J.K. Rowling’s world-renowned Harry Potter series has not only captivated readers and viewers around the globe but has also stamped its magical mark on London. For Potterheads planning a pilgrimage to the city where it all began, we’ve created the ultimate guide. So, grab your wands, put on your cloaks, and let’s chase the magic!
King’s Cross Station: Platform 9¾
Our journey starts where Harry’s did: at King’s Cross Station. Head to the western departures concourse to find the iconic Platform 9¾. Pose with the half-disappeared luggage trolley and relive the moment Harry first entered the magical world. Just next to it, there’s a dedicated Harry Potter shop where you can buy everything from wands to robes. Remember to get there early to beat the queues!
Leadenhall Market: Diagon Alley
The Victorian covered market in the heart of the city was one of the primary filming locations for Diagon Alley. With its cobbled floors and beautiful old shops, it’s easy to imagine yourself buying magical supplies. Look out for an optician’s in Bull’s Head Passage; it stood as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in the movies.
Introduced in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” this pedestrian-only steel suspension bridge offers a panoramic view of the city. While you hopefully won’t experience a Death Eater attack, the breathtaking architecture and views are magical in their own right.
Lambeth Bridge: Knight Bus Ride
Remember the scene in “The Prisoner of Azkaban” where the Knight Bus squeezes between two London buses? That nail-biting sequence was filmed on Lambeth Bridge. The bridge itself offers stunning views and is a must-visit for every fan.
Piccadilly Circus: The Trio’s Escape
In “The Deathly Hallows Part 1”, Harry, Ron, and Hermione narrowly avoid a London bus while apparating. That sequence was filmed in the bustling area of Piccadilly Circus. The place is lively, filled with neon signs, theatres, and iconic landmarks, ensuring a mix of magic and modernity.
Westminster Underground Station
While the London Underground may seem mundane to locals, for Harry, it was an adventure. Relive the scene from “Order of the Phoenix” by hopping on a tube here.
Reptile House at London Zoo: Parseltongue Discovery
One of Harry’s earliest encounters with magic was speaking to a Burmese python at London Zoo’s Reptile House. Visit and immerse yourself in that sense of discovery and wonder. Just be careful what you say to the snakes!
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel: Hogwarts Express Departure
Although King’s Cross is the official station for the Hogwarts Express, the exterior shots were filmed at the stunningly Gothic St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. With its red brick and pointed arches, it captures the magic perfectly.
Australia House: Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Located on Strand, Australia House served as the filming location for Gringotts, the only known bank of the wizarding world. While you can’t venture inside to see the goblins, the exterior is enough to give you chills.
Claremont Square: 12 Grimmauld Place
This square in Islington stood in for Sirius Black’s family home and the Order of the Phoenix’s headquarters. Walk around and soak in the wizarding world vibes.
Magical Tips for Potterheads
Guided Tours: Many companies offer guided Harry Potter tours. They’re an excellent way for fans to see multiple locations while enjoying behind-the-scenes facts.
Themed Cafes: London boasts several Potter-themed cafes. Stop by for a Butterbeer or some Chocolate Frogs!
Visit in Costume: For the true Potter experience, why not visit these locations in costume? Just be prepared for some curious muggles asking for photos.
Chasing Harry Potter through London provides not only a magical experience but also a fascinating journey through historic and contemporary London. Whether you’re a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, the city’s charm and the series’ enchanting locations will make you feel right at home.
Prepare to be spellbound! London awaits with its blend of magic and history, just waiting for you to uncover its secrets. Safe travels and “Mischief Managed!”