Harry Potter Guide to York (plus local wizarding film locations!)

Harry Potter Guide to York (and nearby wizarding hot spots!) pinterest image

Harry Potter Guide to York

If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic who loves history and a good ol’ city break – look no further than York!

Packed with blockbuster sites and scattered with relics and ruins – it’s a must-see city and a fantastic weekender to boot for history lovers and Harry Potter fans alike.

Its rich history goes back all the way to Roman times and offers a fascinating collection of historic as well as beautiful sites within its formidable walls – all of which look like they come straight out of JK Rowling’s imagination.

From the medieval Shambles serving as a real-life Diagon Alley to the stunning film locations in the local area, here is your Harry Potter Guide to York and nearby wizarding hot spots.

The Shambles (Diagon Alley!)

First up on my Harry Potter Guide to York is the world famous, Shambles. Arguably the best-preserved medieval street in the world. The Shambles was made for window shopping, people watching and strolling – just like Diagon Alley!  

Originally a meat market known as ‘The Great Flesh Shambles’, it’s now home to a row of sweet and gift shops most of which are Harry Potter themed. 

Many of the buildings on the street date back to the 14th and 15th centuries with the street itself so historic it was referred to in the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror in 1086! 

Medieval main street in York, UK with brown facades, windows and signs which looks like Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter film series

On the street you’ll find some amazing Harry Potter-centric shops including, The Shop That Must Not Be Named, World of Wizardry and The Boy Wizard. All of which specialise in officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise.

You can head to these cosy little medieval shops for all your wands, spell books, house scarves and everything else in-between on from your Hogwarts school supply list.

Mel stepping out of the 'Shop that must not be named' grabbing a broom from outside down The Shambles in York
Mel peeking out from the 'World of wizardry' gift shop down The Shambles in York
Mel stood outside 'The Boy Wizard' shop down The Shambles in York

Don’t forget to pick up a butterbeer from The Shambles sweet shop to swig as you explore the street. The bottled butterbeer doesn’t taste as good without the cream foam on top but is 100% vegan and still good!

Mel holding a bottle of butterbeer down The Shambles street in York

York Railway Station (King’s Cross Station)

Despite Harry and friends boarding the famous Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station – the pedestrian bridge Harry and Hagrid cross over to Platform 9 ¾ in The Philosopher’s Stone is actually located at York Railway Station. 

Take a walk over the station’s bridge and imagine being in Harry’s place as Hagrid passes you your train ticket. Then close your eyes and magic yourself at King’s Cross Station arriving at Platform 9 ¾.

Will it work? Worth a go my fair muggles.

York railway station which featured in Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone
Photo credit: Travel Junction

The Enchantment Chamber (Hogwarts Dormitory)

If you want to have a fully themed Harry Potter weekend and searching for a place to stay, check out The Enchantment Chamber.

The Enchantment Chamber offers a unique stay within an authentic wizarding world bed chamber. Complete with a four poster bed, realistic open fire and an eclectic collection of magical artifacts from the wizarding world.

But be warned Potter fans, this amount of magic comes at a price. A one night stay starts from £300 depending on the time of year and day of the week you book!

But if you don’t mind the splurge, The Enchantment Chamber is the perfect way to complete your wizarding weekend experience.

Durham Cathedral (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry!)

Hogwarts came to life through a number of beautiful real-life locations and none more awe-inspiring than the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral.  

The Cathedral’s beautiful medieval cloisters (covered walk ways to us mere muggles!) were used as sets for the famous school of magic in the first two Harry Potter films. In the first, as a snowy backdrop when Harry releases Hedwig after an encounter with the ‘Mirror of Desire’ and in the second whilst Ron and Hermione are being taught how to turn animals into water goblets. 

Whilst you’re there, don’t miss out on visiting Durham Castle. It’s also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and constructed in 1072 by none other than William the Conqueror.  

Durham is a wonderfully historic city in its own right and well worth a visit whilst you’re visiting York. It’s only an hour away by train!

Distance from York by car: 1 hour 30 mins

Distance from York by train: 1 hour

Durham Cathedral's beautiful medieval cloisters (archways) which featured in the Harry Potter film series
Photo credit: Orangeaurochs

Goathland Railway Station (Hogsmeade)

A very special location that featured in Harry Potter and the Philosoher’s Stone is Goathland Railway Station – AKA Hogsmeade Station!

In the Harry Potter series, Hogsmeade is the only all-wizarding village in Britain and is the final stop en route to Hogwarts School of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

In real life, ‘Hogsmeade Station’ serves the village of Goathland in the North York Moors National Park. There’s been no word on whether locals are in fact wizards – but I like to think they are 😉

Goathland Railway Station is a little far by train from York but is definitely worth a day trip to Whitby.

Whilst you’re there, check out Whitby Abbey. It’s a wonderful 7th century gothic monastery where Bram Stoker apparently found his inspiration for Dracula!

Distance from York by car: 1 hour

Distance from York by train: 2 hours

Goathland Railway Station in Yorkshire with an old fashioned locomotive on the tracks which was the location of Hogsmead in Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone
Photo credit: Karen Roe

Hardwick Hall (Malfoy Manor)

You may not recognise it due to its limited screen time but Hardwick Hall was used as the location for Malfoy Manor and Voldemort HQ in the final two films.

In real-life, Hardwick Hall is a spectacular Elizabethan house which has been wonderfully preserved by the Devonshire family.

First built and developed in the late 1500s, the Dukes of Devonshire treasured Hardwick and nearby Chatsworth. Their success in association with the British empire over the last 400 years has ensured Hardwick’s fantastic preservation.

Hardwick Hall is now owned by the National Trust but is still filled with treasures and eerie rooms to explore.

Distance from York by car: 1 hour 15 mins

Distance from York by train: 1 hour 40 mins

Outside of Hardwick Hall which was the location of Malfoy Manor in the final two movie instalments of the Harry Potter series

Malham Cove

Malham Cove is a stunning 260 foot high limestone rock cliff in the shape of an amphitheatre based in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The dramatic rock formation was the perfect backdrop for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows as Hermione and Harry split from Ron in search of horcruxes to finally kill, “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named”.

But the best part of this location is it’s totally free and has views to die for!

Distance from York by car: 1 hour 30 mins

Distance from York by train: 2 hour 15 mins

Are there any locations you would add to this Harry Potter guide to York? Have you been to any of the magical hotspots on this Harry Potter Guide to York? Share in the comments below! 😊

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