Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford

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

Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford

If you’re visiting Oxford and you enjoy reading the Harry Potter books or watching the Harry Potter movies, you probably already know the city has been instrumental in the creation of this fantastic world. Why? Well, Oxford didn’t just serve as inspiration for the story (the charm of Hogwarts as an old and well-respected centre for learning, the division into houses, etc). Many of the scenes in the movies were actually filmed here, too!

Wondering about the Warner Bros Studios? Getting to the Harry Potter Studios from Oxford

Was Harry Potter Filmed in Oxford?

Many people wonder if the Harry Potter films were actually filmed in Oxford. If that’s you, you are not wrong! In fact, a lot of Harry Potter scenes were filmed in Oxford University spaces. However, many others, while not directly done there, were inspired by the beautiful colleges, their halls, and their libraries. The great news is: If you’re in Oxford, you can visit all of these Harry Potter filmings locations and inspirations! Well… not just that, but you’ll definitely absorb the fabulous atmosphere that has been inviting visitors for centuries.

Below, you will be able to find all the exact places that were used in Harry Potter scenes, what they were used for, and when it’s best to visit them. As a Harry Potter fan, I’ve seen all of these and can definitely vouch for them. What I mean to say is… you don’t be disappointed. I promise!

Did Oxford Inspire Harry Potter?

Gothic vaulted ceilings and staircases, old libraries with chained books, and wonderful great halls. These places are closely linked to Harry Potter and the aesthetics of Hogwarts. And many of them were filmed here in Oxford!

So, the answer to this question is: Yes, Oxford definitely served as an inspiration for the Harry Potter films. The city has been considered a perfect location for filming, appearing in over two hundred movies and TV series – so this is not exactly a surprise. 

Can you Visit the Harry Potter Filming Locations?

The short answer is: YES. Most of them, at least. The colleges of Oxford University and the streets of Oxford city that inspired the books and movies are all open to the public all year round. You don’t even need to book your visit; you can just drop by, pay a small entrance fee, and be transported right to Hogwarts.

So, let’s go through each of these filming locations, what they were used for in the movies, and the best times to visit them.

You can use this map to find your way:

Map of Oxford Harry Potter Filming Locations
Map of Oxford Harry Potter Filming Locations

1. The Staircase, Great Dining Hall, and Hallways

Tere are two Oxford Harry Potter filming locations that are emblematic of the movies. These are the Christ Church staircase and the Great Dining Hall – both of which you can see when you visit Christ Church college. If you are only in Oxford for a couple of hours, this is the place to see if you want to understand why so many Harry Potter scenes were filmed in Oxford. 

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

The best place to start your Harry Potter filming locations tour is probably Christ Church College. This college provided the location for many essential scenes of the Harry Potter movies, and it’s also one of Oxford University’s oldest establishments. It was founded in 1546! Today, it’s also the biggest college; it has about 600 students. 

Harry Potter Filming Locations: Christ Church's Staircase. Photo courtesy of Fr Lawrence Lew, OP, via Flickr Commons.
Harry Potter Filming Locations: Christ Church's Staircase. Photo courtesy of Fr Lawrence Lew, OP, via Flickr Commons.
Oxford Christ Church Staircase and Harry Potter
A detail of the Bodley Staircase in Christ Church College. Image courtesy of Matthias Rosenkranz via Flickr Commons.
Harry Potter locaitons
The entrance to the Bodley Staircase in Christ Church College. Image courtesy of Piers Nye via Flickr Commons.

Harry Potter Film Scenes:

The Bodley staircase (you can see its iconic style in the photo on the left) is where Professor McGonagall first meets Harry, Ron, and Hermione. This staircase leads up to the Great Dining Hall and is an extremely important Harry Potter filming location because it’s where Harry first experiences the magic of Hogwarts. And, when you are there in person, you might feel it as well.

The films also return to this spot when Harry has defeated Quirrell (and Voldemort) and is about to leave Hogwarts to return home. 

This staircase is incredibly beautiful. Don’t forget to look up, though. The vaulted ceiling is a marvel of architectural design. And the lamps are also quite a nice sight. 

Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations: Hogwarts’ Staircase

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

The staircase we just mentioned leads up to Christ Church‘s Great Dining Hall, which was the actual inspiration for the incredible Hogwarts Dining Hall. If you are interested in this filming location, you can learn more about it in this article: Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations: Hogwarts’ The Great Hall

Harry Potter Filming Locations: Christ Church's Dining Hall. Photo courtesy of ChiralJon via Flickr Commons.
Harry Potter Filming Locations: Christ Church's Dining Hall. Photo courtesy of ChiralJon via Flickr Commons.
Harry Potter filming locaitons in Christ Church Oxford
Detail of Christ Church's Dining Hall. Photo courtesy of ChiralJon via Flickr Commons.
Dining Hall, Christ Church College, Oxford. Image courtesy of David Nicholls via Flickr Commons.
Dining Hall, Christ Church College, Oxford. Image courtesy of David Nicholls via Flickr Commons.

As soon as you step into this hall, you are transported to Hogwarts Castle. This is where wizarding students and teachers dined and congregated there — and it’s exactly how the College’s hall is used today. The hall has tall ceilings, long benches, and portraits lining the walls. There’s also an impressive fireplace. Although this location was not used for filming the Harry Potter movies, there isn’t a more atmospheric location for fans to visit. 

Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations: Hogwarts’ Great Hall

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

Our last location within Christ Church College is the cloisters, which were used to film scenes that featured the hallways of Hogwarts. For example, they are featured in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. One of the scenes? When Harry is made seeker for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team Hermione tells him it’s in his blood – and then shows Harry the Quidditch trophy his father won.

Christ Church Cloisters in Oxford
Christ Church Cloisters in Oxford, used in Harry Potter as the school hallways.
The trophy featuring the Potter's Quidditch history.
The trophy featuring the Potter's Quidditch history, filmed in Christ Church.
Christ Church Cloisters in Oxford.
The cloisters of Christ Church in Oxford, used in Harry Potter as the school hallways.

Bottom line: If you’re visiting Oxford, don’t forget to stop by Christ Church. The college is of interest to those who love the books and movies, and to anyone interested in history and architecture.

And these are not the only places used for the films. The hallways of the college were also used for the scene where Hermione shows Harry the Quidditch trophy his father won.

Here’s where to see all these Oxford Harry Potter filming locations:

Oxford Christ Church College - Image courtesy ofArnaud Malon

Christ Church College

Christ Church is college of the University of Oxford. It was founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII and is one of the larger colleges.

2. Hogwart's Library and the Restricted Section

Oxford University - Old library (Duke Humfrey’s). Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
The Bodleian Library - Duke Humphrey's Library. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The restricted section of the Hogwarts Library contains powerful dark magic and is only available to older students taking up Defence Against the Dark Arts.

In the Harry Potter Philosopher’s Stone movie, however, Harry walks through this area protected by his invisibility cloak.

This scene was filmed in the Duke Humfrey’s Library (or Old Library), which is part of the Bodleian Library. This part of the library is available through private tours but you can book them easily through their website. Bodleian Library cardholders can also use it – so if you’re studying or doing research in Oxford you can actually do so from the restricted section. Be aware, though: The books ARE indeed in chains there!

Where to see this filming location:

3. The Infirmary or Hospital Wing

You might remember the fantastic gothic vaulted ceilings of Hogwart’s Infirmary or Hospital Wing (which is first shown also in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone).

This scene was filmed in the Divinity School, which is now part of the Bodleian Library. The Divinity School doesn’t actually only appear in the movies as the Infirmary; it’s also been used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It’s actually the hall where students practice their Triwizard Tournament dances! 

You can visit Divinity School and recreate Ron’s face when McGonagall instructs him how to dance. The fee for entering the school is jus £2 – and you can visit all year round.

Oxford’s Harry Potter Filming Locations: Hogwarts’ Hospital Wing

From the movies: The Hospital Wing when Ron is being treated.
From the movies: The Hospital Wing when Ron is being treated. Image courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki.
Harry Potter Filming Locations: Divinity School ceilings (the Hogwarts Infirmary). Photo courtesy of James Clark, via Flickr Commons.
Harry Potter Filming Locations: Divinity School ceilings (the Hogwarts Infirmary). Photo courtesy of James Clark, via Flickr Commons.
From the movies: The Hospital Wing without any patients.
From the movies: The Hospital Wing without any patients. Image courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki.
Bodleian Library - Entrance. Image courtesy of Billy Wilson.

Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Library is one of Oxford’s most famous landmarks. Among the oldest in Europe, it’s easy to visit and incredible to see.

4. The Courtyard and the Giant Oak Tree

Harry Potter Filming Locations: New College Cloisters. Photo courtesy of SBA73, via Flickr Commons.

Remember the scene where Mad-Eye Moody turns Malfoy into a cute white ferret, something McGonagall completely disapproved of (but was probably slightly amused to see)? Malfoy is sitting on a gigantic oak tree.

This famous tree can be found in the New College courtyard quadrangle (don’t be tricked by the name, this college was actually founded in the 14th century!). The college’s cloisters, with arched stone tunnels and impressive architecture, were used for the movies.

Many other scenes were filmed here too, including the one where Harry pushes through students wearing the “Potter stinks” badges to speak to Cedric. 

Where to see this filming location:

Oxford University - New College. Image courtesy of Cycling Man.

New College

Founded by William of Wykeham in 1379, New College is one of the constituent colleges that make up Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Looking for Harry Potter Tours and Experiences?

Are you looking for a more organised way to enjoy Oxford (and London) through some magic lenses? Here’s a small collection of tours and experiences that transport you to the spellbinding realms of wizardry and wonder. Immerse yourself in the magic that inspired J.K. Rowling’s iconic series as you explore the captivating landscapes of Oxford and London, where the wizarding world comes to life:

Can’t see this widget? Use this link instead.

Are There Any Other Harry Potter Filming Locations?

Although quite iconic, these are the only filming locations in Oxford. However, the similarities between the city and its colleges and the fantastic world of Hogwarts don’t end up there. For example, you can explore the streets that will remind you of Diagon Alley – a street where you can even buy a wand! The best way to feel connected to this the magic world is to walk the streets and explore on your own. Oxford contains all sorts of secrets, all there for finding!

Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Shop of Secrets! Which has one of the largest Harry Potter merch collections around. 

Shops to See in Oxford: The Shop of Secrets. Harry Potter Collectibles.

The Shop of Secrets

The Shop of Secrets is Oxford’s chamber of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts official collectables and merch. A shopping must-to in the city, the Shop of Secrets is a family-run

Books to Help You Explore Harry Potter Filming Locations

If you want to learn more about these filming locations and why the Harry Potter films team chose them, you can get a handy guide. These all include detailed descriptions, photos, and maps to help you locate them if you visit Oxford.

Oxford for Hogwarts Houses

 Depending on your Hogwarts house, there are plenty of activities to suit your unique interests and traits. Gryffindors can embark on thrilling adventures like climbing the tower at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin or taking a ghost tour of Oxford’s haunted history. Ravenclaws can indulge their love of learning by exploring the Bodleian Library or attending a lecture at the University of Oxford. Hufflepuffs can enjoy nature and community by strolling through the University of Oxford Botanic Garden or volunteering at a local charity. And Slytherins can exercise their ambition and cunning by visiting Oxford Castle and Prison or attending a networking event in the city.

No matter your house, there’s something magical waiting for you in Oxford! Use the images below to learn more.

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