Harry Potter, beloved by children and adults the world over, is the world’s most successful film franchise and possibly the most successful book franchise (I don’t know this for a fact so am hedging my bets!). Not only were many parts of the stories set in London, but the studio where it was filmed is located in outer London and you can find many filming locations all over the city. Below I have compiled a list of as many film sites and book locations as I can. There are a lot of other websites that have done this too, but some give incorrect locations and some are missing places.
Harry Potter Film Locations
I will eventually try to have a photo for each location so you can compare it to the movie, but as I’ve not yet visited every spot myself either, this might be a work in progress for a while. As a die-hard fan myself I am a stickler for accuracy so if you know of any spots I have got wrong, please let me know. Some places can’t actually be 100% confirmed and so I will include as much information as I can about those spots.
1. The Leaky Cauldron: This is an optician’s shop (if I remember correctly) in Leadenhall Market. It is painted bright blue (although was black in the movie) and can be found in the Bull’s Head Passage. Some other exterior Diagon Alley shots were filmed in Leadenhall Market too.
2. Platform 9 3/4: There are kind of a few locations for this. Firstly, for the filming location, you probably want platforms 1 – 8 in King’s Cross station. These platforms have the brick archways shown in the movie – see the image on the right of Platforms 4 and 5 (no guarantee these are the platforms that were filmed on, but gives you an example of what platforms 1 – 8 look like ). It is worth noting too that the brick wall is much thicker in the movie – I would guess this has been digitally altered in post-production or that a facade was erected over the existing arch for filming.
There is no barrier between platforms 9 and 10 and JKR has admitted she was mistakenly thinking of Euston Station when describing platform 9 3/4 in the book (however Euston doesn’t fit the description either). I don’t believe anyone outside of the films knows for sure which platform(s) it was shot on. Photo credit for the King’s Cross platform photo goes to Quentin Lowagie on HP Lexicon until I get a chance to visit the station and take my own photo!
However, King’s Cross also has a ‘Platform 9 3/4’ sign on a brick wall (along with a trolley installed against the wall to look like it is half way through the wall) in the western concourse near the platforms. The installation has changed a bit over the years and you can now have your photo taken there by a professional photographer with a Hogwarts scarf of the house of your choosing. You don’t need to buy the professional photograph though – you are welcome to have a friend take a photo on your own camera. There is a shop next to it now where you can buy the photograph or other HP paraphernalia.
3. Gringott’s Bank: The exterior of Gringott’s was a set, but the interior was shot in Australia House on the Strand. You cannot go into Australia House unless you have an appointment (it is the Australian embassy), but during working hours if there’s no security around you can walk past the front glass doors and have a peep through, and you can see the marble floors and chandeliers. I wouldn’t recommend trying to take a photo though!
4. Reptile House at the Zoo: The reptile house where Harry inadvertently releases the boa constrictor can be found at the London Zoo in Regent’s Park.
5. Professor Flitwick’s Charms classroom: This classroom (where Hermione tells Ron he is saying ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ wrong) was filmed in an actual classroom – the Harrow School’s fourth form room. As I’ve not been in the room myself (and doubt any public can gain entrance) I cannot confirm for certain this is correct.
Chamber of Secrets
1. King’s Cross Station Exterior: When Harry and Ron fly off from King’s Cross in Mr Weasley’s car, the station you see behind them is actually St Pancras Station.
Prisoner of Azkaban
1. Leaky Cauldron: When Alfonso Cuaron took over the direction of Harry Potter for Prisoner of Azkaban, he changed the Leaky Cauldron too. Its entrance is located in Borough Market near London Bridge station. The shop used to be a florist called Chez Michele but in recent months it has changed. I walked past it a few weeks ago but don’t remember what it’s called now – I will have to check next time I’m at the market.
Order of the Phoenix
1. Ministry of Magic entrance: When Mr Weasley takes Harry to his hearing at the Ministry of Magic, they gain entrance via a red telephone box on Great Scotland Yard, a street that runs from Northumberland Ave to Whitehall. It was at the junction with Scotland Place, and it won’t look exactly as it did in the movie as an arch (which actually exists on Scotland Place) was added in post production, and the telephone box was a prop and does not actually exist there. In the image on the right, the arch is digitally inserted where the wooden door is, and the phone box is where the window is. Note the same building at the end of the street (looks further away due to the wide-angled lens used by google maps).
2. Westminster Tube Station: When Mr Weasley and Harry are going to his hearing, they use Westminster Underground (tube) station. I am yet to determine exactly where the filming took place (although obviously there was a moment at the gates when Mr Weasley couldn’t figure out how to use them) – I’ll need to take some screenshots with me next time I go through the station!
3. 12 Grimmauld Place: There is a bit of disagreement online about where Grimmauld Place was filmed, however the majority of sources I have read suggest Claremont Square in Islington, with which I agree. Others have suggested New Square near Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is certainly wrong as you can see from the images below. Another suggestion has been Tavistock Square, and while this is a better contender than New Square, you can still see that the architecture is wrong. Note the similarities between the images of Grimmauld Place and Claremont Square: the exterior of the ground floor is white, the doorways have arches over them, and the windows along the first floor are all set into arches as well.
1. Millennium Bridge: During the Death Eaters’ destructive flight at the beginning of the movie, you see Millennium Bridge twist and snap. This bridge crosses the Thames in front of the Tate Modern gallery. This was gleefully pointed out by many to be a blooper or inconsistency – the movie was set in 1996, several years before Millennium Bridge was built.
2. Surbiton Train Station: At the beginning of the movie, Harry is seen reading the Daily Prophet in a cafe in a train station before Dumbledore finds him there. This was apparently filmed in Surbiton Train Station, although I’ve not visited it myself so cannot confirm 100% positively that it’s correct.
1. Shaftesbury Ave: When Hermione apparates with Harry and Ron from Fleur and Bill’s wedding, she takes them to Shaftesbury Ave (in the book it was Tottenham Court Rd). They apparated to a spot in front of the Crest of London shop on Shaftesbury Ave just off Piccadilly Circus (where they nearly got hit by the bus). The cafe itself where they got attacked by Death Eaters was a set. In the left image you can see a bit of the Crest of London store front; this is the section in the red rectangle in the right image.
Harry Potter Book Locations
These are places where either a scene in the book was set, or that were simply referred to. I indicate in brackets in which book/s the location is mentioned.
1. King’s Cross Station – where the Hogwarts Express departs from (multiple books incl. Philosopher’s Stone).
2. Charing Cross Road – where the Leaky Cauldron is located (Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows).
3. Tottenham Court Road – where Hermione apparated with Harry and Ron when fleeing Bill and Fleur’s wedding (Deathly Hallows).
4. Elephant and Castle – a suburb where Willy Widdershins made toilets explode, and where a prank on muggles backfired and Arthur Weasley was called to investigate (Half-Blood Prince).
5. Paddington Station – the station where Hagrid takes Harry to send him home to Privet Drive after he takes him shopping for school items (Philosopher’s Stone).
6. Post Office Tower – now called the BT Tower, a tower that Harry and Ron flew past in the Weasleys’ Ford Anglia and were spotted by muggles (Chamber of Secrets).