The Harry Potter franchise is a global phenomenon, with theme parks dedicated to the magical world in the US and fan conventions taking place all over the world for lovers of the universe created by JK Rowling.
However, the seven books and eight films that form the Harry Potter story are firmly rooted in British culture, with the city of London providing the setting for many of its locations, which Potterheads can visit for themselves – many of them for free – during a trip to the UK capital.
1. Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at King’s Cross Station
Harry’s journey into the magical world begins at King’s Cross Station, where he is instructed to walk through the wall between platforms nine and ten to board the Hogwarts Express on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.
Your journey into Harry Potter’s London can begin here too. It would simply get too crowded if fans were piling onto the actual platforms, so a Platform Nine and Three-Quarters complete with a luggage trolley ‘disappearing’ through the wall has been positioned in the station’s foyer, creating the perfect photo opportunity for tourists.
2. St Pancras International
Across the road from King’s Cross is St Pancras International train station, which fans of the series will recognise from the Chamber of Secrets film, when Ron flew his Dad’s blue Ford Anglia out of the King’s Cross car park. Artistic licence meant St Pancras was used in filming instead of King’s Cross, but you can see from its distinctive architecture why this decision was made.
3. London Zoo
In the first installment of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is taken to London Zoo for his cousin Dudley’s birthday day out. At the time, Harry is unaware of his magical abilities and accidentally sets a python on his cousin, much to his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s horror.
4. Claremont Square
Later on in the series, 12 Grimmauld Place, the home of Harry’s godfather Sirius Black, becomes the headquarters of secret organisation the Order of the Phoenix.
Smart London street Claremont Square was used as the filming location for Grimmauld Place in the movies, which you can take a walk around during your stay in the British capital.
This shouldn’t take you too long, so why not combine it with a trip to nearby Leadenhall Market, which was used as the inspiration for magical shopping street Diagon Alley and provided the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub in the Philosopher’s Stone film.
5. The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour
The ultimate magical location for Harry Potter fans visiting London is the Warner Bros Studio Tour in nearby Leavesden, which can easily be reached by train from Euston station.
This is where the eight movies were filmed and visitors can see a huge range of sets, props and costumes during a visit here. From the cupboard under the stairs at 4 Privet Drive to the Great Hall at Hogwarts and from the cosy safety of Mrs Weasley’s kitchen to the dark depths of the Forbidden Forest, fans can lose themselves in the magical world at the studios.
The studio tour is a full day out in itself, so if you want to fit in some of the other locations as well, why not treat yourself to a stay in the Grand Royale London hotel?