I have a confession to make… I watched the Harry Potter movies before ever reaching to pick up the books. I grew up as an avid Percy Jackson fan and felt like I couldn’t breach my loyalty to the Greek Gods by engaging in the Wizarding world of JK Rowling. I know what you’re thinking, “why would I take advise from a fake fan about Harry Potter?”. During Covid, however, I decided to give in to my curiosity and read the the entire series in a month. As a Ravenclaw (Kudos to the Pottermore quiz), I feel qualified to give you the perfect itinerary to explore Harry Potter in the UK (and Ireland).

It was only natural that I would meet other Potterheads while studying abroad in London, some of which chose the location out of the connection to the series. Together, myself and six other fans traveled and explored various locations which were fundamental to the filming and writing process. Specifically, we explored the Wizarding World in London and Scotland. Below I have outlined an itinerary to jumpstart your Potterhead adventure throughout the UK.


Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour

Kings Cross – London

If you travel to London, odds are you will end up at Kings Cross Station the very place where Harry rides the Hogwarts express on Platform 9 3/4. Between platforms 9 and 10 unfortunately are train tracks, but, you can still find platform 9 3/4 in the concourse.

WarnerBros Studio Tour – London

For a full day excursion, consider the WarnerBros Harry Potter Studio Tour. Tickets allow full day admission, meaning you get to explore the sets for as many hours as you would like. The studio contains real costumes, sets, props, make-up, and lighting/special effects design. Getting to see the sets in person was truly one of the most magical experiences. After spending a few hours in the Great Hall, cool off with some Butter Beer and tour 4 Privet Drive. If you do one thing off of this list I would do this tour!

Durham Cathedral – Durham

If you are looking to see iconic Hogwarts architecture, travel to Durham Cathedral on the Durham Campus. This location was used for filming the Sorcerers Stone, and the Chamber of Secrets.

Alnwick Castle – Alnwick

Nestled within Northern England is Alnwick Castle which was also used for filming the Sorcerers Stone and the Chamber of Secrets. The Castle is also beautiful historical landmark on its own and can be toured without any Harry Potterisms.


My fellow Potterheads and I on the JK Rowling Tour

Edinburgh was the inspiration for Hogwarts and was the location where JK Rowling wrote most of the novels. In addition to visiting the very cafe where Rowling wrote, Edinburgh houses Tom Riddles grave, the real Diagon Alley, and the inspiration for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Scotland is also home to the real Hogwarts express, and various filming locations.

JK Rowling Writing Tour – Edinburgh

Although JK Rowling is a questionable character and her recent public displays have been quite disheartening, I still recommend taking the JK Rowling writing tour if you are a diehard fan, or merely want an overview of how Scotland influenced the writing of Harry Potter. During this walking tour you are split into houses and have the opportunity to win points for your team through trivia along the way. You explore Greyfriars Kirkyard where you can see Potters grave alongside Riddle and other characters. The hour and a half long tour also goes through “Diagon Alley” and different known writing locations. If you are only in town for a few days and want to understand the depths of the writing process I highly recommend this tour.

Hogwarts ExpressHighlands

For travelers with more time in Edinburgh, I recommend taking a trip out to the Highlands to ride the Hogwarts Express and see various filming locations. The Jacobite train (which looks exactly like the Hogwarts Express) goes from Fort William to Mallaig and shows beautiful views of the Highlands. If you don’t want to ride the Hogwarts Express but merely want to watch it go by, consider visiting the Glennfinan Viaduct in the morning (around 10:15) to see the train passover the iconic bridge while facing forward.