Channeling Harry Potter at Oxford’s Christ Church College

Posted on 04. Apr, 2012 by in Destinations, Europe Travel, Press Trips, United Kingdom

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

But who cares about that stuff when you can set foot on one of the sets of Harry Potter!? (I’m only half-kidding - I know there’s an interesting history behind Oxford, but really, my Harry Potter-fan self took over). As you can tell by the obvious forced smile on this picture, I was NOT happy to be roaming the halls of the Harry Potter movies.

If you look back on the first movie, you’ll notice the famous staircase scene when the wizard 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.

And now, the grand finale. Welcome to the Great Hall! While the movie version was shot in a studio (obviously, since 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.

harry potter oxford

When the 5th book came out a few years ago, I had the chance to work at a bookstore and get a copy before it was put on the shelves. As soon as I finished my evening shift, I locked my bedroom door, and started reading. I turned the last page of the book 7 and a half hours later, completely exhausted, and went to sleep as the sun came out. That was 7 years ago. I’m not sure what I dreamed of that night - but it sure wasn’t crazy enough to think I would eventually set foot in this very hall. And for that, I will always be thankful for the lifestyle I have.

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

Have you been to Oxford as a Harry Potter fan? What were the highlights of your trip? Would you go on a Harry Potter itinerary?

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21 Responses to “Channeling Harry Potter at Oxford’s Christ Church College”

  1. Andrew

    04. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  2. Alexa Meisler

    04. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  3. Christine

    05. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  4. Francy R

    06. Apr, 2012

    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.

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  5. Audrey | That Backpacker

    06. Apr, 2012

    So regal! Imagine dining there every night!

    Reply to this comment
  6. JoAnna

    08. Apr, 2012

    Love it! What a cool place to visit!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Laurence

    08. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  8. Laura

    09. Apr, 2012

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

    Reply to this comment
  9. Turtle

    10. Apr, 2012

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

    Reply to this comment
  10. Audrey

    10. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  11. 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

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  12. Wanderplex

    11. Apr, 2012

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

    Reply to this comment
  13. D.J. - The World of Deej

    16. Apr, 2012

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

    Reply to this comment
  14. Jeff Titelius

    16. Apr, 2012

    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 to this comment
  15. Patricia Morrison

    13. May, 2012

    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 to this comment
    • Marie

      14. May, 2012

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

      Reply to this comment
  16. 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 to this comment
  17. cheryl

    19. May, 2012

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

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      27. May, 2012

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

      Reply to this comment

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