Last Updated on 21st January 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
Higgledy-piggledy houses line the streets of Lacock, a quintessentially English village in South West England. Boasting plenty of historical features (a Tithe Barn, Abbey turned country home, and several authentic pubs), Lacock also happens to be the filming location of many a period drama and blockbuster movie. Here’s your ultimate Lacock Harry Potter guide to filming locations dotted across the beautiful Wiltshire village.
Introducing Lacock, one of the oldest villages in England
Close to the equally beautiful Castle Combe and not far from the city of Bath, Lacock is a medieval village frozen in time. Once prosperous thanks to the wool trade, today the Costsolwds settlement is best-known as being the birthplace of photography (William Henry Fox Talbot created the earliest surviving photographic negative in 1835) and, of course, as being popular with film scouts.
Due to the picturesque nature of Lacock, as well as the fact that there are no radio masts, telephone poles, or antenna stuck to the 13th-century houses, the village has become increasingly popular as a movie and television backdrop.
In recent times, the village and its Abbey turned manor house have been used to shoot Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey, and Wolf Hall, among a plethora of other titles.
Visit today and you can expect to find chic pubs, quaint eateries, and a selection of quirky independent shops and antique vendors. Though you’ll have to pay to visit the Abbey (if you’re not already a National Trust Member), the village is entirely free to wander around, as well as the many countryside walks branching off from the medieval settlement.
Lily & James Potter’s House, Godric’s Hollow (Private House)
At the end of Church Street, steps behind the St Cyriac’s Church, the beautiful house hidden behind two tall hedges was chosen to act as the house of Lily and James Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone if you purchased an American copy of the book).
Though the door is painted a different colour and the garden is a little different, the cottage is one and the same that featured as the Potter home, which is located in the fictional village of Godric’s Hollow. In the movie, the house is shown in flashbacks as Hagrid describes to Harry what happened to his parents over drinks in the Leakey Cauldron.
Though the house at Godric’s Hollow appears in later movies, the Church Street Cottage in Lacock was only used in the first movie. In later films, the cottage was part of a movie set, created and built specifically for filming the Harry Potter Series. You can still visit the house today by visiting the Warner Bros Studios as a day trip from London.
Budleigh Babberton (Lacock Village)
Parts of Lacock village were not just used for filming one village from the wizarding world. Wander around the settlement for long enough and superfans will soon recognise that Lacock was used as the quirkily named ‘Budleigh Babberton’ in several scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway (Private House)
When Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore go to find Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, they discover him hiding in some muggles’ house who are away on vacation in the muggle village of Budleigh Babberton. The real-life brick house is situated on Chapel Hill and is home to some incredibly topiary, especially in a side garden to the left-hand side of the property when facing it straight on.
Babberton Arms (Sign of the Angel Pub)
When Harry and Dumbledore and wandering through Budleigh Babberton, they pass by the ‘Babberton Arms’. The In real life, the Babberton Arms is actually a timber-framed 15th-century pub serving meals and drinks throughout the day. They even have well-rated boutique rooms, meaning that you can enjoy a Harry Potter weekend in Lacock! Check out all the details here.
Hogwarts (Lacock Abbey)
Last but not least, the jewel of the town is that of Lacock Abbey. And in the close to nine centuries since groundbreaking, the abbey has seen plenty of changes. Originally founded in the morning of 16th April 1232 by Ela Countess of Salisbury (one of the most powerful women in Middle Ages England), the most-preserved part of the Abbey still surviving today are the Medieval Cloisters.
From the late 15th to mid-16th-centuries, Sir William Sharington purchased the Abbey with the aim of turning it into a country house. Henry VIII had dissolved the monasteries and the land was sold off to wealthy landowners who were allowed to do with the ecclesiastical buildings what they wished. It was during this time that many abbeys and monasteries fell into disrepair.
In 1714, John Ivory Talbot inherited the property and took over the running of the estate. Remember this name, because his descendant is one of the most important names in the history of photography!
Over the course of his lifetime, John Talbot transformed the abbey into the Gothick style (note that this is different from the Victorian Gothic that is so synonymous with UK properties!)
In 1800, William Henry Fox Talbot inherited the property. It was here in the rooms of the Abbey where he created the first photographic negatives (including the earliest one that survives to this day). He changed the Abbey once more to fit with his own style and this is by and large the Abbey that visitors to the country mansion can enjoy to this day.
Hogwarts’ Corridors (Lacock Cloisters)
If you’ve ever dreamed of wandering through the corridors of the wizarding world’s most famous school, then you’re in luck! The cloisters of Lacock Abbey were selected to feature as some of the Hogwarts’ Corridors (notably during Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and again in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). Visit during the week for fewer crowds in your photos!
Other cloisters used for the same purpose include those of Gloucester Cathedral, as well as New College Cloisters and Christ Church Cloisters in Oxford. More recently, the Lacock Cloisters have featured in the Fantastic Beasts film: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Quirrell’s Classroom (The Warming Room)
Large and filled with natural light, particularly on sunny days when the sunlight streams in, you’ll know you’re in The Warming Room when you spy the larger than life cauldron in the very middle of the room. Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t a prop leftover from filming, but rather the genuine real-deal!
The cauldron is a 16th-century ‘warming house’ was made in the Belgian city of Antwerp and one story tells of the pot being used to make a stew for Queen Anne during her visit in the 1700s! Whatever the case, it’s worth noting that the room featured as the Defence Against the Dark Arts during Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Snape’s Classroom (The Sacristy)
Home to several beautifully-carved arches, The Sacristy served as Snape’s Potions room in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When the Abbey was still in use as an ecclesiastical building, the Sacristy would have been used to store vessels for church services. Today, several church documents can be found in the main body of the Lacock Abbey house.
Mirror of Erised Room (Chapter House)
Keen fans of the Harry Potter franchise will soon recognise the Lacock Abbey Chapter House from the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Harry discovers the Mirror of Erised (an enchanted mirror which is designed to show the witch or wizard in question their heart’s greatest desire reflected back at them in the mirror).
The Chapter House of Lacock is used once more in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when students are revising for an exam. During its time as an Abbey, the Chapter House would have served as a meeting room for members of the religious community.
Other Harry-Potter inspired locations in Lacock
Watlings Gift Shop
Though not used as a Harry Potter filming location in Lacock per se, there’s one village business that has truly capitalised on all of the wizarding fans frequenting the village! The gift shop can be found close to the quaint bakery and not far from the Tithe Barn on East Street and offers a wide array of magical-themed gifts and goods.
Situated on the same street as Watlings gift shop, Lacock antiques is a treasure trove of historic collectables. Though not specifically used for filming Harry Potter, this quirky emporium of vintage wares boasts countless antiques and vintage wares, reminiscent of rummaging through a wizarding shop along Diagon Alley.
Tips for visiting Lacock & Lacock Abbey
If you’re looking to visit Lacock as a day trip from London, then it couldn’t be easier. The best way to reach the city to the village is by taking the train from Paddington to Chippenham (the nearest town to Lacock) before hopping on the X34 Frome bus.
The train takes from an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half depending on which route you take (find the best train ticket prices here). The bus then takes twenty minutes and departs roughly every half an hour during the daytime (find more details here).
If you would prefer to visit Harry Potter in Lacock as a guided excursion, so as to save time and enjoy multiple UK attractions during your visit, then there are several guided tours you can book. For example, this tour allows you to visit Stonehenge, Bath, Lacock & Avebury as a full-day tour from London and this guided tour from London to Lacock includes a trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath.
Finally, if you don’t wish to book a tour and have access to a car, then the journey takes around two hours from London to Lacock. There’s parking in the village which is free for National Trust members, though members will have to pay (around £4 for the day).
Most people visit Lacock in the summer and during the weekend. As a result, they assume that it’s overcrowded and ever-so-busy all the time! However, during my visit in mid-week October, I soon discovered that I largely had the place to myself, allowing for wonderful photo opportunities. As such, plan your visit in the European shoulder seasons and mid-week is possible.
Though the village of Lacock (as well as its church) are free to visit and wander around, you’ll have to pay to visit the Abbey. Adult admission to the Abbey and grounds costs £14.50 and a child ticket costs £7.20. As always, National Trust members go in for free. More pricing details can be found here.