I never thought I’d be the sort of person to travel somewhere just because one of my favorite movies was filmed there, and yet here we are.* The city of Oxford had been on our radar for some time. At just an hour away from London, we figured we’d get there eventually, but the thing that ultimately sealed the deal and prompted us to finally book our trip was discovering just how many amazing Harry Potter filming locations there are to see in Oxford.
From the Hogwarts Library to the Great Hall, several of the series’ most beloved scenes were filmed within the colleges here. (If you’ve ever been inside any of Oxford’s colleges, that’ll come as no surprise. Half of them could pass as a real-life Hogwarts.) Having fallen in love with Harry Potter after we moved to the UK (so cliché, but I have no regrets), we couldn’t let an opportunity to see these places in person pass us by!
There are seven major Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford, and you’ll find a guide to all of them below with information on how to visit. All of these spots can be seen in a single day, but if you’ve got a little more time to spend in Oxford, there are many other sights in the city worth visiting, too. If you have a whole weekend to spare, definitely check out our weekend guide to Oxford!
*I, apparently, also now find it acceptable to use completely made-up words in my blog titles. Assimilation into genuine Potterhead status: complete.
Related Post: 8 Pretty Colleges To Visit In Oxford
Duke Humphrey’s Library
With its dark, mysterious corners and floor to ceiling shelves of old books and ancient manuscripts, it’s no wonder Duke Humphrey’s Library was chosen to play the Hogwarts Library in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It took three days to complete the scenes filmed here, the most memorable of which is when Harry uses his Cloak of Invisibility for the first time to enter the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library without being seen.
Duke Humphrey’s Library is located within the Bodleian Library, the main research library at the University of Oxford. To visit Duke Humphrey’s Library, you’ll need to sign up for one of the library’s daily tours. The cheapest option is the 30-minute Mini Tour for £6. A list of all tours and times can be found here.
The Divinity School
Used in the filming of the first four Harry Potter films, you’ll no doubt recognize the Divinity School which served as the Hogwarts Infirmary. This stunning grand hall is where Harry wakes up at the end of the first film after confronting Voldemort for the first time, where Harry and Hermione use the time turner to save Sirius and Buckbeak in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and where Professor McGonagall teaches Ron how to dance for the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire among many, many other famous scenes.
Also located within Oxford’s Bodleian Library, you can either visit the Divinity School as part of one of the guided tours mentioned above, or you can buy a ticket for £1 that allows access to the Divinity School only.
New College Cloisters
The hallways of Hogwarts change from movie to movie, but they do share one thing in common – they always look like something straight out of a fairytale castle. The crumbling, castle-like cloisters within New College doubled as the Hogwarts hallways in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It is here where Harry pushes through a crowd of his fellow students as they ridicule him with Potter Stinks badges.
The cloisters are located just off the Front Quadrangle inside New College, one of the oldest colleges in the University of Oxford. Entrance into New College is £5 and your tour will be self-guided, but a small map is provided when you purchase your ticket at the Porters’ Lodge.
New College Courtyard
You may recognize this courtyard and gnarled, old tree from the same movie as the cloisters above. The New College courtyard is where Harry tips Cedric off about the dragons they’d be battling in the first task, and the tree (which is actually close to 200 years old) features in the scene immediately following Harry and Cedric’s exchange where Malfoy taunts Harry, prompting Mad-Eye Moody to turn him into a ferret!
Like the cloisters, the New College Courtyard can be seen via a self-guided tour of the college. Opening hours and information for visitors can be found here.
Bodley Tower Staircase
One of the most famous Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford, the grand stone staircase inside Bodley Tower features prominently in the first two films. Several memorable scenes were filmed here – from Harry’s first arrival at Hogwarts to a flashback sequence between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore to the scene near the end of the first movie where Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione after being released from the infirmary. (When Ron and Hermione look over the edge of the staircase at Harry, I get all the warm fuzzies!)
The Bodley Tower staircase is located inside Christ Church college. Entrance tickets cost between £8-10 depending on which time of year you visit. You can check opening hours and purchase tickets online here.
Christ Church Cloisters
Christ Church’s beautiful cloisters were transformed into Hogwarts hallways in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. After Harry has been made seeker for the Gryffindor quidditch team, Hermione tells Harry being a seeker is “in his blood” and shows him a display case in the hallway containing a quidditch trophy with his dad’s name on it. This scene was filmed in the cloisters here just outside of what is currently a bookshop.
The Christ Church cloisters are included with your entrance ticket into the college. See the section above for how and when to purchase tickets.
Christ Church Dining Hall
Though no filming actually took place here, Christ Church’s dining hall provided the main inspiration for Hogwarts’ own Great Hall. It’s easy to spot the similarities between the two – the arched windows lining the walls, the extra long “house tables” – but unfortunately for students at Christ Church, their dining hall features a regular ceiling instead of an enchanted one and lamps instead of floating candles. (They still get to wear their robes to dinner, though, so don’t feel too sorry for them!)
The dining hall is also included with your ticket into Christ Church. Be prepared for crowds here, as well as on the staircase during peak season. The staircase leads into the hall, and during busy times it’s where everyone queues to enter. The only way to avoid the crowds is to arrive as soon as the college opens to visitors. Check the official website before your visit as opening hours tend to fluctuate.
Have you seen any Harry Potter filming locations in person? How far would you travel to see where your favorite movie was filmed?
Ready for more? Check out the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London!
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