Apologies everyone, as I had previously promised a post on both Monday and Tuesday that never came. I’ve been a little caught up; it was my Mum’s 60th birthday a couple of weekends ago, I went camping with my cousins the weekend just past, and have since developed a flu. However, I’m certainly on the mend!
Anyhow, a couple of days late, but ready for your viewing pleasure nevertheless, is my first post about finding Harry Potter (HP) filming locations in the UK! When I visited the UK in August, I didn’t actively seek these places out, but I was certainly pleased that I managed to find them!
You’ll be hearing more about this castle later today as it’s the next to feature in my Castles of the UK series. However, today we’re going to focus exclusively on its use in the filming of HP.
The castle was only used for the first two films, but is easily recognisable from the first movie when Harry gets his first flying lesson (click for a refresher). Walking through to the inner circle of the castle will get you right into the thick of where the filming took place, and it’s very tempting to look up into the sky for a first year struggling to keep their broom in control.
Actually, you don’t need to look to sky to see that, since the castle holds free broomstick training lessons right on the spot where Harry and his friends had their first lesson! The lessons are run throughout the day and broomsticks are provided. I was pretty tempted to join in, but ended up in the line for archery instead.
Goathland Train Station
Goathland is a little village in Yorkshire, right in the Yorkshire Moors. My reason for visiting was actually because it was used for the filming of something else… the very old police show Heartbeat. However, it’s train station also features as Hogsmeade Station in the HP films; the station where the Hogwarts Express stops! The station was built in 1865 and has remained virtually unchanged since.
There’s a small gift shop at the station that sells a couple of things that might interest a HP fan, such as the station sign for Hogsmeade. But what’s really cool is that the station is still used by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which is a heritage railway. This means it still uses steam-powered engines, just like the Hogwarts Express! While there, we were lucky enough to watch a steam train pull up. We decided to seize the opportunity while we could, and ended up jumping on one through to Whitby.
When I closed my eyes, I could just about imagine I was on my way for another school year at Hogwarts!
Lacock Abbey and Village
Lacock (pronounced “lay-cock”) is a small village in Wiltshire that is owned entirely by the National Trust. This is because all of the village dates from the 18th century or earlier… walking down the main street certainly makes you feel like you’re in a different time period!
One of the more significant buildings in the village is Lacock Abbey. This building was run as a nunnery between 1229 and 1539. However, with King Henry VIII‘s Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Abbey and lands were sold, and eventually converted into a private house. Luckily, the cloisters remained untouched, and it was here that filming took place for the HP movies. Unfortunately, Lacock Abbey only really features in the earlier movies; the majority of its scenes are in the first. The cloisters were used for Professor Snape’s potion classes, Professor Quirrell’s defence against the dark arts classes, and Harry’s encounter with the Mirror of Erised.
However, other parts of the cloisters and the courtyard were also featured in the films. This is fantastic, because the whole monastic section of the Abbey is absolutely beautiful!
Other parts of the village were also used for the HP films. During the first film, one of the houses was used for the brief shots of Potter’s Cottage, when Harry first learns the history of his family. Note that this isn’t the same as the set that was used in the later films, when Harry and Hermione visit Godric’s Hollow. Other parts of the village were used for the exterior shots in the sixth film when Harry and Dumbledore go to meet Professor Slughorn, and convince him to teach at Hogwarts.
Although not much, I hope you got a sense of how easy it is to feel transported into the magical world of HP while in the UK. Just visiting these three locations evoked a feeling of nostalgia in me, and I certainly took the opportunity to pretend I was a Hogwarts student myself! As magical as these places were, they were nothing compared to one other place I visited… but that’s a story for the next post 😉