The world of Harry Potter is filled with fascinating details, from the history of wizarding culture to snippets about famous figures. In addition to all the magic, there are also a lot of historical contexts that readers might not notice at first glance. Many of the locations mentioned in the books are real places in England and Scotland. Some even have tours related to their appearance in the books! If you’re a fan looking for your next magical vacation or just want to see where J.K Rowling based much of her fictional world, keep reading for more information on every Harry Potter location we know so far.
1. The Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express is a critical part of the Harry Potter universe, bringing students from London to Hogwarts every year. It’s depicted as an old steam engine, which was the most common form of transport for trains in Britain during the books’ early 1990s timeline.
The real-life Black Five engine is the inspiration for the Hogwarts Express, and it can be found on a preserved line at the National Railway Museum in York. The best place to see the Hogwarts Express is at the real-life King’s Cross station, which is also in London. Since the books are set in the 1990s, the current King’s Cross station doesn’t match the architecture of the Hogwarts Express. Luckily, there’s a permanent Harry Potter exhibit at the original station. The exhibit shows the Black Five engine and displays costumes, props, and other relics from the Harry Potter films.
2. Platform 9 3/4
Platform 9 3/4 is the magical platform where students board the Hogwarts Express. Since the real-life King’s Cross station is very different, fans have created their own Platform 9 3/4 at London’s King’s Cross. There’s also a gift shop called The Weasley Shop that sells a variety of Harry Potter merchandise. The original Platform 9 3/4 is on the other side of the wall where the King’s Cross steam engine is on display. However, you can’t just walk through the wall. Instead, there’s an entrance on the east side of the building next to Starbucks. At the entrance, you’ll see a luggage cart that you need to push through the wall.
3. Hagrid’s Hut
Hagrid’s Hut is the home of Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts groundskeeper and one of the few friendly faces who accepts Harry as a muggle-born student. The hut was built as a set for the Harry Potter films and is located on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Watford, England. The real-life Hagrid’s Hut is located in the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden, England. This tour is a more in-depth experience than King’s Cross and includes many other Harry Potter locations such as the Great Hall. Along with the hut, there’s also an outdoor maze that recreates the giant spider Aragog’s nest.
4. The Shrieking Shack
The Shrieking Shack is a mysterious building that’s home to a colony of shrieking, spectral rodents. It’s actually the home of Black wizard and Hogwarts school founder Salazar Slytherin. The original shack is located in the village of Great Berkhamsted near London. However, there’s also a replica of the shack at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden, England. The real-life shack has a gift shop that sells Harry Potter merchandise. It’s also one of the few places on the tour that has live actors. The tour also includes a replica of Hogwarts Castle, the Forbidden Forest, and other locales from the movies.
5. Malfoy Manor
Malfoy Manor is the home of the Malfoy family, who are the main antagonists throughout most of the Harry Potter series. The manor is a fictional building but is based on a real-life building called Ashstead Manor in Kent, England. It’s also called Highclere Castle and is better known for being the location for the TV series Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside the current Highclere Castle, as it’s a private residence. However, there’s a Harry Potter exhibition that’s open to the public at the nearby Buckhurst Park. Buckhurst Park displays costumes, props, and other mementos from the Harry Potter films.
6. St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Diseases
St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Diseases is the wizarding hospital where Harry is treated for a dragon-related leg injury. The original St. Mungo’s Hospital is located in the city of Lincoln in the East Midlands of England. The hospital’s grounds are home to many of the real-life locations that appear in the Harry Potter books, like the 14th-century Lincoln Cathedral. The St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Diseases is open to the public, so you can visit it while in Lincoln. It’s located less than a mile from Lincoln Cathedral and has a gift shop and cafe. You can walk around the grounds and visit the Cathedral while you’re there.
7. The London Zoo
The London Zoo is the site of an attack by a rogue group of Mermish that causes panic among the Muggles. The real-life London Zoo is one of the world’s most popular zoos, with over 1.7 million visitors in 2017. It’s also the oldest scientific zoo in the world, having been established in 1828. There’s a Harry Potter exhibition at the London Zoo that includes props, costumes, and other curios from the movies. It’s located in a small room off of the zoo’s central walkway.
8. Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market is a magical place where witches and wizards can buy their wands. It’s also home to the Magical Menagerie, which is the pet store where Hermione buys Crookshanks. The original Leadenhall Market is in the city of London. You can see it in real life when you visit the London Zoo. There’s also a Harry Potter exhibition at the London Market that shows off costumes, props, and other memorabilia from the films. The Market is just a short walk from the London Zoo.
9. The Burrow (The Weasley’s Home)
The Burrow is the home of the Weasleys, one of the main wizarding families and Harry’s closest friends. In the books, the Burrow is described as being a little shabby, but very homey. The Burrow is a fictional place but is based on real-life English villages. There’s a real Burrow in the county of Devon in England that’s used as a tourist destination. You can visit the real Burrow by taking a tour with the company Pottermore Tours. The tour guide is an official Harry Potter brand ambassador who will take you around the Devon countryside.
10. Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley is the magical shopping street where Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to buy their school supplies for Hogwarts. The real-life location for Diagon Alley is Commercial Street in the city of East London. The street is lined with a variety of shops and has been described as a magical experience by those who visit. There’s a small Diagon Alley exhibition at the real Commercial Street where you can see costumes and props from the movies. There’s also a gift shop where you can buy Harry Potter merchandise.
11. King’s Cross Station
King’s Cross Station is the central hub of magical transportation in London. It’s where the Hogwarts Express departs, and where many other magical trains and boats depart. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is partially set at King’s Cross, and there’s a scene where Harry hides in a cabinet under