Oxford University and Harry Potter have been intertwined since the popular book series first began in the late 1990s. The magical world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was partially based on the architecture and history of Oxford University, and many of the filming locations used for the Harry Potter movies were also in Oxford.
Oxford University in the Books
In the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling described the Hogwarts school as being located in Scotland and surrounded by mountains. In later books, she revealed that Hogwarts was actually inspired by Oxford’s own Christ Church college, with its beautiful architecture, gardens, and the river Thames flowing through it.
The Hogwarts Great Hall was also modeled after the Christ Church dining hall, with its high ceilings, stone walls, and long wooden tables. Many of the other Hogwarts buildings, such as the library, classrooms, and towers, were also inspired by the architecture of Oxford.
Filming Locations in Oxford
When it came time to film the Harry Potter movies, the producers chose many of the same locations that Rowling had used as inspiration for the books. Christ Church was the obvious choice for the Hogwarts Great Hall, but other locations in Oxford were also used.
The cloisters of New College were used for some of the outdoor scenes, and the Bodleian Library was the location of the Hogwarts library. The exterior of Christ Church college was also used for some of the flying scenes, and the Radcliffe Camera was used for some of the interior shots.
The Harry Potter Trail
Today, Oxford is a popular destination for Harry Potter fans, who come from all over the world to visit the places that inspired the books and movies. There is even a self-guided walking tour, known as the Harry Potter Trail, that takes visitors to some of the most important filming locations.
The Harry Potter Trail Stops:
- Christ Church college
- New College cloisters
- Bodleian Library
- Radcliffe Camera
- The Eagle and Child pub
- Oxford University Museum of Natural History
On the trail, visitors can explore the beautiful architecture and grounds of Oxford, while learning about the Harry Potter stories and the filming locations. It’s a great way to experience the magic of Harry Potter and Oxford University at the same time.