It’s been 10 years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published. How mental is that? I actually remember where I was when I started flicking through the first chapter of the book – sat in the car park of a local supermarket, not long after midnight. I continued to read through the night. As you can imagine, I was not fit for school the next day.
I kind of grew up with the books and the movies simultaneously, so this fandom has been a big 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 that 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, because I am super old, but 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, so here are all the places that appear in every movie – from Philosophers Stone to Deathly Hallows. And don’t forget to save the map below.
18 HARRY POTTER FILMING LOCATIONS IN CENTRAL LONDON
‘Sorry about him, he doesn’t understand what it’s like, lying there day after day, watching people press their ugly faces in on you.’ – Harry Potter
One of Harry’s first experiences with magic is at London Zoo in The Philosopher’s Stone. He goes there for Dudley’s birthday, and ends up accidentally trapping his cousin in one of the enclosures, releasing a unusually friendly snake.
In real life, London Zoo is in Regents Park. It was used as a set in the first movie, and whilst the Burmese Python is long gone, the enclosure is still there – with a plaque that commemorates the scene.
‘All students must be equipped with one standard size-two pewter cauldron, and may bring, if they desire, either an owl, a cat, or a toad.’ – Harry Potter
Harry’s second experience with magic, and the wizarding world in general, was Diagon Alley – where Hagrid took him to buy school supplies for Hogwarts.
Diagon Alley was actually built in the Warner Bros studios, but Leadenhall Market appears as the London street the duo walk down as they head for the Leaky Cauldron – the entrance of which is a little store called The Glass House.
‘Gringotts, the wizard bank. Ain’t no safer place, not one, ‘cept perhaps Hogwarts.’ – Hagrid
Harry’s first stop down Diagon Alley is Gringotts bank – the Goblin manned fortress where wizards and witches can store all their money and precious possessions.
The interior of the bank used in The Philosopher’s Stone was shot inside Australia House in London. Unfortunately, the building isn’t open to the public, but if you catch the security guard on a good day, he may let you peek inside.
Kings Cross Station
‘All you’ve got to do is walk straight at the wall between platform 9 and 10. Best do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous.’ – Molly Weasley
Probably the most famous filming location in London, King’s Cross Station appears in almost every Harry Potter movie as the gateway to Platform 9 3/4.
In real life, platforms 9 and 10 are separated with train tracks, which meant platforms 4 and 5 were renamed and used instead for filming purposes. You will now find a luggage cart there, half disappearing into the wall, where you can take pictures.
St Pancreas Station
‘Ron, I should tell you, most muggles aren’t accustomed to seeing a flying car.’ – Harry Potter
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 to Hogwarts instead.
The building in the background, before Harry and Ron get into the Ford Anglia and fly it across London, isn’t actually Kings Cross, it is St Pancreas Hotel, which stands as a slightly more impressive building, just over the road from the station.
‘Mind your head. Hey, Guys! Guys! Why the long faces?’ – Shrunken Head
We see a lot of London in The Prisoner of Azkaban, after Harry boards the Knight Bus and heads towards The Leaky Cauldron. The triple decker can be seen zooming it’s way through the capital, finally stopping on Elliot’s Row to let an old lady cross the road.
The three story bus then heads onto Lambeth Bridge where it squeezes in between two London buses and creeps out of the other side with a pop.
‘Ah, the Leaky Cauldron! If you have the pea soup, make sure you eat it before it eats you.’ – Shrunken Head
When the Knight Bus finally comes to a hault, it is stood outside of the Leaky Cauldron, who’s entrance has moved ever so slightly since The Philosopher’s Stone.
No longer found at Leadenhall Market, you can now spot the wizarding pub nestled in Borough Market, right outside the El Pastor restaurant on Stoney Street.
St Paul’s Cathedral
‘She’s gone mental Hermione has. I mean, not that she wasn’t always mental but now it’s out in the open for everyone to see.’ – Ron Weasley
London’s St Paul’s Cathedral also makes a brief appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban – as well as the Goblet of Fire – as the staircase that leads up to Professor Trelawney’s Divination classroom.
Here, Harry picks up the crystal ball that Hermione kicked out of class in anger, before taking it back to Trelawney’s classroom where she makes a rather terrifying prophecy.
‘Stay in formation everyone. Don’t break ranks if one of us is killed.’ – Mad Eye Moody
Harry seems to have an affinity for flying over London, because he does it for a second time in the Order of the Phoenix, replacing the Ford Anglia with a broom this time.
The entire Order soars down the Thames and sweep under a bridge, which happens to be Tower Bridge, one of the most iconic structures in London. You might also spot Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament too.
‘The Order of the Phoenix. Its a secret society. Dumbledore formed it back when they first fought you know who.’ – Hermione Granger
After flying Harry through the capital, the Order land outside 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 neighbours are visible and located at Claremont Square. The garden opposite can also be seen in the Order of the Phoenix as the place where the wizards land.
‘Trains. Underground. Ingenious, these muggles.’ – Arthur Weasley
One of the busiest underground stations in the whole of London makes an appearance next – much to the excitement of Mr Weasley – as Harry and Arthur head towards the Ministry of Magic.
Westminster Station had to be closed down for filming, enfuriating commuters everywhere. It was used for its rather long escalator, as well as its ticket barrier, which completely bemuses Mr Weasley.
Great Scotland Yard
‘Here we are. I’ve never used the visitors entrance before. Should be fun. Right. Good. I’ll just get my muggle money.’ – Arthur Weasley
Harry finally makes it to the entrance of the Ministry, which lies within a red phone box. This particular booth isn’t actually real – it was just a prop for the movie – but the location exists on the corner of Scotland Yard.
The road appears again in Deathly Hallows when Harry, Ron and Hermione kidnap some Ministry workers. The doors to the storage room they stuff the workers into can be found round the corner, down Scotland Place.
We see London once more at the beginning of The Half Blood Prince as Death Eaters wreack havock in the capital.
The dark wizards appear out of nowhere, zooming out of the clouds as muggles watch from a building nearby. This particular building is the City Hall down Queen’s Walk.
Charing Cross Road
The Death eaters then head towards Diagon Alley to capture poor Ollivander – you can see them flying down Charing Cross Road, past Trafalgar Square.
The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron has changed locations for a third time. This time it can be found just off Charing Cross Road, at 12 Great Newport Street.
Before the death eaters leave the city, they decide to fly around a bridge filled with pedestrians, and cause it to collapse into the river.
Another London location, this was the beautiful Millennium Bridge – but I assure you that it is still very much in tact.
‘Shaftsbury Avenue. I used to come to the theatre here with mum and dad. Don’t know why I thought of it, just popped into my head. This way.’ – Hermione Granger.
When Death Eaters turn up at Bill and Fleurs wedding in The 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 actually Piccadilly Circus, one of the busiest areas in the whole of London. The three then proceed to head down the real Shaftsbury Avenue, before finding an alleyway where they can change clothes.
‘The trace breaks at 17. It’s wizarding law.’ – Ron Weasley
The trio head into a London cafe to form a plan about what to do next where they’re attacked by Death Eaters who have manged to track them to the city.
The Cafe itself wasn’t a real cafe – it was a set built at the studio – but when they leave to head to Grimmauld Place, they are on the steps of the London Trocadero which is just up the road from Shaftsbury Avenue.
Horse Guard Avenue
‘We flush ourselves in. That’s bloody disgusting.’ – Ron Weasley
The final London location used to film scenes in Harry Potter was Horse Guard Avenue which is where Harry, Ron and Hermione – dressed as Ministry workers – have to flush themselves down the toilet to break into the Ministry of Magic.
The public toilet building doesn’t exist in real life, but that is probably a god send – surely I’m not the only person imagining fans getting their feet wet for the cause. A statue of the Duke of Devonshire is stood in its place ɨnstead.
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 if you find yourself in the capital. Have you visited any of these film sets before? Which one would you like to see the most?
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