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Okay Potterheads, if you have ever wanted to visit the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming location then it’s very easy to do in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
In fact, you can access this magical Deathly Hallows hiding spot on a short walk from Malham village.
Harry Potter fans will need no introduction to this location but if you needed a reminder it’s the extraordinary place where the Golden Trio set up their tent to hide from Voldemort whilst searching for Horcruxes!
Here is a complete guide on how to do the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk and find all the Deathly Hallows filming locations here!
“I open at the close” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
What is Malham Cove & why is Malham Cove special?
Malham Cove is a huge curving cliff formation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s a sheer cliff face that is 70 metres high which is around 230 feet!
The formation of this cliff sits on the Middle Craven Fault and has been the result of erosion from water and ice melting over millions of years.
At the very top of the cliff is a unique and unusual white limestone pavement that is 300 metres wide and made up of hundreds of separated stones.
It’s very unusual in the UK, maybe even the world, and so it has been attracting curious tourists, rock climbers, and geologists for centuries!
Is Malham Cove in Harry Potter and which Harry Potter was filmed at Malham Cove?
YES, Malham Cove was in Harry Potter and it’s quite easy to see why the production crew chose this location as it’s completely unique and extraordinary!
If you were wondering which of the Harry Potter movies was filmed at Malham Cove then you will recognise it from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010).
This is the part where Harry, Ron and Hermione set up a tent on the limestone pavement as a way to hide out from Voldemort when they were searching for Horcruxes.
The tent is obviously a magical one being up here and is hidden by Hermione’s protective enchantments of course!
Malham Cove Harry Potter filming locations
If you need a little reminder of the Harry Potter filming locations at Malham Cove, here are all of the times that the limestone pavement features in the Deathly Hallows Part 1;
- Harry, Ron and Hermione set up their tent – I don’t believe that they actually put a tent on Malham Cove as it would be pretty much impossible – not to mention dangerous! But, I think they did CGI a tent on the cliffs with protective enchantments while Harry takes watch outside.
- O’ Children – This is probably my favourite scenes from the movie so I have to mention it! But, I believe this was filmed in a studio!
- “I Open At The Close” – This is the majority of the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming locations and the point where Harry figures out the riddle on the Golden Snitch. He finds that it reads “I open at the close”, Hermione then helps Harry further with the Beadle of the Bard!
How to visit Malham Cove
If you wanted to visit this Deathly Hallows filming location for yourself then you only need to head to the tiny village of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
You can access the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming locations on a scenic and short walk from Malham village.
- Driving to Malham Cove – If you’re driving, this is around a 90 minute drive from York, Leeds and Manchester or an hour from Bradford. I would personally recommend driving carefully on Malham Road as it’s extremely narrow and winding with passing places.
- Malham Cove bus – If you’re not driving to the Yorkshire Dales, there is a Skipton to Malham bus that runs a couple of times a day! You can check their timetable on the DalesBus website. Skipton also has a railway station that connects you with Bradford and Leeds. Planning your journey in advance is strongly advised as there are limited public transport services in this remote area!
Malham Village address is Malham Cove Visitor Centre, Chapel Gate, Malham BD23 4DA. Click here to find a google pin and start planning your journey!
Is Malham Cove free?
Yes! The land around Malham Cove is owned by the National Trust as part of the Malham Tarn Estate.
But, that doesn’t mean that you have to pay to visit. In fact, the National Trust has provided free and accessible walking routes around the area.
So, you can visit Malham Cove absolutely FREE and it makes a great budget day out in there Yorkshire Dales National Park!
Is the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk difficult?
This is always subjective but I would say that it’s quite an easy walk save a bit of a climb up some steep stairs.
There are approximately 400 steps from the ground level to climb up to the Malham Cove limestone pavement on the top. So, I would definitely come prepared for your legs to ache!
It’s definitely not an easily accessible walk so I would make sure that you’re prepared for this climb and to pack light.
Saying that I don’t think the climb is too bad if you take your time. I completed this walk twice in the end for photography reasons. Once in the morning and once at sunset.
After the second time, I was a lot slower! I was also out of breath but I took some breaks along the way which made it more manageable!
If you wanted to avoid the steps altogether, you can access Malham Cove via a steady uphill climb near Janet’s Foss/Gordale Scar on the Dales Highway.
Unfortunately, there is no driving route or accessible path to the limestone pavement, you do have to walk from Malham Village to visit Malham Cove.
You can see Malham Cove from the road if you drive through Malham Village and onto Cove Road. But, there is nowhere to park/stop until you reach Malham Tarn!
How long is the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk?
The walk from Malham Village and up to Malham Cove pavement is a mile each way and will take you around 20-30 minutes to reach the top!
But, I would personally recommend around 2 hours to complete the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk.
This leaves enough time to park up, walk to the top, explore the Deathly Hallows filming location and then walk back down the steps again.
You have to imagine that this is a very popular walk and you may find bottlenecks. Also, unless you’re a terminator, you’re definitely not going to power through all those 400 steps in one go without a little breather!
If you wanted to carry on over towards Janet’s Foss / Gordale Scar I would add on an extra hour or so as there are lots of places to explore around there too!
Malham Cove Harry Potter walk directions
So, here are some detailed directions for the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk starting at Malham Village in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
There are alternative routes from Malham Tarn but walking from Malham Village is by far the quickest access route for Malham Cove!
1. Firstly, find Malham Cove Parking
Like most of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, you should aim to park up in the official parking area for Malham which is located by the visitor centre.
Malham Village is extremely strict about cars parking up on the roads here, there are lots of cones throughout the village clearly marking where you cannot park. You’ll see signs directing you to the official visitor centre car park.
The Malham Cove Parking Postcode is Malham Cove Visitor Centre, Chapel Gate, Malham BD23 4DA.
There is NO parking at the top of Malham Cove itself, so you’ll need to park up here to start this walk.
I would recommend getting here no later than 10 am as the car park does tend to fill up. If you cannot find parking, there is roadside parking just outside of the village (no cones). This is by a £2 donation.
Note: I would use the toilet in the visitor centre car park before you head out on the walk. There are no toilets at Malham Cove!
Malham Cove parking prices
Malham Cove parking prices for the visitor centre are £2.70 for up to two hours or £4.80 for the day.
If you’re staying in the Yorkshire Dales for a couple of days, it may be worth picking up one of their parking passes.
You can get a 7-day parking pass for £15 that is valid in any of the Yorkshire Dales National Park car parks.
Alternatively, you can park up on the side of the road just outside of the visitor centre and pay £2 for the day in the donation pot.
2. From the car park head through Malham village
Once you’re parked up, head out of the Malham Visitor Centre car park and turn left. You’ll head past the village school and the Old Barn Café.
If you cross the road, you’ll see a sign for Malham Cove pointing towards the back of the village.
You’ll need to carry on up the road until you reach the village square with the local shop. When the road forks veer left and continue down the village until you find the Town End Barn by the National Trust.
Walk beyond the barn and you’ll eventually see a gate to your right that allows you onto the public walking path!
Note: You’ll be sharing the road with cars so be careful as you head through the village
3. Head through the gate towards Malham Gorge
Once you’ve walked through the kissing gate, continue on the walking path. You may find some local cows grazing in the fields here.
You’ll eventually pass through another gate (below) and this is the path that will lead you straight down to Malham Cove.
If you wanted a little side trip, you could head down to see the cliff from below. Sometimes, there’s even a waterfall in heavy rains!
But, if you’re ready to head up the cliff continue on past the old Clapper Bridge and follow the pah around to the steps that will lead you up to the Malham Cove limestone pavement.
4. Climb up the Malham Cove steps to the very top!
So, the walk should be plain sailing until this part. The paths are quite flat and easy from the village until this staircase.
Now, you’ll need to ascend up some 400 steps to the top of the cliff. It’s 70 metres / 230 feet high so there’s a lot of steep steps to cover before you reach the very top!
As I was by myself, I got into the Harry Potter mood by playing O’ Children! By Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds from the scenes….if you know, you know!
Luckily, there are plenty of points along the way where you can take breaks and sit down if you need a breather. In fact, I would 100% recommend it as these steps are tough.
5. You’ve made it to the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming location!
So, once you’ve made it to the top of the stairs, it’s just a short walk uphill and through the gate to the very top and you’re finally there!
As soon as you’re on top of the cliff, you’ll be able to see all of the famous limestone pavement and some incredible views of Malhamdale all around you.
If it’s a dry day, you can easily walk over the limestone pavement but it’s a lot harder than it looks! It’s almost like an illusion as it looks flat in the distance but as soon as you get closer to it you’ll find that it’s all separated.
As it’s natural limestone the rocks are pretty uneven they can be a challenge to traverse. Also, they have large gaps in between them!
If you look back at the Deathly Hallows movie, Hermione and Harry are literally hopping over the stones. But, take your time and you’ll be fine.
If it’s a particularly windy day or it has been raining, I’d be extremely careful walking on it especially near the edge of the cliff. It can also get pretty windy up here!
Of course, as a Harry Potter fan, you’ll probably be ecstatic that you finally made it to the Deathly Hallows filming location. So, I’ll show you how to find the exact locations from the movie below.
How to find the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming locations from the Deathly Hallows
So, once you arrive, you’ll instantly recognise this as the location that Harry, Ron, and Hermione set up their tent to escape Voldemort whilst looking for Horcruxes.
That is, until Ron storms off and leaves Harry and Hermione on their own to figure everything out! But, I guess we can forgive him (sort of) as he was under the influence of the locket of Slytherin.
I believe that most of the tent scenes were filmed in a studio and the tent was actually added to these scenes with a bit of CGI.
I can’t imagine you’d ever be able to set up a tent here at all, especially in the position they had it in the movies haha! It was pretty much hanging off the edge of the cliff.
The scenes where Hermione is reading the Beadle of the Bard when Harry figures out the Golden Snitch Riddle ‘I open at the close’ was filmed in the part of the limestone pavement by the stairs you climbed up.
You can find all of these filming locations as soon as you reach the top pretty much. Although it will probably look a lot moodier in the movies due to the cinematography.
If you have more time head-on towards Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar!
A lot of people tend to head to Malham Tarn from here which is a spectacular lime-rich lake and the route will take you on a 5-mile walk. You can find the Malham Tarn directions here.
But, I decided to head onto Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar that are famous beauty spots in the area!
I also had another reason for visiting both of these locations beyond as they were in The Witcher series 2 on Netflix which was amazing.
You can easily walk down from Malham Cove on the pathway opposite the steps. The route leads you down the hill and onto the path for Gordale Scar. Where there’s a cavern in the cliff face and a waterfall!
You can then exit Gordale Scar and walk to Janet’s Foss and then loop back to Malham through the woodlands there.
Or, you can do the whole Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss loop from Malham village. The whole route is around 5 miles (8 km) Click here for walking directions.
There are lots of walking routes in Malhamdale so you could easily spend the whole day here hiking and adventuring in the area!
Other things to do in Malham & Malhamdale
Beyond being a famous Harry Potter filming location, Malham in the Yorkshire Dales makes a great day out.
There are plenty of things that you can do around here that don’t include walking as well. As soon as you enter the village you can head into the Malham visitor centre that is worth checking out. The staff will take you through the walking directions and there are lots of leaflets etc.
You can check out the Town End Barn by the National Trust, the historic Clapper Bridge, and the Malham Smithy.
If you were up for a walk, you can head over to Janet’s Foss waterfall that is supposedly the site of a fairy queen.
Or, explore Gordale Scar which is a dramatic cavern on the cliff face. It’s a mystery as no one knows how it was formed!
Malham Tarn is a lake that you can walk or drive over to and it’s a great place for a picnic or to take in some sights.
Where to eat near Malham Cove
If you’re worried about finding a place to eat in Malham then you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of cafés and country pubs that you can find here.
By the visitor centre, you can find The Old Barn café which is where I ate for breakfast after my early morning walk. They did the most amazing full English with coffee and I would highly recommend them!
You could visit for lunch inside the café or they offer takeaway sandwiches for hikers. They also offer the perfect pick me up of coffee, tea and homemade cake for the afternoons!
I would also recommend stopping by their ice cream counter as they serve up the most incredible locally made cones in all sorts of flavours.
They have both outdoor and indoor seating so you can pop by any time. It’s open Monday through Sunday. Click here to see a menu.
What to wear for the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk
So, the first and most important thing for this walk would be to bring appropriate footwear.
Although it’s a short walk there are parts that can get quite muddy along the way. You’ll be walking up plenty of stairs and the limestone pavement can get pretty slippy if it’s been raining!
Another thing to be aware of is to come prepared for the weather. I visited in September and it was unusually boiling. I regretted not wearing a hat.
But, this is the north of England and it can get rainy in an instant. In fact, it can see all four seasons in a day.
I would recommend bringing a spare layer and a waterproof coat in case of adverse weather. When you’re on top of Malham Cove you’re at a height and the windy weather can bite!
Malham Cove Harry Potter photography locations and tips!
So, if you wanted to capture some Harry Potter photos of Malham Cove there are multiple locations that you can use as it’s a huge area.
But, the one thing I would advise is to get here EARLY in the morning or LATER in the day at sunset when there are fewer crowds.
Personally, I visited very early in the morning so I was alone which was great! But, the sun was too harsh so I came back at sunset.
There are lots of photo opportunities all around the limestone pavement. The views are also amazing from up here at the valley below!
But, I would always say that you should try to take photos at a height as that way you can really see the patterns in the limestone.
Luckily, Malham Cove is naturally formed in layers. So, you can easily take photos from the upper layers or head downwards towards the bottom.
Personally, I took all of my self-portraits with a tripod. So, I would set up my tripod on the upper rocks (with difficulty haha) and then clumsily walk down to the pavement below with my Bluetooth shutter.
I loved the position nearest to the steps where you could see the rest of the cliff face ahead of you! But, you can also get some fantastic views looking back at Malham Cove on the pathway leading to Janet’s Foss.
I did see quite a few people sitting on the very edge of the cliff and I would advise you not to do this. It may look cool in a photo or video but it’s a 70-metre high sheer cliff face and it can be extremely dangerous, especially if it’s windy or raining!
My top tips for the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk
- Get here early – if you wanted to make sure you get a parking space and not visit with lots of people, I would advise arriving here early! I set off around 8am and was the only one on the cove!
- Use the loo before you go – there are no toilet facilities available at Malham Cove once you’re up here or at Janet’s Foss/Gordale Scar. I would use the public toilets at the Malham visitor centre before you head out on this walk!
- Bring water and snacks – Although it’s a short walk, you may wish to continue onto Gordale Scar, Janet’s Foss or Malham Tarn. So, come prepare with water and snacks. There aren’t many food stops along the way. Cafés and shops in the village can prepare takeaway lunches for you!
- Leave lots of time and plenty of daylight – I went up to Malham Cove early morning and again for sunset but you would be surprised how dark it gets here. There’s no artificial lighting at all so make sure to leave plenty of time! I would allow around 1-2 hours to complete the walk.
- Park up in Malham village – I cannot stress this enough. There is NO parking at the top of Malham Cove at all. If you drive up towards it, it’s just a narrow country road. You must park in the visitor centre or on the side of the road at the entrance to the village and pay by donation.
- Be extremely careful – I luckily visited on a very sunny day where there was little wind. But, I saw so many people quite literally on the edge of this cliff for photos. If it was a rainy day or really windy I would not get close to the edge. It’s a sheer cliff drop of 70 metres (230 feet). So, use your discernment and common sense whilst on the pavement!
- Keep dogs on a lead – Dogs and humans may struggle with the pavement as there are large gaps in between. It’s not the easiest to walk on at all! So, be mindful of this when taking your furry pals out for a walk!
Where to stay in Malham
Malham is a tiny village in the Yorkshire Dales but that doesn’t mean there aren’t cosy places to stay if you wanted to base yourself there.
Here are my top recommendations of where to stay in Malham for the Malham Cove Harry Potter walk;
- The Buck – located right in the centre of Malham this cosy pub has some boutique rooms to spend the night! Breakfast is included that will set you up nicely for hiking! Click here to book.
- The Lister Arms – Another countryside inn that has some freshly renovated rooms for you to spend the night in. It’s right on track for Malham Cove and Janet’s Foss! Breakfast included. Click here to check rates.
FYI – you cannot camp on Malham Cove at any time! But, there are many campsites in Malham you can use.
Looking for more Harry Potter locations in Yorkshire & County Durham?
Did you know that there are plenty of Harry Potter filming locations around Yorkshire and County Durham to visit after the Malham Cove Harry Potter filming location?
After Malham Cove, I would recommend heading over to the city of York! Although there weren’t many filming locations there is The Shambles that is known as the ‘Harry Potter Street’. Click here to read my Harry Potter guide to York.
Then, you can head to the North York Moors National Park and visit Goathland Station that played Hogsmeade in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Click here to read my magical guide to Goathland!
Also, you may be surprised to know that Durham Cathedral was a filming location for Hogwarts too.
You can walk around their cloisters to feel like you’re walking to potion’s class and see the quad where Ron throws up slugs!
Why not spend a night in Hagrid’s Hut?
Have you ever wanted to spend a magical night in Hagrid’s Hut at Hogwarts? Well, now you can by heading up to North Yorkshire. It’s only a two-hour drive away from Malham.
The Groundskeeper’s Cottage by North Shire is the only one of its kind in the world and is a life-size hut that you can book to spend the night.
It has a living room, kitchen, Ministry of Magic bathroom, and bedroom which makes the entire place cosy. There’s even a Ford Anglia outside.
It’s been set up as the perfect Potterhead retreat in the countryside. So, you can relax on the sofa, pour yourself some Butterbeer, and have a Harry Potter movie night.
I recently stayed here and it was the most magical time! It is expensive but worth splurging on.