London is the best place to visit if you are a Harry Potter fan. As the bearer of many shooting locations and themed experiences, the city has proved time and again to be a worthy substitute for the Wizarding World. It’s true! Throughout the release of the 7 books and 8 movie installments, fans from all over the world have come to the city to experience the ultimate Harry Potter experiences.
The majority of the film shoots were held in Europe and a large portion of them were in London. With major landmarks from the city being the backdrops for famous shots and even making appearances in scenes that showcased catastrophic destruction, true Potterheads will be able to recognize many famous buildings and locations throughout the iconic city.
And for those that are bummed out because they never received their acceptance letter from Hogwarts, the streets of London will deliver enough to lift your spirits! To really enhance your trip, look for some Harry Potter themed wizarding accommodation to stay in too!
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From themed shops and Easter Eggs to shooting locations and movie-inspired experiences, here’s a guide on how to unlock “Harry Potter, London” (without having to use Alohomora). Keep reading for a curated list of Harry Potter Attractions in London!
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The London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world and a must-visit for anyone in London. Rather convenient that it’s so popular too since one of the most iconic scenes of the franchise was shot here! Set aside the time to visit the Reptile House to instantly be taken back to the scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where Harry communicates with a boa constrictor for the first time, before accidentally setting it free.
Located in The Regent’s Park, the zoo is divided into 3 parts, with animals from all over the world. There are lions, tigers, giant tortoises, and komodo dragons, gorillas, and even penguins. If you ask me, the London Zoo is wild enough to be in the “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them”! If you’re traveling with your family, kids are sure to be delighted by all the furry friends here so don’t skip it.
If you’re just beginning your quest for Potter-themed locations, why not start at the very beginning? Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest marketplaces in the country, which has led to it undergoing many renovations and redecorations. However, if you look closely enough, you’ll surely find one of the most famous shoot locations from the first movie: the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron!
The Leaky Cauldron held the entrance to Diagon Alley in the movie and you can still find the place at 42 Bull’s Head Passage. Feel free to recreate the scene yourself; just avoid trying to get in, because, of course, it doesn’t work for Muggles! Although the Diagon Alley scenes were shot elsewhere (mentioned below!), you can still experience the busyness of a European marketplace at Leadenhall Market. With amazing architecture and painted ceilings, you’ll feel the magic about you in an instant!
King’s Cross Station
When you’re done shopping for all your wizarding supplies, head down to King’s Cross Station and make your way to Platform 9¾ before the Hogwarts Express departs. When visiting the station, keep an eye out for a particular cheeky Easter Egg on the actual platforms in question that is a nod to Potterheads from everywhere. If you haven’t caught on yet, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the pillars between Platforms 9 and 11: a sign that reads “Platform 9¾”!
To make things more fun for tourists, there’s even a trolley here that’s already halfway through the barrier! The wall with its prop is a popular spot among Harry Potter fans for pictures, so expect a long line when you visit.
Try to stop by early in the morning to avoid the rush and get the chance to check out the Harry Potter gift shop. near the platform. Just don’t lose track of time and miss the train, because we can’t guarantee the Weasleys will give you their car again!
The Millenium Bridge
Standing majestic over the Thames, the Millenium Bridge is an iconic landmark on the South Bank. While the bridge is a popular attraction among Muggles, Potterheads will remember this as the footbridge the Death Eaters destroyed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The bridge is a fantastic viewpoint to take in the lovely views of the city and is also a fantastic spot to stop by if you want to take some breathtaking photos. With plenty of places in the vicinity to wine and dine, you’ll be able to spend as long as you want on the river bank without getting bored.
The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – Escape Room
Get ready to rack your brain at this Harry Potter-inspired escape room by Enigma Quests. Get in teams of up to 5 people and put your magical skills to the test to find a way to escape from inside your room before time runs out. Ready? Well then, wands out!
Enigma Quests is located at 2-12 Wilson Street, Shoreditch, and is easily accessible by the Liverpool Street Station. Once you’re at the place, you will have the Questmaster debrief you about the escape room and also assist you in tackling it. It’s sure to impress you with its attention to detail, but be quick about it because you only have one hour to solve the puzzle!
With fantastic sets, designs, and magical surprises around you, unlock your inner Snape as you tackle Potions, arm yourself for Defense Against the Dark Arts, and finish all your tasks to impress your Questmaster and receive an ‘O’ for Outstanding! For a smooth experience, visit the website to make your booking prior to your visit.
Wands and Wizards Exploratorium
Afternoon tea is quite the highlight in London, so why not have one that goes all-out to make your experience as magical as can be? Make your way to the Wands and Wizards Exploratorium for their Wizard Afternoon Tea, an interactive tea-brewing experience that is sure to delight both the little ones and the young at heart.
Brew your teas with interactive wands that you choose before you begin your session. Use your wand to control tea stands, open chests, and transfigure your tea into a fantastical creation! Use Potions and find the right blend of ingredients to treat your palette.
Aside from afternoon tea, you will also have the choice to opt for a Potions Experience where you will get to don your robes and savor a drink from a unicorn’s mouth. Get your wand ready and head to your designated workstation to brew your own drink, concocted with elixirs that look and feel distinctly different from each other. A visit to the Wands and Wizards Exploratorium is definitely worth your time, so book your slots ahead of time and remember to drop by!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Miss the on-screen magic of the Wizarding World? Get ready to go back to Hogwarts with the next generation of wizards and witches with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The story continues with Harry’s son, Albus Severus Potter, attending his parents’ alma mater, Hogwarts, and unfolds with the events that follow in his life.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an award-winning two-part stageplay that was first performed at the Palace Theatre in London in 2016. The play runs year-round so make sure you witness the next chapter in the lives of the Potters in a tale of friendship, family bonding, and betrayal. The play consists of four acts, revisiting our favorite characters, including the mischievous trio who are adults in the Wizarding World, enemy-turned-ally Draco Malfoy, and more.
Many of the film series’ sequences had to be done in artificial sets to ensure the allure of magic and spells. Today, these sets have been converted into museum-like tourable premises that fans need to visit to have their minds “Reducto”-ed away!
The Warner Brothers Studio is set in Leavesden, and following the end of shooting, has been opened up to the public through a tour that takes you through the charm of both elaborate props and the magic of visual effects.
From a life-sized model of the Hogwarts Express, in all its grandeur; to a miniature model of Hogwarts; and even the set models of the Great Hall and the Gryffindor common room, the Warner Bros. Studio has plenty to keep you engaged and entranced for the day.
See Privet Drive, Harry’s room under the stairs, go to Hagrid’s and see how perspective makes a person look like a giant.
For the more daring, the studio also has Aragog, the giant animatronic spider! He’s one to send chills down your spine, but don’t worry if that’s too intimidating for the little ones, as there is an alterative path without the spiders descending.
You will also find sweet old Buckbeak, bowing down in greeting. Before you leave, make sure you stop by the gift shop to take home chocolate frogs and wands.
At Christmas time, the set is decorated so beautifully, just like the Yule Ball. The Great Hall is the first place to enter on the tour, and if you are lucky, you may get chosen to open the grand doors! This tour is one NOT to miss!
The graphic design team of the Harry Potter franchise has now set up a gift shop and Harry Potter experience center in Soho. Sprawled out over multiple floors, the place displays paintings and maps all across its walls, as well as props and gizmos scattered throughout the building.
Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima have done an amazing job setting up this magical corner. You’ll find WANTED posters from the movies, wallpapers for your interior decor, insignias, postcards, prints from The Daily Prophet, and so much more. And to make things even better? Entry into this wonderful museum/gallery is free for all, making it a must-visit.
One of the best ways to explore wizarding spots in and around London is to go on a guided walking tour. And if you’re looking for the best one, it’s none other than the Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour.
Embark on your journey either by boat or through the city’s underground passages. You will also get to partake in a couple of exciting activities apart from exploring classic locations around the city, such as choosing your house and putting your Wizarding World knowledge to the test.
Sit back and relax as a guide takes you through famous filming spots such as Diagon Alley. No more worrying about exploring unknown places by yourself and managing things like schedules and timings. With a guide to take care of all the mundane tasks, all you have to worry about is having fun with your family!
Check out this link for ticket details and bookings.
Where was Harry Potter shot?
The Harry Potter films were shot in different locations across Europe, including Scotland and many villages and outbacks in England. Many iconic scenes and sequences were shot in London, some in famous landmarks, such as the Millennium Bridge and Piccadilly Circus.
Is Diagon Alley real?
Although many streets in England look very similar to Diagon Alley from the movies, most of the scenes were shot on a movie set, with a couple of scenes shot around Leadenhall Market and Charing Cross Road. This includes the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and a few other places in Diagon Alley.
Is there a Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station?
Platform 9¾ is the legendary boarding point for the Hogwarts Express. As a nod to fans of the Wizarding World, King’s Cross Station has labeled a pillar near Platform 9 as “Platform 9¾”. Fans are welcome to pose next to the pillar with a trolley that looks like it’s already halfway through the wall to emulate the famous scene in the movie!
Is Hogwarts Express Real?
The Hogwarts Express was orginally GWR 4900 5972 Olton Hall, built in 1937 by Great Western Railways in Swindon more recently carefully restored to its original condition by West Coast Railways.
The Hogwarts Express as it is more commonly known, is on show and available for all to see at Warner Bros Studio Tour in London. Visit Warner Brothers Studio’s Making of Harry Potter Tour to see movie props, costumes, and settings, such as the Gryffindor common room and Hogwarts Express, maintained just as seen in the movies.
Ride the replica steam train, The Jacobite in Scotland and follow part of the journey to Hogwarts!
Are walking tours available?
Walking tours are available to take you around the city while you kick back and relax. Forget about worrying about schedules and timings and let your tour guide take you and your family around for a fun time. Check out this link for ticket details and bookings of one of London’s most popular Harry Potter tours, Magical London.
Family Travel Planning Resources We Use
Flights: We always use Skyscanner as it is user friendly, allows you to check deals for everywhere if not sure where to go, and seems to find the cheapest flight deals in most cases.
Tours and Activities: GetYourGuide has a wide range of family friendly activities around the world.
Accommodation: Booking.com is who we use when researching for places to stay (we like their flexible cancellation policies. We do also check directly with larger hotels brands too.
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