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10 'Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter' Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life

Visiting these magical places is now only a plane ride away!

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10 'Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter' Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
Image: waywardhufflepuff.tumblr.com
When someone mentions “Harry Potter”, what usually comes to mind? Is it the image of a lighting bolt-scarred boy saving the world? Is it the fascinating magical creatures and enchanting spells that make up its mystical universe? Or is it the signature intro theme song (that’ll get stuck in your head) accompanied with the metallic movie title logo amidst grey, gloomy clouds? Then there are the picturesque settings and exceptional magical backdrops that captivate the hearts (and eyes) of Harry Potter fans.

GIF: Warner Bros. via Giphy
A lot of people assume that the Harry Potter series is filmed in studios as the majestic settings couldn’t possibly have existed in real life. Well, surprise, surprise! A great amount of filming actually took place in existing settings, mainly in the UK. The best part about it is, you can visit these places! Although there might be some truth that the majority of scenes in the movie series were filmed in Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, the sets were actually modelled based on actual buildings in real life.

We’ve listed down a couple of filming locations that you can visit to relive your Harry Potter memories and geek out. We also added Fantastic Beasts’ filming locations to the list as the movie is set within the Harry Potter universe. Just a heads up though, no portkey, broomstick or floo network could ever transport you to these locations. You’d have to get there by the muggle’s conventional means of transportation. Enjoy!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Image: Warner Bros.

#1 St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

Image: Dave Wood
St. George’s Hall is one of Liverpool’s pride as the building has been listed in the National Heritage List for England. The Neoclassical building was opened back in 1854 and has hosted numerous concerts and events over the century. Upon entering the hall, you will be treated to intricate architecture and palatial structures that’ll blow your mind.

Image: Tim Edwards
Image: Liverpool Echo
The film producer, David Heyman, has previously expressed how the hall was the perfect setting for Fantastic Beasts. “The architecture in this beautiful city works perfectly for our film set in 1920s New York,” he said. The hall was featured on various occasions in the movie, most notably in the scene where Senator Shaw Jr. was murdered by an Obscurial during a gala dinner, and also when Newt Scamander’s majestic Thunderbird was freed at the end of the movie.

Image: Liverpool City Halls
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
GIF: Warner Bros. via Giphy

#2 The Woolworth Building, New York

Image: Brian Zak
Standing tall at the height of 241.4m, this building is the brainchild of American architect, Cass Gilbert. The building was America’s earliest skyscrapers and the tallest building in the world until 1930. Today, the 57-floor building serves as an office space and 30 of its floors will soon be converted into luxury apartments. In the movie, Woolworth acts as the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) office headquarters. The main entrance of the building can be seen during the scene where Goldstein brings Scamander to MACUSA after arresting him.

Image: Curbed New York
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
According to Pottermore, wizards have infiltrated the construction team of the building and by the time it was completed, “it could both house No-Majs and – if activated by the correct spells – transform into a space for wizards”.

Image: Bob Estremera
Image: Warner Bros.

#3 Old City Hall Subway Station, New York

Image: Michael Freeman
Image: Patrick Cashin/MTA New York City Transit
Opened in 1904, the Subway station was New York’s first subway station. The unique interior design of the station consists of exquisite tiles, skylights, and chandeliers – elements that’ll make you want to take the subway even if you didn’t have to. The station was very lively back in its heyday, but it ceased its operation in 1945. Just recently, the station has been reopened to public, but as a tourist attraction.

Image: Warner Bros.
The subway’s design was very timely with Fantastic Beasts’ setting, making it a perfect backdrop for the movie. This subway station was where two pivotal scenes in the movie took place – the epic battle between Credence, Graves, Scamander, and MACUSA, and also the mind-blowing moment when Colin Farrell transitioned into Johnny Depp. That scene really got us screaming, “Holy cow, what just happened?!"

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.

#4 Martins Bank, Liverpool

Image: Stanley Walker
This former private bank operated under a shady name that one wouldn’t imagine being associated with a bank – “The Grasshopper”. The bank was founded in 1563 and will be transformed into a luxury hotel soon. This historic building designed with Georgian-architecture and intricate interior has attracted a number of production crews over the year.

Image: Ian Watts/Mercury Press and Media
Ironically, the building eventually acted as a bank in the movie, which can be seen during the chase between Scamander and his niffler.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.

Harry Potter Series

Image: Warner Bros.

#5 King’s Cross Station, London

Image: Network Rail
This train station is probably the most famous station in movie history after it appeared in all seven of the Harry Potter series. The world was introduced to Platform 9 ¾’s concussion-free penetrable wall when Harry arrived at the station to board the Hogwarts Express. Any Harry Potter movie wouldn’t be complete without a scene at this infamous train station.

GIF: Warner Bros. via Giphy
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
GIF: Warner Bros. via Giphy
Fans from around the world frequently flock this station for photo opportunities or to pretend that they’re actually making their way to Hogwarts. There’s even an actual prop of a trolley complete with Harry’s luggage and Hedwig’s cage, half submerged into the wall. If you’re there, don’t forget to visit their gift shop.

Image: Collider
Image: Collider

#6 Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland

Image: Richard Stevens
After everyone has boarded the Hogwarts Express, students are off to the start of their new term. Now, who could ever forget the picturesque route that the train has to pass through in order to reach Hogwarts? A trail of steam follows the chugging train on a journey amidst green lush hills and breath-taking views. You'll also probably remember the scene where Harry and Ron desperately try to board the train via the Weasley's flying car in Chamber of Secrets.

Image: PA
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
The production team didn’t have to go through the hassle of building an actual train set to capture this view. All they had to do was fly to Scotland and catch the Jacobite Steam Train ride between Fort William and Mallaig. The train ride that will take less than two hours will pass by Glenfinnan Viaduct, the iconic bridge seen in all of the movies. So, if you’re around Scotland, don’t forget to catch “the greatest railway journey in the world”.

Gif: Warner Bros. via Giphy

#7 Alnwick Castle

Image: Cook and Barker Inn
You’ll be able to instantly identify this iconic setting upon looking at its castle grounds. This is where Harry and his friends learned how to fly their broomsticks for the very first time in the first installment of the Harry Potter series. The castle has been used in several occasions including Quidditch lessons with Gryffindor’s Quidditch team captain, Oliver Wood, and also in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when the Weasley’s flying car crashes into the Whomping Willow.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: waywardhufflepuff.tumblr.com
Image: waywardhufflepuff.tumblr.com
Image: Warner Bros.
This majestic castle has been the home for the aristocratic Percy family for over 700 years. Located in the English county of Northumberland, the castle is still partly occupied by the Duke as of today. The historical building is the second largest inhabited castle in England and is open to the public throughout the summer. The best part about the castle tour is, they also offer broomstick flying lessons just like in the movie! Your fantasy of being Gryffindor’s next seeker is now a possible reality.

#8 Christ Church College, Oxford

Image: Christ Church College Oxford
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we were introduced to Hogwarts’ Great Hall. The ultra-spacious hall filled with multiple long tables across the room complimented with thousands of floating candles and ever-changing hall ‘sky’ (depending on the season) became the perfect magical setting for students and teachers to have their daily meals. After Dumbledore utters “let the feast begin”, an extensive food spread appears out of nowhere and made us drool.

GIF: Warner Bros. via Giphy
Image: Stephen Elliot Photography
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
It was at that moment we wished that we were Hogwarts students in real life. It also never ceases to amaze us that the amount of food that was showcased could feed an entire country the size of Maldives. After the first two movies were shot at Christ Church College, Oxford, a set was modelled after the hall and could be found at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden.

Apart from the hall, the moving staircases that can be seen in the movie were also filmed at this college. You can reenact the scene where Harry and other first-year students climbed the staircase to meet Professor McGonagall for their orientation.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Christ Church College Oxford

#9 Divinity School, Oxford University

Image: Jenny Keroack
The Hogwarts Infirmary, also known as Hospital Wing, has had its fair share of patients over the years including Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Harry’s first time at the hospital was after his epic battle with Voldemort in the first movie. This hall, famed for its classic vaulted ceiling, can be found in Oxford University’s Divinity School. Besides being used as a hospital, the hall also functioned as the venue for Professor McGonagall’s dance lessons in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.

#10 Gloucester Cathedral

Image: skyscrappernews.com
Image: roomsbooked.com
This cathedral is arguably the most prominent location featured in all of the movie series. The gothic architecture with fan-vaulted corridors became the ideal setting for Hogwarts. The walls of this historical building were made famous via Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Ginny Weasley painted the wall in red paint with the words “The chamber of secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir…beware.” Fans from all over the world often bring still photos from the movies to match the exact locations of filming.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: fangirlquest.tumblr.com
Image: Warner Bros.
Image: fangirlquest.tumblr.com
Image: fangirlquest.tumblr.com
Image: fangirlquest.tumblr.com
Image: r-u-thunderstorms.tumblr.com
Image: r-u-thunderstorms.tumblr.com
Image: r-u-thunderstorms.tumblr.com
Image: r-u-thunderstorms.tumblr.com
There's a lot more *magical* places that you can explore to find other filming locations especially in the UK. We're looking forward to the next five movies for Fantastic Beasts and hope that its filming locations will be as magnificent as the ones we've seen in the Harry Potter series. In the meantime, if you've haven't watched Fantastic Beasts, here's our review of it. But if you have, here's an article on what you can expect in the future installments.
 
 
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