Ultimate Guide for a Harry Potter York Trip
With its Diagon Alley connection, many Harry Potter shops and perfect location to hop around to other Harry Potter locations in Northern England, Harry Potter fans will find plenty to relive the magic of the films and books in York, England.
This guide to Harry Potter locations in York covers filming locations, Diagon Alley inspiration, Harry Potter-themed shops and enchanting Harry Potter day trips that bring the wizarding world to life.
Harry Potter Filming Locations in York
While Potterheads can find many connections to the boy who lived in York, there’s only one place where Harry Potter was filmed in York. That Harry Potter filming location is the York Train Station.
When Hagrid is first walking Harry through Kings Cross in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, you’ll see the interior of York Station as they stroll across the walkway bridge that takes passengers to the platforms.
The train station represents Kings Cross yet again in Order of Phoenix when Mad Eye Moody and Sirius (in dog form) escort Harry to the Hogwarts Express. You can see the group walk across the same platform bridge as the first movie.
The Shambles Harry Potter Connection
A walk down the cobblestoned streets of the Shambles, with its crooked, multi-colored medieval buildings evokes a feeling of magic. While not confirmed, many believe the magic of this street inspired JK Rowling in her creation of Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.
Filming of Diagon Alley took place not at the York Shambles, but at the Warner Brother Studios in Leavesden. You can also notice some similarities between this and the Diagon Alley set. Buildings stick out here and there, almost hovering at some points in a variety of colors. Like the wizarding street, there’s also an interesting collection of shops sparkled throughout this historic street.
Which brings us to the next Harry Potter connection in York…
Harry Potter Shops in York
Whether or not the Shambles provided the inspiration for Diagon Alley, the fact that it houses four Harry Potter shops certainly makes it feel as though you’ve stepped into the world-famous wizarding street. Three of the four shops sell Harry Potter merchandise, including robes, wands, stationary, and other treats that fans of the movies and books will love. The Shop That Must Not Be Named, The Boy Wizard and the World of Wizardry all sit together as soon as you enter the Shambles from the Pavement.
There’s not a whole lot of difference in what’s sold between the three shops, though I do find The Shop That Must Not Be Named to be the best out of the three. Staff dress in robes and the orientation of the shop makes it seem like you’re browsing a shop made for wizards. Additionally, I’ve found The Shop That Must Not Be Named offers the best prices, often shaving a few dollars off the same products that the other two sell.
The fourth Harry Potter shop, known as the Potions Cauldron, takes magic more into the shopper’s hands as this shop brews up its own magical concoctions you can drink.
The Shop That Must Not Be Named
Address: 30 Shambles, York YO1 7LX, UK
Hours: Daily 10:00am-6:00pm
The Boy Wizard
Address: 22/23 Shambles, York YO1 7LZ, UK
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm; Saturday 9:30am-5:00pm; Sunday 9:00am-3:00pm
World of Wizardry
Address: 27 Shambles, York YO1 7LX, UK
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm; Saturday 11:00am-3:00pm; Sunday – Closed
The Potions Cauldron
Farther down the Shambles from the general Harry Potter merchandise shops, you’ll find the Potions Cauldron. Though not 100% connected to Harry Potter, this magical drink shop brews up magical potions from the 14th Century. You can try some and learn how to make them yourselves.
Its connection to magic doesn’t end there. The back of the shop once served as a sanctuary for wizards hiding from the law during witch hunt crazes. Hidden in this back room, too, is a lego reconstruction of Hogwarts.
Address: 9 ¾ Shambles, York, YO1 7LZ
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10:00am-6:00pm; Thursday to Saturday 10:00am-7:00pm; Sunday 11:00am-7:00pm
Harry Potter Day Trips from York
Hardwick Hall – Malfoy Manor
Situated in the heart of England’s Peak District you’ll find a towering, but beautiful, 16th century manor house called Hardwick Hall. On a cloudy day this stately home emotes a somewhat ominous, imposing feeling. It’s probably for good reason as this architectural masterpiece was used to digitally create Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The days of Voldemort using this as his headquarters are long gone, but it’s a treat to explore the history of this centuries old house and the expansive and delicately curated gardens that surround it.
The easiest way to get to Hardwick Hall for this day trip from York is to drive. The drive takes roughly an hour and 15 minutes.
Goathland Railway Station – Hogsmeade Train Station
In the Harry Potter series, Hogsmeade Train Station serves as the gateway for students to get to Hogwarts after disembarking from the Hogwarts Express. First years go from there into boats on the Black Lake and all other students board carriages led by invisible horses (or are they invisible?).
While you can’t take those routes to Hogwarts, you can visit the train station that filmmakers used for Hogsmeade Train Station in the Harry Potter movies on a day trip from York. Catch the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Train from Pickering, which stops at Goathland station on its journey to Whitby.
There’s plenty of time to snap a photo or two of you getting ready to head up to Hogwarts at Goathland Railway Station before continuing up to the beautiful seaside town of Whitby. Or if you prefer, you can get off at Goathland to explore the picturesque nature nearby the station.
To get to Pickering to begin the journey to Goathland Railway Station, you can take the National Rail or sign up for the many tours that offer the train journey.
Durham Cathedral – Hogwarts
Only a 40 minute train ride separates you and York from walking through the halls of Hogwarts for many of the scenes in the Harry Potter movies. Two sites within the historic Durham Cathedral played host to scenes in the Harry Potter movies.
You’ll recognize the cloisters as the halls of Hogwarts. Here, Harry tricked Lucius Malfoy into giving Dobby a sock and freeing him. These hallways also mark the entrance to Dumbledore’s office. In the cloisters courtyard, Ron accidentally cursed himself to eat slugs and Mad Eye Moody transformed Malfoy into a ferret. The cloisters are free to walk around for visitors.
Additionally, the Chapter House plays host to Professor McGonnagall’s classroom in the first two Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, this part of Durham Cathedral is not generally open to the public.
Trains to Durham leave York regularly and it is typically the first stop on northward bound journeys from York. The train takes about 40 minutes and from there the walk to the Cathedral only takes 15 minutes.
Malham Cove – Deathly Hallows Camping Scene
Keep a lookout for Harry and Hermione while they camp out in search of horcruxes at Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales. This impressive geological feature stands tall about an hour and a half’s drive away from York.
Formed by glacial waterfalls during the last Ice Ages, the cracks and fissures of this limestone creation are a hiker and rock climber’s dream. The climb up to the top gives you stunning panoramic views of the Yorkshire Dales countryside and will take your break away (even if you don’t think you have enough breath once you master the ascent).
Then of course, there’s the Harry Potter connection. Harry and Hermione arrive at this geological wonder just after Ron leaves the pair after a row. It’s here that Harry and Hermione share a super awkward dance to Nick Cave (one of the worst scenes in the entire movie franchise if you ask me). Regardless of the awkward scene, Malham Cove is well worth a day Harry Potter day trip from York.