There’s lots more for Harry Potter fans to see in London as well as the Warner Bros Studios. The city was the backdrop for many scenes from the films and wannabe wizards can visit them all. Following in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione, our guide will take you from Platform 9 ¾ to Leadenhall Market where the Diagon Alley scenes were filmed.
As a die-hard Harry Potter fan living in London, I’ll sometimes be wandering down a street and stumble across one of the film locations, totally by accident. So you Potterheads don’t miss out, download the guide to your phone so you have it to hand – just like magic!
The Eurostar train station can be seen in the second film (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) when Harry and the Weasleys land in front of the station in the flying Ford Anglia.
Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP
Get a photo at the brick wall leading to Platform 9 ¾ where Harry, Ron and Hermione go to catch the Hogwarts Express. Muggles can have their photos taken in front of the wall wearing their choice of house scarf (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff) as they hang on to the baggage trolley and wave a magic wand, wizard-style. Be prepared, queues can be long at weekends and during school holidays so you may want to bring one of the books along with you to brush up on your spell casting. The Harry Potter shop is also in the station if you want to pick up some souvenirs afterwards.
Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AL
The brightly-coloured arches of this Victorian covered market were the setting for some of the outdoor scenes of Diagon Alley. If you walk towards Bull’s Head Passage you’ll see the door of the famous Leaky Cauldron pub, used by wizards as the entrance to the magic street from the world of Muggles.
Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT
The ultra-modern Millennium Bridge connects the Tate Modern with St Paul’s Cathedral. It appears in the first few minutes of the 6th film, when we see it being destroyed by the Death Eaters along with hundreds of Muggles.
Thames Embankment, London SE1 9JE
At the beginning of the Prisoner of Azkaban (the 3rd film), Harry runs away from the Dursley house and takes the Knight Bus to the Leaky Cauldron (set in Borough Market for this film). Once you’ve taken a few photos of the film location (at 7A Stoney Street) head for the market hall and try something delicious from the food stalls there.
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL
In The Order of the Phoenix (the 5th film), Harry and Arthur Weasley go to the Ministry of Magic via an iconic red telephone box (The magic door takes them straight to the Ministry). The phone box was created for the film so you won’t see it, but you’ll recognize the Ministry building on the corner of Great Scotland Yard street and Scotland Place.
Do you remember the stone spiral staircase leading up to Professor Trelawney’s divination class? You can walk up those very same stairs in the south tower at St Paul’s Cathedral. Potter fan or not, it’s worth a visit for the stunning architecture alone. Entrance to the Cathedral costs £18 for an adult and £8 for a child.
St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
If you’re planning a trip to London zoo during your stay, drop into the Reptile House. It may look familiar as it’s where they shot the scene in the 1st film where Harry discovers for the first time that he speaks Parseltongue and can talk to snakes (before he discovers his magical powers).
London NW1 4RY
If that’s not enough of a Potter fix for you, head to the House of Minalima gallery. You’ll find 4 floors exhibiting posters used in the films including book covers, watercolours and a giant Marauder’s map. They’ve recently added artwork from Fantastic Beasts, and entrance is free. Potter megafans can buy posters, notebooks and special editions of the books for their collections.
Less than 1 hour from London, the Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden are heaven for Potter fans and wizards in training. Discover secrets from behind the scenes, visit the sets and see costumes and accessories from the films. To find out more, have a look at our guide to the Studio tour.
If you’ve read all the books at least twice, know the films by heart and have already been on the Studio tour, don’t despair, there’s still the play to see! Get yourself a ticket to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. Book in advance as tickets sell out fast.
Some fun activities for families if you're coming to London with your kids.
Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to the magical world of Harry Potter at Warner Bros Studios, within 1 hour of London.
Watch tigers and gorillas go about their daily business, test your mettle with creepy crawlies and take a walk on the wild side with playful lemurs.
Image credits: © Sergio Neves; © Sergio Neves; © Millie Powell; © Elise Morel; © Sergio Neves; © Shutterstock; © Sergio Neves; © Sergio Neves; © Sergio Neves; © Elise Morel; © Warner Bros; © Sergio Neves; © Warner Bros; © Adobe Stock