One place where wizarding magic is particularly prevalent is in the UK capital city of London. From Hogwarts themed hotels to little-known and secret bars, if it’s still real for you too, then this Harry Potter London tour is one itinerary you’ll want to steal. So Alohomora: here’s your complete guide to unlocking the secrets behind the filming locations and book inspiration for Harry Potter in London!
As I sit here writing this article, I’m wearing my Ravenclaw Pyjamas and sipping tea from my Hogwarts mug (what can I say, I’m a super-fan!). Like many millennials around the world, I’ve been waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance since age 11 with eager anticipation. Sadly, that day has not yet come. However, in the meantime, there are plenty of Harry Potter locations across the world, just waiting to be discovered…
Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross (In the books and films)
Platform 9 and 3/4 is where the magic truly happens! Kind of. Though there is usually a large queue of tourists waiting for their picture to be taken with the Harry Potter luggage sticking out of the wall, if you head to King’s Cross earlier or later in the day, you’re sure to find fewer people waiting in line. Close to King’s Cross, you’ll find Word on the Water, London’s only ‘bookbarge’.
Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross
No guide to Harry Potter’s London would be complete without the chance to shop for at least a few Hogwarts school supplies. Right next to the Platform 9 and 3/4 photo op, you’ll find the Harry Potter merchandise shop. Inside, there’s a whole array of clothing, stationery and other wizarding goods. More information about the shop can be found on its website.
Embark on a Harry Potter walking tour
If you love guided tours and you’re still waiting for your Hogwarts Letter, then this Magical London Harry Potter walking tour is in English and lasts for two and a half-hour. En-route, you’ll be sorted into your Hogwarts House and visit some enchanting locations.
London St Pancras as King’s Cross Exterior (In the films)
Situated along Euston Road, the beautiful red brick architecture of St Pancras International Station is hard to miss. So beautiful is this building, that the decision was taken to film the exterior of the Eurostar departure station and label it as King’s Cross station in the film.
And so despite confusing tourists ever since, head to St Pancras if you want to see where ‘King’s Cross’ was filmed in the movies. If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay in London, then the nearby St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London is a five-star accommodation in the heart of the city complete with a Harry Potter-esque staircase. Check prices and availability here.
Millennium Bridge as Brockdale Bridge (In the films)
In the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film, Millenium Bridge is shown to be destroyed by Fenrir Greyback and some Death Easters. This is in spite of the fact that the real Millenium Bridge was only completed in 2000 and the Half-Blood book was based in the year 1998.
In the book, it was Brockdale Bridge (a fictional bridge that has never existed) that was destroyed. If you want to get a true taste of the City of London on a more local level, as well as getting a feel for the historical sites the district has to offer, check out this free and self-guided London walking tour.
Australia House is Gringotts (In the films)
Currently home to the Australian High Commission, the wonderful architecture of Australia House was used as inspiration for Gringott’s Bank in the first Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/ Sorcerer’s Stone. Others say that the inspiration for Gringotts in the books is to be found in the form of the Vaults in Exeter.
Regardless, construction of Australia House began in 1913 and was officially opened by King George V in 1918 (building took longer than originally planned as a result of WWI) and its prominent location along the Strand means that it’s hard to miss on any trip to London. Just a little along the road, you’ll find the Fake Roman Bath House of London.
Leadenhall Market is home to the Leakey Cauldron
Of all the Harry Potter in London locations, Leadenhall Market may well be the most beautiful. After all, the stunning Victorian architecture and cute shops of Leadenhall Market are well worth a visit in of themselves and are one of the secret spots in London. In the first Harry Potter film, Leadenhall Market is used as an entryway into Diagon Alley.
Borough Market is [also] home to the Leakey Cauldron (In the films)
Much like you’d imagine the secret entryways to the Leakey Cauldron change in the wizarding world, the filming location for the Leakey Cauldron actually changed in real life. In later films (ie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Borough Market is home to the Leakey Cauldron and the entryway to Diagon Alley.
The precise location for The Leakey Cauldron when it moved to Borough Market was under a bridge overpass at No. 7 Stoney Street. Today, if you’re planning to spend a Sunday in London, then you may well consider checking out Borough Market for a great bite to eat.
Piccadilly Circus (In the films)
Iconic and world famous, Piccadilly Circus was used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows I during a scene where Harry, Ron and Hermione are fleeing from the Death Eaters. The name ‘Piccadilly Circus’ derives from the Latin word for circular and the Piccadil, a kind of collar worn during the 17th-century. For more information on the area, check out this guide to Piccadilly.
Westminster Tube Station (In the films)
If you want to see one location for Harry Potter in London, but are short on time, then Westminster Tube Station is a good introduction to Harry Potter’s London. After all, it’s directly opposite the road from the Elizabeth Tower (which houses Big Ben) and so you’ll get to see two iconic London sights at once! Westminster Tube Station was used as an entryway to The Ministry of Magic during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Stay in a Harry Potter themed Hotel (Wizard Chambers)
For true Harry Potter fans, The Georgian House Hotel offers a ‘Wizard Chambers. This family-run boutique B&B in the heart of central London is home to a Hogwarts-style dorm complete with a curtained four-poster bed and wizarding themed furniture. Check prices and availability here.
Harry Potter Studio Tour
If your itinerary allows for it, then be sure to set aside a little time to venture to the outskirts of London and take a Warner Brothers Studio Tour. See the real-life Diagon Alley, sample some Butter Beer, and marvel at the Great Hall: there’s no shortage of magical experiences to be had on a studio tour. If you’re staying in London, then this Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Transfers includes round-trip transportation and an entrance ticket.
Take a day trip to Oxford
Located around an hour away from London, the beautiful University City of Oxford, aka the City of Dreaming Spires, is filled with Harry Potter filming locations and magical experiences. From seeing spots where the movie was shot to enjoying tours of some of the most beautiful libraries in England, here’s your complete guide to Harry Potter in Oxford.