In pursuit of Harry Potter film locations
Seattle Times travel staff
Many companies offer day or overnight tours to movie locations, but you can easily devise your own.
Search the Web for "Harry Potter tours" and "Harry Potter movie locations" and you'll find a wealth of information to begin planning your trip.
Visit Britain, the government tourist office, also can provide information, including a map of some Harry Potter film locations (800-462-2748 or www.travelbritain.org/moviemap). Warner Brothers' official Harry Potter movie site has previews and more: www.harrypotter.com.
While much of the filming is done in a studio, some historic British sites, such as Lacock Abbey, were used to give an authentic medieval air, especially for Hogwarts school scenes. However, many such sets later were computer-modified to add background or make them look larger.
Below are some places where scenes from the first two movies were filmed. For the third film, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," there are few official details yet on locations (although there's much speculation on fans' Web sites). However, some scenes for the new movie, to be released June 4, were shot around the narrow streets and stalls of south London's old-fashioned Borough Market and in Scotland.
Among other Harry Potter film locations:
London: King's Cross railway station in London, between platforms 4 and 5, is the site of the magical Platform 9-¾ where Harry Potter and other students board the train to Hogwarts boarding school. At the station, there's no marketing bonanza, no Harry Potter souvenirs on sale, just a simple Platform 9-¾ sign hanging on a brick wall in an obscure corner of the station. An adjoining railway station, the imposing Gothic-style St. Pancras, was used for exterior shots.
Scenes also were shot at the London Zoo in Regent's Park (serpent scene) and at Australia House in central London (Gringott's Bank).
Oxford: Various sites around the historic university town were used in the first two films. Christchurch College was a model for the Hogwarts dining hall. Parts of the Bodleian Library were used for Hogwarts school scenes (the Divinity School as the Hogwarts hospital wing; Duke Humfrey's Library as the Hogwarts library).
Gloucester Cathedral: The cloister and other parts of the imposing 900-year-old cathedral in western England were used in Hogwarts scenes.
Alnwick Castle: The exterior of the castle in northeast England, near the Scottish border, was used for Hogwarts' Quidditch games and flying classes.
More information: The BBC has Web pages with useful information and photos on Harry Potter sets, including Lacock, Oxford and Gloucester. See: www.bbc.co.uk/oxford/harry_potter/index.shtml
If you're rather take a guided tour, check with travel agents or search the Web (for Harry Potter and tours). A sampling of companies:
• Lynott Tours: Escorted or self-drive five night Harry Potter tours plus day trips. 800-221-2474, www.lynotttours.com
• British Connection: Nine-night guided tour in mid June to Harry Potter sites around Britain. 800-420-2569, www.bbcamerica.com/travel/
• FamilyHostel: An educational group (linked to the University of New Hampshire and its InterHostel program) that offers a family tour focusing on Harry Potter: 800-733-9753 or www.learn.unh.edu/familyhostel/
• Back-Roads Touring Co. 800-688-0368, www.backroadstouring.co.uk/HarryPottertour.htm
• Trafalgar Tours (summer tours sold out), 800-648-1638, www.ttusa.trafalgartours.com
Kristin Jackson: 206-464-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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