Top 17 Harry Potter Places that Keep the Magic Alive

Any diehard Harry Potter fan knows the familiar pangs of longing when they think about the Wizarding World. We’d trade our boring non-magic jobs to be on the boat of 11-year-old crossing the lake to Hogwarts in a heartbeat.

So many of us are still waiting for our long-overdue school acceptance letter, but there are a lot of Harry Potter places right here in the Muggle world that are sure to keep the magic alive. Here are the top 17.
1. Alnwick Castle

5794336394_a174b5d4cf_bPhoto by Fiona James via Flickr Creative Commons

Dating from 1096 and credited as the second largest inhabited castle in England, Alnwick Castle is an interesting destination in and of itself. But it also draws Harry Potter fans, as the inner courtyard was where Madam Hooch gave the first years their first flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and makes a reappearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
2. Leadenhall Market

5250579551_b7f6b8bec6_b (1)Photo by Aurelien Guichard via Flickr Creative Commons

This market is memorable to Harry Potter fans as the exterior of Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron in the first film.
3. Market Porter Pub

5124607762_51cdc2dc3d_bPhoto by Junichi Ishito via Flickr Creative Commons

If you actually want to go inside the Leaky Cauldron, as Harry does in the Prisoner of Azkaban after taking a ride on the Knight Bus, you’ll have to head to Market Porter Pub in London’s Borough Market.
4. Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral

Photo by Glen Bowman via Flickr Creative Commons

Apart from being a UNESCO heritage site, Durham Cathedral also appeared in several scenes of the Potter films, including the trio’s whispered conversations on the grounds and Professor McGonagall’s transfiguration classroom.
5. Platform 9 3/4

9700655187_0fcc9561d7_oPhoto by a_marga via Flickr Creative Commons

Don’t forget to head to King’s Cross Station to see Platform 9 3/4, which the Wizarding World graciously made visible to us Muggles after the popularity of the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately, you can’t lean through onto the platform (I tried).
6. The Jacobite
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Photo by deadmanjones via Flickr Creative Commons

Take a ride on the Hogwarts Express itself, called by Muggles “The Jacobite.” The train runs along the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland, where you can see the scenery that also appears in the films.
7. Gloucester Cathedral

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Photo by vgm8383 via Flickr Creative Commons

The halls of this abbey served as the iconic corridors of Hogwarts in the films. When Harry stumbled upon the message, “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware,” in The Chamber of Secrets that was in Gloucester.
8. Harry Potter Studio Tour
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Photo by Martin Pettitt via Flickr Creative Commons

If you take a trip to Leavesden, you can go on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and see the sets, costumes, props and more from the Harry Potter films.
9. Lacock Abbey
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Photo by PaulNUK via Flickr Creative Commons

This 13th century nunnery served as the set for much of Hogwarts castle in the films, including Professor Snape’s potions classroom and several other hallway scenes.
10. The Reptile House at the London Zoo
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Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr Creative Commons

This is where Harry first discovered that he could talk to snakes in the first book and film. Don’t expect any talking animals here, though.
11. Glencoe, Scotland

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Photo by Sandy Stevenson via Flickr Creative Commons

This gorgeous Scottish glen was used to film many of the outdoor scenes in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, including scenes outside Hagrid’s Hut.
12. The Forest of Dean
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Photo by Afshin Darin via Flickr Creative Commons

This is a great place to go camping, just as Harry and Hermione did when they were trying to find the Horcruxes in The Deathly Hallows book. The Forest of Dean scenes from the film version weren’t shot there.
13. Christ Church at Oxford

3983467184_00185ee984_bPhoto by Ken Douglas via Flickr Creative Commons

Christ Church is home to the Grand Staircase that students climbed into Hogwarts’ Great Hall in the films. The Great Hall at Christ Church also bears an eerie resemblance to Hogwarts’ Great Hall, because the filmmakers chose it as a model for the set.
14. Steall Falls
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Photo by deadmanjones via Flickr Creative Commons

Located in Loch Elit, Steall Falls served as the backdrop for the scene of the first task of the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire, when Harry defeats a dragon with his broomstick.
15. Millennium Bridge

1409349150_6afb4ca046_oPhoto by Carl Jones via Flickr Creative Commons

This fairly new piece of practical architecture was torn to pieces in The Half-Blood Prince, but that was just CGI. You can still visit the real deal in London.
16. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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Photo by dialing via Flickr Creative Commons

No list is complete without The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, located in Orlando, Florida, which is the most elaborate recreation of the Harry Potter universe, complete with Hogsmeade, Hogwarts, and numerous thrills and attractions.
17. The Elephant House
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Photo by Rebecca Siegel via Flickr Creative Commons

This simple coffee house in Edinburgh doesn’t appear in either the books or films, but still, it’s where all the magic began. The Elephant House is where JK Rowling penned much of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And thus, the most famous book series in the world was born.

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12 Must-Follow Speculative Fiction Authors

We made a list of authors every speculative fiction lover should follow on Twitter. They’re on, they’re active and they have something interesting to say. Scroll down and see for yourself.

Margaret Atwood @MargaretAtwood

Author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood is considered one of the best dystopian authors. As a tweeter, she doesn’t limit herself to her profession — politics, policy and human rights are regular topics for her.

Mary Robinette Kowal @maryrobinette

This author is into magical realism, and her debut novel Shades of Milk and Honey won a Nebula Award for Best Novel. Robinette is an intelligent tweeter and celebratory drinker.

Harry Connolly @byharryconnolly

Connolly writes epic fantasies like The Way Into Chaos: Book One of The Great Way. When he’s not blogging or discussing his writing, he shares much of the general goodness of the internet, such as this GIF he RT’d recently:


Seth Grahame-Smith @sethgs

Author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Social commentary and frank humor accompany updates about his current projects.

Neil Gaiman @neilhimself

Author of the American Gods series, Coraline and The Graveyard Book among many others, Neil Gaiman is a prolific tweeter about stories and the writing craft. He’s also got some jokes up his sleeve:

Joe Hill @joe_hill

Horror author known for Heart-Shaped Box, NOS4A2 and HORNS. When he’s not discussing writing and books, he’s very opinionated in politics. He is not a Republican.

George RR Martin @GRRMspeaking

For A Song of Ice and Fire author Mr. Martin, expect a lot of reminders to read his blog and a few gems like this one:

Scott Sigler @scottsigler

New York Times best-selling horror author, known for the Dark Hunter series, Lords of Avalon, and Alive. He tweets about everything horror. He also tries to inspire his followers:

Brent Weeks @BrentWeeks

Weeks is a New York Times Bestselling fantasy author of The Night Angel Trilogy and The Lightbringer Series. He mostly tweets about writing and makes a lot of effort to connect with his fans.

Pat Rothfuss @PatrickRothfuss

This epic fantasy author of The Kingkiller Chronicle is also a college lecturer. You can tell.

Holly Black @hollyblack

This author writes modern fairy tales for children and young adults, including The Spiderwick Chronicles. She tweets often about her books, coffee, life and the writing craft.

JK Rowling @jk_rowling

JK Rowling is considered by many to be a “total badass” on Twitter, and she deserves the praise. The author has some of the best jokes, comebacks and takedowns of anyone in the Twitterverse.

Case in point:

Aside from encouraging equality and generally telling people what’s what, Rowling also offers tidbits of information about the Wizarding World for those diehard fans who just can’t get enough.

We created a Twitter list of these speculative fiction authors that you can follow.

Who’s your favorite speculative fiction author? Are they on Twitter? Mention them in a comment and we can add them to the list!

 

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Broken Realms

Interview With Fantasy Author D. W. Moneypenny

Broken RealmsConnie Brentford: Can you tell me who your ideal reader is for the Chronicles of Mara Lantern series?

D. W. Moneypenny:  To be honest with you, I didn’t have a particular kind of reader in mind when I wrote Broken Realms. Now, since the book has been completed and has gone through the editing and packaging process, I’ve gotten a lot of opinions about who the “ideal” reader for the book would be. When I was completing the first draft, I started reading a YA fantasy book by Mark Frost called The Paladin Prophecy. That was the first time that it occurred to me that Broken Realms might be a Young Adult book, but I didn’t dwell on it.

A couple of months later, I got the edits back from the developmental editor (Gary Smailes at Bubblecow.net, an absolute genius).One of the first things he mentioned was it struck him as a Young Adult novel and that I should consider making Mara a couple of years younger. I didn’t have a problem with doing that, so I did. Other than that, I didn’t try to “youngify” the book or try to patronize younger readers by writing down to them in any way.

Since the book has been published, I’m not getting the impression that it is gathering an exclusively or even primarily Young Adult readership, whatever that might be.

I guess the short answer would be anyone who enjoys contemporary fantasy would be the ideal reader.

CB: When you wrote the first book and created the character Mara Lantern did you envision it as a series of books from the start?

DWM: Yes, the plan was to produce a series. The combination of alternate realities and the “system of magic” that make up Mara Lantern’s world could not be reasonably recounted in a single book. The plan for now is to write seven full-length books.

BOOK 1 Broken Realms

CB: What are the major themes in your novel?

DWM: Hmmm. The major theme is acceptance, letting go of skepticism. We have to embrace reality in order to deal with it, even if that reality doesn’t match our expectations. Too nebulous? Mara might say, metaphysical.

CB: Do you read other genres or do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write?

DWM: I’ve never been a genre-specific reader. I read everything from Edgar Rice Burroughs to John Grisham and Dean Koontz. I generally don’t read in the genre in which I’m writing at the moment, so while I’m working on the Mara Lantern series, I’ll most likely read something other than fantasy, unless something compelling pops up.

CB: What would you say was your best day as a writer?

DWM: I was a newspaper reporter and editor for about 15 years, but I think I would be hard pressed to pick a single day from that particular part of my life. In terms of this chapter of my life (writing fiction), it has barely gotten started, but so far I would have to say it was the day that I got my first feedback from my editor. He sent a written report with feedback along with the edits. The specificity of the feedback in terms of how I might go about improving the concepts and the world I was creating in Broken Realms was absolutely wonderful. I never expected to get that level of feedback and it boosted my enthusiasm for the project a great deal at a time that I needed the encouragement.

CB:  When did you decide that you were a writer?

DWM: On some level, I think I’ve always thought of myself as a writer. I knew I wanted to go into journalism since before I was in high school, and even back then I talked about writing a book. For me, it has always been there, so there wasn’t a specific moment in time I can point to.

CB:  Almost every writer puts a piece of themselves in their book. What part of you is in your book?

DWM: If you read skepticism or sarcasm in something I write, that’s me. There’s some of that in the book, particularly in Mara’s character.

CB:  What is one thing that people may not know about you?

DWM: It’s not the writing part of creating fiction I enjoy the most, it’s the imagination part – sitting around dreaming this stuff up. That’s what I like the most, taking a situation or a character and twisting it, just a little, to make it something you can’t wait to tell someone about.

Broken Realms (The Chronicles of Mara Lantern, Book 1) is available on Amazon.

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Connie Brentford in Woman's World Magazine

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