Harry Potter fans’ guide to London: Potterhead’s dream from King’s Cross to Cursed Child to Borough Market
Even beyond Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the forthcoming Back to Hogwarts, and the Warner Bros tour in Watford, London has plenty for Potterheads.
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Hogwarts itself may be a long train journey from London, but the capital plays an important role in the Harry Potter books and films.
For fans, or ‘Potterheads’, there is plenty to explore, from filming locations to platform 9¾.
On September 1 the Back to Hogwarts countdown at King’s Cross Station, marking the day the Hogwarts Express leaves, is bound for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The fan-made tradition continues to grow and this year a competition has been launched to find the UK’s biggest Harry Potter fan to lead the countdown.
Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station
This destination brings to life the scenes recurring throughout the Harry Potter books and films. This creation by JK Rowling is possibly the most famous railway platform in the world - so definitely a ‘must see’ for Harry Potter fans. On September 1, you can catch the Back to Hogwarts countdown, which thousands of fans from across the country will make the trip down to see.
Where: Euston Road, London N1 9AL
Millenium Bridge appears in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie - and is destroyed in a Death Eater attack. The striking use of CGI and live-action shots means the bridge itself is almost unrecognisable. If that isn’t enough to satisfy your Potter-heart, the bridge offers a great view of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, home to the spiralling geometric staircase also seen in the films.
Where: Thames Embankment, London EC4V 3QH
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Escape Room
If you are looking to (quite literally) escape to another world, make sure you check this experience out by Enigma Quests. It is appropriate that a warning be issued here, as only the most knowledgeable of fans will be able to decipher these ingenious puzzles on six magical subjects (from Charms to Defence Against the Dark Arts), before the 60-minute ticking clock runs out.
Where: 2-12 Wilson St, London EC2M 7LS
The beautifully covered, Victorian market makes an appearance in the first Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), where Hagrid and Harry are seen walking through the market and towards the door of The Leaky Cauldron pub. On visiting, whilst being able to enjoy not only a greater insight into one of the most memorable scenes in the franchise, Leadenhall Market hosts shops, pubs, bars and restaurants in the heart of the City.
Where: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT
A temporarily converted flower shop in Borough Market - after Leadenhall Market’s use in the first film - serves as the doorway to the Leaky Cauldron pub and features in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It can be found at 7 Stoney Street, underneath a railway arch on the edge of the market. Just next door at number 8, the shopfront may look familiar to Potterheads. This is because it is where Harry first met Lucius Malfoy and Professor Lockhart, when shopping for school supplies with the Weasleys in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Where: London SE1 9AL
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is the eighth instalment in the series, a play set 19 years later and written by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. The West End show is currently on at the Palace Theatre, with tickets quickly selling out, and has received widespread acclaim.
Where: 113 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 5AY
Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
It’s not quite in London, but it’s only 20 minutes on the train from Euston train station, followed by a 15 min shuttle bus ride to the studio, you are able to immerse yourself into the land of witchcraft and wizardry. The tour offers a detailed look into the films’ intricate costumes, beautiful sets and unique props, as well as the opportunity to purchase official merchandise and souvenirs along the way (try the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, if you dare…).
Where: Warner Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LP
The Cauldron Bar
Otherwise known as the ‘Potion Bar’, The Cauldron is most well-known for the potion making (cocktail making) class it offers, much like Professor Snape’s (who serves as potions master in the first five books). In the class, you will receive a magic wand, don a signature cloak and brew two signature cocktails (or mocktails, for a family friendly experience). The Cauldron offers a range of elixirs from The Transfiguration Tonic to The Shirley Spellman, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options available.
Where: 5d Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 8BH