I was where Harry Potter was!
In the last two decades the Harry Potter books have been read by millions of people around the world and it made people richer culturally. This books introduced to the younger generations a glimpse of England and the UK and its traditions. From the spectacular stages to the amazing stories that J.K. Rowling tells us, Harry Potter was a magnificent introduction to the U.K.’s and London’s lifestyle.
London is the most important place in the little wizard’s universe with a lot of landmarks that appear in the films or books. The England’s capital is the home of most characters in the books and there are many references like the Ministry of Magic and platform 9 ¾ Diagon Alley. Films used different places for some scenes so… Wouldn’t it be nice to visit those places and immerse yourself in the Harry Potter’s magical world?
For starters, we should do like Harry and his friends did in the beginning and ending of all the books; going to Hogwarts! To do that we will visit the place where the course started every year and we will visit the King’s Cross Station in Euston Road. King’s Cross is the station where students get on the train to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Curious fact, when J.K. Rowling was writing about the station she wasn’t thinking of King’s Cross Station but in Euston Station instead. However, in King’s Cross you’ll see the entrance to platform 9 ¾ to Hogwarts Express, just like in the movie! Lots of people go to this place to take a photo with Hedwig and the rest of Harry Potter’s properties going through the wall.
A remarkable moment in the series occurred in the London Zoo, located in Regent’s Park, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When he and the Dursley family were visiting the Zoo Harry discovered that he could speak with snakes and by accident he broke free a huge boa constrictor. This scene was filmed in the reptile house, and actually there is a plaque that acknowledges that the scene was filmed there. Although, the boa constrictor is not behind the plaque and we can see a black mamba instead.
Diagon Alley was a very important place in the books. Here, people bought all they needed to make magic and only wizards and witches could visit it. In the films, Leadenhall Market was used to film just outside Diagon Alley’s magic shops. Leadenhall Market is a very nice market full of specialties shops. In one section of the market called “Bull’s Head Passage” we can find a blue shop which was used as a Leaky Cauldron’s facade.
In order to go to Gringotts Magic Bank people must go from Diagon Alley, but it’s not really there. The facade was inspired on the Australian Embassy and the amazing inside was filmed in the embassy as well. It’s not too easy to go inside the place because you need a visa.. But worth checking out the outside!
Grimmauld Place number 12 is Sirius Black’s house and, at the same time, the headquarters of The Order of Phoenix in London. It is said that is inspired on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the biggest square in the entire city. However, in the movie houses from Claremont Square were used as Grimmauld Place’s outside. It’s very easy to get confused because London is full of public squares and not public gardens surrounded by amazing townhouses.
In the films, many amazing London monuments appear there that were not mentioned in the books. London City Hall, headquarters of the Greater London Authority, was filmed in one of the first scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This building is located next to Tower Bridge in south shore of The River Thames. In the film, Town Hall’s workers witnessed how Dementors attacked in Millennium Bridge. In the movie, the attack was in a different bridge but in the sixth Harry Potter, fans could see how Dementors destroy the Millennium Bridge. Luckily, the bridge is intact and from there you can see Tower Bridge, Saint Paul’s Cathedral and The River Thames.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry found out about the attack in Millennium Bridge while he was in a café in a train station, where Dumbledore picked him up. The Café and the platform are in Surbiton Train Station, South-East London. If Surbiton station is far from yourself, you could visit Westminster Station because Harry and Ron Weasley’s father went through it to go to the Ministry of Magic. The station is just in front of the Big Ben so it’s the perfect place to start a touristy day.
Do you remember Professor Flitwick? He is the professor of charms in Hogwarts. The charms class that appears in the films is the Fourth Form Room of Harrow Old Schools, Harrow-on-the-Hill in Greater London. This old school is from the XVI century and to be inside or to see it from the outside of it’s absolutely marvelous. It’s very easy to go there from King’s Cross Station.
Everything started in Dursley house before Hagrid arrived to pick him up to Hogwarts, Privet Drive number 4, the place where Harry grew up with his unbearable uncle, aunt and cousin. It is a little bit far from London, just the number 12 of Picket Post Close in Marins Heron, Berkshire. If you go there you must remember that is not a public place to visit as it’s a private house!
If you want to see more of Harry Potter, finally you must visit the Harry Potter Studios! All the films of the franchise were filmed here and when they were finished Warner Bros turned it into a Harry Potter tour where you can visit the most famous places such as the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office or Hagrid’s home. Even you can taste Butterbeer in its coffee shop!
If you want to visit the Harry Potter Studios but you don’t know how to do that, just ask one of our lovely receptionists and they’ll help you!
Photos by London And Partners.