Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) was released 17 years ago, but that doesn’t mean the Harry Potter films don’t still have a hugely loyal fanbase. My visit to the Harry Potter film locations at Alnwick Castle essentially proves this.
I’ve been a Potterhead since I was 8-years-old and probably will be until I die. I’ve visited a couple of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) in New College, Oxford but since that was by accident, I feel like this the first time I’ve really visited a Harry Potter film location.
Take a look at what I got up to on my day out there in October last year…
Harry Potter Film Locations at Alnwick Castle
What is Alnwick Castle?
This Medieval Castle was first built in 1360 (which is so cray) and has remained virtually unchanged since 1865. It’s situated in the small town of Alnwick in Northumberland, in the North East of England. The Alnwick Garden and Barter Bookshop also draw visitors.
Today, Alnwick Castle is home to the Percy family and also acts as an office and a classroom to students from St Cloud State University on exchange from Minnesota! How random?!
It’s a huge, well-kept Castle that just looks so majestic and grand. There are no questions as to why it was chosen as a stand-in for Hogwarts and a film location for the Harry Potter film franchise.
Where are the Harry Potter Film Locations at Alnwick Castle?
Alnwick Castle was only used as a film location in the first two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).
The Outer Bailey, on the Castle grounds, is where Madam Hooch taught the first years to ride a broomstick in Philosopher’s Stone. It’s also where Oliver Wood teaches Harry Potter the rules of Quidditch.
The Inner Bailey is where Ron and Harry crashed the flying Ford Anglia car into the Whomping Willow.
The main courtyard is used several times throughout both films, mainly in Philosopher’s Stone. The students appear in the courtyard walking in and out of the Castle. Moments that spring to mind are when Harry and Ron are bitching about Hermione and when they are on their way to Potions.
The Lion Arch was used when the threesome walks out of the Castle to Hagrid’s hut and the Forbidden Forest. The mounds next to the path were especially helpful in making Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane look much taller than Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter.
Alnwick Castle was covered in pounds and pounds of fake snow when Hogwarts grounds had to look as if it had been snowing. Apparently, it was a nightmare to clean up. And because of the all the windows’ poor ventilation, staff were finding fake snow inside the Castle for months after.
Film Location Tour
Alnwick Castle run a few film location tours throughout the day when they are open to visitors, which is so handy!
The Harry Potter film locations at Alnwick Castle aren’t the only filming locations they have to boast about. Lots of production companies have taken advantage of how picturesque it is.
If I recall, the film location tours run roughly twice a day and cover a range of films and TV Shows. They include Downton Abbey, Transformers: The Last Knight (2017), Elizabeth (1998), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Blackadder.
Aside from joining a film location tour, you can get Broomstick training lessons!
For about half an hour, you are taught how to ‘fly’ a broomstick, so it’s just a bit of fun. And you get to make all kinds of weird broomstick flying noises like ‘zhhhoooom’ etc. But you learn how to fly EXACTLY where Harry and his pals learnt.
Word of warning: when we went it, my family were the only adults who weren’t accompanying a small child. So that’s a little offputting, but I’ve also seen lots of photos on social media where there have been an even amount of adults and children.
And that’s a summary of the Harry Potter Film Locations at Alnwick Castle! Have you ever been to Alnwick Castle? Let me know in the comments below!