It’s been 10 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published – 10 years since the final Harry Potter novel was released for millions to read. I remember exactly where I was when I started flicking through the first chapter – sat in the car park of a local supermarket, not long before 1 in the morning, after staying up all night for the midnight release. And I continued to read through the night until my eyes ached.
Does anyone else feel ridiculously old right now?
I grew up with these books AND the movies, so this fandom has been a part of my life for a very long time. The world of Harry Potter is something I geek out about more than anything else because I have LIVED in this world.
Obviously I mean that metaphorically, although I wish I didn’t – I would have loved nothing more than to receive my letter to Hogwarts, just like every other Witch and Wizard. Unfortunately my Hogwarts days are WAY behind me now, however there is still a way you can walk in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Thanks to the magic of cinema, there are locations all around London that allow you to experience the world of Harry Potter. Here are 10 of my favourites.
One of Harry’s first experiences with magic is at London Zoo. He goes there for Dudleys birthday and ends up accidentally trapping him in one of the enclosures, releasing a snake simultaneously.
Whilst Harry Potter is fictional, London Zoo in Regents Park is very real and was actually used as a set in the first movie. The Burmese Python is long gone, but the enclosure is still there, with a plaque that commemorates the scene. (source)
Diagon Alley was Harry’s first experience with the wizarding world after Hagrid took him to the magical street to buy school supplies for Hogwarts.
From the Chamber of Secrets onwards, Diagon Alley was built in a studio, but Leadenhall Market depicts the streets exterior in the first film – Philosophers Stone. They even used an Opticians store front as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. (source)
Harry’s first stop down Diagon Alley was Gringotts bank – the goblin manned fortress where wizards and witches can store all their money and precious possessions.
The interior of the bank from Philosophers Stone was shot inside Australia House. Unfortunately, this place isn’t usually open to the public, but if you catch the security guard on a good day, he may let you peek inside. (source)
Kings Cross Station
Getting to Hogwarts wasn’t as simple as driving up the motorway, Harry had to catch the Hogwarts Express which meant heading to platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross.
Annoyingly, the real platforms 9 and 10 are seperated with train tracks, which meant platforms 4 and 5 were renamed and used instead for filming purposes. Now a days there’s a luggage cart there, disappearing into the wall, where you can take pictures and pose. (source)
St Pancreas Station
It hasn’t always been easy to get onto Platform 9 3/4 though. In the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby stops both Ron and Harry from entering the platform, forcing them to take Mr Weasleys car instead.
The building in the background when Harry and Ron get into the Ford Anglia and fly it across London to Hogwarts isn’t actually Kings Cross, it’s St Pancreas, which stands as a slightly more impressive building, just over the road. (source)
Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge
Harry seems to have an affinity for flying over London because he does it again in the Order of the Phoenix, only on a broom this time. The entire Order soar down the Thames under a bridge, which just so happens to be Tower Bridge – one of the most iconic structures in London.
It’s not the only bridge to appear in a Harry Potter film though. At the start of the Half Blood Prince, the Death Eaters cause a bridge to collapse into the river. That was the beautiful Millennium Bridge – and it is still very much in tact. (source)
After flying Harry through the centre of London, the Order land at their new headquarters in Grimmauld Place – the very invisible childhood home of Sirius Black.
While the actual house cannot be seen by us mere muggles, its nighbours are very visible and located at Claremont Square, the exterior of which was used in the Order of the Phoenix. (source)
Great Scotland Yard
After Harry uses magic in front of Muggles in the Order of the Phoenix, he is called to the Ministry of Magic to explain his case – the entrance to which lay in a red phone booth.
Whilst the phone box isnt actually real – it was just a film prop for the movie and was therefore removed after filming – the location itself exists, laying on the corner of Scotland Yard. (source)
Westminster Station and Surbiton Station
To get to the Ministry of Magic, Harry and Mr Weasley had to take the tube – much to the excitement of Arthur. A real location was used to film this scene – Westminster Station. It was closed for an entire day whilst filming – poor commuters.
Westminster isn’t the only station Harry uses though. In the Half Blood Prince, he meets Dumbledore on Platform 3 of Surbiton Station just before they apparate to Budleigh Babberton. The platform is very much real, though the advertisement posters aren’t. (source)
When Death Eaters turn up at Bill and Fleurs wedding in Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione have to get out of there as quickly as possible and end up apparating into a busy street.
Said street is Piccadilly Circus, one of the busiest areas in the whole of London. If you head there at night, you’ll get the full Harry Potter effect, just don’t get run over by a bus. (source)
There are lots of other Harry Potter film locations spread throughout the UK, but these London locations are an easy way to get your daily Harry Potter fix.
Have you visited any of these film sets before? Which one would you like to see the most?