Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 2001
- Daniel Radcliffe
- Rupert Grint
- Emma Watson
- Alan Rickman
- Maggie Smith
- Ian Hart
- Richard Harris
- Julie Walters
- Robbie Coltrane
- Richard Griffiths
- Tom Felton
- John Cleese
- John Hurt
- Warwick Davis
visit the film locations
Regentís Park Zoo, Regent's Park, NW1 (tube: Camden Town, Northern line)
Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, EC3 (tube: Bank, Northern and Central lines)
Greater London: Harrow-on-the-Hill (rail, from London Marylebone; tube: Metropolitan line)
Harrow School: Visiting: Seven Prime Ministers including Sir Winston Churchill, attended Harrow School.†The school's Fourth Form Room, seen in the film, is Britain's best†preserved 17th century school room.
Berkshire: Martins Heron Station (from London Waterloo)
Wiltshire: Lacock Abbey, three miles from Chippenham(Great Western Main Line from London Paddington)
Gloucestershire: Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester (rail: First Great Western from London Paddington)
Oxfordshire: Bodleian Library, Broad Street, Oxford
Northumberland: Alnwick Castle. Alnwick is 33 miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and 80 miles south of Edinburgh (both served by international airports). (rail: East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross)
Co Durham: Durham Cathedral, Durham (rail: East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross)
Hertfordshire: Warner Bros Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR. Leavesden is 20 miles north-west of London (rail: Watford Junction, from London Euston. Shuttle bus service to the studio from Watford). Tickets must be bought in advance, and do ensure you arrive 20 minutes before the time stated on your ticket.
Alnwick Castle is a veteran location, seen in Disney’s The Spaceman and King Arthur; Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner; Mary Queen of Scots; Becket, with Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton; and Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchett
Harry Potter location: Home of the dreadful Dursleys, ‘4 Privet Drive’: 12 Picket Post Close, Martins Heron, Berkshire
The first of the Harry Potter saga is filmed on locations all over England, setting the tone as a terrific kids’ movie, studded with enough scene-stealing Brit character actors to keep the grown-ups entertained.
It pieces together disparate sites across the length and breadth of the UK. For instance, although the elaborate exterior of ‘Hogwarts School’ is largely computer generated, scenes inside the school were filmed in at least six different locations, ranging from County Durham in the north of England to Wiltshire in the west.
We start out in Berkshire, where the house of the dreadful Dursleys, at ‘4 Privet Drive’, is 12 Picket Post Close, Martins Heron, (rail: Martins Heron, from London Waterloo), one rail stop away from Bracknell. As ever, do remember that this is a private home.
Harry Potter location: Harry talks to the serpent: Reptile House, Regent’s Park Zoo, London
In London, it’s at the Reptile House of London Zoo in Regent’s Park, that Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns he can speak to snakes and liberates the boa constrictor (though what kind of life a boa constrictor can expect in Regent’s Park is anybody’s guess).
A long-established film location, London Zoo can be seen in Carol Reed’s The Fallen Idol, The Jokers, Arabesque, Turtle Diary and An American Werewolf in London. The famous Penguin Pool can be seen in About a Boy, and its little-known Prince Albert Suite in British comedy Leon The Pig Farmer. The zoo’s entrance, on the Outer Circle, was transformed – with a little CGI – into the exterior of the ‘All England Lawn Tennis Club’ for 2004 rom-com Wimbledon.
>Harry Potter location: The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron: Bull’s Head Passage, Leadenhall Market, London
The entrance to ‘The Leaky Cauldron’ was an empty shop, now an optician store – The Glass House, 42 Bull’s Head Passage in Leadenhall Market in the City of London (it’s just beneath the famous Lloyd’s Building).
The market itself has been a frequent film location. Within the market, The Lamb pub was the site of the raucous brawl in John Wayne's only English movie, Brannigan. More recently, Angelina Jolie zoomed through the arcade on her motorbike in Lara Croft – Tomb Raider, while Russell Crowe enjoyed a Chinese meal here in Proof of Life.
Harry Potter location: The interior of ‘Gringott’s Bank’: Australia House, Strand, London WC2
The crazily angled exterior of ‘Gringott’s Bank’ is obviously a set, but the interior is the imposing Exhibition Hall of Australia House, with its chandeliers and Australian marble columns. Find it at the eastern end of the traffic island, where Aldwych meets the Strand, but unfortunately, you’ll have to be satisfied with the exterior – it’s not open to the public.
Harry Potter location: The film’s ‘Platform 9 3/4’: Platforms 4 and 5, King’s Cross Station, London NW1
The Hogwarts Express supposedly departs from ‘Platform 9 3/4‘ of King’s Cross Station. The magical entrance is actually the arched wall between Platforms 4 and 5. Don't go running into those bricks. Trust me, it doesn't work.
And it’s a little more difficult to try now, though. Since the major revamp of the station, which saw the addition of the huge western concourse, you can no longer wander onto the platforms at will. You need to be a traveller with a valid ticket.
Harry Potter photo opportunity: ‘Platform 9 3/4’: by the entrance to Platform 9, King’s Cross Station, London NW1
As a concession, if you head towards the entrance to Platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the west side of the station, you’ll find a luggage trolley disappearing into a wall marked ‘Platform 9 3/4’. Location purists will find it no substitute, but it does provide a fun photo-op. Go on, you know you want to.
North to North Yorkshire, where ‘Hogsmeade Station’ is Goathland Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a few miles southwest of the coastal resort of Whitby in North Yorkshire. Dating from 1865, the station served for just 100 years until it closed in 1965. In 1968, Goathland became the headquarters of the fledgling North Yorkshire Moors Railway, opening to passengers again in 1973.
And this is where it starts to get complicated.
Harry Potter location: the corridors to Gryffindor, at Hogwarts: the Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester
‘Hogwarts’ itself is a dizzying assembly of different locations. The richly-vaulted cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester, down in the southwest of England, became the corridors leading to ‘Gryffindor House’, where the lady in the oil painting asks for the password.
Harry Potter location: the quadrangle of ‘Hogwarts’: Durham Cathedral, County Durham
The cloisters of Durham Cathedral, in the northeast, became the snowy quadrangle of ‘Hogwarts’, where Harry sets the owl flying. The nave of Durham Cathedral, incidentally, also became the ‘Palace of Whitehall’ in Shekhar Kapur’s epic Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchett.
Harry Potter location: "Hogwarts’ classrooms: Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
Harry Potter location: Professor Snape’s Potions Class: Sacristy, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
The Sacristy became Professor Snape’s (Alan Rickman) Potions Class: “How to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper in death”.
The Warming Room – which really does contain a genuine cauldron – is Professor Quirrell’s (Ian Hart) Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, and it’s in the Chapter House that Harry stumbles upon the miraculous ‘Mirror of Erised’.
Harry Potter location: Professor Quirrell’s Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom: Warming Room, Lacock Abbey, Lacock, Wiltshire
The house was home of the Talbot family, including the famous pioneer of photography Henry Fox Talbot. In fact, the oldest photographic negative in existence is a picture of the latticed window in Lacock Abbey, taken in 1835. You can see the very window if you tour the house, which houses the Fox Talbot Museum, dedicated to the work of the inventor.
The house, and the Medieval cloisters seen in the movie, is open daily (except Tuesday) from the beginning of April to the end of October. You can see it also in The Other Boleyn Girl and 1958 Civil War melodrama The Moonraker.
Harry Potter location: Another ‘Hogwarts’ location: Alnwick Castle, Northumberland
The Outer Bailey of Alnwick Castle, Northumberland is the site of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson. Alnwick is also featured in Shekhar Kapur’s historical epic Elizabeth, with Cate Blanchett, glimpsed briefly in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner, and was the backdrop for Disney fantasy The Spaceman and King Arthur.
Harry Potter location: Professor Flitwick’s class: Harrow Old Schools, Harrow-on-the-Hill
Professor Flitwick’s (Warwick Davis) Charms Class, where Hermione (Emma Watson) manages to levitate a feather: “Wingardium Leviosa!”, is the Fourth Form Room of Harrow Old Schools, Harrow-on-the-Hill in Greater London. Founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I, Harrow remains one of the country’s most prestigious schools – old boys include a clutch of Prime Ministers, writers as diverse as Lord Byron, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Anthony Trollope – and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill...). Coincidentally, another Old Harrovian was the same photographic pioneer Henry Fox Talbot, who lived at Lacock Abbey.
The venerable Bodleian Library of Oxford University supplies two locations: Duke Humphrey’s Library is where Harry tries to find out about Nicholas Flamel; and the elaborately fan-vaulted Divinity School became Hogwarts School’s hospital. The same location served as the lobby of the ‘House of Commons’ in The Madness of King George.
And finally, of course, you can now take the Warner Bros Studio Tour, of the Leavesden studio, 20 miles north-west of London. The studio began life as Leavesden Aerodrome, a factory and runway where Mosquitos and Halifax Bombers were manufactured. The disused facility was used as a studio to film the first Pierce Brosnan Bond movie, GoldenEye, in 1994 (the huge ‘St Petersburg’ set was built here to accommodate the tank chase).
Parts of George Lucas’s The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were subsequently filmed here, but it was the Harry Potter films that really put the studio on the map. In the end, the series was based at Leavesden for over ten years, so there’s p[lenty to see. The tour features sets – including Hogwarts’ Great Hall, one of the only sets to be used in all eight films, and Diagon Alley – as well as costumes and props.