Sep 21 2010

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From college to castle, discover Harry Potter’s England

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The Great Hall at Christ Church College, University of Oxford, was the inspiration for Hogwart's dining hall -- the best cafeteria known to Muggles and wizards.

By Susan Johnston

Between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening at Universal Orlando Resort earlier this summer and the latest Harry Potter flick due for theatrical release in November, this is a big year for Harry and his mystical friends. Which is why it may also be the year for a Europe vacation, during which you can tour many of the film locations and places that inspired J.K. Rowling herself. Here are a few of the spellbinding spots found in Harry Potter’s England.

University of Oxford
The spectacular Gothic architecture found at the University of Oxford became the eerie inspiration behind Hogwarts. In fact, Christ Church College provided the location for ‘Hogwart’s dining hall’ and several of the moving staircase scenes. Oxford University’s Bodleian Library has also appeared in the Harry Potter movies. Just a few miles from campus is the Oxford Spires Four Pillar Hotel, providing a pool, spa, and fitness center in a historic setting. Also nearby is the Ethos Hotel Oxford, which prides itself on luxurious, yet sustainable accommodations.

University of Oxford inspires Harry Potter.

Catch the surreal skyline at Oxford.

London Hotels
England’s capital city is home to several landmarks that have appeared in Harry Potter films. Visitors to Kings Cross Station may recognize it as the site of ‘Platform 9-3/4,’ the portal to the wizarding world. The optician shop in Leadenhall Market served as the entrance to the ‘Leaky Cauldron’ in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, while the Reptile House in Regent’s Park Zoo appeared in the scene where Harry learns he can communicate with snakes. London hotels include The Tower A Guoman Hotel on the north bank of the River Thames and the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes London, which is walking distance to several London attractions, including Regents Park.

Northeast England
The site of Madame Hooch’s flying lesson (and home to the Duke and Duchess of Numberland), Alnwick Castle hosts a number of tours and family-friendly activities. Meanwhile, the snowy quadrangle of Hogwarts was actually filmed in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral, also in the northeast region of England. Durham has several hotels, including the 207-room Radisson Blu Hotel and the Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County, which dates back to the 17th century.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hits theaters this November, but you can see many of the film’s locations and explore Harry Potter’s England by booking your flight and London hotel together online!

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Susan Johnston lives, writes, and dreams about her next beach vacation from her home near Boston. Favorite beachside activities include reading fashion mags and body boarding.

More About: Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.
View More Posts By Nina Kokotas Hahn
Posted on: September 21, 2010 | Tags: , | Category: Family timeCategory: International Vacations

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