and you’ll recognise the names of lots of characters on the gravestones – from Potter and McGonagall, to Charles Black and Tom Riddle.

And while you’re here…


Wander down Victoria Street, which is a dead ringer for Diagon Alley in the books – to the point that it’s now referred to as Edinburgh’s Harry Potter Street.

 

Got somewhere else in mind for a Harry Potter-themed trip? Take a look at our UK city guides for more ideas.

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