Hogwarts Castle Secrets: is it real? where it is located?

In the world of castles, there is none as magical, and mesmerizing as Hogwarts castle.

Its wonders are many; do we mention the high turrets with windows from which characters of the Harry Potter series eavesdropped; or do we analyze the vastness of its courtyards and fields where they played Quidditch?

Perhaps the deep underground dungeons where the chambers of secret, and the potion mixing room sit would do. 

It is said that the castle is Seven-Storey High, with 142 moving staircases and an alluring design. Could such an edifice exist in real life or is it an object of fiction, carved by the imagination of J. K. Rowlings?

The answer is both yes and no. The Hogwarts castle as we have it in the Harry Potter series is entirely fiction. However, the structure which stood as the Hogwarts castle (thanks to CGI) was the Alnwick Castle of Northumberland. Read on, to learn all about Hogwarts Castle, its amazing features, and its reality as the Alnwick Castle. 

In a previous article, Are The Castles In Harry Potter Real?, we included more details about this mysterious castle.

Is Hogwarts a real castle?

According to the Harry Potter series, the Hogwarts castle was built in the early middle ages by four great wizards – Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin.

It was constructed by and on magic to serve as a school for all witches to be trained in the art of magic.

It was bordered by a great lake to the south, and sloping lawns to the west, leading to the forbidden forests. 

Picture by Steve Krause on flickr.com

Is the Hogwarts castle a real school in real life?

Having enjoyed the coziness of seeing the Harry Potter series, and chanted the numerous spells used by its characters, fans began to wonder if the school is real.

Perhaps it was real and covered/ only accessible by the 9 ¾ platforms or something similar. As far as our muggle eyes can go, there is no such wizarding school as Hogwarts castle.

If there was one, then it means the Headmaster or whoever is in charge has successfully hidden it from the rest of the universe. 

Where is Hogwarts castle located?

The castle was set in Scotland, near a wizarding town called Hogsmeade, which is not far from Dufftown.

The story tells us that the Hogwarts castle is imbued with magic and concealed such that humans (muggles) could only see it as a deserted castle with warning signals scattered all around.

The school was protected by a large oak door at the entrance and magical spells which prevented the entry of unwanted guests or dark wizards as the case may be.

History of the Alnwick Castle

Let us take a minute to discuss the history of Alnwick castle and how it grew to earn its reputation as Hogwarts castle.

  • There are controversies as to the exact period when the Alnwick castle was built, however, historians agree that it dates back to the Norman period.
  • In 1309, it was purchased by Henry Percy as a motte and bailey castle. Henry Percy and his son spent the next four decades renovating the structure and converting it into a stone castle.
  • By 1475, the castle had been fortified with a barbican, two octagonal towers, a curtain wall, and a fortified gate. Since then, it has been passed down Percy’s lineage and now forms part of the Northumberland estates.
  • The Alnwick Castle is the second largest castle in the UK which is still inhabited to date.
  • It has beautiful interiors but they were not adopted/ used for the Harry Potters series.
  • The exterior of the castle was restored in the 19th century by Anthony Salvin and landscaped by Capability Brown.
  • The castle is in great condition, beautiful both in and out, and open to visitors.

What do the 4 houses of Hogwarts represent?

The four (4) houses of Hogwarts castle were named after its four founders; Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin.

At the beginning of every school year, students were sorted into different houses according to their qualities, their life decisions, and their potential. Originally, when the founders were alive, they sorted the students personally, but after their demise, the Godric Gryffindor hat was placed on every student’s head to determine which house they belong to.

Each house favored different qualities in students, mostly the qualities that the original house leader favored while they were alive.

Gryffindor House: 

this house valued bravery, and chivalry so students who had these qualities or aspired to have them were often sorted to the Gryffindor House. Their symbol was that of a lion.

Hufflepuff House:

This is the house of genuine people who fancied candor. It values hard work, loyalty, and dedication. Their totem was a badger.

Ravenclaw House:

Intelligent and witty people were placed in this house. It values intelligence, knowledge, curiosity, and creativity. Their totem is an eagle.

Slytherin House: 

The house of those who valued self-preservation, smart cunningness, and ambition. They also had a shared dislike for muggles and only believed the magic school should not be accessible to half-bloods. Their totem is a serpent.

The Hogwart castle was divided into different dormitories for each of the houses.

They also competed for the House Cup at the end of every session and there was unpleasant rivalry between them, particularly the two leading houses – Gryffindor and Slytherin. 

Five (5) Real Life Locations of the Harry Potters Series that will Blow Your Mind

There is a saying that he who travels get to live many lives in one!

If you are a fan of the Harry Potters series and the Hogwarts castle, here are the real-life locations you can go to feel the action and experience the magic.

  1. London’s Leadenhall Market with its ornate roof and cobbled floors are where some of the leaky cauldron’s and Diagon Alley scenes were shot. It is open to the public, for free. 
  2. Kings Cross Station, London where the Harry Potter Platform 9 scene was shot. You can also find a trolley at the corner where you can take a shot.
  3. Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden, where many of the indoor scenes were shot.
  4. The Gloucester Cathedral, West of England, is a stunning sight and the location for the Gryffindor corridor, and the Harry Potter Lavatorium scene.
  5. The Alnwick Castle; where you can experience the landscape and the outside scenes of the legendary Hogwarts castle.

Further reading