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Okay Potterheads, did you know that you can visit some Harry Potter Christ Church filming locations in Oxford?
Yes, they filmed the first Harry Potter movie right here in Christ Church College campus and it’s well worth taking a tour if you’re in the City of Dreaming Spires.
Entry isn’t free, you do have to pay for a self-guided tour, but it’s well worth the money to visit these magical places.
Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, this college is well worth a tour as you can visit the Tom Quad, Peckwater Quad, Christ Church Cathedral and the famous Dining Hall.
Here is a complete Harry Potter Christ Church guide and all the filming locations you can find on a visit.
Was Harry Potter filmed at Christ Church?
Yes, the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed in Christ Church College in Oxford along with a few other historic buildings in the city.
You’ll find scenes from Christ Church in both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Plus, they took inspiration from this historic college for their Hogwarts movie sets that they made at Warner Brother Studios like Hogwarts Great Hall.
Harry Potter Christ Church filming locations you must visit
So, these are all of the Harry Potter Christ Church filming locations that you can visit in Oxford on a tour.
I would always check in advance that these locations will be open during your visit. As this is a working academic building sometimes places can close for events and exams.
Christ Church has a planned closures page that you can check before you book your tickets.
1. The Bodley Staircase
The most recognisable Harry Potter Christ Church filming location would be the fabulous Bodley Staircase with its detailed vaulted ceiling, glass windows and lamps.
This is where the first-year students enter Hogwarts and meet Professor McGonagall.
They make their way up the steps to enter Hogwarts Great Hall in preparation for the Sorting Hat Ceremony.
Also, we see this staircase briefly in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Ron and Harry arrive at Hogwarts with a clatter in the blue Ford Anglia.
This is one of my favourite filming locations as it’s breathtaking and really feels like you’ve stepped into the Wizarding School.
As tours of Christ Church can get really busy, I would make sure to visit this staircase first on your tour to get some empty photos.
2. Christ Church Dining Hall aka Hogwarts Great Hall
Although it’s not a Christ Church Harry Potter filming location they did use they did use Christ Church Dining Hall as inspiration for the Hogwarts Great Hall set.
When you enter this incredible room, you can see the similarities instantly. There are huge long tables, a myriad of portraits and even a head table for tutorial fellows.
There won’t be any floating candles on your visit but it’s the perfect place to get some photos and feel like you’re in Hogwarts.
Did you know that if you’re a student at Christ Church you get to dine here every day? It’s actually the staff and student canteen!
I stayed over at Christ Church College on my visit and enjoyed breakfast here in the morning. Find out how to do this below.
3. Christ Church cloisters aka Trophy Corridor
The last Christ Church Harry Potter filming location you can find is lesser known and that is the Christ Church cloisters.
This featured as the ‘Trophy Corridor’ at Hogwarts where Harry Potter sees his father’s Quidditch Trophy. It’s a touching scene.
These corridors are absolutely stunning so make sure to have your camera ready. Bonus points if you take a Marauder’s Map!
Other things to see on a Christ Church Tour
There are plenty of reasons to visit Christ Church beyond Harry Potter.
This campus has an incredible history. It was originally started by Cardinal Wolsey in 1532 and later founded by King Henry VIII in 1546.
It is often called Aedes Christi or ‘The House’, is home to Christ Church Cathedral and was the 13th college to be built in Oxford.
Many notable alumni have graduated from here including 13 Prime Ministers, William Gladstone, and John Locke.
Literary enthusiasts will be interested to know that Lewis Carroll tutored Mathematics here and you’ll spot some Alice in Wonderland inspirations.
Also, TV & film buffs will recognise this campus in scenes from Inspector Morse, Lewis, The Golden Compass and X-Men: First Class.
Tom Tower & Tom Quad
The Tom Quad is called the Great Quadrangle but most people call it ‘The Tom’ after the huge Tom Tower at the entrance to Christ Church.
It’s the largest quad in Oxford and the plans of construction were started by Cardinal Wolsey.
He had grand ideas to build a cloister, arches and other structures but they were not able to be completed after his fall from grace with King Henry VIII.
The Tom Tower was built later by Christopher Wren. From here, you can access the Peckwater Quad, Christ Church Cathedral, the Bodley Staircase and the Dining Hall.
There is a fountain in the middle of the quad designed by Edwin Lutyens with a statue of Mercury. There is a tradition of academic students being thrown in the pond by their more sporty comrades!
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral was originally founded as a church of St Frideswide’s Priory. If you didn’t know, St Frideswide is the patron saint of Oxford.
When the college was founded by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey the priory surrendered to him. After his downfall, King Henry VIII took over in 1546.
It’s one of the smallest cathedrals in the Church of England and has had a choir since 1526. You can still watch their choir practice and Evensong here today.
Nowadays, Christ Church Cathedral has a dual role to play. It’s both the college cathedral as well as the Anglican Diocese of Oxford which is highly unique.
The details are spectacular inside and it’s well worth exploring on your visit. They often hold services and prayers throughout the day. If you have the time, I would recommend staying to experience it.
Magical tip: you can visit Christ Church Cathedral for FREE to see the Evensong that takes place here. Click here for timings.
Another place to explore is the Peckwater Quad also known as ‘The Peck’. This is a Grade I listed building and leads you to the Canterbury Quad and Oriel Square.
The name comes from the Peckwater family who ran a medieval inn here during the 13th century next to St Frideswide’s Priory.
Most of the buildings here are used for classrooms and accommodation for undergraduates. It’s also home to the Christ Church library but entry is not often allowed on a guided tour.
Lewis Carroll & Alice in Wonderland locations
Harry Potter isn’t the only reason why literary lovers will be interested in a tour of Christ Church.
Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice in Wonderland, was a mathematics tutor at Christ Church under his birth name Charles Dodgson.
Many places are thought to have inspired his stories around the campus. You can find Alice’s Window in the dining hall as well as the famous Firedogs.
If you are a fan of Lewis Carroll make sure to visit the Alice’s Shop opposite the entrance to Christ Church.
Can you visit Christ Church College in Oxford?
Yes, even if you’re not a student of Christ Church College, you can visit the campus on a tour.
You can opt to explore the college self-guided with a multimedia guide (which I would recommend) or you can take a guided tour with an experienced tour guide.
I always opt for the self-guided tour as this means you’ll get to explore the campus at your leisure and spend as long as you want at all the Harry Potter filming locations.
Christ Church tour prices & how to book
Christ Church self-guided tours currently cost £16 for adults if you book online and in advance, or it’s £18 at the door.
Concessions (children over five, students, seniors) get £1 off making it £15 online or £17 on the door. There are also family tickets available.
I would always recommend booking your tour online and in advance to guarantee entry as it is very popular.
To avoid the crowds and to get the best photos, I would also recommend booking the first tour time slot of the day. This means you get the best chance of an empty staircase and Great Hall photos.
Why not stay over at the Christ Church Bed & Breakfast?
Did you know that when the students are away on a break, Christ Church opens up their student accommodation to non-students?
They run the campus as a Bed & Breakfast and it makes amazing budget accommodation for Oxford.
Although the rooms are quite spartan compared to the campus buildings you do get some magical perks as part of your stay that are perfect for Harry Potter fans.
One is that you get to wander around Christ Church campus (aka Hogwarts) at night time and have this place pretty much to yourself.
Another is that you get to enjoy breakfast in Christ Church Dining Hall in the morning which was the inspiration for Hogwarts Great Hall.
The breakfast is a buffet and perfect for a great feast. You’ll sit on long tables just like the Hogwarts students did in the movies.
I recently did this in December but they also open up their campus over Easter and in the Summer Holidays.
If you see the dates available online, book it ASAP. It’s very popular and is known to sell out!
Are you looking for more Harry Potter in Oxford?
There are plenty of magical Harry Potter filming locations that you can visit in the gorgeous city of Oxford.
You must plan to visit New College during your trip. You can visit the cloisters and the ‘Draco Malfoy’ tree where Mad-Eye Moody turns him into a ferret.
Also, make sure to take a tour of the Bodleian Libraries to see Duke Humfrey’s Library which was featured as Hogwarts Library in the first movie including the restricted section.
On your tour, you’ll stop at the Divinity School which was the Hogwarts Infirmary in the first two movies and where the students practised their dancing for the Yule Ball!
You’ll also find many pubs that the actors visited during filming plus some Harry Potter shops like The Shop of Secrets and House of Wonders.
Make sure to head into Blackwell’s Books to see the famous Norringtom Room. Although it didn’t feature in the movies, Harry Potter fans will love the thousands of books to buy. It holds a Guinness Record for the largest single room selling books.
Not to mention that the whole city looks like a real-life Hogwarts with many colleges, museums, and Dark Academia buildings to admire.
A little further afield, make sure you pay a visit to Blenheim Palace to see the Harry Potter Tree that is featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!