Harry Potter Sightings in Oxford

A visit to Oxford will, of course, need to include a visit to some of the Harry Potter Filming sights including the inspiration for the Great Hall seen in all of the Harry Potter films.  

Christ Church Great Hall

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books were not set in Oxford, but many of the old libraries and buildings were ideal sets for the filming including Christ Church, The Bodleian Library and New College. As you walk amongst the students in this Gothic city, you will have glimpses and hopefully feel the magic of Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Christ Church

(1) The Great Hall

  • Movie: All of the Harry Potter Films
  • Scene: One of the most famous rooms in Oxford became the inspiration for Hogwarts Dining Hall for all of the Harry Potter films. A studio set was created at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire from photographs of the Tudor Great Hall and used for the actual film shoots. You can also walk through a replica at Warner Brother Studio outside of London.
  • Notes: The hall is still used for meals by students today. I arrived just as lunch was closing and had to wait a bit to get in, and saw some lingering clean-up making it more real than a staged area. The lines for this one are long and you will be in a snake like conveyor belt of people walking around the room… so have those cameras ready. While admiring the Harry Potter inspiration, look around for inspiration and signs of Alice in Wonderland (Hint: Check out the fire-dogs & stained glass windows on the right as you enter)

 

(2) The Stairway (top)

  • Movie: The Philosopher’s Stone
  • Scene: Harry, Ron, Hermione and the other ‘first years’ walk up the grand stairway to Hogwarts to be met by Professor McGonagall under the magnificent gothic vaulted roof. It is here also that the 3 are reunited at the end of the film.

Christ Church Stairs Top

(3) The Stairway (top & bottom)

  • Movie: Chamber of Secrets.
  • Scene: (1) Harry and Ron encountering Filch on the staircase when they arrive at Hogwarts
    (2)
    When Harry enters Tom Riddle’s diary, he first encounters Tom Riddle and the younger Dumbledore on this staircase.

Christ Church Stairs Bottom

(4) The Cloisters

  • Movie: The Philosopher’s Stone
  • Scene: Here Hermione shows Harry the trophy his father won as a seeker in Quidditch. The scene was shot just outside the current bookshop
  • Notes: The cloisters in Christ Church were first built 1000 years ago.

Christ Church Cloisters

Bodleian Library

(5) Divinity Hall

  • Movie: The Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkaban, and Goblet of Fire
  • Scenes: (1)  The Divinity School was used as the Hogwarts hospital wing in many of the movies. (2) It was also used in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the scene where Professor McGonagall is teaching the Gryffindor students to dance in preparation for the Yule Ball.
  • Notes: The ceiling features images of  beasts and biblical scenes. Described by experts as a “masterpiece of English Gothic architecture”

Bodleian Library Infirmary

(6) Duke Humphries Library

  • Movie: The Philosopher’s Stone
  • Scene: Harry sneaks into the restricted section in his invisibility cloak looks for clues in Hogwarts library. He is terrified by the monster in the book and then in real life by caretaker Argus Filch. Also later in the movie, Hermione reads about the Sorcerer’s Stone to Harry and Ron.
  • Notes: Duke Humfrey’s Library is named after Humphrey of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Gloucester, a younger son of Henry IV of England, who donated his collection of 281 manuscripts to the University of Oxford. Oxford built Duke Humfrey’s Library as a second story to the Divinity School in order to house his collection in 1450-80. Today, only three of Humfrey’s original books remain in the library as the King’s Commission under Edward VI (Son of Henry VIII & Jane Seymour) took all of its books. Duke Humphries now has more than 80 miles of bookshelves, making it one of the most complete libraries in the world.

Duke Humphrey Library

New College

(7) Cloister & Quad

  • Movie: The Goblet of Fire
  • Scene: The quad is where Harry warns Cedric about the dragons. Harry then comes face to face with Malfoy sitting in the tree and Malfoy is turned into a ferret in front of our eyes to the annoyance of Professor McGonagall
  • Notes: New College was the first college in Oxford to be deliberately designed around a main quadrangle

New College Cloisters


Tips

  • These locations are busy and most require entrance fees. If you are interested, sign up early.
  • Need a map: Location Oxfordshire has kindly put together free downloadable pdf map.