All of Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations and How To Visit Them

Oxford plays an integral role in bringing the wizarding world of Harry Potter to life. This magical city served as a key filming location and inspiration for the movies‘ iconic settings and scenes.

As a Harry Potter fan visiting Oxford, you’ll be delighted to discover the many real-world places that were transformed into Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and more on-screen.

This article provides an in-depth guide to all the main Harry Potter filming sites around Oxford and how to visit them to channel your inner wizard.

From medieval college buildings and courtyards to ancient libraries brimming with ancient tomes, Oxford offers an abundance of real-life Harry Potter locations just waiting to be explored. So get ready to take a journey into J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding realm!

Was Harry Potter Filmed in Oxford?

Yes, many scenes throughout the Harry Potter films were shot on location at various colleges and buildings around Oxford.

Though the movies used sets and studios to bring Hogwarts to life, the producers chose Oxford as a key filming destination for its similarity to the wizarding school.

With its Gothic architecture, grand academic halls and staircases, and aura of old-world mystique, Oxford provided the perfect backdrop for Harry Potter’s magical adventures.

Specific spots at historic Oxford University colleges like Christ Church, New College, and Bodleian Library offered interiors and exteriors that seamlessly transformed into Hogwarts’ classrooms, corridors, hospital wing, and more on-screen.

So while the Harry Potter Studio in London contains the actual sets, props, and digital effects used in production, Oxford itself served as the real grounded location used to shoot a variety of scenes across the eight films.

For fans visiting Oxford, this makes it possible to actually step into the real places where the movie magic unfolded.

Did Oxford Inspire Harry Potter?

To being a filming location, Oxford University and city also provided huge inspiration for the Harry Potter stories. J.K. Rowling has pointed to Oxford as a key influence on her development of Hogwarts as an ancient British boarding school brimming with tradition.

The university’s colleges, ranging from medieval to Gothic architectures, served as the models for Hogwarts with their grand dining halls, quiet courtyards, professors lecturing in robes, and libraries stocked with dusty old tomes.

The Bodleian Library, in particular, inspired the Hogwarts Library. Oxford’s lecture halls and classrooms translated seamlessly to magical classrooms like Transfiguration.

Beyond the university, the charming city of Oxford also inspired key Harry Potter settings. Its winding cobblestone streets and alleys helped shape the layout of Diagon Alley.

The city’s quirky shops selling robes, curiosities and books provided the template for stores where young wizards buy wands and supplies.

So Oxford’s aesthetics, architecture, and academic environment fundamentally shaped J.K. Rowling’s vision for the wizarding world. It’s no wonder she returned here frequently for filming.

Can You Visit the Harry Potter Filming Locations?

The great news is that most of Oxford’s Harry Potter filming sites and inspirations are open for visitors to explore! As an ancient university city, Oxford has centuries of history on display.

Many of the colleges, libraries, and buildings that served as backdrops in the films are still in use today by students and faculty.

The best part is you often don’t need advanced tickets or bookings to visit these filming spots. For a small entrance fee, you can simply show up and wander freely, imagining you’re a Hogwarts student rushing between lessons.

Certain places like Duke Humfrey’s Library may require advanced reservations, while group tours are available for a more in-depth experience. But the magic is waiting to be discovered throughout Oxford, for Harry Potter fans and history lovers alike.

Keep reading for a guide to the top Harry Potter filming locations and how to visit them. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any mischief by the Weasley twins during your visit!

1. The Staircase, Great Dining Hall, and Hallways

Several iconic Hogwarts scenes were filmed within the halls of Christ Church College, one of Oxford’s largest and most prestigious colleges.

Founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, Christ Church’s magnificent architecture and scale made it a perfect stand-in for Hogwarts. It is also a popular destination for fans seeking Oxford Harry Potter locations.

Harry Potter Oxford Filming Location I: Christ Church’s Staircase

The beautiful Bodley Staircase at Christ Church College is an instantly recognizable harry potter oxford location to Harry Potter fans.

It’s where we first see a young Harry, Ron, and Hermione meet Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The medieval staircase, with its stone arches and vaulted ceiling, leads up to the college’s Great Dining Hall.

When visiting oxford christ church harry potter, climb this same staircase and imagine you’re about to be sorted by the Sorting Hat as a first year at Hogwarts.

Be sure to gaze up at the ornate fan-vaulted ceiling too. Even without any magical moving portraits or floating candles, it’s a magical experience!

Harry Potter Oxford Filming Location II: Christ Church’s Dining Hall

Christ Church’s cavernous Great Dining Hall provided direct inspiration for the Hogwarts Great Hall.

While not actually filmed here, its long wooden tables, high ceilings, sweeping staircases, and hanging portraits make it instantly recognizable as the model for the films’ iconic setting.

Visit on a mealtime to see the hall come to life with students and don your own robes for the full wizarding experience. Look for the portraits of past deans and famous alumni lining the walls, just like the headmasters at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter Oxford Filming Location III: Christ Church’s Cloisters

Harry Potter Oxford Filming Location III: Christ Church's Cloisters

The medieval cloisters of Christ Church College were used to depict various Hogwarts hallways throughout the films.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we see Hermione guiding Harry through the cloisters to show him a trophy won by his father.

The arched walkways around Christ Church’s courtyard quad provided the perfect backdrop for scenes of students bustling off to lessons.

When you visit, listen for the echoes of lessons taking place as you walk the shadowy stone corridors. On a sunny day, take a seat in the grassy courtyardquad and imagine Harry and friends lounging between classes.

2. Hogwart’s Library and the Restricted Section

Every good magic school needs an ancient library, and Oxford’s historic Bodleian Library filled this role perfectly for Hogwarts’ Library and its Restricted Section.

The Library’s Duke Humfrey’s Library is one of the oldest parts, dating back to 1488. This atmospheric space with chained books and dusty tomes stood in for the Hogwarts library in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

It’s where Harry sneaks in under his invisibility cloak to search for information on Nicholas Flamel.

To visit Duke Humfrey’s yourself, book a private tour or arrange access by becoming an Oxford student/scholar. Once inside, wander the rows of centuries-old books and feel the magic!

3. The Infirmary or Hospital Wing

Another familiar Hogwarts location comes to life within the university’s spaces. The vaulted Divinity School at the Bodleian Library was used as the set for the Hogwarts Hospital Wing seen throughout the films.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we see Harry recovering after his encounter with Professor Quirrell here.

The Gothic architecture, with its grand ceiling arches, translates seamlessly as the wing where students are patched up from Quidditch injuries, magical mishaps, and more.

Later, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Divinity School stands in for the Hall where students practice dancing at the Yule Ball.

To visit yourself, head to the Divinity School during its open hours. At just £2 for admission, you can check out this iconic filming spot and recall Madame Pomfrey tending to patients in the hospital wing.

4. The Courtyard and the Giant Oak Tree

New College, founded in 1379, is another of Oxford’s historic colleges that offered its spaces for Harry Potter filming locations.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, New College’s beautiful cloisters and courtyard quad were used for several sequences.

Eagle-eyed viewers will spot the unique giant oak tree on the south side of the quad where Malfoy gets turned into a ferret as punishment from Mad-Eye Moody.

Visit on a sunny day when the courtyard is full of life and have a seat on the grass under the oak’s sprawling branches.

Soak up the atmosphere that inspired this memorable scene. Maybe you’ll even catch a misbehaving student being punished by a professor passing through.

Looking for Harry Potter Tours and Experiences?

Although you can easily visit Oxford’s Harry Potter sites independently, there are also some great guided tours and experiences available for more in-depth explorations.

These range from walking tours of the key filming locations to bus trips to the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour near London to see behind-the-scenes sets, props, and exhibits.

Options cater to different schedules and budgets, from quick 1-2 hour tours of the central colleges to full day trips to the studios where the movies were made. There are even Oxford walking tours capped with dinner at a Hogwarts-style banquet hall.

Immerse yourself in the wizarding world with other fans on tours guided by HP experts. Look for options combining Oxford colleges with Warner Bros Studio, London landmarks, and more for a full experience. Check tour dates and availability during your travel planning.

Are There Any Other Harry Potter Filming Locations?

While this covers the major confirmed filming spots, Oxford itself provided endless inspiration beyond just these sites. Strolling the city’s winding medieval streets that likely helped shape Diagon Alley, it’s easy to feel immersed in Harry’s world around every corner.

Keep your eyes peeled for quirky hidden shops selling robes, artifacts, and memorabilia reminiscent of wizarding stores and curiosities.

Let your imagination take flight! Oxford continues to be a magical place for any Harry Potter fan. So get out there, cast a Lumos spell on your wand, and start exploring the filming locations and inspirations that brought this beloved story to life.

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