Harry Potter Walk in Oxford, Oxford

Harry Potter Walk in Oxford (Self Guided), Oxford

Adding to its conventional university fame, Oxford has recently emerged as a major filming location for Hogwarts in the world-famous Harry Potter series. If you're a fan or just keen on discovering a few secrets of the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, while following in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione and Ron along the same mysterious hallways, take this self guided walk. En route you will visit Bodleian Library, appeared as Hogwarts Infirmary in “Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone”, New College Cloisters, where Harry confronted Malfoy and where he was then turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody, and other memorable spots.
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Harry Potter Walk in Oxford Map

Guide Name: Harry Potter Walk in Oxford
Guide Location: England » Oxford (See other walking tours in Oxford)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: Linda
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • New College
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Bodleian Library
  • Divinity School
  • Christ Church College
New College

1) New College (must see)

New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. Founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, the full name of the college is St Mary's College of Winchester in Oxford. The name "New College", however, soon came to be used, following its completion in 1386, to distinguish it from the older existing college of St Mary, now known as Oriel College.

In 2017, the college ranked first in the Norrington Table, the one assessing relative performance of Oxford's undergraduates in final examinations. Historically, it has been ranked highly and had the 3rd highest average Norrington Table ranking over the previous decade.

The college is also one of the main choral foundations of the University of Oxford. Its choir is regarded to be one of the leading choirs of the world, and has recorded over one hundred albums so far, for which it has been awarded two Gramophone Awards.

Like many of Oxford's colleges, the New College admitted its first mixed-sex cohort in 1979, after six centuries as an institution strictly for men.

***Harry Potter Walk***
The New College Cloisters appear in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire a good number of times – many of the corridor scenes within the film are shot here, including that in which Harry has to push through all the Gryffyndor students wearing Potter stinks badges to go and have a word with Cedric.

The New College Courtyard also served as a filming location for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – the scene in which Harry tips off Cedric about the dragons which they will be battling in the first of the trials in the Triwizard Tournament. In the same movie, Harry comes face to face with Malfoy, who is sitting on a gigantic oak tree and where he is then turned into a ferret by Mad-Eye Moody. This particular tree is found in the New College Cloisters.

If you come to explore all things Harry Potter at Oxford during the colder period (October through March), then the entry to New College is free. However, if you go during the warmer months (March to October), you will need to buy a ticket.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Bridge of Sighs

2) Bridge of Sighs (must see)

Unfortunately, if you are not a student of Hertford College, you won’t be able to cross the Bridge of Sighs, but you can certainly admire it from street level and add a photo of it to your collection of Oxford’s marvellous structures.

The real name of the bridge is the Hertford Bridge and it was built in 1914 by Sir Thomas Jackson. It took its popular name from the fact that it is supposed to look just like the bridge of the same name in Venice. Actually, it resembles the Rialto Bridge more than anything else, but the Bridge of Sighs sounds more romantic.

The bridge is a fine example of the Quadrature of the Parabola, developed by Archimedes in the 3rd century BC – a rather difficult geometrical concept in that the area of a parabolic segment is 4/3 of a certain inscribed triangle. It all comes down to the triangle (top) of the bridge being supported by the arch (parabola) because they are of the same base length and height.

Leaving the Maths lesson behind, the bridge is covered and glass panelled and links the college’s Old Quad with the New Quad. According to popular legend, the college once closed the bridge to overweight students, forcing them to get some exercise by taking the long route from one building to another.

***Harry Potter Walk***
Conveniently easy to spot behind Oxford’s very own Bridge of Sighs, the ancient (almost 200-year-old) giant Oak Tree, featured during a duel between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, can be seen in New College Cloisters. And while the cloisters themselves are closed to the public, a photo of the tree can still be snapped from the roadside!
Bodleian Library

3) Bodleian Library (must see)

Bodleian Library is the main research library of Oxford University, and if you are not a student, you can visit it on a guided tour which should be booked in advance.

The Bodleian is one of the oldest reference libraries in Europe and one of the six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom, which means that a copy of every book published in the UK and Ireland is required by law to be deposited here.

The 1st library was founded by Thomas Cobham, the Bishop of Worcester, in the 14th century. It was a chained library – the books were chained to the shelves to stop people pinching them. In 1437, after the Duke of Gloucester donated a vast number of manuscripts, the building proved too small, so Duke Humphrey’s Library was built at Divinity School.

Over the years, the library fell into disuse until 1598 when a Fellow of Merton College, Thomas Bodley, had the place renovated and enlarged to receive his collection of books. It reopened in 1602 and took its present-day name. It was also Bodley who made an agreement with the Stationer’s Company in 1610 to put a copy of each of their books in the library. This agreement became the Deposit Law in the 19th century.

The library expanded in 1612 and 1637 and grew popular with Fellows to donate or bequeath their collections. The New Library was built in 1937 and today a tunnel under Broad Street connects the Old and the New Bodleian.

The library holds a staggering 11 million books and other reading matter, 117 miles of shelves and 400 staff members. Among the ancient manuscripts here is a copy of the Magna Charta and the Song of Roland. It also houses one of the last copies of the Guttenberg Bible.

***Harry Potter Tour***
Hidden away in the Bodleian Library, the Duke Humfrey’s reading room revels in a magical atmosphere. Boasting imposing high walls and an intricately painted ceiling, even the smallest of Harry Potter fans will fail to ignore this eye-catching beauty. Presented as the main Hogwarts Library in the film series, it is most memorable for the scene in The Philosopher’s Stone, when Harry uses his Cloak of Invisibility to sneak into the restricted section of the library. We see Harry creeping around here before he is given away by a screaming book.
Divinity School

4) Divinity School

A true marvel of Medieval architecture, the Divinity School is famed for its intricate ceiling patterns and tall, airy windows. Attached to the Bodleian Library, it sits opposite the Sheldonian Theatre, which is used today by students when they matriculate and graduate.

Used in the filming of the first four Harry Potter movies, the place provided setting for the Hogwarts Hospital Wing. Fans of the earlier films will recognise it as being where Harry first wakes up at the end of The Philosopher’s Stone, after having had his first standoff with Voldemort.

Other scenes from the series include: The Prisoner of Azkaban – where Harry and Hermione use the time turner to save Sirius Black and Buckbeak; and The Goblet of Fire – where Professor McGonagall tries to teach Ron Weasley some dancing moves ahead of the festive Yule Ball.
Christ Church College

5) Christ Church College (must see)

Founded in 1546 by King Henry VIII, this is one of the largest and wealthiest colleges of the University of Oxford. Christ Church has a number of architecturally significant buildings including Tom Tower (designed by Sir Christopher Wren), Tom Quad (the largest quadrangle in Oxford), and the Great Dining Hall which was also the seat of the parliament assembled by King Charles I during the English Civil War.

Christ Church has many notable alumni including thirteen British prime ministers (more than any other Oxbridge college), King Edward VII, King William II of the Netherlands, seventeen Archbishops, and the writer Lewis Carroll (author of “Alice in Wonderland”).

The college buildings and grounds are the setting for parts of Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, as well as a small part of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. More recently, it has been used in the filming of the movies of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, as well as the screen adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel Northern Lights (the film bearing the title of the American edition of the book, The Golden Compass).This has helped Christ Church become the most popular Oxford college for tourists with almost half a million visitors annually.

***Harry Potter Walk***
Christ Church Dining Hall
Contrary to belief, no filming actually took place inside the famous Christ Church Dining Hall. Still, it did provide an immense inspiration for Hogwart’s very own Great Hall. Founded in the time of King Henry VII and being alma mater to thirteen British Prime Ministers, it's no wonder that the filmmakers opted to replicate this historical location at their own Warner Bros. studios. Matchingly magnificent, both the Christ Church Dining Hall and its studio copy are worth visiting, even if only to compare, all the same.

Bodley Tower Staircase
Probably one of the most famous filming spots, the grand stone staircase, located inside Bodley Tower at Christ Church College, is a prominent feature in the first two Harry Potter movies. Among the several memorable scenes filmed here are Harry’s first day at Hogwarts; a flashback sequence between Tom Riddle and Dumbledore; and a scene near the end of the first film where Harry is reunited with Ron and Hermione after being released from Hogwarts Infirmary – the one many Potterheads, no doubt, hold dear to their hearts.

Christ Church Cloisters
The Cloisters played a starring role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as Hogwarts Hallways.

Another notable scene associated with the hallways is that when Harry has just been made seeker for the Gryffindor quidditch team. In it, Hermione tells him that being a seeker is “in his blood,” upon which she goes on to show him a display case containing a quidditch trophy with his father’s name inscription.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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