The idea of Harry Potter was born on a train journey from Manchester to London, and the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone, was penned in Rowling’s London flat. So, where better to experience all the magic and majesty that the wizarding world has to offer than all the best Harry Potter sites in London?
London offers an abundance of Harry Potter experiences, including the world-famous Harry Potter Studios just outside Watford. Then there are the Harry Potter filming locations dotted around London (which we will guide you around) and Harry Potter walking tours which will give you an extra helping hand with seeing the sights. Beyond that, we have Harry Potter shops, themed hotels, and more to explore and enjoy in Harry Potter’s London. Let’s dive in!
Harry Potter Studios
Its official name is actually Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, but almost everyone just calls it Harry Potter Studios, because that’s exactly what it is. Getting Harry Potter studios tickets is like getting the golden ticket for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (sorry not sorry for mixing franchises). Harry Potter studio tickets are the key to experiencing a magical wizarding world of absolute splendour.
The Harry Potter Studios are constructed entirely from the original sets of the Harry Potter films, and they’re frequently updated with more areas from the films. When you first enter, you stand before the colossal wooden door which leads into the iconic Hogwarts dining hall. There, on a screen, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint will introduce you to the studios and regale you with how it was to grow up immersed in all the magic of what you’re about to walk through. From there, it gets better and better. You’ll see animatronics from the potions room and the library, walk across the wooden bridge (the one that’s destroyed in the finale), and even ride on Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar.
As I said, the Harry Potter Studios get updated almost every year. The most recent addition has been that of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, complete with chandelier and stunning marble pillars. Once inside, you can even explore Bellatrix Lestrange’s Vault, which includes the legendary Sword of Gryffindor and the cup of Helga Hufflepuff.
Another recent addition has been the Forbidden Forest, which comes with all the mood and atmosphere you’d hope to find. Beyond that, you can also climb aboard the Hogwarts Express, which sits patiently at Platform 9 ¾, waiting to take eager students off to Hogwarts. The Great Hall, the Gryffindor Common Room, and Diagon Alley are all there for you to explore, all exactly as they were in the films.
It’s a truly spine-tingling and overwhelming experience to walk across the Great Hall and think to yourself, “My god, they were all here, once. This is where it all happened. Legendary actors like Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, and Alan Rickman have all walked this exact floor and stood where I’m standing.” There really is no feeling more exciting for a Harry Potter fan. And it gets even better when you see the original props and costumes of these actors on display across the sets.
The gift shop is also utterly fantastic. With Harry Potter Studios tickets, you’re not just getting access to the sets and costumes, but also some incredible Harry Potter souvenirs. When we visited, we went a little nuts and bought ourselves the following amazing Harry Potter souvenirs: a replica Time Turner, Elder Wand, and Marauder’s Map, all of which we cherish to this day. So, take your chance to get your own amazingly crafted Harry Potter souvenirs when you visit with your Harry Potter studio tickets.
Harry Potter Studios Tickets
So, how do you get yourself some Harry Potter Studios tickets? You can either do so through their website, or through GetYourGuide, where you can sometimes find Harry Potter Studio tickets at a reduced price. You’ll also find certain unique opportunities, like getting Harry Potter studio tour tickets. Getting Harry Potter studio tour tickets means getting extra options that you wouldn’t get if you just book through their main site, such as this Making of Harry Potter Tour. So, when it comes to Harry Potter Studios London tickets, there are a few different ways to book: the studio website, or GetYourGuide. Your choice! But bear in mind that, for various deals and discounts on Harry Potter Studios London tickets, GetYourGuide should be your go-to site.
Read More: 8 Spellbinding Harry Potter Tattoos
Harry Potter Sites in London
A lot of the locations in the Harry Potter films were shot on elaborate and incredible sets, almost all of which you’ll find at the above Harry Potter Studios. But not all of them. By no means all of them. So many of the Harry Potter sites in London can be visited any time by anyone. So, let’s take a look at some of the best and most iconic Harry Potter locations in London.
This London bridge is so iconic it has almost completely been unofficially renamed the Harry Potter Bridge (kind of like how everyone outside London calls Tower Bridge ‘London Bridge’ even though London Bridge is a whole other – and far less impressive and famous – bridge in London). Millennium Bridge is instantly recognisable to any Harry Potter fan as the setting for the jaw-dropped and tense scene in Half Blood Prince where the Death Eaters ravage, twist, and destroy the Millennium Bridge, and it topples like a dead animal into the Thames below.
The Millennium Bridge is one of the most central bridges in London with Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern on one side and St Paul’s Cathedral on the other (with the Museum of London just behind). The best way to get to this, one of the best Harry Potter sites in London, is to take the Underground to either Mansion House or St. Paul’s and walk south around the cathedral and up to the bridge. That way not only are you at one of the most iconic Harry Potter locations in London, but you’re also in walking distance of my favourite building: Shakespeare’s Globe.
There may be no more iconic Harry Potter sites in London than King’s Cross train station, home to the mythical Platform 9 ¾. For any Harry Potter fan, book or film, this is a must-visit of the Harry Potter locations in London.
This being London, a city than knows how to treat its visitors and tourists, and a city that takes immeasurable pride in its arts, theatre, literature, and culture, King’s Cross station has very tactfully and artfully capitalised on the Harry Potter popularity by installing both a half-disappeared trolley passing through a brick wall in the main thoroughfare and an official Harry Potter shop!
You don’t need to actually buy a ticket to get on a random train on platforms 9 and 10 to gain access to Platform 9 ¾. Instead, just enter the station and you’ll find a large brick wall with the sign ‘Platform 9 ¾’ hanging above a Harry Potter luggage trolley. You’ll probably find other people waiting patiently to have their photo taken with the trolley, and you can do the same!
Nearby you’ll also find The Harry Potter Shop. It’s a beautiful place designed to replicate Olivander’s, with hanging owl cages, candle lanterns, and drawers full of wands. The shop isn’t huge, but it is overflowing with Harry Potter souvenirs – every kind of souvenir you could possibly want. From Harry Potter shirts to Harry Potter shoes, Harry Potter figures to Harry Potter accessories, you’ll find everything your heart desires at The Harry Potter Shop in King’s Cross.
Read More: Where to Buy Harry Potter Souvenirs (UK)
The Reptile House at London Zoo
So many of the locations in the Harry Potter movies were shot partially out in the world and partially in a set (like Gringotts’s bank, the outside of which is actually Australia House on the Strand, or Diagon Alley, which was partly shot at Leadenhall Market). But London Zoo’s Reptile House, like Platform 9 ¾ and the Millennium Bridge, is special for being a place you won’t be able to explore with Harry Potter studio tickets. The entire scene from the early part of Philosopher’s Stone where Harry discovers his ability to speak to serpents (Parseltongue) was all filmed at the actual Reptile House in London Zoo.
London Zoo, apart from being one of the coolest Harry Potter locations in London, is also a fantastic day out all on its own. But, of course, the injection of HP lore is even more reason to visit the Reptile House. It’s a gorgeous old building and everything inside was part of the shooting for Philosopher’s Stone. Nothing was added or changed, making it one of the truly unique and seamless Harry Potter sites in London.
Harry Potter Walking Tour London
The above locations are just a few of our favourites, chosen specifically because they’re exactly as you see them in the films. They’re easy to visit without a tour guide because what you see is what you get. But not all Harry Potter sites in London are the same way. Many of them are best seen as part of a tour. And to get Harry Potter tour tickets, you can visit GetYourGuide. Every tour mentioned here, personally recommended by Books and Bao, can be booked through GetYourGuide for the best value tickets and the best experiences. The very best Harry Potter London tickets can be gotten through GetYourGuide. Now, let’s take a look at a fantastic Harry Potter walking tour in London (or two… or three).
Harry Potter Film Locations Tour with River Cruise
This is a pacey, exciting, and fantastically interactive tour experience across all of the Harry Potter locations in London. It’s ideal for adults and kids alike and, on the tour, you’re given quizzes and games to play. You’ll be taken across the Harry Potter sites in London by a guide who will provide fascinating behind-the-scenes info about HP lore and how the movies were filmed on location.
At the end of the tour, you’re taken on a boat ride down the Thames to see London through a unique lens and to get a feel for the motion and scope of the city. London is one of our favourite cities on Earth and seeing it from the Thames is enough of a treat. But having that tour being Harry Potter-themed, well, you just can’t beat it!
Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour
At the start of this Harry Potter walking tour in London, you’ll first be officially sorted into your house (I’m a Ravenclaw). From there, you’re guided to several of the Harry Potter locations in London (including the ones we’ve already mentioned). You’ll get a chance to visit Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross and get your photo taken with the delightful baggage trolley, as well as to visit the Harry Potter Shop and pick up a few Harry Potter souvenirs.
This tour can be done in an afternoon and it gives you a more relaxed but just as exciting an experience as you visit Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron. You’ll be challenged on your trivia and, if you didn’t enjoy the tour, the company even offers you a full refund!
To pick up some Harry Potter London tickets, visit GetYourGuide here.
Harry Potter Private Family & Kids Walking Tour
If you’ve got kids, this is the tour for you. A private guided tour across London on foot that takes just two hours. Along the way, you’ll visit several of the very best Harry Potter locations in London. And, best of all, you begin your tour at Platform 9 ¾ just as though your kids were first years at Hogwarts, all filled with nerves and excitement for boarding the Hogwarts Express.
What sets this tour apart is that it doesn’t just cover Harry Potter locations in London, but also many of the best monuments and iconic sights of London in general – such as Big Ben, St. Paul’s, and the London Eye. This tour is perfect if you have kids or if you’ve never visited London before and you want to combine a tour of the London landmarks with a Harry Potter experience.
You can get your Harry Potter tour tickets at GetYourGuide right here.
Will predominantly writes about the books of Books and Bao, examining the literature of a place and how the authors have used the art of storytelling to reflect the world and the culture around them.