On the trail of Harry Potter in Lacock

The medieval village of Lacock in Wiltshire, with its timber-framed cottages and stunning abbey, has to be one of the prettiest villages in England. Wander through the streets and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled upon a film set. The beautifully preserved stone cottages look like they belong in another age. There are no television aerials or overhead cables to spoil its old world look.

As you walk around, some of the streets and houses might start looking a bit familiar. The village has been used as the setting for numerous films from Harry Potter to Pride and Prejudice and Wolfman and TV series like Cranford and Downton Abbey.

The village dates from the 13th century and was once the centre of the medieval wool trade. The 15th-century wool merchant’s house is now an inn called Sign of the Angel, which stood in for the Babberton Arms in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

You’ll find timber-framed cottages everywhere you look.

Even the bus stop looks like an historic monument.Lovely Lacock

The shops are the quaint, old-fashioned kind, with home-made jams, pasties and soaps.

Even the doors and windows are a delight.

Don’t miss a visit to the medieval church of St Cyriac’s and the 14th-century tithe barn.

After wandering around the village, make your way to the 800-year-old Lacock Abbey. Once a medieval nunnery, its beautiful cloisters are some of the finest in the country. They stood in for Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter film and last year’s acclaimed production of Wolf Hall.

In one of the adjacent cloister rooms, my boys were delighted to discover a gigantic cauldron. It’s not, in fact, a prop left over from one of the Harry Potter films, but was made in Antwerp in 1500 and may have been used in the nuns’ kitchen. Harry Potter fans of all ages will have to content themselves with the thrill of discovering the room where Harry looked into the Mirror of Erised and Professor Quirrell’s classroom from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

But a tour of the abbey is not just for Harry Potter fans. The building is beautiful both outside and in.

Upstairs, the rooms are laid out as they would have looked in the 19th century when the abbey owner, William Henry Fox Talbot, invented photography in 1835, by creating the photographic negative.

Wander around the grounds and you’ll find a 16th-century stable courtyard, a clock tower and beautiful latticed windows.

The village of Lacock is owned by the National Trust and is open to visitors every day. The abbey cloisters and the Fox Talbot Museum are open daily from 10.30 until 5.30pm in the summer, from 11am until 4pm in the winter months.

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46 thoughts on “On the trail of Harry Potter in Lacock

  1. What a charming village! I have long been a fan of historical novels and it was a delight to read how it has been featured in so many such films. No wonder it is owned by the National Trust. How do they hide the cables and wires, are they under the pavement?

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  2. What a quaint and lovely village. It’s like being transported back in time. I love Downton Abbey but never followed the Harry Potter series. Great photos #mondayescapes

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  3. So picturesque…I love scenes of the English countryside. Many years ago I used to follow a detective series called Midsommer Murders, mainly to watch the beautiful country scenery, not so much following who’s killed who, hahahah…Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • It’s really gorgeous, isn’t it? It’s four miles from Chippenham which you can travel to from London in just over an hour and then get a bus or a taxi. Otherwise, I’d recommend staying in the wonderful city of Bath and hiring a car or getting a 10-minute train to Chippenham.

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  4. Enjoyed your post giving a glimpse of the medieval village and learning that this was the village doubling as Meryton village in the P&P BBC mini-series. Thank you for sharing this at #WanderfulWednesday

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  5. Lacock looks so incredibly beautiful, I completely understand why so many movies have filmed here! I would totally be fangirling to see some of the famous scenes from Harry Potter!

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  6. Oh my goodness that looks like so much fun! It reminds me (strangely) of when I visited Pompeii and felt like I had stepped back in time. I can only image that visiting Lacock has a similar feeling of experiencing a bygone era.

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    • Thank you so much, Isabel. I’m really happy you enjoyed it. It was quite exciting seeing places that looked so familiar from so many films and TV series. My boys and I are huge Harry Potter fans too so we really were in heaven wandering around.

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