This month I accidentally went to Harry Potter’s birthplace.
I guess the fact that I was staying in a room under the stairs should have been a clue.
That and all the picturesque, crooked houses that bear an uncanny resemblance to Godric’s Hollow, the wizard’s early childhood home.
That’s because this is the real life Godric’s Hollow AKA Lavenham in Suffolk, filming location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
I hadn’t known about the link before I arrived in Lavenham, but once I realised, I was on the hunt for the most well known location of all.
This Lavenham doorway, with its ancient carved columns, is one of the most photographed doorways in Britain, for it belongs to the house where Harry Potter was born.
It’s also where Lord Voldemort offed his parents, but we won’t dwell on that.
This way, Potterheads. Bring your wand
Its real name is De Vere House, taking its name from the De Vere family. In medieval times the De Vere family were the second richest family after the King and were responsible for creating much of Lavenham’s medieval grandeur which is still in evidence today.
Believed to have originally been built by the 12th Earl, De Vere House was subsequently modified by John De Vere, the 13th Earl of Oxford, and was probably originally used as a hunting lodge.
Only the exterior was used in the Harry Potter films. The interiors and actors were filmed elsewhere thanks to filmic jiggery pokery.
The 14th Century house is one of 340 listed buildings in Lavenham, which is considered to be the best-preserved medieval village in England. I was there to visit Lavenham Literary Festival.
We stayed at The Swan , a beautiful 15th century building full of beams and fireplaces and nooks and crannies. So whilst we did indeed end up under the stairs, it was a lot more luxurious than No4 Privet Drive. You can also stay at De Vere House, for the true HP experience.
It’s such a lovely historic village and fascinating to walk around. Definitely worth a visit whether you’re a Potterhead or not.
How to get to Harry Potter’s birthplace
Lavenham is in Suffolk, close to Ipswich and Cambridge. It’s easier to drive to, though parking can be a bit of a squeak.
If you’re travelling by public transport, get a train to Sudbury and then a bus to Lavenham.
Harry Potter’s birthplace, AKA De Vere House, is on Water Street. You can also stay in the house via Airbnb.
I am visiting somewhere new every month this year. Check out my previous adventures here.