UK & Ireland

The ultimate Harry Potter UK roadtrip | what to see and where to stay

Just for us muggles, I’ve compiled the ultimate Harry Potter roadtrip, full of historic and famous sights together with the perfect places to stay...

When I first read JK Rowling’s The Philosopher’s Stone I was completely enthralled. And now, I’m in my absolute element as my eldest son has also become a Potter fan! 

Not only have we started reading the books together, but he has also watched all the films – the stories of the wizarding world brought to life before his very eyes. And as his curiosity grows, particularly after several trips to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London, he has begun to show an interest in all the real-life places that are featured in the movies. I think it’s the young explorer in him!

So now, we are planning a roadtrip together that will take us through the UK, stopping off at some of the most magical filming locations from Oxford all the way through to Glencoe in Scotland. So here is what we’ve come up with so far, including what to see and where to stay along the way…

The ultimate Harry Potter road trip begins in London

King’s Cross station: As any Harry Potter fan knows, King’s Cross is where Hogwarts pupils catch the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 ¾. Located in the main concourse, pose with the luggage trolley disappearing into the wall and even go next door for some Harry Potter souvenirs.

Warner Bros Studio Tour: Just one stop on the underground from King’s Cross to Euston and then only a 20-minute train ride to Watford you can spend a whole day at the wonderful Harry Potter World at the Warner Bros Studio Tour. From marvelling at the remarkable sets and costumes to fun activities such as riding a broomstick and drinking butter-beer, this is a must for all Harry Potter fans.

London Zoo: In the first film, Harry talks to a boa constrictor at London Zoo and makes the enclosure glass disappear. The zoo, situated in London’s Regent’s Park, makes for an excellent day out for the whole family.

Hotels in London

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Where to stay on your Harry Potter roadtrip in London

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The Pullman is in prime position to not only explore London but is only a short stroll to King’s Cross Station – the gateway to so many Harry Potter inspired activities. Contemporary and stylish, the superior and deluxe rooms have plenty of space for families with 24-hour room service too, should you be so tired from your day exploring and want dinner in your pyjamas!

Hotel Pullman London St Pancras

Top rated
London, 12.6 km to Airport London City
8.8 Excellent (4511 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Gym
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The next stop on our UK Harry Potter roadtrip is Lacock, Wiltshire

Lacock Abbey: Not only is Lacock a picturesque village in Wiltshire worth stopping by because of the quaint little cottages and quintessentially British heritage,  but is also the location of the stunning Lacock Abbey, which stood in as Hogwarts in the first movie, and also features in the new Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald movie, too.

Hotels in Lacock

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Where to stay on your Harry Potter adventure in Wiltshire

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This country house hotel is the perfect spot to take in the sites of Lacock and the nearby Roman spa town of Bath. Not only does Beechfield House pride itself on offering a luxurious stay but it also family-friendly with large interconnecting rooms and a heated swimming pool for plenty of splashy fun. Kids can even stay for free!

Beechfield House

Top rated
8.9 Excellent (503 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Outdoor swimming pool
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The third Harry Potter roadtrip stop is magical Gloucester

Gloucester Cathedral: Harry Potter fans can take a tour of Gloucester Cathedral – a remarkable building steeped in medieval history –  which also features in several pivotal moments from different films including the troll scenes for The Philosopher’s Stone, as well as being home to the original door from the Gryffindor common room.

Hotels in Cheltenham

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Convenient hotel in nearby Cheltenham with large family rooms

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The spa town of Cheltenham isn’t far from Gloucester Cathedral and synonymous with the well-known hotel chain is elegance and comfort, as well as its excellent food and wine. But that doesn’t mean to say the Hotel Du Vin Cheltenham isn’t welcoming of families. Rooms are large enough to accommodate extra beds – and for parents, the added touch of luxury from Egyptian cotton to monsoon showers.

Hotel Du Vin Cheltenham

8.4 Very good (784 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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The fourth stop on our Harry Potter roadtrip is historical Oxford!

Christchurch College: The inspiration for The Great Hall in Hogwarts, Christchurch Hall is a must-see even though no filming actually took place here.

Bodleian Library: Although the library has been around since 1602 and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, it is better known now as Hogwarts library. Meanwhile, the Hogwarts Restricted Section is the Arts end of the medieval Duke Humfrey’s Library, the oldest reading room at the Bodleian.

Divinity School: You may recall the breathtaking gothic vaulted ceilings of the Hogwarts infirmary – well, head to the Divinity School and you’ll be blown away by them in person.

New College Cloisters: You can follow in the footsteps of Harry through the unmistakable cloisters which feature most prominently in The Goblet of Fire.

Hotels in Oxford

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Where to stay with the family in Oxford

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A boutique hotel right in the centre of Oxford means you can access all the above with ease – as well as explore the rest of this popular university town. Comfortable beds and plush rooms provide families with all the hallmarks of a high-end stay, all the while being close to all the action. Extra beds for children and baby cots can be accommodated in superior rooms.

Malmaison Oxford

Oxford, 0.5 km to Ashmolean Museum
8.3 Very good (1704 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
Hotel bar
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the next stop on our Harry Potter roadtrip is Durham

Durham Cathedral: Dominating the skyline of Durham city is the magnificent cathedral which has appeared in many of the Harry Potter films including The Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. Most recognisable will be the exteriors and interiors, particularly the cloisters.

Hotels in Durham

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A riverside hotel in Durham for the whole family

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This historic hotel close to the centre, and on the pretty banks of the River Wear, not only has 17th-century charm coupled with modern amenities but also has views of the city and Durham Cathedral, so you’ll never feel too far away. An on-site Starbucks, as well as leisure facilities including a pool, means the whole family can relax after a day of exploring Durham. Family rooms are spacious with packages including complimentary meals for a family of four.

Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County

Durham, 0.3 km to Durham Castle
8.1 Very good (1537 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
Gym
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The next stop on our Harry Potter roadtrip is Northumberland

Alnwick Castle: Remember when Harry and the class first take their flying lessons with Madam Hooch in The Philosopher’s Stone? The Outer Bailey of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is where the scene was filmed. Meanwhile, the courtyards and baileys of Alnwick Castle were used to film students and staff going about their daily activities.

Hotels in Alnwick

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Family-friendly stately home for Harry Potter roadtrippers

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There’s plenty of space to explore on Doxford Hall’s 10-acre estate, as well as nearby coastline if you also fancy some sea air; great for children who want the freedom to run about. Over 200 years old, this Georgian stately home is now offering guests traditional and luxuriously furnished rooms and even a self-catering cottage for those families wishing for more of a home away from home. Extra beds and cots for children are available as well as a kids’ menu.

Doxford Hall and Spa

Top rated
Alnwick, 13.3 km to Alnwick Castle
9.1 Excellent (763 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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The last stop on our Harry Potter roadtrip is Glencoe, Scotland

Loch Shiel, Lochaber: The awe-inspiring Loch Shiel features as Hogwarts Lakes in many of the films. It’s worth a visit for the sheer dramatic scenery across the water and surrounding countryside.

Eilean na Moine and Loch Eilt, Lochaber: This enchanting small island is the final resting place of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore – and where Voldemort steals the Elder Wand in The Deathly Hallows Part I.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber: Perhaps one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable moments is when the Hogwarts Express makes its way across this Victorian railway viaduct. You can also ride it yourself on the famous Jacobite steam train.

Hotels in Glencoe

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A final relaxing stay on your Harry Potter roadtrip

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In the heart of the Scottish Highlands and on a private estate, Glencoe House exudes grandeur and offers families a personalised service. The suites mean you have the freedom to enjoy your own sitting room, where your meals are served to you in your own private dining room, too. The surrounding estate allows plenty of exploring in the grounds from the gardens and lily ponds to woodland. A perfect end to a mammoth road trip, don’t you think?

Glencoe House

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (195 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Restaurant
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About the author

Ting Dalton is a freelance journalist who has a real passion for travel. Her blog, My Travel Monkey, recently won Best Travel Blog in the Flight Centre UK Awards 2018 and seeks to dispel the myth that travelling around the globe should be put on a hiatus if you have young kids. Ting’s sons have been on several marvellous adventures including Iceland, South Africa and Thailand - as well as plenty of trips around the UK.
My Travel Monkey