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Six magical day trips for Harry Potter fans

Get out of London and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of ‘Harry Potter’ with these day trips to see where the movies were filmed

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Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Oscar Johns/Shutterstock.com; JKR/Pottermore WBEI

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Harry Potter connection

This intimidating pile was used as Malfoy Manor in the films.

What to do there

The Malfoy family might have a complicated history, but Hardwick’s owner Bess’s story is even more interesting. She was one of the most powerful women in Elizabethan England, commissioning halls across England, including her own home. Spend a day exploring the house and the ruins of Old Hardwick Hall next door, where she was born.

How to get there

The train from St Pancras International to Chesterfield takes less than two hours.

Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire
Alamy;JKR/Pottermore WBEI

Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire

Harry Potter connection

These 5,000 acres of Chiltern Hills woodland are where the final of the Quidditch World Cup was filmed.

What to do there

Walk amid the ancient trees of Frithsden Beeches up to Ivinghoe Beacon for incredible views across seven counties and signs of Bronze Age burial mounds. Take a peek at the Bridgewater Monument, which towers above the trees, then head to the Bridgewater Arms for a pub lunch or Brownlow Café for something lighter.

How to get there

You can get to Berkhamsted station from London Paddington in 40 minutes.

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Seven Sisters Country Park
Lorenza Marzocchi/Shutterstock.com; JKR/Pottermore WBEI

Seven Sisters Country Park

Harry Potter connection

As any wizard knows, you should never travel by broomstick in Muggle view. You need to use a Portkey – an object that can magically transport you elsewhere. In the scenes filmed on the Seven Sisters cliffs, Harry and pals use some old boots as a portkey to travel to the Quidditch World Cup.

What to do there

Go on a bracing walk around the park and soak up the views from the cliffs. Then warm up at Saltmarsh Farmhouse, a B&B with a roaring fire.

How to get there

Take the train from London Victoria to Eastbourne. It takes around two hours.

Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire
2002 Warner Bros & Filmfour Limited & Senator Entertainment

Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucestershire

Harry Potter connection

The cloisters were used as Hogwarts corridors in the films. When Moaning Myrtle floods the girls’ toilets? That’s Gloucester Cathedral. The entrance to the Gryffindor common room? Yep, you guessed it.

What to do there

Take a look around the cathedral and have a slice of Pilgrim’s Pie from The Monk’s Kitchen, then wander round the nearby antiques shops. Finish your day in magical style at the Hubble Bubble Coffee House.

How to get there

The train from London Paddington to Gloucester takes two hours.

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New College, Oxford
Getty Images

New College, Oxford

Harry Potter connection

When Harry is chosen to represent Hogwarts alongside Cedric Diggory (R-Patz) in the Triwizard Tournament, the students are unimpressed. In scenes filmed at Oxford University, they wear ‘Potter Stinks’ badges in protest.

What to do there

Roam the pretty corridors of New College. Take a Potter walking tour of Oxford. Have a drink at The Eagle and Child, an old haunt of JRR Tolkien’s.

How to get there

The train from London Paddington to Oxford takes 50 minutes.

Virginia Water Lake, Surrey

Virginia Water Lake, Surrey

Harry Potter connection

This is where Harry first meets Buckbeak the Hippogriff (the intense-looking creature that’s part eagle, part horse).

What to do there

Go for a walk around the lake in Windsor Great Park before stopping at the Virginia Water Pavilion café for coffee. Bizarrely, the grounds are also home to some Roman ruins imported by George III and a 100-foot totem pole. You probably won’t spot a Hippogriff, though.

How to get there

Take the train from London Waterloo to Virginia Water. It takes 45 minutes.

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