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Have you ever thought to yourself “Wow, the United Kingdom looks like something out of Harry Potter!” If you didn’t already know, you were right. London served as a major filming hub for the iconic series of movies, that instantly made a name for themselves in fantasy culture. Scotland, specifically Edinburgh, is where the great JK Rowling spent much of her time when writing the books. Today, you can delve into everything Harry Potter in the United Kingdom, right down to its very beginnings. These tours are led by super fans who welcome the challenge of teaching wizard experts something new.
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Let’s kick things off with a bang, via a Warner Bros Studio tour in London, a top bucket list item for Harry Potter fans. Discover where much of the enchanting effects and scenes were filmed. Inside is a wonderland of frozen in time sets, that any fan will recognize immediately. Things get a bit interactive and guests can even “ride a broom” or pretend they’ve transported to Hogwarts on an old steam train. A coach bus will bring you to and from the studio.
Various sites around London had a significant impact on the sets of the films. Not only will you see the places that inspired Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and the Ministry of Magic, but guides overflow with knowledge that even some of the most well versed Harry Potter fans might not know. Some even take the tour twice just to ask more questions about the backstories and trivia. Secondarily, the foot route will traverse by Big Ben, the London Eye and other bucket list landmarks.
London hosts a generous slew of Harry Potter tours, and let’s be honest, so many are awesome. But keeping things diverse, we bring you—another walking tour. But not just any walking tour, one that uses projections, ahem, we mean magic, to add a wizard’s touch to the site-seeing. After boarding a ferry on the River Thames, you’ll be treated to a little rest for those weary muggle feet.
Riding in one of London’s black taxis is cool enough, and even better when making pit stops by the Knight Bus bridge and other film inspiration destination. Plenty of photo ops will arise throughout the three hour excursion, while your driver will offer fun facts, filming details and answers to all your burning questions. Five guests, all for the same price, can fit in one vehicle.
We’ve ventured far into London in an exploration of film sites, so now it’s time to head to Edinburgh Scotland, where JK Rowling humbly began crafting the stories that would soon take the world by storm. Guides know all the little details of her writing life and even will take you to cozy cafes where she’d often get inspired. Visitors rave about the depth of the tour, which even takes guests to a cemetery where Rowling would go to clear her head. This walking tour also sits on the highly affordable end of the spectrum.
Also an “easy on the wallet” experience, reviews suggest travelers take this adventure the first day, right when arriving in Edinburgh. Not only will you learn quite a bit about Rowling, but guides will dip your toes in the culture and sites of the area as well. Balmoral Hotel and University of Edinburgh’s Old College served as inspirational sites for Harry Potter, along with a list of other stops you’ll be making throughout the nearly three-hour jaunt through the streets.
For three days you’ll embark on a scenic journey to remember, through the breathtaking terrain of the Highlands. Two nights will be spent at the Isle of Sky, and Loch Ness is on the list too (say hey to little Nessie for us). But what makes Harry Potter fans squeal for joy is the mesmerizing ride upon The Jacobite of the West Highland Railway Line, probably more famously recognized as the Hogwarts Express.
Time to put on your wizard gear, because you are going to Hogwarts— well, at least the castle that serves as the magical school in the film. The day trip from Edinburgh offers over nine hours of historic and landscape exploration, and the Alnwick Castle, where the much of the first film takes place, is a major highlight. Opportunities for fun side adventures, like broom flying lessons and venturing into the nearby town add an extra edge of excitement.
A little more laid back and a great intermingling experience with the local surroundings, this walking excursion further delves into Harry Potter inspiration and filming. Travelers love the opportunity to see Oxford, along with its grand architecture, as it’s also just another incredible site-seeing destination in beautiful Scotland.