Six similarities between Hogwarts and a British boarding school

Six similarities between Hogwarts and a British boarding school

With inspiring buildings, lifelong friendships and a broad and varied curriculum, J.K. Rowling’s timeless Harry Potter books have placed British boarding schools thoroughly on the map.

In fact, thanks to Harry Potter, an increasing number of students are choosing a British boarding school education, spurred on by the magical experience they can offer.

“I think it was the Harry Potter effect,” said Nick Ward, former UK boarding school Headmaster, of the popularity of British schools. “I think it takes more than a young boy being a wizard to make up someone’s mind, but one thing the books have done is promote to children the idea that boarding schools can be exciting places.”

Welcoming common rooms, house colours and a friendly competitive spirit are just some of the attractions for potential students – with Quidditch replaced by hockey, rugby and tennis to name a few. So too are the stunning grounds, modern boarding accommodations and beautiful settings in the British countryside, meaning that students benefit during their time at boarding school, both inside and outside of the classroom.

British boarding schools are also renowned across the globe for the diverse curriculums offered. The British education system respected and recognised worldwide, meaning that students will gain a traditional learning experience and qualifications which will stand them in good stead in the future.

A lover of Harry Potter? For those interested in choosing a British boarding school education, read on to find out about six similarities between the fictional Hogwarts and real-life British institutions:

1. Inspiring architecture

While Hogwarts may have been home to bewitched bridges and the like, modern-day British boarding schools have their own stories to tell. Beautiful oak-lined corridors, spiral staircases and even the odd secret passageway or two are just some of the delights awaiting students. Medieval interiors, Gothic towers and gargoyles are just some of the architectural features adorning schools, not forgetting the beautiful grounds home to chapels, fountains and mazes hiding a whole different world ready to be explored during break times.

2. Feeling at home: boarding school houses

Just as Harry wore red and gold colours for Gryffindor, pride in house colours mean that students feel like they are part of a family. British boarding schools encourage students to be proud of their house – creating a real home-away-from-home. Just as at Hogwarts, students create lasting friendships and gain a whole new circle of friends from amongst their boarding house peers. Although students won’t be part of Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, British boarding schools also uphold Hogwarts’ ideals of supporting and nurturing students during their studies and downtime.

3. Quirky Teachers

Yes, Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall may have only taught at Hogwarts, but at British boarding schools, a whole host of talented and dynamic staff ensure that students have an inspiring and exciting learning experience. Most boarding school staff often hold a higher qualification in their field, meaning that students are offered the very best in teaching and lesson structure. From sports to science to literature and the arts, British boarding school students are encouraged to ask questions, think laterally and share and engage with their fellow students – making classroom time an immersive experience.

4. The uniform

Scholar gowns, chorister cassocks and a smart uniform ensure a truly Hogwartian atmosphere on school grounds. At British boarding schools it is up to students to ensure that their shoes are shiny and their uniform remains neat and clean, just as at Hogwarts, meaning that students quickly assume responsibility for their own possessions. While Harry Potter might have been scruffy at times, British boarding school students are proud of the institution that they represent and are encouraged to have a tidy appearance.

5. Taking the Hogwarts Express

While students won’t be waiting at Platform 9 ¾, taking the train and travelling off  to school for the term is also part of the experience available to boarding school students. Just like students travelling to Hogwarts, students will be laden with suitcases and their boarding school trunk – though they probably won’t need to take their broomstick along!

6. Great friends

From dorm acquaintances, teammates and house peers, at British boarding schools, students make friends in a whole different variety of settings and circumstances. Just as at Hogwarts, British boarding schools provide a safe environment in which students can develop deep relationships and lasting friendships. Just as Ron, Hermione and Harry are inseparable, British boarding school students will also make friends with whom to travel and undergo a whole different range of magical and exciting adventures.


This article was sponsored by King’s Ely, an independent boarding school located in Cambridgeshire. King’s Ely students are encouraged to be courageous and self-assured, while developing a good sense of humour. Students are pushed beyond their comfort zone, providing a unique and challenging learning experience. Established in 970AD, the school is proud of its links to the cathedral, meaning that students continue to become part of an ongoing historical heritage. King’s Ely provides students with a supportive, nurturing environment and a springboard for them to progress both academically and during their chosen future career.