Apparently, Harry Potter was filmed in Sydney, Australia.

Travel News - University of Sydney
The main quadrangle building of the University of Sydney.

Yes, it sounds far-fetched, but a surprising number of unsuspecting Chinese tourists have fallen for the story that Sydney University was the film location for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films.

Travel News - Mobile Device Photo of Sydney University
Sydney University.

A number of Chinese tourism websites and tour guides are making the false claim, according to news reports, and the gracious quadrangle at Sydney Uni is currently full of selfie-snapping visitors. Though the neo-Gothic sandstone buildings do bear a striking resemblance to Durham Cathedral in the United Kingdom – where the exteriors of Hogwarts were actually filmed – no scenes from the famous films were shot in Australia.

‘Our tour guide told us this is where one of the scenes of Harry Potter was filmed,’ a visitor told SBS News. ‘This place filmed or I think it filmed Harry Potter,’ said another tourist. ‘It’s very famous and I’ve seen looks of my classmates who have come here to take photos.’

Travel News - Durham Cathedral and Castle in Winter
Durham Cathedral and Castle where Harry Potter was actually filmed.

Experts say the tour companies may be in breach of Australian consumer law for misleading advertising, but Sydney University’s under-the-radar Nicholson Museum, located on the famous quadrangle, has benefited from the Potter-mania.

‘In two years in February we've had more than a 4000-people increase since 2017 to 2019, senior curator Jamie Fraser told SBS News. ‘One reason for that is the neo-Gothic architecture of our main quadrangle, and people come to the front desk of our museum and ask us can you please show us where Harry Potter was filmed.’

If you want to travel to see the real Hogwarts, then it's better to start planning a trip to the UK. There you can visit Alnwick Castle, used as the exterior Hogwarts in the first couple of films, and a number of other amazing Harry Potter filming sites.

Explore related stories



How a gift to the city of LA became a world-famous stargazing spot

Sep 14, 2021 • 6 min read