Fantasy junkies can get their Harry Potter fix at themed parks in Florida and Japan (and soon in Los Angeles), but Muggles who want to see how the magic of the film series was made should visit Christ Church in Oxford, England.
One of the largest colleges within the University of Oxford, Christ Church is full of history. Philosophers, writers and theologians, such as John Locke, W.H. Auden and John Wesley, studied here. It’s also where Lewis Carroll was inspired to write “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” in addition to housing countless collections of books and art. But, most important for fans of wizardry, it’s where many scenes from the Harry Potter franchise were filmed.
Though no candles float in the air at Christ Church’s Great Hall, which was replicated by Warner Bros. Entertainment to create Hogwarts Castle’s Great Hall, visitors can sit still and imagine Dumbledore giving a grand speech to commence the annual Great Feast’s house sorting.
The 16th-century staircase leading up to Christ Church’s Great Hall was also the set of another scene, in which Potter and other first-year students enter the castle and are greeted by Professor Minerva McGonagall. And in Christ Church’s 1,000-year-old cloisters, Potter is shown the trophy that his father won as a Quidditch seeker.
Take a long stroll through the town of Oxford, and you’ll quickly uncover even more enchanting movie spots faster than you can say “Alohomora.” Other local Harry Potter filming locations include the striking Bodleian Library, which served as the Hogwarts infirmary and library, and the cloisters at Oxford University’s New College, where Professor Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody turns Draco Malfoy into a ferret. (In my opinion, he deserved it.)