Sights, studio and wizarding world magic spread out across the capital – who said London was boring? Well, nobody quite frankly but there’s more to it than what meets the eye. Check out some of London’s transformation hotspots you can visit to get your fix of Harry Potter – the muggle-born way.
Hotspot 1 – King’s Cross Station.
It’s a GIVEN GO-TO! Although we may not be able to hop aboard the Hogwarts Express, we can still run through brick walls with our trolleys at platform 9¾ at Kings Cross – although the train departed awkwardly between the walls of platforms 4 and 5, visit the real life entrance to Harry’s first experience of the wall via the west side entrance of the station and spot the trolley disappearing into the wall! (Be sure to catch the infamous jump shots too – perhaps boomerang? Could be interesting).
Hotspot 2 – St Pancras International
Not even a few 100ft away from Kings Cross lies the very memorable scene of Harry and Ron first driving the flying Ford Angila just outside of St Pancras Hotel… (we’re hoping you’ve recognised this is where it happened by now), so if you have a Ford, or maybe just any long bonneted car – perhaps angle a jack at the front of it in such a way to ‘grab that pic for the gram’.
Hotspot 3 – Piccadilly Circus
Revisiting the Deathly Hallows P.1 right now – imagine running into the street and seeing Harry, Ron & Hermione duck out and rush through West End and miss being hit by the good old London buses – say hello to Piccadilly Circus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt4UXxKvuEk
Hotspot 4 – London Zoo, Reptile House
Fancy your chances at Parseltongue or just to get the Slytherin house emblem fix? (Providing you’re not too freaked out by snakes that is), London Zoo’s Reptile House is where Harry first discovered his gift for talking to snakes in Philosophers Stone. Although the house is home to more than 650 species, discover a world of mammals, birds and more on a visit round.
Hotspot 5 – Millennium Bridge
Remember that super WOAAAAHHH moment of The Half-Blood Prince where you see that funky looking footbridge start collapsing? Yep – it was the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian-only steel suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames and made its dramatic and also partially worrying debut in the Potter series. It connects Bankside with the city and offers some amazing views of St Paul’s Cathedral along the way so be sure to have IG loaded up at the ready.
Hotspot 6 – Charing Cross Road
Also known more commonly in the wizarding world as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron – the gateway between our usual muggle life and Diagon Alley… which is next! Charing Cross Road is known for its amazing specialist shops and second-hand bookshops and antique stores, so maybe you might stumble across some awesome Potter memorabilia from the movies – if someone else hasn’t already snapped them up too!
Hotspot 7 – Diagon Alley
OH YES! The one we’ve all been waiting for! Diagon Alley we all know was accessed via the Leaky Cauldron right – well, the pub was actually staged up from the opticians in Bull’s Head Passage in Leadenhall Market, which transformed into the real life Diagon Alley. Now we’re fully aware that the opticians doesn’t sound as exciting, but at least you’ll be able to find some cute and quirky one-offs whilst you’re at the market!
Hotspot 8 – Gringrotts Bank
Let’s face it, they had a pretty amazing bank right? Like, it just looked stunning, even before it got creepy and insanely huge behind the scenes of the chandeliers and ornate floors when we were in the stages of Bellatrix’s secrets. But Gringrotts Bank was actually filmed within Australia House on Strand – a major landmark on the street which was opened by King George V in 1918.
Hotspot 9 – Lambeth Bridge
That super cool yet weirdly elongated Knight bus – yep, took it’s iconic debut on Lambeth Bridge where we see it through its paces squeezing between the iconic London red buses! So I guess it’s perhaps not a moment to recreate, but you could probably find some awesome fun mirrors to position along the sidewalk and have some magical moments stretching people out!
Hotspot 10 - Claremont Square
Now Islington might seem like a bit of weird one, but Grimmauld Place was actually doubled in from the row of houses along Claremont Square. With No.12 acting as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix in London and Sirius’s home, take a stroll down the dainty streets of North London and watch your step for Kreacher.
Other cool places for Potter fans –
Virginia Water in Surrey: although it’s still technically London, it’s a bit too far out to class as easy to get to! But it holds the beautiful backdrop for Harry and Buckbeaks’ flight scene in The Prisoner of Azkaban as well as other movies too such as Robin Hood.
Warner Bros Studios – The Making of Harry Potter: situated in Leavesden and accessible from Watford Junction, if you’re on a trailing tour of the iconic spots of the movies, its only right you pay a visit to the Warner Bros studio tour too! Get those cameras at the ready to take iconic shots walking along Diagon Alley, the Great Hall and Forbidden Forest as well as enjoying a pint of butter beer and exploring the dorms. You can book tickets in advance online here