10 Things To Do in London for Harry Potter Fans
Far from being contained in J.K. Rowling’s 7 Harry Potter books and the 8 films they produced, the world of Harry Potter extends across the city in which (some of) it is set. Seeking out the key places on a trip to London is a must for many Harry Potter fans.
These 10 Harry Potter-themed things to do in London will transport you straight to the wizarding world, from film sets to real-life, hotel rooms to hidden station platforms, and plenty in between.
Although not all of these activities are officially associated with Harry Potter and Warner Bros. Studios, their inspiration is clearly influenced by J.K. Rowling’s magical universe.
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Go on the Warner Bros Studio Tour
The quintessential stop for any Harry Potter fan in London is a visit to the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, which is just 20 minutes from London by train. This tour is perfect for Harry Potter fans of all ages, and can be enjoyed on a day trip from London. The studio is where Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and other notable actors spent time filming all 8 Harry Potter movies between 2000 and 2010. You’ll see intricate sets, props, and costumes from the movies as you read stories from behind the scenes .
The Warner Bros Studio tour is one of the most popular Harry Potter things to do in London, and perfect for fans of all ages. The walkthrough tour of the studio includes stepping through the Hogwarts Great Hall, seeing the Gryffindor Boys’ Dormitory, and visiting Dumbledore’s Office. The actual costumes worn by everyone’s favorite characters in the movies are also on display. The outdoor section of the studio allows visitors to try a butterbeer and take some photos with the purple Knight Bus and in front of 4 Privet Drive.
Due to the tour’s popularity, it’s highly recommended you book tickets in advance. You’ll also need to consider transport from London to reach Leavesden, by train or bus, but can save the hassle by booking combined Studio Tour entry and transport tickets.
Take a picture at Platform 9¾
Can you call yourself a Harry Potter fan if you didn’t take THE picture at Platform 9 and ¾ at King’s Cross station? Probably not.
King’s Cross station is featured in the Harry Potter books and movies as one of the gateways to the wizarding world. Specifically, Platform 9¾ — between platforms 9 and 10 — is where young wizards and witches run through one of the brick pillars to reach the Hogwarts Express.
To commemorate this, King’s Cross station has an actual trolley, with Harry Potter’s trunk on it, sticking halfway out of a brick wall in the main station concourse (in real life, platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks, not a wall). With a little dress-up, a perfectly-timed photo makes it look like you’re disappearing off to Hogwarts, so don’t forget your scarf and round glasses.
See “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in West End
Since the release of the 7 Harry Potter books and the completion of the 8 movies, J.K. Rowling has blessed the world with another gift to the magical world she created. This time, at the theater. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” debuted in 2016, and has been playing at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End ever since. The story in the play takes place 19 years after the events in the books, with a new generation of witches and wizards studying at Hogwarts. They face their own unique struggles and join forces in thrilling battles against evil.
One important thing to note for visitors is that the theater production takes place in 2 parts. Visitors have the option to book tickets so they see both parts consecutively, with a break for dinner and further exploration of London in between, or see Part 1 only, and then Part 2 on another day. Each part is about 2 hours and 40 minutes, so it can make for a long day. Tickets go on sale up to a year in advance. Needless to say, it’s important to book these tickets early.
Go on a Harry Potter walking tour and see the best Harry Potter things to do in London
The Harry Potter movies weren’t just filmed at the studio in Leavesden. There are various locations all around London that were featured in them, especially during the later Hogwarts years. A walking tour of London that takes you to many of these Harry Potter film locations is a great way to follow in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and explore some highlights of London too.
One of the original Harry Potter walking tours in London is aptly named The Muggle’s Guide to London. This one takes muggles (us ordinary folk, for those out of the loop) around Central London to locations that inspired J.K. Rowling’s books, as well as to different filming locations around the city.
Another more wallet-friendly tour option is the Magical London Walking Tour, which leaves no magic stone unturned; from the lanes that inspired Knockturn Alley to the bridge that the Death Eaters destroyed in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.
Take a potion-making class at The Cauldron
Okay, so these might be cocktails disguised as potions, but that’s even better, right? This 18-and-over Harry Potter activity takes place at The Cauldron pub in North-East London. It’s the perfect place to continue immersing yourself in the wizarding world after a busy day exploring Harry Potter sites in London.
The magical potion-making experience consists of crafting three creative cocktails, with ingredients that could be straight out of Professor Snape’s potions cupboard. Visitors are armed with long robes and a wand to begin their potions experience. You get to drink the delicious cocktails of course, making the price tag appealing, considering cocktails at other bars in London are usually upwards of £10 each, and don’t come with an enchanting wizarding experience. This really is one of the best Harry Potter things to do in London for adults.
Visit the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
London’s Covent Garden offers another opportunity for Harry Potter fans to immerse themselves in the filming of the 8 Harry Potter movies. The Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition captures hundreds of the most iconic cinematic stills from the movies, including behind-the-scenes photographs, which are on display in their large gallery space. Similar to the Warner Bros. Studio tour, costumes and props from the movies are also showcased. The exhibition has photo ops using greenscreens like flying over London on a broomstick, and unique Ministry of Magic ID cards for visitors — all fun souvenirs to remember your trip by.
A bonus perk and another Harry Potter in London bucket list item is to purchase bottled butterbeer. The butterbeer bar at the Covent Garden exhibition is the only place in London where you can purchase bottled butterbeer in London, in beautifully crafted glasses. They’re perfect take-home gifts for the fans in your life who weren’t able to explore the Harry Potter things to do in London with you.
Learn more about the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition and purchase tickets on its official website.
Enjoy The Potion Room afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge
Cutter & Squidge is a family-run, all-natural bakery that hosts a number of different charming and inviting high tea options. One of these is The Potion Room Afternoon Tea Experience. Although not officially associated with Harry Potter, it draws on similar magical experiences that will transport you to the wizarding world.
Wear a wizarding cloak, choose your wand (or let your wand choose you), and have a seat at schoolroom-style tables to begin your potions class. The drinks offered are vibrant and delicious, sometimes color-changing, and the savory dishes and sweet treats included in the afternoon tea are highly-rated, sparking plenty of reviews raving about this scrumptious and filling experience.
Admire the House of MinaLima
MinaLima is the dynamic graphic design duo behind many of the creative props and prints used in the 8 “Harry Potter” movies, as well as the more recent “Fantastic Beasts” films.
MinaLima designed iconic props for the movies, including the Marauder’s Map and the Hogwarts School acceptance letters all Harry Potter fans dreamed of receiving when they turned 11 years old. Their House of MinaLima in London is a free gallery and shop, where visitors can admire some of the prints and designs made by Mirafora Mina and Ricardo Lima.
Their gallery and shop include things like posters of the Daily Prophet newspaper covers, tickets to the Quidditch World Cup and Hogwarts Express train, and the Marauder’s Map poster. This is one of the best, and least-known, Harry Potter things to do in London.
MinaLima even designed collectors’ edition covers for the original Harry Potter books, which can all be purchased here. You’ll definitely need to make more room in your suitcase for all of your unique souvenirs.
Give a Harry Potter Escape room a try
Escape rooms have been increasing in popularity across London, along with the rest of the world. The idea is for all of the players to escape from a locked room by solving puzzles, searching for clues, and finding keys within a certain timeframe. And a number of escape room companies have started to offer Harry Potter-themed escape rooms.
One popular Harry Potter-themed escape room is the Enigma Quests’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, located near Moorgate station. This experience gives even muggles a chance to graduate from Hogwarts, and is perfect for families and friend groups. A minimum of 3 players is required, and the total escape time is 60 minutes.
Another well-known Harry Potter escape room is the Breakin Escape Rooms’ Wizarding World: Fang of the Serpent room in North London, near Highbury & Islington station. The task at hand is to help the headmaster find a lost, precious artifact in an old part of the school castle, using the clues given. Up to 6 participants can take part, and you’re given 60 minutes to escape.
Stay in the Wizard’s Chamber
After ticking off some, or all, of these Harry Potter things to do in London, rest your head in one of the Georgian House Hotel’s special Wizard Chamber rooms. These unique rooms are decorated as if they are located inside a medieval or gothic castle (just like Hogwarts!) and have stone walls, stained glass windows, fireplaces, and even cauldrons. Modern amenities, like complimentary Wi-Fi and luxury toiletries, don’t take away from the charm of the rooms, although they do add a luxury feel.
Twin and double rooms are perfect for 1-2 visitors, and larger family rooms for up to 6 people are available as well.
The Georgian House Hotel is situated in a historic townhouse from the 1850s, in London’s Pimlico. Just a 10-minute walk from Victoria station and the Thames, and a 20 minutes from Buckingham Palace, the Georgian House is a great place to stay in London whether or not it’s a portal to the wizarding world.
The Harry Potter movie filming locations extend way beyond London. If you have time to embark on a day-trip from London to Oxford, there’s more Harry Potter magic to be experienced there. Check out this Oxford walking tour to Christ Church, which was the real-life inspiration for Hogwarts’ Great Hall. You’re sure to feel just like a first year Hogwarts student walking through this hall for the first time. You can also add in an extra stop on the way to Oxford with this tour to the Warner Bros. Studio.