When visiting Cambridge for the first time, especially if you are from aboard, it is impossible not to see the resemblance between this city and our Hogwarts childhood imagination. Either through the narrow streets, the detailed architecture or within the colleges. Cambridge has this special (Hogwarts like) magic, capable of making us dream that we’re a character within these wonderful movies. So the speculation begins, did Cambridge feature in any of the Harry Potter movies?
Was Cambridge a background set to Hogwarts?
Even though we, Cambridge locals, love to say that the Harry Potter movies may have been filmed here. This isn’t true. In fact, Cambridge has never been part of this movie series. The reality is that we may say it from time to time as there are plenty of ressemblances between our city and the backdrops of the magic world of Harry Potter.
These movies were in fact filmed all around the United Kingdom. Their outdoor shooting locations vary from the city of London, to the Scottish Highlands.
Scotland Harry Potter locations
Scottish Highlands were used for various filming locations such as the home of Hagrid’s Hut and some of the forest shots. It is also in Scotland where you can spot the railway bridge to Hogwarts, this iconic shot takes place at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. However when it wasn’t possible to film there, they used the Eilan Donan Castle, a location also in the Highlander franchise, as their alternative filming location.
England Harry Potter locations
More iconic scenes were filmed around England. London is known to be the stage of Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾, at Kings Cross Station. If you go there today, you can actually find a cart field with luggage half way through the wall ready to embark the Hogwarts Express. The exterior of this station was in fact recorded at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Leadenhall market in London became Diagon Alley and the junction of Scotland Place and Great Scotland Yard was where Harry Potter and Mr Weasley entered the phone box descending into the Ministry of Magic. A curious fact about this scene is that there aren’t in fact any phone boxes at this junction.
In England, there are other iconic locations where this movie takes place. The most fascinating one is Alnwick Castle, in the county of Northumberland. It is here the most famous exterior shots of Hogwarts were recorded.
Oxford was where the extraordinary Triwizard Tournament took place. in honour of this, the city of Oxford hosts, every year, a 3 day long murder mistery game at the Cloisters, during Easter holidays.
Salisbury and Gloucester are also set locations. The former is where Professor Snape’s class of potions was shot, Lacock Abbey. The latter was the city in which the Cathedral’s Cloisters were used in various occasions as the interior set of Hogwarts.
If you are an Hotty Potter fan, visiting the United Kingdom for a short period of time, you might want to consider visiting the Warner Bros’ Studios at Leavesden Studios near London, for the complete picture of what it is like to be part of the Harry Potter world.
Cambridge and Harry Potter
As we have discussed Cambridge is unfortunately not part of the set locations of the Harry Potter’s movies. However being a student here at the university does kind of feel like it. From walking around the magistral architecture of the colleges, to the arrangement of living inside the colleges, to the graduation gowns and even the formal college dinners resembles the wizarding world of hogwarts. Taking a trip along the river cam will also allow you to take in these grand Colleges and will make you feel like you are a part of a different world. But if you do want a truly magical experience then visit The Department of Magical Gifts store in Cambridge, which is filled with animatronics wizards, for every Harry Potter fan.