Calling all Harry Potter fans! We’ve found nine spellbinding places in the UK – and one online – that’ll transport you to the wizarding world. So, without further ado, let’s leave our muggle lives behind and explore Harry’s favorite places, one train ride, butterbeer, and cobbled street at a time. But first…
What are the best places for Harry Potter fans to visit?
- 1. Warner Bros. Studios London
- 2. Scottish Highlands
- 3. King’s Cross Station
- 4. Leadenhall Market and Borough Market
- 5. Oxford University
- 6. Millenium Bridge
- 7. Edinburgh
- 8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- 9. London Zoo
BONUS: Delve into the world of Harry Potter online
We know it’s not always easy to magic yourself to the UK at the drop of a (sorting) hat. Not to worry! To get a taste of Hogwarts at home, including magic crafting videos, quizzes, and puzzles, visit the Harry Potter at Home site, a project by Warner Bros.’ and Pottermore’s Wizarding World. Boredom be gone.
1- Sip a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks
Ever wondered what butterbeer tastes like? Well, you can actually try a glass (or two) during a Warner Bros studio tour in London. And that’s just the start of an epic day of Harry Potterness. During the studio tour, you’ll walk through the Great Hall, wield a wand, and whizz around on a broomstick. Sure, the latter is with the help of a green screen, but us muggles need a bit of assistance. Real props are scattered all over the studio, and the seekers among you should keep an eye out for 15 hidden snitches.
2- Take a ride on the Hogwarts Express
There was no green screen magic in the movies when the Hogwarts Express glided over a viaduct that cut through lush countryside. It’s one of the iconic shots in the franchise, and you can travel the exact route taken by young witches and wizards by heading to Scotland. The Jacobite, to give the train ride its muggle name, lasts a camera-filling couple of hours. If that’s not long enough, there’s a two-day version that cruises around the Highlands, letting you happily pretend you’re leaving for Hogwarts.
3- Push your trolley into Platform 9 ¾
You probably won’t crash your trolley quite as spectacularly as Harry and Ron did at platform 9¾, but you can still give it a go at King’s Cross Station in London. Sadly, you won’t be able to recreate the moment the famous duo fly away from the station in a Ford Anglia as this would break the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Rules are rules.
4- Go shopping in Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley is where the who’s who of the wizarding world mingle – and who can blame them with such a great selection of bars and shops. The closest us muggles can get to the likes of The Leaky Cauldron, Ollivanders, and Flourish & Blotts is by wandering around London’s Leadenhall Market and Borough Market. Every Harry Potter fan needs to experience the magic of these two locations, which doubled for Diagon Alley.
5- Stroll through real-life Hogwarts
It’s every Potterhead’s fantasy to study at Hogwarts, and students at Oxford University are pretty much doing just that. Many of the university’s age-old buildings were used as filming locations for Hogwarts. Luckily, this walking tour means you don’t have to be an Oxford student to stroll through the opulent halls, gardens, and libraries that Harry & co frequented.
6- Walk over the Millennium Bridge
Are you brave enough to walk over a bridge that’s been snapped in half by Death Eaters? Best take your wand, just in case. There are so many Harry Potter film locations hidden in London, and every single one is worth your visit. Step into one of those classic red phone boxes, dial 62442, and try to sneak into the Ministry of Magic or take a wander around Piccadilly Circus and the South Bank.
7- See the places that inspired J.K. Rowling
It takes talent, imagination, and inspiring scenery to create an amazing novel. While we can’t help with your writing skills, we sure can assist you with the sort of locations that’ll ignite your imagination. Get inspired by strolling through Edinburgh to see all the places that inspired J.K. Rowling to write Harry Potter. Who knows, it might even inspire you to write your own bestseller.
8- Find out what Harry’s children are up to
Don’t believe in magic? You’ll soon be rethinking this stance after watching the Cursed Child in London. The two-part play will immediately get you under its spell as you watch Harry’s middle child, Albus, and Draco’s son, Scorpius, go on an incredible adventure. You’ll be mesmerized by the magic performed on stage. Also, try not to be too scared by the Dementors – they look eerily real as they float around.
9- Free a snake in London
Try to keep your parseltongue abilities in check when you enter the Reptile House in London Zoo. Your fellow visitors probably don’t want a repeat of the time Harry made the glass vanish so a boa could head back to Brazil. Check out the real film location – and hope no snakes make a break for it with the aid of a wizard.