Harry Potter is the franchise that enchanted the world. J.K. Rowling, one of Exeter University’s most cherished alumni, has always said how places and characters in the magical wizarding world were inspired by moments from her own life. Inevitably, she drew on her university experiences and therefore we can clearly see certain places around town and on campus that were the basis for some of our favourite fictional locations (take that Durham).
THE OLD FIREHOUSE aka THE LEAKY CAULDRON
A favourite for both students and locals in Exeter, this cosy pub is always packed! With live music and the best pizzas in town, you can see why this inspired the famous Wizarding drinking hole. They even sell toffee cider here, remind you of butter beer by any chance?
GANDY STREET aka DIAGON ALLEY
The narrowest street in Exeter was surely the inspiration for the cobbled alley Harry goes to fetch his school supplies – after all, it does lead off Exeter high street where we all go to pick up uni stuff.
AMORY aka THE MOVING STAIRCASES
Renowned for being a maze to navigate, perhaps this building really inspired the final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. Make sure you allow plenty of time if you have a lecture or seminar in Amory, you will probably get lost finding it on the first day – a Marauders Map would definitely be useful!
WASHINGTON SINGER BATHROOM aka MOANING MYRTLE’S BATHROOM
The original girls’ bathroom in the Washington Singer building was uncanny to the one described in the books, complete with a multi-sink unit in the middle. Unfortunately it’s since been refurbished however you can still go and imagine what inspired the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
MARDON HALL aka GRYFFINDOR COMMON ROOM
From the red wallpaper to the crest over the doorway, the resemblances to the Mardon Common Room and Griffindor’s are uncanny. One of the original Exeter halls, Mardon has a small and friendly environment. You can also visit Lopes if you’re on the other side of campus which has a similar feel.
EXETER CATHEDRAL aka THE GREAT HALL
The majestic inside of the Exeter Cathedral is just as impressive as the Hogwart’s Great Hall.
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON aka BUDLEIGH BABBERTON
Horace Slughorn’s hometown bears a rather similar name to that of the local town Burleigh Salterton. Coincidence? Probably not.
OTTERY ST MARY aka OTTERY ST CATCHPOLE
Just with Burleigh, the Weasley, Diggory and Lovegood families all lived in the fictional town of Ottery St Catchpole – a little similar to our local Ottery St Mary don’t you think?!