Big Trips · Harry Potter · Travel

The Ultimate Harry Potter Road Trip

With the Harry Potter reunion premiere on New Year’s Day, and with plenty of Harry Potter fans out there, the ultimate Harry Potter UK Road Trip will be a magical experience for many. It’s one that I would love to do (but I just have to find the time).

The Harry Potter reunion celebrates the 20th anniversary of a series that many have loved reading and watching. From lifelong fans to newcomers, the Return to Hogwarts special is creating something magical from within. 

This emotional reunion is enough to make any fan reread the books or watch the films, but why not take it that one step further and actually fully immerse yourself in the Harry Potter universe by visiting these selected 31 Harry Potter locations in the UK? 

Starting in London at King’s Cross station, you can find yourself making your way to Platform 9 ¾ (pictures are allowed) and ending your journey at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, whilst watching the train go past. This is a journey that will take you over 70 hours to enjoy if you are driving (not including sleep or food time) and could cost you up to £2714 if you are taking part in the full trip (plus more if you take in food, treats, presents, etc…). 

But what is the true cost of going to every Harry Potter location in the UK and how long will it take? This is a trip that will start in London and goes all the way to Glenfinnan in Scotland. Find out the total cost below:

Harry Potter Locations: From London to Scotland

Key Points of Interest:

  • The total cost of visiting these locations is £2714 (not including food, fuel, buying a gift or two for yourself)
  • You need to drive 769.3 miles to visit every location and spend £100+ on fuel (depending on the model of car)
  • It would take you 53 hours and 45 minutes at each attraction to have a truly magical experience.
LocationTime (Driving)DistancePriceTime spent at the location
King’s Cross Station20 minutes to the next destination3.6 miles to the next destinationFree30 minutes
Leadenhall Market10 minutes to the next destination1.7 miles to the next destinationFree5 minutes
Millennium Bridge10 minutes to the next destination1.8 miles to the next destinationFree5 minutes
Tower Bridge30 minutes to the next destination2.8 miles to the next destinationFree5 minutes

See full data here

This is how your journey will go, starting at:

  • King’s Cross Station
  • Leadenhall Market
  • Millennium Bridge
  • Tower Bridge
  • Lambeth Bridge
  • The Harry Potter Photo Exhibition
  • The Potion Room Tea at Cutter & Squidge
  • House of Mina Lima
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Warner Brother Studio Tour
  • The Dining Hall at Oxford’s Christ Church College
  • Duke Humfrey’s Library at Bodleian Library
  • New Colleges Cloisters & Courtyard
  • The Divinity School at Bodleian Library
  • Bodley Tower Staircase and Cloisters
  • Lacock Abbey
  • Harry Potter’s Parents’ House
  • Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway
  • Gloucester Cathedral
  • Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience
  • Alnwick Castle
  • The Balmoral Hotel
  • The Elephant House
  • Greyfriars Kirkyard
  • Victoria Street
  • J.K. Rowling Handprints
  • Department of Magic Escape Rooms
  • George Heriot School
  • The Dog House
  • The Cauldron (Harry Potter Cocktails)
  • Glenfinnan Viaduct

You can explore the different bridges that were used as filming locations in London, enjoy walking the corridors at Gloucester Cathedral, and relax with a drink in one of the many Harry Potter themed bars or stay in the J.K.Rowling suite for just £2370 a night! 

London and Edinburgh will be where you spend the longest as they have the most Harry Potter related attractions (and there is plenty for people to do if they want to break up their trip). But you will also be travelling to Watford, Oxford, Chippenham, Gloucester, Northwich, and Alnwick. 

London

The start of your road trip will begin in London, and where better to start your trip, but at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. The location where Harry Potter started his magical journey to Hogwarts to truly learn how to become a wizard.

It’s free to take your own photo, but if you would like a professional one taken, it will cost you £10!

From here, you can make your way to Leadenhall Market, which was used as the entrance of The Leaky Cauldron. This is only about a 20 minute drive away, and is a really quick (but great) site to see.

Then you can walk over the THREE famous bridges that were used to film Harry Potter scenes. These are the Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge and Lambeth Bridge. Do you remember what Harry Potter scenes were filmed here?

  1. Death Eaters Destroy it – Millennium Bridge
  2. Harry Potter and others flies over this – Tower Bridge
  3. Knight Bus squeeze through two double decker buses -Lambeth Bridge

If you’ve decided that you’ve spent too much time outside, then you can go and enjoy The Harry Potter Photo Exhibition. You need to make sure that you have booked a time for this (and they do ask you wear a mask). Now I recently went here a month ago and it was incredible.

All the staff who worked there were clearly Harry Potter fans, and were very helpful in teaching us some fun facts. You can easily spend 2-3 hours here so plan your time wisely.

Afterwards, you’ll probably be tired from being on your feet for so long, so head on down to The Potion Room Tea at Cutter & Squidge. This isn’t very far away and can make for a great Harry Potter themed event to rest your feet at. You can enjoy an afternoon tea or take part in your very own potions class!

Once you’ve eaten, go and spend some time at the House of Mina Lima and enjoy this colourful gallery and shop run by the graphic design duo who worked on the “Harry Potter” movies.

Lastly, since you’re in London, you should book those tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! As a Harry Potter fan this is not a show to be missed. I heard a rumour that they might make this into a film and use the original cast? Anyone know if this is true?

Watford

Now that London is done and dusted (although you’ll probably return to the places). It’s now time to go and enjoy the Warner Brother Studio Tour. I’ll be honest, I’ve been here a few times. Right when it first opened and the last time was just before the world went upside down and we all panic brought toilet paper.

This is a place that you can easily spend a day at now. If you are a true fan you will struggle to do this in 3 hours. Or at least the last three times I’ve been there, we’ve spent an easy 6 hours there.

There is so much to see and it just gets better every time I’ve visited!

Oxford

Moving on, the next location is Oxford. You’ll recognise this from the earlier films and it’s all within the same area.

You’ve got The Dining Hall at Oxford’s Christ Church College, which (although not in the actual films) was said to have inspired the Great Hall.

Then there’s the Duke Humfrey’s Library at Bodleian Library which was used in The Philosopher’s Stone – when Harry is under the invisbility cloak with the intent to steal a book. And again when Harry spots Romilda Vane during a conversation with Hermione in Half-Blood Prince. (“But I am the chosen one,” he says, deviating from the books entirely)!

Next, you can explore New Colleges Cloisters & Courtyard, which was used in the Goblet of Fire. Draco can be found sat on a tree (the scene where he gets turned into a weasel). This tree can be found in the cloisters and also this area was used when Harry pushes through a crowd of students flashing Potter Stinks badges at him.

After this, you can make your way over to The Divinity School at Bodleian Library which was used as Hogwarts Infirmary in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone and when Dobby visits Harry in the Chamber of Secrets. Also where Professor McGonagall teaches the Gryffindors to dance in Goblet of Fire

Lastly, you can explore the Bodley Tower Staircase and Cloisters which features several times in the Harry Potter films – when Harry turned down Malfoy’s invitation to be friends, when Harry reunites with Ron and Hermione after his battle with Quirrell/Voldemort, and even in Chamber of Secrets where Tom Riddle meets Dumbledore in Riddle’s memory!

Chippenham

There are three places to explore in this area.

The first is Lacock Abbey where the cloisters served as the corridors in Hogwarts on many occasions, whilst various rooms throughout the abbey were used for classrooms such as Professor Snape’s potions classroom and Professor Quirrell’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class.

And I have to say the history is fascinating at this location!

The next two places are only really available to view from the outside. You’ve got Harry Potter’s Parents’ House and Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway. You might not be able to go inside, but it’s still cool to see the outside of these houses.

Gloucester

This area is simply famous for having Gloucester Cathedral! The mystical corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, brought to life on the silver screen, featured the ancient cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral in a number of pivotal scenes.

You are free to walk around, but I do believe that tours are available if you’re lucky.

Northwich

Now this location, might be moving somewhere else soon, but for the time being you can come here to enjoy Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. This is a magical experience. Walk into the depths of a dark forest and discover fantastic beasts and iconic Wizarding World moments illuminated like never before!

I highly recommend going to this!

Alnwick

Now we move up north to one of my favourite castles – Alnwick Castle! Filming took place here in 2001/2002 for Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. But this is a great location for people who want to go exploring.

You can see where the first flying lesson took place (and even take part in your own flying lesson)! You can walk around the castle and just have a brilliant day out.

Edinburgh

Once you have finished exploring Alnwick, you can make your way up to Edinburgh. Which next to London has several places to explore. You can read a more in depth article here: Scotland for Harry Potter Fans.

You can start by visiting The Balmoral Hotel. JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 552. It has now been renamed the “J.K. Rowling Suite” and you can stay in it for £2370! You can see the desk she worked on, the paper she signed plus so much more. Shame it costs so much, but it is an incredible hotel and a HUGE room (apartment even).

Next walk over to The Elephant House, which I believe is temporarily closed. But it was where JK Rowling wrote the Potter books over coffee and cake in this relaxed writer/reader-friendly cafe.

Nearby, you can wander over to Greyfriars Kirkyard. In this graveyard, Harry Potter related names can be found all around – Riddle/McGonagall.

If you’re thinking – did JK Rowling have any other places that she used for inspiration? Then you would be absolutely right. The next place to go to is Victoria Street which was potential inspiration for Diagon Alley. It may or may not be true, but when you explore this street you can definitely see similarities.

After this you can walk over to J.K. Rowling Handprints. It won’t take you ages and it’s not something that was used in the Harry Potter films, but she is the author. Whether you love her or hate her, she did write the books… I’ll just add here that I do love the books/films but I did write about how JK Rowling underestimates the homophobia in the Harry Potter canon for anyone interested…

Next on the list is something for people who love a little bit of fun and escapism. I bring to you the Department of Magic Escape Rooms. This might be an unofficial Harry Potter location, but it still is a magical place.

Afterwards, you can take a look at the George Heriot School. This was potential inspiration for Hogwarts. Although J.K disputes this. Still fans are keen to see it and I just thought, I might as well add this to the list.

If you decide that you are a bit thirsty after all this exploring then you can head on over The Dog House and try a nice butter beer!

The last thing you can do is Edinburgh is enjoy a few cocktails at The Cauldron (for Harry Potter Cocktails). Again an unofficial Harry Potter location, but it would be a lot of fun!

Glenfinnan

The last place on this list makes perfect sense! You started at King’s Cross Station and then you end up at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. From here you can see the iconic Harry Potter train pass you by on the bridge.

Just make sure to check that it is running on the day you want to visit.

There’s a lot to this Road Trip and if I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comments!

Is anyone up for a Harry Potter Road Trip or does driving 769.3 miles seem a bit too much?


4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Harry Potter Road Trip

  1. This is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing. This is really cool information! Definitely adding to my bucket list.

    Like

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