Travel in Harry Potter's Footsteps

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Nov 17, 2016 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

If you want more Harry Potter in your life, consider traveling to the locations where the Harry Potter movies were filmed. The movies were shot in the UK - in England and Scotland. There are tours where you can travel to the places, but remember that many of the scenes were shot in a studio, or are composites of several locations. My best tip? #3! Read on...

Loch Torren - hill location of Hagrid's Hut in the Harry Potter movies

Loch Torren - hill location of Hagrid's Hut in the Harry Potter movies

When we were in Scotland, we visited all three of the Scottish locations of the Harry Potter movies. I can see why they chose these areas - they are magical, full of natural charisma and beauty. Want to see for yourself? Much of the scenes of the grounds of Hogwarts school was filmed in the Scottish Highlands.

Ben Nevis, Scotland

Ben Nevis, Scotland

Put your traveling shoes on - here are three specific areas in Scotland you can visit to get more of your Harry Potter fix:

Travel in Harry Potter's Footsteps: Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct and the West Highland Railway Line

You can see the railway line that was used for the train journey to Hogwarts. It runs about 42 miles, from Fort William to Mallaig, and crosses the Glenfinnan Valley on the Glenfinnan Viaduct. In the movies, you'll also see Ben Nevis and the spectacular countryside around Glen Nevis.

Glenfinnan Viaduct - this beautiful railroad track can be seen in the flying car scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It's located at Lochaber, in the highlands of Scotland. The railway is incredible - an enormous, arching bridge, 100 feet above the ground. There are 21 large arch supports holding the bridge up, over the 1,000 feet it crosses in the valley. It was built between 1897 and 1901.  You can take a Harry Potter train (the Jacobite Steam Train) on this route - learn more here: westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/Jacobite_Details.html

Harry Potter location - Glenfinnan Viaduct

Harry Potter location - Glenfinnan Viaduct

Harry Potter location - Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan viaduct

Mallaig Harbor, Scotland

In real life, the train ends up in Mallaig, not Hogwarts. Mallaig Harbor.

You can view the viaduct from the parking lot of the Glenfinnan Monument. This was erected in 1815 to commemorate the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard, starting the 1745 Jacobite Rising. There's a gift shop there, a restroom, and free parking.

Glen Nevis, Fort William

Used as the background scenes for the Quidditch games, this area is quite extraordinarily beautiful. The waterfall at Ben Nevis, Steal Falls, is the scene of Harry Potter's battle with a dragon in the Triwizard Tournament (film 4). Fort William is a lovely port town, with a fantastic pedestrian walking downtown. There are fun restaurants, shops, and a memorial statue of Donald Cameron, Chief of Clan Cameron. Fort William is also part of the Calendonian Canal (from Fort William to Loch Ness at Fort Augustus). Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, and is the end of the Grampian Mountains.   Remember when Hagrid was skipping stones? That was filmed at Loch Eilt, near Fort William.

Fort William, Scotland

Fort William, Scotland

memorial statue of Donald Cameron, Chief of Clan Cameron, Fort William

memorial statue of Donald Cameron, Chief of Clan Cameron, Fort William

Ben Nevis, Scottish highlands

Ben Nevis, Scottish highlands

Glencoe

Glencoe (a spectacularly beautiful location in the western Highlands) is the location of Hagrid's hut, on the slopes of Ben Nevis. It was also the primary location for the outdoor shots in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

You can actually stay near Loch Torren (as we did), and walk to see across the lake where it was filmed. Note - all sets are now down and the area is natural again. We highly recommend staying at the Glencoe Cottages (click for rates and availability) - owner Victoria Sutherland is extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and the Cottages have won green awards in Scotland. You'll be right next to the River Tay, and enjoy natural beauty unsurpassed. And, you can walk each morning to view the location of Hagrid's Hut - it's only a few hundreds yards from the cottages! Your kids will thank you (ours does). We heart Glencoe Cottages! Read our review here. Staying by Hagrid's Hut? A highlight of our trip to Scotland.

Hagrid's Hut

Loch Torren, Glencoe. See the sloping hill, with a flat spot right in the middle? That is where Hagrid's Hut was filmed

Loch Torren, Hagrid's hut location

Loch Torren, Hagrid's hut location in reflection

Loch Torren, Ben Nevis, Hagrid's Hut

Loch Torren, Ben Nevis, Hagrid's Hut - again, see the flat area in the middle, surrounded by pine trees

Hagrid's hut

Hagrid's hut on location. See the small trail, on the far side of Loch Torren? You can walk here from Glencoe cottages, and imagine a hippogriff...

Hagrid's Hut photo courtesy of Glencoe Cottages  http://www.glencoe-cottages.com

 

Scotland is full of beauty and good food and friendly people. Add to it seeing the places from Harry Potter, and you're in a traveler's/book lover's delight.  What are you waiting for??

 

Read more over at our friends at Pitstops for Kids: Harry Potter road trip: UK filming sites worth visiting

 

 

All photos copyright Jessie Voigts, except where noted.

 
 
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Comments (1)

  • Kerry Dexter

    8 years 3 months ago

    lovely shots and lovely story, Jessie. having most often been in Scotland in winter I rarely get to see the landscape in is greenery, so thanks for this. did you know that several of the buildings at the University of Glasgow are thought to have been possible inspiration for Hogwarts school architecture? I can believe it...

    Kerry Dexter

    Music Editor, WanderingEducators.com

    http://musicroad.blogspot.com/

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