Channeling Harry Potter at Oxford’s Christ Church College

As a rather UK-obsessed person (shocking, I know -I’m sure you had no idea), it’s only normal that this level of obsession also covers iconic British things, such as tea, Arctic Monkeys, Kate Middleton, Colin Firth, and Union Jacks.

Oh and Harry Potter. Especially Harry Potter! The carefully constructed world of the young wizard takes life in one of the colleges of the famous Oxford University, the oldest and most prestigious university in the world.

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The carefully constructed world of the young wizard takes place in one of the colleges of Oxford, the oldest and most prestigious university in the world. But in reality, who cares about that historic stuff when you can set foot on one of the sets of Harry Potter!? (I’m only half-kidding – I’m well aware that Oxford University has a fascinating and riveting history but at the time I’m afraid my brain was in full Harry Potter mode).

As you can tell by the obviously forced smile on this picture, I was NOT happy to be roaming the halls of the Harry Potter movies.

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Harry Potter in Oxford – Christ Church College

When the 5th book came out, I was lucky enough to be working in a bookstore, which granted me access to an early copy of The Order of the Phoenix before it was on shelves. As soon as I finished my evening shift, I hurried home, locked myself in my bedroom, and started reading. I turned the last page of the book seven and a half hours later, completely exhausted and absorbed by the story, and went to sleep as the sun came out with a mind filled images my imagination had just created from reading. That was a decade ago.

If you look back on the first movie, you’ll notice the famous staircase scene when the wizarding trio arrives at Hogwarts and enters the Great Hall for the first time. That part was definitely not shot in a studio – it was filmed right there, where I stood! Unless you have a wide angle lens, it’s pretty hard to get a full shot of the staircase, but it’s a magical (pun intended) moment nonetheless.

The staircase

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The Great Hall

And now, the grand finale. Welcome to the Great Hall! While the movie version was shot in a studio (obviously, since, as you can probably imagine, the original one does not have a starry ceiling and floating candles), you can definitely understand how the Oxford version was the inspiration for the movies. The long tables, the high wooden walls and dozens of portraits are all present in both versions, and equally impressive.

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I’m pretty sure I dreamt of Harry Potter that night. But what I never imagined, at the time, is that I would eventually set foot in this very hall.

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary day trip by Grayline. As always, all opinions are my own.

21 Comments on Channeling Harry Potter at Oxford’s Christ Church College

  1. Andrew
    April 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm (5 years ago)

    That is really cool. I am a fair fan of the movie. Enough to go hunt down the cheesey half cart stuck into a wall in Kings Cross Platform 9 3/4 and be amazed sitting in the Elephant Bar in Edinburgh.
    It is really cool to see the inspiration for the movies. Wonder if JK Rowling had similar things in mind when writing.

    Oddly I have read several of the books for the first time while in Vienna on one trip or another.

    Reply
  2. Alexa Meisler
    April 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm (5 years ago)

    When you see places like these it’s totally acceptable to let out the Harry Potter fan inside you. Even if I’m not that big of a fan (I did watch all the movies) I would still freak out if I ever went to these places. Great shots!

    Reply
  3. Christine
    April 5, 2012 at 4:02 am (5 years ago)

    One of my friends was a student at Oxford when I visited her–SO cool to actually go and eat breakfast in the hall where Harry Potter was filmed! Lots of fun.

    Reply
  4. Francy R
    April 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m an Harry Potter addicted! I read all the books and watched all the movies. Last year I was in London and went visiting the St. Pancras Station when the Harry Potter’s train is supposed to leave. Unfortunately it isn’t nothing special but it’s nice and there always are a lot of people.

    Reply
  5. JoAnna
    April 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm (5 years ago)

    Love it! What a cool place to visit!

    Reply
  6. Laurence
    April 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve been to Oxford many times, didn’t realise that there was so much of the Potter movies filmed here. I’ve visited other sets from the movies in the North of England though, particularly Durham cathedral and Alnwick Castle. Both worth the trip!

    Reply
  7. Laura
    April 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh, I envy you for stepping into the world of Harry Potter.

    Reply
  8. Turtle
    April 10, 2012 at 12:30 am (5 years ago)

    Wow – it looks just like the movie! (Except for the cheeky smiling tourist!!) :)

    Reply
  9. Audrey
    April 10, 2012 at 9:36 am (5 years ago)

    OMG so cool! I’m going to London at the end of the month and I will definitely hunt down Platform 9 and 3/4 to get a photo there. Lol.
    Unfortunately I have only a day in London if not I’ll definitely go visit Leavesden studios as well!!

    Reply
  10. Christy @ Technosyncratic
    April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm (5 years ago)

    We did a tour of Oxford and when we learned that students there actually wear robes, we were floored!! My first thought was HARRY POTTER!! Gawd, to be a British student. =P

    Reply
  11. Wanderplex
    April 11, 2012 at 12:48 am (5 years ago)

    This is great :) I’m a huge Harry Potter fan so I’d definitely get a kick out of this!

    Reply
  12. D.J. - The World of Deej
    April 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm (5 years ago)

    Huge Harry Potter fan, so naturally I love this. I kept waiting for the paintings to come to life though:)

    Reply
  13. Jeff Titelius
    April 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm (5 years ago)

    How much fun was this?! I would have reveled in each moment along the hallowed halls of Oxford. Love the staircase and the Great Hall!!! Thx for taking me along on this fun journey!

    Reply
  14. Patricia Morrison
    May 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm (5 years ago)

    I was fortunate enough to attend a summer school program at Christ Church last year (2011), and got to eat all my meals in the Great Hall. Amazing. Also my room was right there as well, in Peckwater Quad, and it gave such a feeling of history and tradition…I hope to do it again next year. Perhaps I’ll buy a robe…

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm (5 years ago)

      Ohhh you actually STUDIED in Oxford? How amazing is that! Every morning must have been a dream!

      Reply
  15. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    May 16, 2012 at 6:00 pm (5 years ago)

    I’m a big Harry Potter fan and really enjoyed seeing your photos. Your pictures instantly brought back images from the movie to my mind.

    Reply
  16. cheryl
    May 19, 2012 at 9:15 am (5 years ago)

    Ahhhh sooo coool! I’d do this tour. :)

    Reply
    • Marie
      May 27, 2012 at 6:43 pm (5 years ago)

      You should! It’s fantastic, especially for a first time in the Uk :)

      Reply

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