Top 6 Harry Potter Spots in London for Every Potterhead to Visit (or Apparate to)
With “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” hot off the press, it’s time to grab a broomstick and fly to London for a visit to the magical locations that bring our favorite story to life.
#1 King's Cross Station
Begin your Potter pilgrimage somewhere between Platform 9 and 10 in King’s Cross Station, where you’ll find Platform 9 ¾, the magically concealed doorway to the Hogwarts Express. Refrain from trying to crash headfirst into the solid brick wall, and instead snap a pic in front of the luggage trolley. Getting the photographers there to take your picture is worth the wait—they offer scarves as props and even someone to hold it up for a windy effect. While the standard is the red-and-gold Gryffindor, you can always fulfill your inner Slytherin or Hufflepuff. Buy a memento in the Harry Potter Shop nearby, a treasure trove full of horcruxes and time turners.
Euston Rd., Longdon N19AL, United Kingdom.
#2 Piccadilly Circus
Remember when Hermione, Harry and Ron fled from Death Eaters and apparated in the middle of a bustling street in London’s West End, before being nearly run over by a double decker bus? That was Piccadilly Circus, a public space at the junction of Regent Street and Piccadilly, where giant illuminated signs wrap around the buildings in a bright neon spectacle. While you’re there, catch the new Harry Potter play at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue—that is if you have the time to line up for tickets, released every Friday at 1pm.
Picadilly Circus, London W1D 7ET, United Kingdom.
#3 Australia House
Yes, we know it’s missing the roller coaster whizzing underground and the fire-breathing dragon, but the 98-year-old Australia House in London is the closest you’ll get to Gringotts Wizarding Bank. See if you recognize the giant crystal chandelier (which was smashed to smithereens in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”) inside the grandiose—albeit goblin-free—office of the Australian High Commission. While the building is not open to public, you can sneak a peek through the glass doors, and who knows, maybe the guard will let you in if you hypnotize him with your best Imperius Curse.
Strand, London WC2B 4LA, United Kingdom, (+44) 20-7379-4334.
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#4 London Millennium Footbridge
When a swarm of Death Eaters pounced upon London at the start of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the Millennium Bridge took the biggest hit and broke in half. Luckily for us, the “Wobbly Bridge” remains in one piece in Muggle land. Feel the vibrations as you cross the Thames on this 320-meter suspension bridge, and catch unobstructed views of the Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. After dark, the bridge lights up in a magical display of dancing lights.
Thames Embankment, London, United Kingdom.
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#5 Leadenhall Market
Get your muggle supplies at this bewitchingly beautiful Victorian-style covered market. Stroll along the cobbled aisles as Hagrid and Harry did in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and hunt for traditional jewelry and wines under the ornate roof painted in shades of maroon and green.
Keep an eye out for Glass House Opticians, a shop which doubled as the storefront of the Leaky Cauldron in the first film, the gateway between the non-wizarding world and Diagon Alley. Wizard wannabes can try tapping on the brick wall and maybe—just maybe—the secret passageway to the magical community might unfold before your eyes.
Gracechurch St., London EC3V 1LT, United Kingdom, (+44) 20-7332-1523.
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For “Sirius” Potter Fans...
#6 Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
This is the mecca for every hardcore Potterhead. Located 20 miles outside of London, Warner Bros. Studio is where you can take The Making of Harry Potter studio tour and check out artifacts and film sets that have been preserved from the original. From now to September 5, you can even learn the secrets of the special effects behind the life-sized Wizard’s Chess and the tentacle-ridden Devil’s Snare at the anniversary event of the first film, “Finding the Philosopher’s Stone.”
Book your ticket ($355) at tickets.wbstudiotour.co.uk. Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR, United Kingdom.