London is a must see location for any Harry Potter fan. His wizarding life is inextricably linked to London, not only in the books but also in the films with many places being used as film sets.
Who can forget the amazing sight of the Knight bus squeezing past two double decker buses on Lambeth Bridge or the flying car taking off outside St Pancras railway station? While in the Half Blood Prince, the Death Eaters are portrayed destroying the Millenium Bridge!
For every fan, a visit to Kings Cross Station is essential. This is the location of Platform 9 ¾ where you can still find a sign marking its location. Cross the road to St Pancras Station where the majestic Gothic façade was deemed a much more picturesque entry point for journeys to Hogwarts.
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The Victorian surroundings of Leadenhall Market in the City of London and Borough Market on the South Bank formed the ideal locations for the Leaky Cauldron and the magic of Diagon Alley. Head for Lincolns Inn Fields to find the location of 12 Grimmauld Place while the Ministry of Magic was based at Great Scotland Yard in Westminster.
Not to be missed is London Zoo while a resident at a hotel near Wembley Stadium. It was here in the Reptile House that one of the most iconic scenes in Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone took place. Who can forget that memorable scene where he talks to a python and the glass wall disappears!
Equally fun is trying out your wizarding expertise in a London based Harry Potter escape room, pitting your wits against the clock to try and solve numerous cryptic puzzles.
Alternatively, you can book any of the budget hotels in north London and head up to the Harry Potter Studio Tour near Watford in north London. This is where all the Harry Potter films were made, and visitors can see many of the famous sets such as Dumbledore’s Study, the Gryffindor Common Room, Professor Snape’s gloomy potions classroom as well as the Great Hall. You can peep inside the actual Knight Bus, and a replica of No 4 Privet Drive, or see his famous bedroom under the stairs.
On display are fascinating displays of film props ranging from delicately carved boxes and wands to the life size model of Aragog, complete with spiderlings. You can try your hand at flying on a broomstick and discover the secrets of green screen filming or try some butterbeer.
But be warned – prebooking is essential. Tickets get booked up well in advance, so plan ahead for any visit to the Studio Tours.
But don’t despair if you cannot get in. Finding the London film sites is a fun way to explore London, and there are numerous guided walks available if you need help.