The Harry Potter London Guide

Harry Potter London Guide

Raise your wand if you need a Harry Potter London guide. It’s been over 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published. A whole generation of children has grown up dreaming of getting a letter from Hogwarts, of becoming witches and wizards and discovering magical worlds and enchanted creatures.

London is already a fantastic place to explore more of Harry Potter’s world. Famous London sights like Piccadilly Circus, Westminster tube station and the Millennium Bridge are all featured in the films and you can find the inspirations for the books and film locations for Diagon Alley, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Platform 9 3/4 all over the city.

My 11-year-old and I went on a quest to find all the Harry Potter sights of London over the summer. Our walking tour make the perfect Harry Potter London guide. It will take you down Diagon Alley, past the entrance to the Ministry of Magic and show you where to buy your very own Marauder’s Map.

Leadenhall Market

Harry Potter Guide London, Leadenhall MarketThis beautiful Victorian covered market in the City of London was used to film the Diagon Alley scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and makes the ideal first stop on this Harry Potter London guide. The market with its ornate painted roof, narrow passageways and cobbled streets is worth a visit in its own right. There has been a market here since the 14th century and it stands on what was the centre of Roman London. Stalls today sell flowers and cheeses and there are some good cafés here too.

See if you can find the optician at number 42, Bull’s Head Passage. This was the door used in the first film as the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron, the wizards’ inn which acts as the gateway between the non wizarding world and Diagon Alley where Harry buys his school kit for Hogwarts.

Leadenhall Market is on Gracechurch Street. It’s open on weekdays. 

From the market, turn right onto Gracechurch Street then left onto Cornhill. On the right here you’ll spot some red telephone boxes. You might want to pop in one of these and dial 62442, the number that whisks Harry Potter and Mr Weasley straight to the Ministry of Magic.

If that doesn’t work, continue along Cornhill until you get to Bank tube station and take the Northern Line up to King’s Cross.

Platform 9 3/4

Harry Potter London Guide No Harry Potter London guide is complete without a visit to the world’s most famous railway platform. This, of course, is the platform number at King’s Cross railway station where Harry and his friends board the train to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Platforms 4 and 5 were used for filming but there’s now a Platform 9 3/4 sign and a luggage trolley stuck halfway into the wall.

You can queue up to have your photo taken here complete with gown, scarf and wand. There’s no charge for having your photo taken – you just pay if you want to keep the photograph. Get here early in the morning to avoid the long queues.

The Platform 9 3/4 shop next door sells lots of merchandise from the films. You can find mugs, replica wands, chocolate frogs and school scarves here. Be warned that the shop gets really crowded.

Just outside King’s Cross you’ll see the neo gothic exterior of St Pancras International, London’s most beautiful railway station. This was used to stand in for King’s Cross when Harry and Ron took off for Hogwarts in the Weasleys’ Ford Anglia in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

From here, walk or take the underground one stop to Euston then take the Northern Line south to Charing Cross. When you leave the station, walk up the Strand in the opposite direction to Trafalgar Square. You’ll pass The Savoy hotel on your right, home of Kaspar the cat in Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful children’s book, Kaspar Prince of Cats – the only cat to survive the sinking of The Titanic.

On the opposite side of the road, at the top end of the Strand you’ll find Australia House, the High Commission of Australia.

Australia House

Australia House, GringottsThe opulent interior of the Australian High Commission is all marble and huge glass chandeliers and proved the perfect setting for Gringotts, the wizarding bank run by goblins. Scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were shot here as well as the more recent Wonder Woman.

Walk up the steps to the grand entrance and ask the receptionist inside if you can take a peek through the glass doors at the incredible interior of the building. When you come back outside you might be lucky enough (as we were, emerging into the sunlight at midday) to hear the church bells of St Clement Danes in the Strand peeling out the tune to Oranges and Lemons “say the bells of St Clement’s” from the famous nursery rhyme. It was a real thrill.

Cross the Strand and walk down Surrey Street until you get to the Embankment. Turn right and walk west alongside the River Thames. Shortly after Embankment tube station, turn right up Northumberland Avenue and left onto Great Scotland Yard.

Great Scotland Yard

It’s on the corner here, between Scotland Place and great Scotland Yard, that Harry and Mr Weasley enter the phone box to go into the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There isn’t a phone box here sadly but you should have been in one already on your Harry Potter London guide walk from Leadenhall Market.

Walk back up Northumberland Avenue, across Trafalgar Square and turn up St Martin’s Place past the National Portrait Gallery and St-Martin-in-the-Fields church. This will bring you onto Charing Cross Road.

Cecil Court

Cecil Court LondonIn the books, J K Rowling describes The Leaky Cauldron as being on Charing Cross Road in central London, a road famous for its antique and second-hand bookshops. Cecil Court, the first lane on the right as you walk up the street, is believed by many to have inspired Rowling to create Diagon Alley.

The pedestrian street here is one of the oldest in London and has really picturesque Victorian shop fronts. The shops here all sell antiques, rare maps, second-hand and antique books. There are even some that specialise in magical books. See if you can find the plaque showing where the eight-year-old Mozart once stayed with his family for a few months. It’s possible he even composed his first symphony while staying here. The street here is also featured in the recent film, Last Christmas.

Turn back up Charing Cross then left onto Shaftesbury Avenue. Turn right onto Greek Street and stop at the bright pink shop just after the delicious looking French pastries in the windows of Maison Bertaux.

House of MinaLima

This fabulous shop is one of our favourite new discoveries in London and an absolute must-see on any Harry Potter London guide. Run by the two graphic designers behind all the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, it’s a treasure trove for Potter fans. The three upper floors are a gallery of their work so the walls and staircases are covered in newspaper copies of the Daily Prophet, Marauders Maps, Hogwarts acceptance letters and products from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.

The shop is on the ground floor so it’s a great place to pick up your very own Marauders Map, Hogwarts exercise book, Macusa stationery and badges and limited edition posters. The shop and gallery can get busy at weekends but is nowhere near as crowded as Platform 9 3/4.

House of MinaLima, 26 Greek Street, Soho is open daily from 12 to 7pm.

Our walking tour ended here but there are a few other Harry Potter sights you might want to see while you’re in London.

Millennium Bridge

Millennium BridgeThe film of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince begins with a dramatic shot of the Millennium Bridge collapsing after an attack by the Death Eaters. You can walk over this footbridge which spans the River Thames between Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Westminster Underground Station

Harry and Mr Weasley use the tube to get around London in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The station used is the ultra modern one at Westminster. It was closed down for a whole day for filming.

Claremont Square

Claremont Square, Grimmauld PlaceThe headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix are at number 12, Grimmauld Place, Sirius Black’s family home. The exterior shots were filmed at numbers 23 to 29, Claremont Square, a row of 19th-century houses in Islington.

See everything else at the Warner Bros Studio Tour

And finally, if you want so see almost all of Harry Potter in one place then you must go to The Making of Harry Potter: The Warner Bros Studio Tour. This is where you can walk down Diagon Alley, climb into the Knight Bus, walk around the Great Hall, drink butterbeer, peer into the Gryffindor Common Room and Professor Snape’s Potions Classroom. The sets and costumes here are extraordinary and you could easily spend three hours wandering around.

The Warner Bros Studio Tour is open every day. It is very popular so tickets should be booked in advance. Adults, from £37; children, from £29.

Why not take this article with you as an app? You can download this blog post as a GPS-guided travel article with GPSmyCity.

For more Harry Potter travel ideas, take a look at On the Trail of Harry Potter in Lacock and Where to Find the Ten Best Harry Potter Locations in the UK.

If you love following in the footsteps of your favourite characters from children’s books, why not go and find Winnie-the-Pooh on our self-guided walk in the Hundred Acre Wood, the real-life Ashdown Forest in East Sussex?

For other great reading ideas for kids see The Best 20 Books for Reading Aloud.

 

The Harry Potter London Guide. An easy walking guide around the London Harry Potter sights and locations from Diagon Alley to Gringotts, Ministry of Magic and Platform 9 3/4, where to buy a Marauder's Map and the best Harry Potter shops. Handy walking guide with things to spot along the way. #harrypotter #harrypotterlondon #harrypotterwalkingtour #harrypotterfilmlocations #familytravellondon #londonwithkids

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68 Comments

  1. 24th October 2017 / 2:04 pm

    As an overaged Potterhead this is a great post! British Library & Greek Street here I come! Wilbur.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      24th October 2017 / 8:17 pm

      Thanks so much, Wilbur. You’ve got to love Harry Potter, right? You will just love the MinaLima shop – it’s fantastic, and we’re booked to see the British Library exhibition early next year.

  2. 24th October 2017 / 3:15 pm

    Thanks to you I’ll be attending the Library exhibition! That MinaLima shop sounds fun!! Counting the days!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      24th October 2017 / 7:58 pm

      I can’t wait to hear all about it. You’ll be seeing it before we do. The MinaLima shop is wonderful. It’s such a treat going in there. They have beautifully designed editions of famous books like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book too.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      30th October 2017 / 2:10 pm

      You’d LOVE the WB studios, Tanja. We’ve been twice and are already planning a return visit!

  3. 26th October 2017 / 5:54 pm

    I love this post – as a Potter fan and Londoner, there are some spots here I’ll definitely have to check out now! #citytripping

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      30th October 2017 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Milly. We had so much fun walking around all of these.

  4. 2nd November 2017 / 8:31 am

    I am not a big Harry Potter fan myself, but actually came a cross most of these sights in London. I love how that city is full of movie sets!!
    #Faraway Files

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:49 pm

      It’s rather wonderful, isn’t it? I’m looking forward to seeing lots of great shots of London in the new Paddington film.

  5. 2nd November 2017 / 8:45 am

    Absolutely Brilliant detective work. Might have to return to London just to find all the sights I missed last time. When I was there a few months ago with my American friend I tried to find Leadenhall Market. Not so hard since I used to buy my sandwiches there every day when I worked on Lombard Street, or so you would think. We ran out of time and I still had not managed to figure out where to enter as that part of London has changed dramatically since I worked there. Will be bookmarking this post. Thank you!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:51 pm

      Thanks so very much, Carolyn. It’s amazing how tricky it can be to find some of these places. We found Leadenhall Market most easily from the entrance on Gracechurch Street. Hopefully you’ll get to rediscover it again on your next trip.

  6. 2nd November 2017 / 10:24 am

    I still can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter came out. A Harry Potter walking tour is on my bucket list for when we go to London since my husband and I are both fans. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:51 pm

      It doesn’t seem that long ago, does it? It’s really fun walking around all these sights and a good way to see lots of the best of London.

  7. 2nd November 2017 / 11:04 am

    Tried to visit all the Harry Potter Spots when I was in Londom Last year but looks like I missed a few. Thanks for sharing – I’ll be sure to catch up on what I missed on my next trip to London! πŸ˜€ #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:52 pm

      There’s always more to see in London. It’s a good excuse for a return visit.

  8. 2nd November 2017 / 11:06 am

    What a great tour of London! I love the buildings and it makes me want to re-watch Harry Potter! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:53 pm

      Thanks so much, Amanda. It is good rewatching the films after you’ve been to all the sights yourself.

  9. 2nd November 2017 / 12:34 pm

    Great post highlighting all of the Harry Potter sights! We have been to Harry Potter World in Universal Studios here in Florida, but it would be so much better to do a walking tour in London!

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:53 pm

      Thanks so much, Jacki. We’d like to visit Harry Potter World too!

  10. 2nd November 2017 / 1:20 pm

    This is such a great walking guide and a really fun way to visit London, even if you’re not a HP fan. I’ve got 1 kid who is and 1 who isn’t but they’d both happily do this walk, and so would I, it makes sightseeing so much more interesting. I’m glad you mentioned MinaLima, I would have suggested it if you hadn’t. Mira (Mina) is an old childhood friend of mine πŸ™‚ #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Phoebe. You’re right – it does make sightseeing so much more interesting. I’m very excited that you know Mira. She’s something of a superstar in our household. What a talented friend to have!

  11. 2nd November 2017 / 2:17 pm

    Did you plan this walk yourself or was it suggested to you? Either way, it’s brilliant. Some great finds here. Funny how so many places seem to have inspired JK Rowling. There’s a street in Exeter which is claimed to be the inspiration for Diagon Alley too, as she studied there at university!I imagine there were a lot of influences.
    #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 7:59 pm

      Thanks so much, Trish. I planned it out myself after researching all the sights and worked out how we could walk around and get most of them in. My youngest son and I then did a trial run. We had a lot of fun on our Harry Potter day! I find it fascinating finding out more about the places that inspired writers.

  12. 2nd November 2017 / 3:07 pm

    This is so awesome Clare! My older daughter would LOVE this! Going to show it to her after school. I had actually pinned this a week or two ago and have been looking forward to reading it. I really hope I can show my girls London some day soon. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Corey. Really hope your daughter enjoyed it. Hopefully you will get to show your girls London one day soon – we’d love to meet you when you do πŸ™‚

  13. 2nd November 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Oooh so fun! Love the look of Leadenhall Market even if you aren’t a Potter fan . Great list and accessible in the city is fabulous, especially if making it outside the city to the Warner Brothers site isn’t in your travel cards. Fab post per usual! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Leadenhall Market is just beautiful, Erin and these places are all really easy to get to. The WB Studios are fantastic but it is really expensive and it gets booked up months in advance so you have to be a good planner to be sure of a ticket.

  14. 2nd November 2017 / 6:11 pm

    20 years? Gosh I feel old! I cannot wait until my boys get into Harry Potter – which not doubt they will. I love how just a stroll around London can bring all the magic and mystery alive! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:02 pm

      I know! Unbelievable, isn’t it? I’ve had so much pleasure sharing the magic of Harry Potter with my boys. It’s been fun revisiting it all for this post and seeing the best of London at the same time.

  15. 2nd November 2017 / 7:27 pm

    We will definitely follow this when we’re next in London. My boys are all massive Harry Potter fans and would love to see all the associated sights #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:04 pm

      It’s such fun doing this with Harry Potter fans, Nicky. My two love exploring the various sights and it’s a great way of walking around London.

  16. 2nd November 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Would love to go on the hunt and find all of these and ever since I discovered Leadenhall Market I’ve wanted to go! It’s so beautiful! I’ve only managed to visit Platform 9 3/4 though! Pinned just in case! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Hopefully you will get here one day, Lori. Leadenhall Market really is worth a visit – it’s so beautiful.

  17. 2nd November 2017 / 9:34 pm

    I thought I commented before? – it’s such a fun way to scout out tourist sites #Farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:05 pm

      We had loads of fun walking around Lydia.

  18. 2nd November 2017 / 10:15 pm

    This guide to Harry Potter locations is great – I might take some friends who are visiting soon to some of these sights as we were far too slow in trying to book tickets for the studio tour – I had no idea that it sold out so far in advance! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks so much. It’s so difficult getting tickets for the studio tour especially if you want to go at the weekend. Hopefully you’ll all really enjoy seeing some of these sights instead.

  19. 2nd November 2017 / 10:37 pm

    This is such a great guide. I was very much an adult when Harry Potter emerged but I have loved these magical books and the wonderful imaginative world of Harry and friends. I had never heard of the House of Mina Lima, but will definitely plan a visit. I have a 10 year old nephew who would love it. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      6th November 2017 / 8:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Angela. I’ve enjoyed the books so much too, both as an adult and sharing them with my two boys. MinaLima is brilliant – one of my favourite shops in London. They have also illustrated some beautiful editions of classics like The Jungle Book and Peter Pan.

  20. 3rd November 2017 / 12:29 am

    Okay, I gotta get something off my chest…I’ve never read or watched Harry Potter! (although I may have glimpsed a few scenes on TV here and there) I get GASPS from everyone I tell that to, but for some reason it never appealed to me. Even so, I think I’d still enjoy seeing all of these places around London. They look pretty cool. πŸ™‚ #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:16 pm

      These are great places to visit in London even if you’re not into Harry Potter. And well done for not following the herd!

  21. 3rd November 2017 / 1:55 am

    I cannot process the first Harry Potter book was published 20 years ago. I was in high school then (but do not tell anybody). I know London is a prime city to experience the sites used to film the movie. It would be tons of fun to move around visiting them locations. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:18 pm

      It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s great to see London being used in so many films. I always loved the beautiful scenes of London in the Richard Curtis films like Love Actually and Notting Hill.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Oh that is a long time ago, Lyn. Yes, definitely time to go back – London has changed a lot!

  22. 3rd November 2017 / 11:01 am

    Amazing! I was recently in London and tried to see all the film locations but with only 1 day of proper sight seeing it proved difficult ha. I did go back to the Studio Tour though, which was just as good as last time πŸ™‚ #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:19 pm

      It’s so tricky doing all the best London sights in one day – and virtually impossible as you say. The studio tour is so fantastic, isn’t it? We’ve been twice too and really want to go again.

  23. 3rd November 2017 / 1:07 pm

    I had no idea that the Australian High Commission was the site of Gringotts! I guess us Aussies will take any claim to fame? Hehe, in any case, what an awesome walking tour fit for any Potterhead. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:20 pm

      It must lay claim to being one of the most impressive High Commissions in the world, Katherine. You wouldn’t believe how grand it is!

  24. 3rd November 2017 / 4:34 pm

    It’s so hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since Harry Potter came on the scene. I admit I resisted reading it until book 4 was published, but then I got to read them without waiting, so that was a plus! Looking forward to visiting some of your spots on our upcoming trip! #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:21 pm

      Hopefully you’ll get to see some of these places when you visit, Hilary. I took a while to read the books as well – I hate following the crowd, but I was so glad I did and it’s been a huge pleasure sharing the magic with my boys.

  25. 3rd November 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Ah! I’ll never tire of Harry Potter. Great idea to put this guide together for the 20-year anniversary! Can’t believe how time has flown. #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Birgit. Harry Potter is such a wonderful literary invention. It’s an extraordinarily rich world that JK Rowling has created for us all to enjoy.

  26. 3rd November 2017 / 8:12 pm

    I didn’t know about Leadenhall Market. It is beautiful!! #farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:23 pm

      It is really beautiful, Bea.

  27. 3rd November 2017 / 9:29 pm

    What a fun walking guide for any Harry Potter fans! If my kids do become fans, I’ll have to take them to London to see all these sights! #Farawayfiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Celine. We really enjoyed creating this tour.

  28. 3rd November 2017 / 11:28 pm

    I loved this post, not because I’m a Harry Potter fan (as I’ve never seen it), but because you’ve shown so many gorgeous places I want to see in London. That market is beautiful, I just love covered passages.

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:25 pm

      Thanks so very much, Lyn. London is full of so many wonderful areas and little passages. Sometimes it’s only through seeing the locations in films that you get to find them. I hadn’t been down Cecil Court before this and yet I’ve walked down Charing Cross numerous times.

  29. 4th November 2017 / 10:23 pm

    Gutted to miss the bl exhibition, still waiting for my 9 3/4 photo there are always queues when I’m tgere

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:26 pm

      It is always SO busy at Platform 9 3/4! The trick is to get there really early!

  30. 6th November 2017 / 2:18 am

    What a fantastic guide! Our youngest is a huge Harry Potter fan – she would have loved this when she was in London earlier this year. Instead, we’ll go and send her pictures….because we’re fans, too! (Yes, that would be mean – but then so was going to London without us! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for sharing – we’ll certainly put this to use! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:27 pm

      Thanks so much Rob and Ann. Really hope you all get to enjoy this! London’s always great but it’s fun to have a theme as you find your way around. Thanks so much for sharing too.

  31. 7th November 2017 / 12:10 pm

    What an amazing way to see both London and the Harry Potter Sights at the same time. My son is still too young for Harry Potter but I bet he’d love this tour when he’s older! #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      8th November 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Thanks so much, Cath. We absolutely loved doing it ourselves. It does take you through some of the best bits of London, that’s for sure.

  32. 11th November 2017 / 10:07 pm

    What a brilliant route, I can commend the British Library exhibition which is stack full of fascinating things. #FarawayFiles

    • Clare Thomson
      Author
      19th November 2017 / 11:34 am

      Thanks so much, Catherine. We’re booked to go early in January. Can’t wait!

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