Harry Potter Filming Locations in Scotland

Harry Potter Filming Locations in Scotland

Imagine, you are watching your favorite Harry Potter movie and you come across a scene with dramatic mountains, enchanting lochs, bewitching forests, and deep valleys. So you wonder, where did they film the Harry Potter movies – was that place from the movie scene even real, or was it part of the fantasy? Welcome to Scotland – a breathtaking country that inspired J. K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter wizarding world! 

So Potterheads, are you ready for the ultimate Harry Potter experience through the magical places of Scotland? We bring you the complete list of all the shooting locations in this stunning country! 

Glenfinnan viaduct

First stop- Glenfinnan viaduct. This railway viaduct is located in the West Highland and stretches for 380 meters, making it the longest railway bridge in Scotland. The Glenfinnan viaduct was shot in four of the 8 Harry Potter movies. The most memorable scene is the train scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Ron and Harry fly in Ford Anglia above the viaduct.

And yes, the Hogwarts Express train is real! Well, almost, because it goes by the name Jacobite Steam Train. Also, instead of running from London to Hogwarts, it connects Fort William and Mallaig. This train ride is considered one of the best railway journeys in the world and it links several stunning sights, such as Loch Morar, Ben Nevis, Arisaig, and Loch Nevis! 

The ride can be booked online, with prices ranging from 62.37 Є for the standard return ticket and 410 Є for the compartment. For those on a tighter budget, you can enjoy the view of the train and viaduct from the Glenfinnan Viaduct viewpoint. Luckily, the viewpoint is only a 20-minute walk from the Glenfinnan Monument.  

Glenfinnan viaduct

Glenfinnan viaduct

Scottish Highlands lakes

Did you know there are 17 castles and over 30 000 lochs in the Scottish Highlands? Apart from their magical ambiance and unique scenery, the Highlands are very popular for their myths and folklore regarding loch monsters, giants, vampires, ghosts, and fairies. We believe it is clear where J.K. Rowling found the inspiration for the location of Hogwarts castle. 

Moreover, five of the biggest lochs found their way on the big screen, some combined with CGI to create the iconic Black Lake. Prepare your fellow dragons, thestrals, brooms, or flying Ford Anglias, because we have prepared the list of all the lakes shot in the film! 

Loch Etive

First on the list is Loch Etive (Gaelic for “little fierce one”), a 30 km long loch in the Argyll and Bute region. Surrounded by the Glen Etive, Loch Etive makes a great hiking starting point. Because of its scenic atmosphere, Loch Etive has attracted outdoor enthusiasts for years. 

Both Deathly Hallows part one and two were filmed at this location, the second one showing the loch in its majestic state. It is the iconic scene where the trio jumps off the dragons back in the loch Etive after escaping the Gringotts bank.

Visitors can easily reach the loch by car in about 40 minutes from the nearest city Oban.  Also, it is an hour and 20-minute drive from Fort William, another Harry Potter filming location.

Loch Arkaig

Following the memorable “escape from Gringotts” scene, Loch Arkaig is a lake from the exterior shots of the journey with the dragon. The producers decided to blend the footage of the lake with Loch Etive, thus creating a unique ambiance. 

The loch is located in Lochaber, north of Fort William. Since it is off the beaten path, surrounded by the Pine Forest and the Great Glen, it makes a perfect place for a peaceful day trip to enjoy nature. The best way to reach the lake is by car. However, be careful while driving, because most roads are in rough condition and can sometimes be closed due to flooding

Eilean na Moine, Loch Eilt

Remember Professor Lupin taking a walk with Harry on the Hogwarts Grounds? Or Hagrid, throwing rocks with the legendary trio in the Black Lake after Buckbeak’s sentence to death in the Prisoner of Azkaban? Perhaps the final scene in the Deathly Hallows Part I of Dumbledore’s final resting place will refresh your memory.

We present to you Eilean na Moine, a tiny island in the center of Loch Eilt! 

The loch is 15 minutes drive away from the Glenfinnan viaduct, and you can even spot it from the Jacobite train! However, do not be disappointed if it looks different from the movies. Due to Loch Eilt being too small compared to Black Lake, the movie producers decided to combine the island Eilean na Moine with the large Loch Arkaig

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

Loch Morar

Loch Morar, home to the famous loch monster Morag, is the deepest freshwater loch in Scotland. With its impressive depth of 310 m (1,017 ft), it is among the three deepest bodies of freshwater in Europe! 

Compared to other lakes from the Harry Potter movies, it is not as popular since producers used it for close-up scenes. However, fishing enthusiasts will be pleased to learn that the lake offers a great variety of fishing for the large ferox trout and salmon. 

The lake is located near the small village of Morar, and can easily be reached by car, train, or bus. 

Loch Shiel

And lastly, we present you Loch Shiel – the fourth-longest loch in Scotland! The lake is located near the Glenfinnan Viaduct and is often in the background of the “train ride to Hogwarts” scenes. Perhaps the most memorable scene of the loch Shiel is the second task of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 

Due to its exceptional scenery, Loch Shiel is part of the National scenic area – a conservation designation used in Scotland. The best way to get a full view of this beautiful lake is from the Glenfinnan Monument. Apart from its beauty, the lake is home to numerous wildlife, making it a Special Protection Area. The most important animals are black-throated divers, golden eagles, otters, salmon, and brown trout. 

Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland: Loch Shiel

Loch Shiel

Glen Coe, County of Argyll

Next on our list is the impressive Glen Coe, a volcanic glen recognized for its scenic beauty. The Glen is like the loch Etive, a part of the National scenic area, and has become a trendy hiking location.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Glen Coe can be seen in the background when the trio visits Hagrid’s hut. Also, you can spot the glen in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 in a scene showing the bridge that leads to the castle.

If you plan to go hiking, the best way to reach Glen Coe is by a 30-minute car ride from Fort William. There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from, easier ones ideal for families or more intermediate for hiking enthusiasts. You can also visit the visitor center with shops, toilets, exhibits, and a small cafe. 

Lochaber Rural Complex

Another location from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the Lochaber Rural Complex. Due to the bad weather conditions, the producers had to rent the entire complex and shoot some scenes inside. Nearby is the Old Inverlochy Castle, one of the most important castles in Scottish history. Unfortunately, the castle is now in ruins, still, its impressive essence remains. 

Steall Falls, Glen Nevis

At the base of Glen Nevis falls a dramatic 120-meter long Steall Falls, Scottish second largest waterfall. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, you can notice the Steall Falls in the background during the Triwizard Tournament. It is a scene where Harry is flying on his Firebolt, trying to complete the first task. The spectacular fall also appears in the Half-Blood Prince during the Quidditch tryouts. 

Because of its lush forest and epic waterfall, the Steall Falls Walk is very popular among hikers and has many well-established trails. The hike is suitable for everyone, both beginners and advanced hikers. However, the path can be slippery and rocky, so we advise you to bring proper footwear. The Falls is only a 20-minute ride from Fort William! So if you plan to come in a car, don’t worry because there is a dedicated park area at the end of Glen Nevis road. The alternatives are parking areas further downhill, such as Lower Falls.

Black Rock Gorge, Dingwall

Two-hour car ride from Steall Falls is another location from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire– Black Rock Gorge. The Gorge was briefly featured in the background when Harry was chased by the dragon! This deep, narrow Old Red Sandstone canyon with a dramatic waterfall is located just outside the town of Evanton. The canyon has an impressive 1.5 km length and is about 36 meters deep

There are multiple established trails with suspended gorge footbridges. The bridges were built in the 19th century, due to the rise of tourism. But don’t worry, they have been renovated since then. The best way to visit the Gorge is by walking from Evanton. It takes around 30-minutes to reach the canyon, and about 90 minutes to complete the circuit. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose your way since there are a small number of signs, so we advise you to use GPS. 

Rannoch Moor

Halfway to Hogwarts is a vast, boggy landscape called the Rannoch Moor. In the Harry Potter movies, you can spot it in the background of the train ride scenes. The place is famous for its wilderness, especially red deer and the Highland midge, and is part of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The road and railway nearby make it easy to visit the Moor. Although, we advise you to bring proper clothes because most of the area is wet.  

The University of Glasgow

J.K.Rowling has revealed in several interviews that she has always imagined Hogwarts, the famous castle in the Harry Potter wizarding world, to be set in the Scottish Highlands. Producers of the movie relied mostly on CGI for the castle, however, several astounding buildings were used throughout the UK.

Many fans speculated that one of the buildings in the Harry Potter movies might have been the University of Glasgow due to its uncanny resemblance to the Hogwarts courtyard. After the release of Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, the theory got even more popular. The reason was the mysterious room used for practicing patronuses – the Room of Requirements that looks a lot like the cloisters of the university

Unfortunately, the movies were not shot at Glasgow university but that doesn’t stop hundreds of fans from visiting. You can find the schedule of visiting hours or book a tour online on the official website of the university!

Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland: University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow


And lastly, we present to you Edinburgh, a place famous for the history of witches and witch-hunts. Although the Harry Potter franchise was not filmed in Edinburgh, the city was a great inspiration to J.K. Rowling and the movie makers. Moreover, Edinburgh was a place J.K. Rowling started some of the first and finished the last chapters of the Harry Potter books. Not to leave you disappointed, we bring you all the locations that served as inspiration along with hidden gems every Potterhead should visit!

Victoria Street

There are several Harry Potter-related places in Edinburgh, the first and most famous being Victoria Street as known to the muggles. However, fans can surely recognize this curved cobblestone street filled with various shops for the famous Diagon Alley.

Aha Ha Ha Jokes and The Boy Wizard shops

You are walking down Victoria Street when suddenly you see an oddly familiar shop. The Weasley Wizard Wheezes or the Aha Ha Ha Jokes? This joke shop in Edinburgh is a must-visit if you fancy an authentic wizarding experience! Sadly, the place has been closed a few times due to the pandemic, but there are rumors it might open again! In case you are in search of Harry Potter merchandise you can visit a shop called The Boy Wizard.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Anne and Robert Potter, William McGonnagal, Margaret Scrymgeour, Elizabeth Moodie, Charles Black, Thomas RiddelSounds oddly familiar, right? These famous surnames from the Harry Potter books can be found on several tombstones in Edinburgh graveyard, Greyfriars Kirkyard. The most recognizable is Thomas Riddel which sounds a lot like the name of our favorite antagonist, Tom Riddle. Luckily, the graveyard is open every day from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm except on the weekends if you fancy discovering more famous names!



The Balmoral Hotel

Highly luxurious, compared to the other locations is Balmoral Hotel- a 5-star hotel where J.K Rowling finished the final chapters of the last Harry Potter book. The J.K Rowling suite, originally known as Room 552, can be booked online for 2,584.38 Є a night. 

The room is entered through the owl knocker adorned door and contains several antique furnishings along with Rowling’s writing desk! If you still want the Harry Potter experience but are interested in a more affordable option, the hotel offers multiple breakfast menus at 34.77 Є.

The Elephant House Café

And for the last, we saved a place where it all began – The Elephant House Cafe! Sitting in the back, overlooking the Edinburgh castle, J.K.Rowling wrote the first chapters of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone. 

The coffee shop is open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and offers a great variety of coffees and teas. So sit back and enjoy the ambiance. Who knows, maybe you find inspiration in this charming little place. 

The map of Harry Potter Filming Locations in Scotland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *