Have you ever dreamt of immersing yourself into the magical world of Harry Potter? If your answer is yes (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?!), then I have great news: you can feel and smell the mystery of Hogwarts walking the same hallways that Harry and his friends did in the stunning city of Oxford!
Below is an Oxford Harry Potter self-guided tour. Several of the series’ most beloved scenes were filmed within the colleges Oxford, so there are various Harry Potter filming locations that you can visit in this historic city, from the Hogwarts Library to the Great Hall.
I’ve designed this itinerary for a self-guided Harry Potter tour in Oxford for all the fans out there! All the sites can be easily visited in one day. Whether you are doing a weekend in Oxford or one day in Oxford, I have also provided a map of the self-guide to tour below to make the navigation easier.
They are all within walking distance from one another with details of Harry Potter scenes filmed in Oxford. Although if you do have some time to spare, it is worth checking out other things that Oxford has to offer, such as the beautiful parks, cute hidden cafes, taverns and bookstores.
In any case, you will find that the city really offers a unique atmosphere, with marvelous architecture, beautiful nature and rich history. Strolling through the streets of Oxford in a way makes you feel like you are experiencing a different time in space, with some of the buildings being around 800 years old. No wonder the creator of Harry Potter found Oxford city and the colleges here as the main sources of inspiration.
Alright, surely by now the excitement is taking over, so let’s embark on this small journey into the secrets of the world of Wizards!
Top Harry Potter Locations In Oxford
Oxford is such an amazing city to explore whether you are a Harry Potter fan or a history buff. Below are many of the Harry Potter sites in Oxford to add to your day’s exploring in the city. This is great for self-explorers but if you don’t feel confident you can also do a Harry Potter tour of Oxford of which there are a couple to choose from that not only provide details on Harry Potter filming in Oxford but some other commentary and inside information too.
Christ Church College
You will find a few Harry Potter filming spots here. So even though there is a fee you have to pay for the entry to the college, it will be 100% worth it!
First on the list, the Bodley Tower Staircase – surely a place that doesn’t need a long description! At Christ Church College, you can climb the stairs where McGonagall greets the first years (including Harry, Ron, and Hermione) when they first come to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Take a close look at the dramatic medieval fanned vaulting of the ceiling, installed in 1638. Even though the style is medieval, it was made possible by the new techniques of the seventeenth century— a good example of balance between the old and the new.
Christ Church Dining Hall AKA Harry Potter Dining Hall – Once you climb the stairs, you will find yourself at the entrance to the beautiful Christ Church College dining hall. Despite the Harry Potter’s scenes actually not being filmed in this room, it is where the directors got the inspiration from for the Great Hall.
It does radiate Hogwarts’ mystery which you will also experience as soon as you enter this dimly lit space with similar paintings hanging on the walls. The hall looks almost identical to the one in Harry Potter films just smaller, with long tables filling the room and head table (where the teachers sit) running perpendicular to the student tables.
Interesting fact: actual filming took place at Leavesden Studios where they recreated this hall.
Christ Church Cloisters – used as the corridors in the first Harry Potter film, where Hermione tells Harry that being a Seeker is in his blood. Entry to the cloisters comes free when you purchase the Christ Church ticket to see the dining hall and staircase.
The standard admission fee is £10 per adult. The college usually opens for visitors at 10am.
Ticket price includes access to the Quads, Cloister, Hall Staircase, Hall and Cathedral. Access in the Hall and Cathedral may be partially limited before and during some events and services.
Check the official website for specific opening times here.
Christ Church is located on St Aldates, an easy walk of no more than a few minutes from Oxford city centre. If you wish to look around the college, go to Meadow Gate where you can purchase the entry ticket.
Important tip: This is perhaps the most popular attraction, so it can get pretty busy during the day. Therefore, if you want to save time and avoid long queues it might be a good idea to start your tour earlier on in the day and make Christ Church College your first stop.
Duke Humfrey’s library
Only around 8 min walk away from Christ Church College, you will find the medieval Duke Humfrey’s library located within the Bodleian Libraries, the main research library at the University of Oxford is one of the oldest in Europe.
A number of scenes were filmed here, as it was the main library of Hogwarts. Remember when Harry walked through the Hogwarts library hidden underneath his invisibility cloak with the intention to steal a book? Well, this is it! The very same place! You also may want to know that the books being chained to the wall is not mere fiction in Harry Potter’s books and films – this was actually a ‘chained library’ up until the 18th century.
Duke Humfrey’s Library has the following opening hours:
These hours are the same in term and vacation, though may be affected by closed periods and Bank Holidays. Duke Humfrey’s Library is not open on Sundays.
The Divinity School
Also located within Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, opposite the Sheldonian Theatre where students matriculate and graduate, the Divinity School is a medieval building and room in the Perpendicular style. Built between 1427 and 1483, it is the oldest surviving purpose-built building for university use.
The ceiling consists of very elaborate lierne vaulting with bosses, designed by William Orchard in the 1480s. Apart from being the first teaching room and exam hall, it was also Hogwarts’ infirmary throughout the first four films. Fans of the earlier films will recognise it as being where Harry first wakes up at the end of The Philosopher’s Stone, after having faced a battle with Voldemort for the first time.
Admission fee according to the official website is £1 for 10 minutes. Tickets for tours are available in advance or on the day from the Great Gate ticket office.
Only a short walk from the Bodleian Libraries on your Oxford Harry Potter self-guided tour, is New College. Don’t be fooled by the name though, as this ‘New’ college actually dates back to the 14th century!
Important: The main entrance to New College is on Holywell Street, not through New College Lane (the original entrance to the College).
If you are using an app to find your way around, set ‘Holywell Street’ as the destination rather than the postcode as the postcode will take you to the New College Lane entrance.
New College Cloisters
Used as the halls of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the films. You can recognize it in many scenes, including in the scene of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where everyone laughs at Harry wearing badges saying ‘Potter stinks’ as he is on his way to find and speak to Cedric.
I suggest you check New College’s official website’s list of closures to make sure that the cloisters are open during your visit.
New College Courtyard and Tree
As you continue the tour of Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford, here in New College you will find the courtyard where Professor Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret, right by the same mysterious ancient Oak tree in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Other parts of the College that may not have been featured in Harry Potter film are also worth visiting, as it is a truly remarkable place to walk around.
New College has the following opening hours:
12th October 2019 – 7th March 2020 (winter opening hours)
Open Tuesday-Saturday inclusive (closed every Sunday and Monday) 1.30-4.30 pm (last admission 4.15 pm)
Standard adult ticket: £5
The college has different opening times in winter and summer seasons, so make sure to check their website for up-to-date details and planned closures here.
Lastly, when you’re finished wandering through the halls and cloisters listed on this itinerary, I have an extra location that you may want to visit…
Here comes the Turf Tavern:
Harry Potter was not actually filmed here. However, this pub was where the whole crew would come when they were done filming after those long days in Oxford. A great place to end your Harry Potter tour with a pint or a cup of tea and some delicious lunch! The place has a great, relaxed atmosphere. Located just a two-minute walk from New College, nestled away down the St. Helen’s Passage.
In case you struggle to find it, here is the address: Bath Place 7, OX1 3SU Oxford.
Or, simply ask around, it is a place that has earned its good reputation amongst tourists and locals alike!
Planning Your Route – Map Of Oxford Harry Potter Sites
Below is a map of Harry Potter Oxford locations and as I mentioned before, to avoid queues particularly when visiting in the high season of spring and summer, I suggest starting with Christ Church College first. Hence why its marked as ‘A’ on the map as your starting point to get it out of the way early on. For additional site on places to visit in Oxford see my linked post above on what to see in Oxford in one day.
If you prefer to have guided Oxford University tours of Harry Potter locations then check out this list of tours in Oxford.
Books On Harry Potter Locations
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Sarah Irving | The Urban Wanderer
This looks great, Bee! I love a good self-guided walking tour as you get to detour when something catches your eye on the route. I also didn’t know that they filmed so many of the Harry Potter scenes in Oxford!
I will bookmark this for when I eventually get a trip down to Oxford.