“Can we find all this in London?” “If ye know where to go…”
Ahh, the quintessential exchange between Harry and Hagrid as Harry first arrives into London, fresh after learning he is a wizard. If you’re a Harry Potter lover like me, you’ll know that London is the absolute mecca of all things to do with the wizarding world. London’s already an amazing city, but it is definitely a nice bonus to casually run into a scene you’ve definitely seen before in your favorite film. This post will help you break down some of the top Harry Potter spots that London has to offer! These spots not only get you to your favorite movie destinations, but they are also a great way to explore the city, so even your friends who are not into Harry Potter can have fun tagging along!
Platform 9 ¾
Obviously, Platform 9 ¾ in the King’s Cross St. Pancras station is where we have to begin. This is where students notoriously run at the wall between Platforms 9 and 10 to pass into the station to board the Hogwarts Express. King’s Cross station has a photo-op for you to pose with a luggage cart and get a good running start at the platform! However, if you are wanting an even more authentic experience, be sure to check out Platforms 4 and 5 in the station, where filming for the movie actually took place. After having so many fans running at the wall between these platforms, they decided to create the mock 9 ¾ outside the actual platforms in the station.
One of the most recognizable locations is Leadenhall Market. With its tall Victorian-style architecture and glittering shop windows, it’s the spitting image of Diagon Alley. This is because filming actually took place here for the first movie! You can run around the market pretending you’re Harry and find The Leaky Cauldron’s façade, now an optician’s shop.
Next up is Borough Market. Already one of my top favorite food markets that London has to offer, Borough ups its game with its connection to the Harry Potter series. Though today a taco joint, you can find The Leaky Cauldron’s façade from the filming of Prisoner of Azkaban at No. 7 Stoney Street. While you may not be able to find any chocolate frogs, be sure to grab a bite to eat at one of the many bustling food vendors while you’re there!
Reptile House at the London Zoo
This one’s a great option if you want to sneakily slip in a Harry Potter-inspired trip when your friends are not fans of the series. A day at the zoo is always fun, but it is even more enjoyable when you get to see the reptile house where Harry first shows signs of being a parsletongue. The snake enclosure even has a plaque to commemorate where the filming took place! Make sure to make your rounds to the remainder of the zoo, where they have various free-roaming animal exhibits.
With such close ties to the series, London constantly seems to be having different Harry Potter-themed exhibitions. The House of MinaLima exhibit is one that I’ve been lucky to catch during my stay. This exhibit features the many graphic design prints used in the movies by artists Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. You’ll see feature pieces such as The Daily Profit newspapers as well as the designs for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products. This free exhibit also includes a guide to explain the designs’ integral role in creating the overall atmosphere for the series, where no detail is too small. You can even catch some of the work used for the Fantastic Beasts movies!
Warner Brothers Studio Tours
The grand finale of all that London has to offer in the realm of Harry Potter is obviously the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. While you may have to trek a bit outside of London to get to Leavesden, it is definitely worth the commute. Here you will see the sets where filming actually took place, concept art, magical creature animatronics, props for the movies, and costumes (just to name a few highlights). The ultimate experience for any Harry Potter lover, make sure you book your ticket well in advance as tour times fill up quick!
Hopefully this rundown helped you discover some of the best Harry Potter spots that London has to offer. That being said, don’t forget the classic scenes of Millennium Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Australia House’s Gringotts Bank, and that the city is also home to The Cursed Child play. The list goes on and on, so start planning your perfect wizarding path to apparate around the city!