The ultimate 2 days Harry Potter self-walking tour in London
1st of July 2020 - By VALIOS
Reminiscing the days where world was a COVID-19 free place and global quarantine didn’t exist, I started thinking on the places I always wanted to visit but never had the time to do them.
One of the things to do on the list (attention Potterheads!!) is to visit the Harry Potter locations in London. Digging on the internet I found some places that might be instantly recognisable whilst others might take some more time and a bit more of imagination
For the first day, we will start with a really early a tour around the West End locations and discover 9 amazing emblematic places in London, filled with Harry Potter's spirit
1 - Lambeth Bridge: The Knight Bus Bridge
How to forget when Harry Potter takes that awesome triple decker night bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, In one notable scene, the Knight Bus squeezes itself between two standard double decker buses. And this scene takes place on Lambeth Bridge, which is the bridge upstream from Westminster Bridge
2 - Westminster Tube
After that, and a couple of blocks away we can catch a spot of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr. Weasley travel through Westminster tube station, with Mr. Weasley getting somewhat confused by the Muggle ticket barriers at the station.
3 - Scotland Place: Harry Potter’s Ministry of Magic
The next stop takes place in the movie Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry and Mr Weasley enter a phone box which serves as the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.
Although is a bit difficult as a muggle to get into the Ministry of Magic you can still visit the location. In Westminster, in the intersection of Scotland Place and New Scotland Yard, lying close to a real-life government building; you can find the entrance to the Ministry of Magic and even though the phone box never existed you can imagine it being there.
4 - Charing Cross Road
Following the plan, the Leaky Cauldron pub and inn for wizards, which serves as a gateway between the non-wizarding world and Diagon Alley can be found on the Muggle street of Charing Cross Road in London’s West End.
5 - Australia House: Harry Potter’s Gringotts Bank
Some minutes away there is The Australia House, which sits on the Strand and was where the interior scenes of Gringotts were filmed.
As the name hints, is home to the Australian Embassy, and unfortunately you can’t actually go inside. Still, you can look at it from the outside and know that just beyond the doors is a magical world of marble, chandeliers and goblins, which Harry visits in a number of movies, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
6 - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Whilst it is not a filming location, the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play is a very popular attraction for Harry Potter fans in London. This has been showing in London’s west end since 2016 at the Palace Theatre. Since then, it has expanded around the world, including places like Broadway in New York.
The play is set nineteen years after the events of the final movie in the series, and tells the story of Harry Potter as an adult, and his son Albus, who is just starting at Hogwarts.
The play is told over two parts, each of which is over 2.5 hours long. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays part one starts at 2 pm and second part at 7:30 pm. Thursdays part one is played at 7:30 and part 2 on Friday at 7:30.
Needless to say, that it is recommended that you book tickets for both parts consecutively. Which you can do on the official site here. (https://www.harrypottertheplay.com/uk/ticket-information/)
7 - Harry potter “Potion Room”
Even though, this is not a filming location either, this place is a must in the tour! This place is perfect if you decide to go to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child show. It is conveniently located walking distance from the Palace Theatre, at Cutter & Squidge bakery at 20 Brewer St, Soho you'll eat tiny sandwiches and drink tea in an underground Potions classroom whilst sitting at desks and wearing wizard robes. No better time to go than after finishing the first part of the show, and enjoy a fully immersive tea experience with spells and potions to mix.
It is recommended to book in advance as it is a very popular tea experience. Sittings are at 12:00pm, 3:00pm and 6:00pm. Prices are £49,50 for adults and £39,5 for kids. You can book your place here (https://potionroom.cutterandsquidge.com/calendar/booking)
8 - House of MinaLima
After eatting at the « Potion Room » and before the second part of the show, let’s stop is the House of MinaLima, a gallery that showcases a lot of the graphic art that features in the Harry Potter world.
Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima started collaborating in 2002, and were responsible for creating the graphic style that featured in all the Harry Potter movies, as well as the later Fantastic Beasts movies. They have also worked on pieces for the Wizarding World theme park.
Their multi-level gallery in London is open from 12:00pm till 9:00pm. There you can explore some of the art they created. It’s free to visit (even the museum-style design galleries), and they also run free guided tours (no booking required) on Mondays and Tuesday.
9 - Piccadilly Circus
To end up the first day and definitely a must on your tour of Harry Potter filming locations in London, let’s meet in the next spot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Piccadilly Circus was a key location in the film when Ron, Hermione, and Harry narrowly avoided being hit by a London bus.
We hope you rested well after your first day of wonder in London! Are you ready to start day #2? Join us at first hour in the morning at the:
1 - The Millennium Bridge: The Harry Potter Bridge in London
One of the most memorable scenes in the death eater chase sequence in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the one in which has the Millennium Bridge being ripped apart and tossed into the river.
Fun fact, when the books were written this bridge didn’t actually exist, but given how nicely it implodes, we’ll give them a pass for this artistic license.
2 - Leadenhall Market: Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley
15 minutes walking away there is the Leadenhall Market tand whilst much of the Diagon Alley scenes were shot in a studio, a number of real-life London locations were also used as Diagon Alley filming locations, and you can visit these quite easily.
The first of these Diagon Alley filming locations was Leadenhall market, a beautiful old covered market in the City of London, which actually dates from the 14th century, making it one of the oldest markets in the city. It was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. More specifically, the door to an optician’s shop in Bulls Head passage was used as the Leaky Cauldron entrance.
3 - London zoo - reptile house
In the heart of Regent’s Park, the world’s oldest scientific zoo
It was in the Reptile House at London Zoo that Harry sets a Burmese python free in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This scene was filmed on location in the Reptile House, and the actual enclosure used is home to the zoo’s black mamba. Which you probably don’t want to try and set free. Note that whilst you do have to pay to get into London Zoo, you can get in for free if you have a London Pass.
Price tickets are from 28.93£. ( Here is the official page to get the tickets https://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/londonzootickets)
Regretfully ZSL London Zoo remains closed to visitors at this time due to COVID-19 situation.
Please see below ZSL London zoo communicate:
Rest assured that our animals will remain well fed and cared for, and the top priority for our dedicated zookeepers and other essential zoo staff, and we are making sure these front line workers are able to get to and from work safely. Find out more here (https://www.zsl.org/coronavirus-london-whipsnade-zoo-update)
4 - Kings Cross: Harry Potter’s train station in London
We all know that to get to Hogwarts, you have to take a train from Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross station of course! The scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed on location at Kings Cross station, between platforms four and five.
You’ll struggle to actually find a real Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross station today. For a long while there was a trolley located in the wall near platforms nine, however, as it became so popular, it was moved, and can now be found in the main concourse of Kings Cross station, next to a Harry Potter store.
Fun fact: Potterheads also gather here on September 1 each year, which is apparently the traditional day for new students to catch the Hogwarts Express.
You can take your photo pushing the trolley “through” the wall, but be aware that as this is probably the most famous Harry Potter location in London, queues can be quite long! Lines can be 1 hour to 2 hours long to take a photo so be prepared.
Another fun fact is that J.K. Rowling chose Kings Cross station as a key location for the Harry Potter stories because that’s where her parents met.
5 - St. Pancras
When Harry arrives at “Kings Cross” to catch the Hogwarts train, the exterior shots are actually of St. Pancras, which just happens to look a bit nicer.
st. Pancras was also where the magical Ford Anglia takes to the skies in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It’s just next door to Kings Cross, so worth the wander across.
6 - Claremont Square, Islington: Harry Potter’s Order of the Phoenix HQ
Whilst you’re in the Kings Cross area, you might want to take a ten minute walk up to Claremont Square.
This was the setting for 12 Grimmauld Place, which any Harry Potter fan will of course recognise as being the home of Sirius Black, and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
7 - The Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter
Last but not least on the list of Harry Potter filming locations in London is the Warner Bros Studio, home of the Warner Bros Studio Tour. This is actually a little way outside the city, near Watford Junction, but as it’s such a fabulous place to visit it is included it in our list. If you will do only one thing related to Harry Potter in London, we have read that you should make this one.
The film studio was where all eight of the Harry Potter films were actually filmed, and they have retained a great many of the clothing, sets, and props from the movies. You can visit numerous filming locations from inside Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, and even Diagon Alley.
You’ll learn many of the secrets of how the films were made, have the opportunity to drink Butterbeer, and generally get all the Harry Potter magic you could imagine. There are also places to stop and eat and a giant gift shop full of all things Harry Potter.
Visits lasts about three hours and is largely self-guided, so you can take as much or little time as you like.
There is different options for buying tickets and getting to for the Warner Bros Studio London Tour. The easiest option is just to book a tour from central London. This gives you all your return transport from central London as well as admission entry to the Warner Bros Studio itself.
Another option you can do is make your own way to the studio. Before you do that, you have to buy tickets in advance as tickets are not available on site. Also be aware that the tour times can book up well in advance. It is recommended to buy your tickets with time. You can also drive yourself, or you can take public transportation.
In case you are taking public transport to the Studio, the easiest (and cheapest) way is to get to Euston station in London and then take the train to Watford Junction. From Watford Junction train station there’s a regular shuttle bus to the studio which takes around fifteen minutes, and at time of writing, costs £2.50 return.
If you are driving yourself or taking public transport, you’ll need to book your ticket directly on the official website. Then if you are driving, it is free to park at the studio as long as you already have your booking confirmation.
If you have an Oyster Card or contactless payment card you can use this to travel from central London on any train departing from London Euston that stops at Watford Junction. See our guide to buying and using the Oyster card in London, and our guide to paying for public transport in London for more on that. Note that the Oyster card cannot be used beyond Watford Junction so don’t go any further!
In case you prefer to not have to figure out the transport yourself, you can book a tour that includes both your studio tickets and your transport from central London.
Where to find it: Studio Tour Dr, Watford. The studios are open 7 days a week from 8:30 am-10 pm. Leavesden is about an hour from central London.
Tips for visiting: And don't assume you can make it through the Harry Potter studio tour in any less than 3-4 hours. This requires at least half a day, if not longer!
Secret tips for the fans
Last but not least; here you can find some other options, that might not have been in the films but can let you have the full Harry Potter experience.
Visiting the city and crazy for all things Harry Potter? Go the extra mile with this unofficial but distinctly Hogwartsian hotel room at Georgian House. Expect stained glass windows, stone walls, archways, trunks, cauldrons, and four-poster beds hung with velvet curtains, all hidden behind a secret bookcase door. You can also rent any DVD you want to watch. (Hmm, I wonder which popular fantasy series you’ll pick.) => To book: https://georgianhousehotel.co.uk/?room=the-wizard-chambers
London has several Quidditch Teams including the London Unspeakables and their rivals the Werewolves. Described as a cross between rugby, tag and dodgeball the game made famous by Harry Potter is played with great enthusiasm across London.
Show what you know at a Harry Potter pub quiz. In a city as big as London, there are always committed Potter nerds looking to show off their accumulated knowledge, and a quick Google session can usually reveal an upcoming themed quiz in a pub somewhere in the city. Check out Wizardry Quiz Nights (https://www.facebook.com/events/701666643587890/) for Southwark-based Potteroffs.
Experience a Harry Potter-inspired escape room This tricksy escape room near Liverpool Street will require all your bravery, cunning, and intelligence to magic your way out of an interactive room, before you’re caught by He Who Must Not Be Named. t’s been created by Enigma Quests and the experience costs £90 for a group of three wizards or witches. Read our full article on the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry experience (Read more about it in the following article: https://secretldn.com/now-can-magic-way-harry-potter-themed-escape-room/).
Hoping you an amazing weekend in London!