harry potter

The perfect trip to England for Harry Potter fans

Harry Potter has a cult-like following. In its book or movie forms, the tale of young wizard Harry and his friends has captivated the imagination of millions around the world. Quintessentially English, many of its major locations are filmed or based in the capital city, yet for the full experience you need to head further north. Below, we give you a guide to the most important locations and why you should visit them.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

The first spot is the Warner Brothers studio tour in London. This captivating half exhibit, half studio, is a must for Potter fans, allowing you to step inside the movies. Sets to explore include the Great Hall, the Forbidden Forest, and Diagon Alley. As you wander them, you can also see an exhibit on the costumes from the movie.

A whole array of props is also visible. There is a potions classroom, Professor Umbridge’s Office, and Puking Pastilles. Finally, you can also see how the movie was made by taking a look at all the artwork and the visual effects. The attraction is very popular, so trips to Harry Potter World should be booked in advance. While most exhibits are indoors, some do require you to go outside so dress for all eventualities.

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station is one of the busiest stations in the United Kingdom and is situated in the Borough of Camden. It was opened in 1852 and quickly expanded to accommodate travel to and from the bustling metropolis. This has made it one of the most iconic stations in the world, where famous trains such as The Flying Scotsman made their home. For fans of Harry Potter, it is the station where platform 9 ¾  exists to whisk children away to Hogwarts.

When you arrive at the station, head to platforms 9 and 10. While the real platforms are divided by railway tracks, you can find the entrance to platform 9¾ on the wall close by. The luggage trolley is embedded in the wall, so you can stop and take a picture if you wish to do so with that. The queues can get quite long at certain times of the day so plan.

You can take your picture for free, or you can also get a professional photograph taken by the official Harry Potter shop. This is right on the platform, so you can combine your picture with a visit to the store regardless. It has every item you could think of with a Harry Potter theme. This includes clothing, costumes, plush toys, and movie merchandise. It is a great place to find gifts and items for your collection.

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest markets in the city, dating from around the 14th century. It is situated right in the centre of London’s financial district and attracts the clientele to match, making it a very upscale market compared to some of London’s others. However, it looks drastically different from how it did when it first opened.

In 1881 it was given a decorative painted roof, and it became one of the most striking retail spaces in the city. It also underwent renovation in the early nineties and became a Grade II-listed building. Harry Potter fans will recognise it as the area near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the movies. It has been in several other movies such as The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and even a few music videos.

Alnwick Castle

Visiting the studio set-up is fine, and while trips to Harry Potter world are great, no trip to the UK for Potter fans would be complete without a visit to the real Hogwarts itself. This is Alnwick Castle, situated a long way from London on the North East coast, extremely close to the border with Scotland. A long train journey should get you there, or you can rent a car and drive up yourself.

The castle is over 950 years old and is one of the most breathtaking in Europe. It dates back to the Norman period. For most of this time, it has been owned by the Percy Family, who still use and inhabit it today. Over time it has evolved and grown, and as well as a visitor attraction it is now also the base of operations for the Northumberland Estate, part of a huge property portfolio.

Filming took place at Alnwick for The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. As soon as you enter you will see many famous places. The outer bailey is where the pupils learned to ride broomsticks and play Quidditch. The Lion Arch is the famous entrance and the Inner Bailey is where much of the school activity was filmed.

While London and Alnwick are a long way apart, there are plenty of other attractions you can use to stop off. Try the city of York, a railway hub and a great middle point. Not only will you enjoy Potter locations, but you will also get to see this beautiful country.