Before Harry Potter, the UK was best known for writers like Shakespeare, Dickens, and Virginia Woolf. Today, if you ask a kid to think of an English book character, and they’ll gleefully shout, “Harry Potter!” back at you. Britain is awash with Harry Potter fever, and it has been for 20 years! Which begs the question: where to buy Harry Potter souvenirs when you visit the UK? Well, there are plenty of places in London but also a few in the towns and cities beyond which hide the best Harry Potter souvenirs.
Let’s take a look at where you can buy the best quality Harry Potter souvenirs (from Harry Potter shirts to Harry Potter figures, wands to replica props) and even where to try real Butterbeer in the UK!
Of course, we’re going to start in London. This is, after all, not only the UK capital but also where the idea for Harry Potter was born (right around the corner from where I’m writing this; near Clapham Junction). You’ll find your fair share of Harry Potter sites in London where the movies were filmed, but also a plethora of places to experience the magic of Harry Potter first-hand and pick up some awesome Harry Potter souvenirs. We’ll start in Watford, North London.
Harry Potter Studios
Harry Potter Studios (or Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, to give it its correct but more boring name) is found just outside Watford and is a gateway to the true magic of Harry Potter. You can pick up some Harry Potter Studios tickets from their website and allow the studios to transport you through many of the sets which featured heavily in the films. From the Gryffindor Common Room (complete with original costumes) to the newly installed Gringotts Bank, there is so much beauty and majesty to this place. Picking up some Harry Potter Studios tickets and spending a day there does more than just show you the sets; it also allows you to see how they accomplished so much of the practical effects, and the designs which led to that iconic Harry Potter aesthetic. And inside you’ll find a café where you can order food, including the world famous Butter Beer!
Then, of course, there’s the gift shop. The Harry Potter souvenirs here are second to none. Getting yourself some Harry Potter studio tickets also grants you access to one of the best gift shops you’ll ever visit. Here, you’ll find a Harry Potter scarf to match your house (I’m a proud Ravenclaw). You can also wear your fandom proudly with a Harry Potter sweater, some Harry Potter shirts, or some Harry Potter accessories like bracelets and earrings. And the pièce de résistance is the selection of replica wands, a Time Turner, a Marauder’s Map, and more. We picked up an Elder Wand as well as a Time Turner in a beautiful case when we visited.
Read More: A Complete Bookish Guide to the UK
King’s Cross: The Harry Potter Shop
At London’s King’s Cross Station, you’ll find yourself where Harry, Hermione, Ron, and all the other Hogwarts kids hopped on the Hogwarts Express at the start of every school year. While we don’t advice you go running full-pelt into the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10, you will find – in the main thoroughfare of King’s Cross – a replica Platform 9 ¾ wall, complete with a half-vanished luggage trolley. It’s a great place to pose for a photo, especially if you’ve got kids of your own. On any given day you’ll find other people doing exactly the same and having an absolute blast. If you want to take the photoshoot one step further, you can pop to The Harry Potter Shop (also found in King’s Cross) and pick up some Harry Potter souvenirs (maybe a Harry Potter scarf or a Harry Potter hoodie, for instance) to wear for your Platform 9 ¾ photoshoot. You know, for that extra authenticity.
The Harry Potter Shop at King’s Cross is an official, licenced Harry Potter store selling all official merchandise and Harry Potter souvenirs. The interior of this gorgeous shop has been meticulously designed to look like Olivander’s from the movie, complete with walls of drawers where wands wait for their owners. And it feels as real as if you’d picked up some Harry Potter studio tickets and wandered onto the set, only much cheaper! As for what they sell, well, you’ll find here all the very best Harry Potter souvenirs. This might be the definitive shopping experience for any HP fan. You can. Pick up Harry Potter figures like Funko Pops or go more subtle and pick up a classy Harry Potter tie or some Harry Potter accessories. Get your kid a Harry Potter sweater or a Harry Potter hoodie to keep them warm come winter. And, yes, just like at the Harry Potter Studios, you’ll find here at The Harry Potter Shop a lot of replica props from the movies. They’re a little pricey, but the quality and attention to detail is honestly phenomenal.
Read More: Explore Harry Potter’s London
House of Minalima
Found at 26 Greek Street in Soho, London, House of Minalima is a very special place indeer. Mina and Lima are two incredible art designers who worked on the Harry Potter film franchise, including the newest Fantastic Beasts movies. It’s their art that brought much of the magic to the big screen that you know so well today. In 2016 they opened up House of Minalima as a gallery and shop to celebrate and display their Harry Potter artwork, and it’s a truly spellbinding experience!
As I mentioned, House of Minalima is both a gallery and a shop. The gallery is designed just as spectacularly as you’d expect two art directors to do. Several floors of small and charming rooms proudly display Harry Potter movie artworks you’ll recognise and gasp at– art like the iconic Sirius Black wanted poster and the Marauder’s Map – as well as a door with a stack of Hogwarts invitations pilling up on the floor, a recreation from the Philosopher’s Stone film.
As for the gift shop, you’ll find some meticulously chosen Harry Potter souvenirs, many of the prints of Mina and Lima’s artworks: house crests, chocolate frog packaging, and Daily Prophet front pages. But you’ll also find a lot of Harry Potter collectibles, like badges, books, postcards, and card holders. Some of the books are unique and original recreations of books from the films, things like Hogwarts replica exercise books. It’s a far more arts-based selection of Harry Potter souvenirs for sale here at House of Minalima: stylish and curated to match the gallery’s themes and aesthetics. A great place in London to pick up some Harry Potter collectibles and Harry Potter souvenirs.
You might not automatically connect Harry Potter to Oxford. Lord of the Rings, maybe. His Dark Materials, definitely! But Harry Potter? Well, Hogwarts castle definitely has that old university look inspired by grand old universities like Oxford, so it makes sense for at least one place in Oxford to make use of the Harry Potter brand and to offer you some awesome Harry Potter souvenirs to take away with you, amongst some other things. And that place is Flaggs.
On Oxford’s Broad Street, just a few doors down from Waterstones, you’ll find Flaggs College Store Oxford, a shop brimming with Harry Potter collectibles and Harry Potter souvenirs. The shop does cater to people looking for Oxford-specific souvenirs and memorabilia like Oxford University hoodies and t-shirts, and books on the history and culture of Oxford. But a delightful majority of the shop is made up of awesome Harry Potter souvenirs. It’s a fantastic hodge-podge of Harry Potter collectibles. Flaggs is a treasure trove of Harry Potter jewelry and Harry Potter figures. You can pick up a Harry Potter scarf or a Harry Potter hoodie or a Harry potter tie. And they also have the official replicas of various wands and other movie props. If you’re visiting Oxford and you’re in the mood for some magic, Flaggs is where you’ll find it.
Read More: A Harry Potter Gift Guide
Like Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon has more obvious literary connections than Harry Potter. You may have heard of a once great bard by the name of William Shakespeare, who was born in Stratford before spending most of his life in London. And, of course, the RSC is based in Stratford and puts on plays all year round (including many not written by Shakespeare). They’re reason enough to visit this sweet and medieval old English town. But beyond that, there are some lovely shops to explore. We visited Stratford several Christmases ago, arrived after dark (which is around 3:30pm during English winter), and explored some of the bookshops as the snow fell. It was pure Dickensian magic. And there was one magical shop which took us by surprise: Magic Alley & The Creaky Cauldron.
Magic Alley & The Creaky Cauldron
The Harry Potter licence and all words associated with it are strictly protected (by Warner Bros. I assume), and so quirky shops like this one get around it with names like The Creaky Cauldron so that they can’t quite get sued. Magic Alley, located in Bell Court, right behind Shakespeare’s birthplace, is a shop that speaks to the heart of every teenage goth. It’s not entirely a shop or a café or a museum. It’s a sort of ‘experience’.
The two main things that Magic Alley offers intrigued outsiders are magic-related souvenirs and Butterbeer. While they may not sell Harry Potter souvenirs in the same vein as the other shops we’ve mentioned above (no Harry Potter clothes or Harry Potter jewelry), they do sell fantastic, delicious, divine Butterbeer! And the range of books and witchy, wizardy things that they do sell are delightful in that campy, strange way that quirky shops like this often are. You’ll find books on occult and witch-related things, as well as a lot of classic children’s books for sale. And they have a section which sells vintage toys and board games which is way cooler and more interesting than it sounds! But, of course, the big selling point is still the Butterbeer. So, if you find yourself wanting something weird and off-kilter, and with a hankering for some Butterbeer, Magic Alley should do the trick.
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.