Take A Trip To An Iconic Harry Potter Filming Location At This Castle In England

If the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is home to witches and wizards, then Alnwick Castle is a muggle's enchanted palace. Tucked away in Northumberland on the North Sea coastline, the castle's external walls are a celebrated icon of the "Harry Potter" series. 

The first two "Harry Potter" movies — "The Philosopher's Stone" and "The Chamber of Secrets" — feature Alnwick Castle as the exterior for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While the fortress became famous through its appearances in "Harry Potter," it has also starred in several other acclaimed films. "Downton Abbey" and "Transformers: The Last Knight" are just a few examples of cinematic masterpieces showcasing the castle's grandeur architecture. 

While Alnwick Castle is a sight pleasing to the eye on screen, it's also acted as a family home since 1309. The Percy family set their sights on the castle over 700 years ago and purchased it as a traditional Norman-style castle. Over the next 40 years, the castle was fashioned into a powerful stronghold, accented with towers and guerites. Stone figures were added as embellishments in the 18th century, adopting architectural styles traditional during the Age of Enlightenment. In the years to come, the fortress was transformed into a high gothic castle — a pleasing feat of architecture for the 1st Duchess — and later an Italianate palazzo in the Victorian age. Today, after restoration of the original masonry, it operates as the residing home of the Percy family.

Behind the scenes of filming Hogwarts

Despite the colossal size of Alnwick Castle's walls, only a select few scenes were shot and filmed on the enchanted grounds. The Outer Bailey might also be nicknamed "Quidditch square," as Alnwick's outer enclosures set the stage for Harry's first flying lesson with Madam Hooch, and later Harry's first lesson on quidditch from Oliver.  

The inner courtyards were featured in a montage of scenes highlighting everyday aspects of student's lives at Hogwarts, from after-class studying to discussions of the latest plot against "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Alnwick's Inner Bailey was also the site where Ron and Harry crashed the Weasley's flying car into the castle during "The Chamber of Secrets." Framed by an intricate assemblage of stone slates, Alnwick's Lion Arch was a recurring passageway for filming students entering or leaving the castle. Most often, the arch was selected for scenes preceding trips to Hagrid's cabin or into the Forbidden Forest.

Bringing Hogwarts to life in the United Kingdom

Alnwick Castle is one of the most renowned landmarks in the behind-the-scenes world of "Harry Potter," despite the crew filming in several other locations across the United Kingdom's dramatic landscapes. Alnwick is not the only castle to star as the famous Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Durham and Gloucester Cathedrals also played parts as the saga's magical castle. The interior of Durham Cathedral sets the stage for Professor McGonnogal's classroom, and the church's corridors are recognizable in the wintery scene where Harry releases Hedwig into the snow during the first film. Several cloisters inside Gloucester Cathedral were transformed into Gryffindor Common rooms, the entryway into the Chamber of Secrets, and the corridor where Snape makes his Unbreakable Vow.

The village of Lacock in the charming English countryside of Wiltshire is also home to several filming locations used throughout the movie series. Both Snape and Quirrel's classrooms were filmed in select rooms inside the walls of the 13th-century Lacock Abbey. The Chapter House Room of Lacock Abbey is particularly special, as it was the filming location for the scene where Harry first discovers the Mirror of Erised. Make your way to the end of Church Street in Lacock, and you'll stumble across the house belonging to Harry's parents.