Thursday, 21 April 2016

R is for Virgina Water, home of the Roman Ruins

The A-Z Tour of the Harry Potter Filming Locations stops off at the Roman Ruins at Virginia Water Lake.

Virginia Water Lake is located in Great Windsor Park in Surrey, south west of London. It was created in the 18th century and is believed to have been named after Queen Elizabeth I, the virgin queen.  Located on the banks of the lake are the Leptis Magna ruins - a folly that was built to look like a genuine Roman relic with stones being shipped to the sight from a Roman town near Tripoli

I admit - the letter for this post is a little bit of a cheat.  The ruins, although they are pretty impressive, do not appear in any of the Potter films. Instead it is Virginia Water Lake itself that we're here to visit, as it was used for many of the close-up lakeside scenes.
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Ron and Hermione stand on the bank of the lake while Hagrid tells them about Buckbeak’s execusion (although back shots of Hagrid looking out over the lake are in Scotland!), and later Harry fights off Dementors here (although again, long shots were filmed in Scotland).  
In The Goblet of Fire Harry reads on the bank of the river while Neville fishes, Hermione conveys messages between Harry and Ron, and Harry chats with Barty Crouch Snr.  
Virginia Water Lake was the location for the start of the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, with a purpose built jetty… once again leading into (and looking out over) Scottish lakes.  The magic of cinema!  A cascading waterfall can be spotted in behind-the-scenes footage and deleted scenes from the films.  
Pic 1 - the bank and jetty they are standing on is at Virginia Water, the background is in Scotland
Unused scenes from The Order of the Phoenix, including a scene with McGonagall sitting in a wheelchair reading a newspaper, were also filmed here.
There is some discussion on line and in books about whether Forbidden Forest scenes from The Prisoner of Azkaban, including Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class were filmed at Virginia Water or at Black Park (from the "F" post).  Possibly if I'd visited either location in spring I'd have been able to work it out, but the plants on film didn't match the plants at either location while I was there.  If anyone from the production company/film crew would like to confirm one way or the other I'd appreciate it.
It has been said though (by the infamous "they") that the trees at Virginia Water, with their large, exposed knobbly roots, were the inspiration for the studio sets used in several of the other films.

The cross stitching part of the A-Z Challenge continues at Fangirl Stitches, where R is for Ruby and Rhydon.

Happy travels



  1. Finally catching up with my A to Z reading! :D
    And omg your posts are making me DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE to go and visit the sets and locations too! :D
    The pictures and the details are all so so awesome!! It's like being a part of the movies :D
    ~ Saraallie

  2. Hello, I am creating the best world map on harry potter, with the exact position of all places with their precise gps coordinates.

    Could you share your places with me?

    write me on instagram @the_p_adventure