May 2nd isn’t just any ordinary day – it is the day celebrating the most famous young magician in the world. It may not feel like it, but he has already been around for 22 years (where did that go?!) and the magic is now being passed down to the original readers children!! J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was first introduced to the world in June 1997 and the world of magic and fantasy has never been the same again.
If you’re in London on this date (or on any other date to be honest), mark this special day with a tour through London following Harry’s adventures:
Harry Potter fans – you might want to visit The London Zoo Reptile House – this is where Harry first discovered he can speak Parseltongue. You can go there to practice your sss’s – and a python might just anssssswer back. The house appears in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as the zoo that Harry Potter and the Dursley family visit. Fans of the book may remember that Harry notes that he had never been to London before upon travelling there to shop at Diagon Alley but this place is still filled with magic! By the way, if you have a London Pass you have a free entrance to the zoo.
[image source: ZSL]
Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station
As any fan of J.K. Rowling’s series will know, King’s Cross is where students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry catch the Hogwarts Express. Harry and his friends get to the platform by dashing through a brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. Meanwhile, in the real King’s Cross, platforms 9 and 10 are separated by tracks, but you can find a platform 9¾ on the wall in the station concourse complete with half a luggage trolley for the perfect photo opportunity!
[image source: kingscross]
St. Paul’s Cathedral Staircase
This is the best excuse to get your Harry Potter fan into St. Paul’s Cathedral. The spectacular staircase is the Divination Stairwell in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Harry Potter aside, the Cathedral is famous for its dome and beautiful art and decor inside.
[image source: pinterest]
Leadenhall Market & Borough Market
Most of the Diagon Alley scenes were shot in a studio, but few real locations were also used for filming. One of the them was Leadenhall market, a covered market in the City of London, which dates from the 14th century. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the door to an opticians shop in Bulls Head passage was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub.
The real-life location of the Leaky Cauldron entrance has changed between films – in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban, Harry gets off the Knight Bus in Borough Market and walks into the Leaky Cauldron. A great excuse to visit both!
[image source: Wikipedia]
The Caludron Bar (for grown-ups)
As stated on their website: “The Cauldron Magical Cocktail Experience is broadly inspired by fantasy and science-fiction and is a place for fans of magic”. The Cauldron Magical Experience is an immersive cocktail-making experience in Central London where guests brew magical potions by using interactive magic wands and molecular mixology. It offers a one hour and forty-five minute ticketed activity that centres on the idea of using science and technology to bring the concepts from fantasy novels to life.
[image source: thecauldronpub]
Warner Bros. Harry Potter Tour – The Making of Harry Potter
The Warner Bros. Studio, located in Leavesden is around 20 miles northwest of London – but we still count it on our list, because no Harry Potter Tour of London can be complete without visiting it. Even non-Potterheads are sure to enjoy and appreciate this impressive tour of the set where the Harry Potter cast has been filming many of the scenes of the movies for 10 years. You’ll get to walk through the authentic sets, discover the magic behind spellbinding special effects and explore the “behind-the-scenes”. The studios’ stores offer buttterbeer and butterbeer ice cream and some great Harry Potter souvenirs. We’ve been and the amount of detail they put you that you don’t even see on the screen is amazing!!
[image source: WB Studios]
Happy Harry Potter Day and Happy Travels!