I was late to Harry Potter. My sisters read it growing up so therefore I deemed it… “NOT FOR ME.” To quote Hermione, “What an idiot.” It wasn't until I was 28 that I finally got around to reading about Hogwarts, Harry, and the Wizarding World. And ever since I wanted to know: where is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and when do I get my letter?
So… how do we get to the real Hogwarts?
Step right up, witches and wizards, for a magical journey that will transport you to all the fantastical Hogwarts locations in Harry Potter! This guide shall be your companion as we explore the many wondrous places in England and Scotland that have served as substitutes for Hogwarts throughout the years.
With my quill in hand, I shall reveal the secrets of these locations and guide you on a path that will lead you to discover the mystical essence of Hogwarts. Whether you seek the corridors of Hogwarts Castle or the eerie atmosphere of the Forbidden Forest, fear not, for we shall uncover them all!
So, grab your broomsticks and hold on tight as we embark on a journey that will surely leave you spellbound. Together, we shall uncover all the hidden gems that have graced the Harry Potter universe and beyond!
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a well-known institution of magical learning in the wizarding world. It is a school in Harry Potter, books 1-7 and movies, that has become a symbol of magical education. But where exactly is Hogwarts located?
Is The Hogwarts Castle Real?
In the wizarding world, the location of Hogwarts is kept secret from Muggles (non-magical people), and it is hidden from plain sight. The only way to get to Hogwarts is to use magic.
The school is located in Scotland, in the Highlands region, and is nestled between two mountains, Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui. The precise location of Hogwarts is protected by powerful spells, making it impossible to find for those who are not familiar with the magical world.
But, in reality, no, the castle is not real.
That's the bad news.
The good news? There are absolutely places you can visit that are very much like Hogwarts or that have been recreated that look identical to Hogwarts!
See all the best places for Harry Potter in the WORLD here!
The History of Hogwarts
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded over a thousand years ago by four powerful wizards: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. These four founders created the school to provide a safe place for young witches and wizards to learn and hone their magical skills. Hogwarts has stood the test of time and has survived many challenges, including the Dark Ages and the rise of Voldemort.
Where is Hogwarts Located?
Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands, Hogwarts is situated in a remote and picturesque location, surrounded by misty mountains and rolling green hills. The castle itself is an impressive structure, with towering turrets, enchanted staircases, and mysterious passageways that lead to hidden rooms and chambers.
In the real world, the Hogwarts Castle that we have all come to know and love from the films is actually a combination of computer-generated imagery, intricate models, and various real-life locations scattered throughout the United Kingdom, including castles, cathedrals, and schools.
With that being said, the question still remains: where exactly can we find the real-life Hogwarts? While there is no singular location that fully encompasses the magical essence of Hogwarts, there are several places that have contributed to its creation.
From the grandiose Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, which served as the exterior of Hogwarts Castle in the first two films, to the intricate and gothic Gloucester Cathedral, which served as the backdrop for many iconic scenes, the real-life Hogwarts can be found in bits and pieces all around the UK.
So, if you are a true Harry Potter fan and seek to explore the real-life locations that inspired the creation of Hogwarts, embark on a magical journey that will take you to the many wondrous places that make up the beloved school of witchcraft and wizardry.
The Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden
There's one Hogwarts location that simply cannot be missed: the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden.
Not only is this where all the Harry Potter films were filmed, but it's also where you can explore the incredible sets and props that brought the wizarding world to life. Step into Dumbledore's office and see the pensieve! The attention to detail was amazing.
But the real showstopper comes towards the end of the exhibition/tour: a breathtaking model of Hogwarts, meticulously crafted and brought to life with the help of CGI over the years.
From the Great Hall to the Forbidden Forest, the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden offers a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible artistry and craftsmanship that went into bringing the world of Harry Potter to life. So be sure to add it to your bucket list and prepare to be transported to a world of magic and wonder.
See my full guide to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
I was SO skeptical of theme parks. SO skeptical y'all. I didn't believe that a warm, sunny day in Orlando, Florida could feel like rural Scotland or a bar in London. BUT IT DID.
The Hogwarts Castles at these parks not only boast an incredible ride – one of the best I've ever experienced – but the waiting area is also designed to look like the interior of iconic Hogwarts sets.
And that's not all! The parks offer a plethora of Harry Potter-themed experiences, such as trying the famous butterbeer, enjoying a meal at the Three Broomsticks, and stocking up on magical sweets at Honeydukes. Diagon Alley is also a dream! Also, frozen butterbeer, also incredible.
Additionally, the attention to detail throughout the park is truly remarkable. From the shops and storefronts lining the streets of Hogsmeade to the cobblestone paths and hidden nooks and crannies, every inch of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been designed to transport you to the magical world of Harry Potter.
This is an adventure you absolutely cannot miss if you're keen on seeing Hogwarts in real life. So take it from me and add the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to your bucket list.
See my full guide to the Wizarding World in Orlando here.
Alnwick Castle: A REAL Castle!
Nestled in the picturesque countryside of Northumberland, England, lies a castle that will leave Harry Potter fans spellbound: Alnwick Castle.
Not only does this magnificent castle boast a striking resemblance to Hogwarts, but it also served as a filming location for two of the Harry Potter films: Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
As you wander through the castle's towering turrets and sweeping gardens, it's easy to imagine yourself as a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The castle's impressive architecture and rich history make it a truly magical destination for any Harry Potter fan.
But the castle offers much more than just a glimpse into the wizarding world. Visitors can explore the castle's history, from its role in the English Civil War to its transformation into a luxurious residence for the Duke of Northumberland.
So, whether you're a die-hard Harry Potter fan or simply seeking a unique and enchanting destination, Alnwick Castle is a must-see destination. Prepare to be transported to a world of magic and wonder, and discover the beauty and intrigue of this remarkable castle.
Edinburgh Castle: Inspiration for the Books
Edinburgh Castle, located in Scotland's capital city, is a place of great historical and cultural significance. But did you know that it also played a role in inspiring J.K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter series?
The castle's grand architecture and imposing presence are said to have influenced Rowling's vision for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In fact, it's believed that the castle's towering turrets and winding staircases served as the inspiration for Hogwarts' own Great Hall and grand staircase.
But the castle's influence on Rowling's work goes beyond just its physical appearance. Edinburgh Castle is steeped in history and legend, from tales of Scottish kings to stories of bravery and heroism. These themes of history and heroism are echoed throughout the Harry Potter books, from the young hero's quest to defeat Voldemort to the legacy of the Hogwarts founders.
Visitors to Edinburgh Castle can explore the castle's storied past, from its role in the Scottish Wars of Independence to its use as a royal residence. And for Harry Potter fans, a visit to the castle is a chance to immerse yourself in the world of magic and wonder that Rowling created.
The Great Hall: Christ Church College, Oxford
If you're searching for a real-life Hogwarts experience, look no further than Christ Church College in Oxford, England.
Not only does this remarkable college boast a stunning resemblance to Hogwarts, but it was also used as a filming location for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Fans will recognize the Great Hall, where Harry and his fellow students dined, as well as the staircase where they first encountered the Sorting Hat.
But the college offers much more than just a glimpse into the wizarding world. Visitors can explore the college's rich history and breathtaking architecture, from its elegant courtyards to its ornate chapels.
As you wander through the college's halls and gardens, it's easy to imagine yourself as a student at the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Oxford is a city steeped in history and culture, and it's also home to several locations that played a role in the Harry Potter films.
Aside from Christ Church College, other Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford include the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library, which served as the infirmary in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and New College Cloisters, which was used as the backdrop for several scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Visitors can also explore Oxford's rich literary history, which has inspired some of the most beloved stories in English literature. The city's cobblestone streets and stunning architecture make it a perfect setting for magical tales like Harry Potter.
In fact, it's said that J.K. Rowling herself drew inspiration from the city of Oxford when creating the world of Harry Potter. From the quaint shops and cafes to the grandiose colleges and libraries, Oxford is a place that feels truly magical.
The Architecture of Hogwarts
The architecture of Hogwarts is truly unique and impressive. The castle is built in the Gothic style, with high turrets, pointed arches, and intricate stonework. The castle has several floors and is home to numerous classrooms, dormitories, and common rooms.
The Great Hall, where students gather for meals and special occasions, is a grand space with a high ceiling and large windows. Hogwarts is also home to the Forbidden Forest, which is located on the school grounds and is home to many magical creatures.
Getting to Hogwarts
As I mentioned earlier, the only way to get to Hogwarts is to use magic. The most common way for students to get to Hogwarts is by taking the Hogwarts Express, a magical train that departs from Platform 9 ¾ at King's Cross Station in London. Once students arrive at Hogsmeade Station, they take boats across the Black Lake to the castle. Students who are unable to use the Hogwarts Express can also use other forms of magical transportation, such as broomsticks or apparition.
You can go to the real King's Cross Station in London to get the Harry Potter vibe.
Did you know that the real-life Hogwarts Express actually exists and runs through the breathtaking Scottish countryside? It's called the Jacobite Express, and you can easily book a ride on this magical train for yourself.
But here's a fun fact: the train station that served as the filming location for the Hogwarts Express is actually located in Goathland. And the best part? You can visit this charming train station for yourself and immerse yourself in the magic of Harry Potter. Book the train here!
See all of the best Harry Potter Locations around the world here.
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