Serving as the backdrop to some of the film series’ most iconic scenes such as the Yule Ball and the Battle of Hogwarts, the Great Hall was first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2000 and was used as a key set for six more films. The spectacular Great Hall includes the costumes of students from each Hogwarts house plus two large tables which are set for dinner; at the top of the room is the teachers' table where the Hogwarts Professors sat. The Great Hall is home to some of the beautiful hand crafted props created for the Harry Potter film series including Professor Dumbledore’s lectern and the House Points Counter. Though rarely seen on screen, it is rumoured that when the House Points Counter was first built it caused a national shortage of Indian glass beads.
The Forbidden Forest seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a combination of location and studio shooting. This moved entirely to the Studio for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in order to house Aragog’s lair and continued to grow throughout the film series. While shooting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, scenic artists created backdrops that were up to six hundred feet in length. The Forbidden Forest seen at the Studio Tour is filled with 19 trees each with a diameter of over 12 feet.
The Hogwarts Express locomotive transported hundreds of students from Platform 9¾ to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Most of the scenes that take place on Platform 9¾ were actually shot on location at King’s Cross Station in London, however, during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, part of the station platform was recreated on a soundstage here at Leavesden, complete with the track and the train. The Hogwarts Express provided the background for the very first shot ever captured for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and then, ten years later, for the very last shot of the entire series in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. The real locomotive and passenger carriages were used on locations throughout the United Kingdom to create the exterior views of the train while a special interior carriage set (built on the soundstages at Leavesden) was used for all of the scenes that take place inside the train. Visual effects artists replaced the green screen background in the windows with moving backdrops and special effects like hopping Chocolate Frogs and flying Dementors.
The Diagon Alley set constantly changed throughout the film series. Since its construction, walls have shifted, shop fronts have moved and entire buildings have been carefully tweaked, leaning just slightly, to create the street that is seen in the films. Many of the Diagon Alley set pieces were also re-dressed for use in the village of Hogsmeade for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The original design of the street combined the rich details from the Harry Potter books with inspiration from the streets described in the works of Charles Dickens. Diagon Alley is home to not only Gringotts Bank, Flourish and Blotts and Mr Mulpepper’s Apothecary but also the dusty Ollivanders wand shop, where Harry’s wand famously chose him. The shop was home to more than 17,000 individually labelled wand boxes during filming.