As I mentioned in my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play was the reason for my trip to London back in March, but even more than that, I was excited to take in one of the cities that inspired J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world. I affectionately referred to this adventure as a “Potter Nerd’s Vacation” and I loved and embraced every Potterhead moment of it.
Here are some of the sights that every Harry Potter fan should check out when in London!
Platform 9 3/4
What better way to start the journey into the world of Harry Potter than where the Boy Who Lived also started, by going through Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station. Upon taking the Underground to King’s Cross St. Pancreas station, follow the signs that say “Platforms 9 to 11”. There, you’ll turn and see a brick wall where there will most likely be a line to take a photo. The line looked long when we arrived at around 11am but we waited for about 45 minutes or so. The staff working the photo op are wonderful and while they do take your photo and give you the option to purchase if you wish, they also allow you to hand off your camera/phone to someone else to take your own as well. You are given the choice of scarf when you get to the front of the line (or, if you’re like me, brought my own Slytherin scarf for the occasion). The photographer will direct you to do 1-2 poses, and if you’d like a group photo, be sure to mention it to the staff at the front of the line with the scarves.
Walks.com offers great walking tours that don’t require to book ahead of time. Just show up at the meeting place with $10. For the Harry Potter one, we met by the war memorial in front of the Royal Exchange just off Bank tube station. Our tour guide, Richard Walker, was fantastic. Look for him wearing a Gryffindor scarf. Richard takes you through a number of areas which I probably wouldn’t have wandered to on my own, while sharing historical facts and pointing out film shoot locations. The tour takes about 2 hours and end at the Millennium Bridge by Tate Modern.
WB Studio Tour
This is a definite must-see for any Potter fan. Located at the Leavesden studios where they filmed much of the movie franchise, it is well worth the trek out to see it. Take the Underground to Euston Station. If you’re like us, and came from Euston Square station, it’s a bit of a hike from one station to the other. Once at Euston station, you can catch one of the Overground trains to Watford Junction. The regular train will take about 45 minutes unless you catch the express which will only be about 20 minutes. Ensure you have enough funds on your Oyster card, or you can purchase a separate return trip ticket in the ticket area at Euston Station. Once at Watford Junction, head to bus stop 4 where the WB Studio Tour shuttle will pick you up. It is 2.50 cash return trip on this shuttle.
We opted for the audio guided tour which was a great addition to the self-guided tour. Within the studios are props, set pieces, costumes and so much more. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. It exceeded any expectations of what I thought I’d see there. There are so many moments that took my breath away at the sight of it all. It isn’t just looking, but you can touch and step in a lot of things too (including the Hogwarts Express, the Ford Anglia and the Nightbus!). Halfway through the tour, there’s a cafeteria where you can get some food and, as the server proudly told us, it is one of four official locations that serve Butterbeer! (And I’m also proud to say that I’ve now had Butterbeer in 3 of the 4 locations!)
Today was simply magical. ⚡️The @wbtourlondon surpassed this fan's expectations. The amount of detail and work that went into everything, and much of it we aren't even seeing, is astonishing. It's a bit of a trek out of London but absolutely worth it for any Potter fan. More to come on the blog once I'm home and have collected my thoughts from today, but you can swipe to see more pictures from the #wbtourlondon 👈 #travelgram #instatravel
House of MinaLima
If you aren’t familiar with the name of this design house, you’ll most certainly know their work. Miraphora Mina & Eduardo Lima are the graphic designers behind all the art elements in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast movies. All of it. Located at 26 Greek Street, the showroom and shop is just not far from the Palace Theatre where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child plays and it is a magnificent sight to behold. I believe they have since expanded the space, but when we were there in March, it was a narrow 3-storey building, with the shop on the main floor and the exhibit on the upper two floors. The stairs are decked out in Hogwarts letters, the walls are covered in Daily Prophets and Wanted posters, product cartons, Hogwarts books…
I am so happy to have been able to see the @minalimadesign #HarryPotter art exhibit. I believe originally it was to have ended just before our trip to London but looks like it recently got extended! Amazing!! The design work is truly stunning. All the graphic art from the @harrypotterfilm to now the @fantasticbeastsmovie ! #houseofminalima. . 👈 swipe for a few more pics, and check out my Instagram stories for a quick little video around the rooms! #travelgram #instatravel
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
We had purchased tickets for this show at the Palace Theatre the first day they became available, October 31, 2015. The first/best available by the time it was our turn in the queue was for March 2017. 100% worth the wait. If you’re able to get tickets, do so. (And if you can’t get over to London, the London cast will be reprising their roles on Broadway in 2018!) This is a magical marvel that’s well worth the ticket price.
My recommendation is to do both Parts One and Two on the same day rather than split it up into two days. Once Part One ends, you’re already in that mindset so you may as well go and grab a bite before heading back into the theatre to continue the magic. I’m glad I didn’t end up re-reading the screenplay prior to watching the production because I had forgotten much of what happens. And if you weren’t a huge fan of the play, don’t let that deter you from the show. The acting and production value is a sight to see with your own eyes.
After buying tickets 1.5 years ago the first day @hpplayldn became available for the first/best date they HAD available, the day has finally come! "March 2017" had seemed so far off when these were first purchased in October 2015 but our tickets are now in hand! #keepthesecrets #travelgram #instatravel
Have you gone to London to see these sites, or are planning to go soon? Did I miss a favourite of yours from this list? Share it in the comments!