Perhaps no other film character has captured the minds of both kids and adults throughout the world as much as Harry Potter in recent times, which is borne out by the unprecedented popularity of each one of Harry Potter films. Each time that a new film in this series has been announced, there has been bated anticipation and long queues to get the Harry Potter books and tickets for the film shows. Many walking tours are available to go round the studios where the films have been shot to see the various facilities and the props that have been used in these films. Various locations in London have also been used for shooting of the outdoor scenes of the Harry Potter films. The author of Harry Potter books, JK Rowling has used Gloucester Cathedral as an inspiration for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Visitors and residents of London who are visiting the Tower of London or the Barbican centre will find it convenient to reach some of the following locations to get a feel of where the Harry Potter films were shot.
The main film locations in London used for Shooting Harry Potter Films are the following.
A building on Bull’s Head Passage, EC3; a small alley off Gracechurch Street on the side of Leadenhall Market has been used as the entrance to the ‘Leaky Cauldron’. It is a short walk from The Monument. There is a viewing terrace near Tower Bridge from where you can see Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast. These attractions were seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when the Order of the Phoenix was flying on broomsticks while escorting Harry Potter to Grimauld Place.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
In the film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, which was previously St Pancras Station, was used as the entrance to King’s Cross station and Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia flying car was parked by Harry and Ron in front of the hotel before returning, when they could not enter Platform 9 ¾.
King’s Cross Station
In a Harry Potter movie, Harry and Ron had to run at a wall between platforms 9 and 10 to gain access to platform 9 ¾ to catch the train to Hogwarts but actually there is no such wall but only a train line between the two platforms at King’s Cross Railway Station. Platforms 4 and 5 were renumbered 9 and 10 for filming and this is where the hidden access to platform 9 ¾ is located. However for Harry Potter fans, Platform 9 ¾ had been created but it has been shifted around many times due to building works and station improvements.
Ministry of Magic
In the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr Weasley had entered the Ministry of Magic via a red telephone box when they were going to Harry’s hearing on charges of using magic in front of Muggles. However the telephone box was only a prop and it is not actually present. The archway over the street is also not there but filming was done on Great Scotland Yard and the archway over the road was added in line with the first lamppost- covering the doorway where the men are talking and the red telephone box was placed in front of that, just before the first window.
Westminster Tube Station
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and Mr Weasley used Westminster Tube Station on their way to Harry’s hearing at the Ministry of Magic. It was also seen when Harry and the members of the Order of the Phoenix fly along the River Thames on their broomsticks.
The stunning marble interior of Australia House was used as Gringott’s Wizarding Bank. You can only peep through the door to see the beautiful interior if the Security Guards allow you, as the building is not open to the public.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you can see the Knight Bus trying to squeeze between two London buses on Lambeth Bridge.
Grimmauld Place has been shown as the ancestral home of the Black family and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix between 1996 and 1997, but its location is not certain. But most likely it is at Claremont Square, N1, at a short walk from King’s Cross Station. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Lincoln’s Inn Field was used as the street outside no. 12 Grimmauld Place.
Leaky Cauldron 2
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the location of the Leaky Cauldron has moved from Leadenhall Market to Borough Market. The Knight Bus has been shown to pull up outside the doorway of a flower shop causing an alarm on a parked car to go off. Harry is then shown to have got off the bus and enter the Leaky Cauldron. The location is at 7 Stoney Road, under the railway bridge. At 8 Stoney Street, a Third-Hand Bookshop, a large used bookshop supposedly on Charing Cross Road has been shown where Harry met Gilroy Lockhart, his future tutor.
Reptile House at London Zoo
The Reptile House at London Zoo was used to shoot a scene from ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (UK) / ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ (US) during September and November 2001. In this scene a Burmese Python spoke to Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, for the first time.
In the 2009 movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the destruction of Brockdale Bridge that collapses as a result of a dramatic attack by the death Eaters is shot by using the Millennium Bridge. However, the footbridge has not been harmed as the scene was shot with special effects.