It has only been in the last few years that I have entered the magic world of Harry Potter. My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan and consistently boasts that she has watched the films at least 10 times each. Although she still steadfastly refuses to read the books…
We recently went to the Harry Potter Studios in London and even if you haven’t watched the films or read the books, it is still a fantastic day out. The iconic movie saga was filmed in many locations around London and as I love a good old itinerary on a day out, I decided I’d go visit all the Harry Potter filming locations in London.
Harry Potter is one of the most popular book and movie series of all time. The story of a young orphan boy who discovers he is a wizard and attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has captivated audiences around the world. The world of Harry Potter is filled with magic, adventure, and memorable characters that have become beloved by fans of all ages. But then, if you don’t know this, have you been hiding under a rock?
I often go to London for work and have spent a lot of time in and around King’s Cross. It was walking past the Harry Potter Shop in the station that gave me the idea to find other Harry Potter locations in and around London.
Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
In the films, London often serves as a bridge between the magical and muggle realms. While J.K. Rowling’s series primarily unfolds in the enchanting corridors of Hogwarts, the streets of London have been a recurring backdrop that fans worldwide have come to cherish.
The significance of London in the Harry Potter films extends beyond mere location, enveloping the narrative in layers of enchantment and authenticity. The city’s intertwining with the wizarding world ensures that a stroll down London’s streets is nothing short of a magical journey for fans.
Here are my top favourite places to visit when looking for iconic Harry Potter locations. Some are extremely easy to find, others you might need a map and a bit of patience. The beauty of being in London is that there is something unique to see around every corner!
1. Harry Potter Tours – Walking or Bus
If you don’t fancy making itineraries and drawing out plans yourself, a Harry Potter tour is the best way to get started! There are plenty of tours to choose from which can include interactive experiences and boat rides.
You will be bound to whatever the tour decides to show you, so it might always be best to create your own tour so you can be more selective. However, Harry Potter tours in London provide fans with a magical journey through the very streets that bore witness to some of the most iconic scenes in the Harry Potter films.
The Harry Potter tour guides are often enthusiasts and will be able to offer more information on architectural details, exact locations and behind-the-scenes anecdotes so it is well worth checking out.
Location: Throughout London
2. Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station
Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station in London is an iconic and magical element of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. While the station itself is a bustling transportation hub in real life, in the world of witches and wizards, it houses a well-kept secret—a hidden platform from which the Hogwarts Express departs, taking young wizards and witches to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
However, you’d be hard-pressed to find the actual platform as for obvious reasons, it doesn’t exist! A trolley was once placed near Platform 9, but because it became inundated with visitors, they moved it to a dedicated area of King’s Cross Station. A visit to Platform 9¾ isn’t complete without snapping a picture while pretending to run the trolley into the magical barrier. The station has set up a half-disappeared trolley against a wall, providing the perfect backdrop for an iconic shot.
Staff on-site often provide visitors with scarves in the colours of one of the four Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw). Fans can choose their favourite or “official” house for the photo op, capturing their Hogwarts allegiance in the moment.
Location: King’s Cross Station London N1 9AP
3. The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4
Adjacent to the photo spot is the official Harry Potter shop, styled to resemble Ollivander’s wand shop. It offers a plethora of merchandise—from wands and robes to stationery and sweets. It’s a treasure trove for fans looking for souvenirs or the next addition to their Potter collection.
Location: King’s Cross Station London N1 9AP
4. St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Not far from King’s Cross Station is the magnificent St Pancras Hotel. The Hotel, with its striking Gothic Revival architecture, holds a special place in the hearts of Harry Potter enthusiasts. Even though King’s Cross Station is the official departure point of the Hogwarts Express in J.K. Rowling’s series, the external shots of the station in the films feature the façade of the adjacent St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
In “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” it’s the dramatic exterior of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel that we see when Harry and Ron, unable to pass through the barrier to Platform 9¾, decide to take the flying Ford Anglia to Hogwarts. The soaring spires and grand façade of the hotel are instantly recognizable from this scene.
Given its location right next to King’s Cross Station, it’s easy to incorporate a visit to the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel into a Harry Potter tour. After checking out the Platform 9¾ installation, it’s just a short stroll to the hotel.
Location: Euston Rd., London NW1 2AR
5. The Order of the Phoenix Headquarters: Claremont Square
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix is located at 12 Grimmauld Place, a fictional address. However, when it came to the film adaptations, the filmmakers chose Claremont Square in Islington, London, as the location to represent the exterior of 12 Grimmauld Place.
12 Grimmauld Place is the ancestral home of Sirius Black, Harry Potter’s godfather. The old, dark house serves as the secret headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix, a group of witches and wizards dedicated to resisting Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The house itself is concealed from Muggle’s eyes and is imbued with numerous spells and enchantments to ensure its secrecy and safety.
While it’s a quiet residential area, Claremont Square in Islington isn’t far from the bustling heart of London, much like how 12 Grimmauld Place is described in the books.
Location: Claremont Square, Angel, London N1 9LX
6. Diagon Alley: Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market, dating back to the 14th century, is one of London’s oldest markets. With its cobbled pathways, ornate roofing, and historic Victorian architecture, the market offers a timeless charm that makes it a perfect stand-in for parts of Diagon Alley.
One of the most recognizable elements of Leadenhall Market’s connection to Harry Potter is the blue door of an optician’s shop in Bull’s Head Passage, which was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and the gateway to Diagon Alley in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”
Location: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT
7. The Entrance to the Leaky Cauldron: Borough Market
In the third film, the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron was shifted to Borough Market. Fans might recall the scene where the Knight Bus squeezes through two London buses to drop Harry off at the Leaky Cauldron. The distinctive bridge overhead and the market’s brick backdrop make this scene unforgettable.
Much like Leadenhall, Borough Market has an old-world charm that aligns seamlessly with the magical universe’s aesthetic. The market’s rich history, which spans over 1,000 years, coupled with its diverse array of vendors and produce, makes it an apt setting for a gateway into the Wizarding World.
Visiting Borough Market: For those on a Harry Potter tour, a trip to Borough Market offers several delights:
- Locate the Leaky Cauldron: Potterheads can seek out the specific location used for the exterior of the Leaky Cauldron in the third film. The exact spot is on Stoney Street, under the railway bridge.
- Culinary Adventure: Beyond its Harry Potter location, Borough Market is one of London’s premier food markets. Visitors can sample a range of delicacies from artisanal cheeses and freshly baked goods to international cuisines.
- Photography: The market, with its bustling stalls, diverse produce, and characteristic architecture, offers countless opportunities for photos. For Potter fans, capturing the Leaky Cauldron’s entrance is a must.
- Engage with Local Vendors: Borough Market is a melting pot of cultures and flavours. Engaging with local vendors not only offers insights into the produce but often leads to delightful conversations and anecdotes.
Location: Stoney Street, London, SE1 1TL
8. The Millennium Bridge: Death Eater Attack
The Millennium Bridge, a striking pedestrian suspension bridge spanning the River Thames in London, was introduced to many in a dramatic fashion in the world of Harry Potter. In the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” it’s this modern bridge that is targeted and destroyed by Death Eaters in a symbolic attack on the Muggle world.
The destruction of the Millennium Bridge by Death Eaters early in the sixth film serves multiple purposes. It not only signifies the rising power and audacity of Voldemort and his followers but also symbolizes the blurring lines between the magical and non-magical worlds. The bridge’s destruction in broad daylight, in the heart of London, brings the threat of Voldemort directly to the Muggle world.
It’s worth noting that in J.K. Rowling’s original “Half-Blood Prince” novel, there’s no mention of the Millennium Bridge. The book refers to a fictional disaster involving a different bridge. The filmmakers, however, chose the Millennium Bridge for its easily recognisable and unusual structure, and its significance as a well-known London landmark.
The bridge provides stunning views of other London landmarks, including St. Paul’s Cathedral on the north bank and the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the south and is definitely a highlight of a Harry Potter tour!
Location: Thames Embankment
9. Gringotts Bank: Australia House
Australia House, located on London’s Strand, is a magnificent edifice that has served as the High Commission of Australia in London for over a century. For fans of the Harry Potter series, this grand building holds special significance as the interior was used to depict the majestic Gringotts Wizarding Bank in the films.
In “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” Harry visits Gringotts, the goblin-run bank, for the first time with Hagrid. The breathtaking marble hall of Australia House was used for the interior shots of the bank, capturing the opulence and grandeur befitting the wizarding world’s primary banking establishment.
Built in the early 20th century, Australia House boasts a splendid interior, with grand chandeliers, marble floors, and tall, ornate ceilings that naturally aligned with the filmmakers’ vision of Gringotts.
Location: Strand, London WC2B 4LA
10. The MoM Atrium: Westminster Tube Station
One of the prominent real Harry Potter locations that had a key role in the movies, especially when it came to the Ministry of Magic sequences, was the Westminster Tube Station.
In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” Harry accompanies Mr. Arthur Weasley to the Ministry of Magic for his hearing. They enter the Ministry using a magical telephone booth above ground. But before this, they traverse the very Muggle-esque Westminster Tube Station, providing a fascinating contrast between the magical and non-magical worlds.
While the interior of the Ministry of Magic was a set constructed at Leavesden Studios, the entrance sequence at Westminster Tube Station is a Harry Potter location fans can visit in real life.
11. The House of MinaLima
The House of MinaLima is a magical haven located in the heart of London and is an absolute delight for Harry Potter enthusiasts. The House of MinaLima is the brainchild of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the graphic designers behind much of the detailed artwork and props in the Harry Potter films. They created everything from the Marauder’s Map and the Daily Prophet newspapers to Hogwarts letters and textbook covers.
The four-story townhouse showcases a vast array of original designs from the Harry Potter films, as well as from the “Fantastic Beasts” series. It provides fans with an up-close look at the intricate details that went into designing these iconic pieces.
The House is more than just a gallery. It’s an immersive experience. Fans can step into themed rooms that replicate settings from the movies, such as a space dedicated to the Marauder’s Map, complete with its footprints!
Situated near Covent Garden, the House of MinaLima is centrally located, making it a convenient stop for tourists. The surrounding area is rich with other attractions, eateries, and shops.
Location: 157 Wardour St, London W1F 8WQ
12. The Magic Behind Piccadilly Circus
In “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” Harry, Ron, and Hermione have a narrow escape from Death Eaters shortly after leaving Bill and Fleur’s wedding. This chase culminates in the trio finding themselves in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, where they narrowly avoid being hit by a London bus. This scene serves to emphasize the blurred lines between the Muggle and wizarding worlds, especially as Voldemort’s power grows.
For Harry Potter fans, standing in Piccadilly Circus offers an immediate sense of recognition and connection to a pivotal scene in the movies.
Location: Piccadilly Circus
13. The Knight Bus Bridge: Lambeth Bridge
Lambeth Bridge, spanning the River Thames and connecting Lambeth and Westminster, has its own magical significance in the Harry Potter universe. The bridge was catapulted into pop culture fame in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” thanks to a particularly heart-stopping scene involving the triple-decker Knight Bus.
Fans can stand on Lambeth Bridge and visualize the wild antics of the Knight Bus. While no triple-decker buses will be zooming past in reality, the location itself is a tangible link to the movie. Apart from being one of the many Harry Potter filming locations, Lambeth Bridge offers scenic views of the Thames, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye.
Location: Lambeth Rd, London SE1 7SG
14. The Reptile House at London Zoo
London Zoo, located in Regent’s Park, is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and has been a staple attraction for locals and tourists alike since its establishment in 1828. However, for fans of the Harry Potter series, the Reptile House within this zoo holds a special significance.
Fans can stand in front of the very enclosure featured in the film where a large boa constrictor starts communicating with Harry and relive Harry’s magical interaction. While the actual snake in the movie was a CGI creation, the ambience of the Reptile House sets the mood.
Apart from its Harry Potter fame, the Reptile House is home to a wide range of reptiles, from tiny frogs to massive pythons, giving visitors an educational experience.
Location: Regent’s Park, Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY
15. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Located in Leavesden, just outside of London, the Harry Potter Studios are probably the best place to visit if you are a Harry Potter fan. Not strictly one of the Harry Potter filming locations in London, but absolutely worth a visit.
This expansive studio was the actual production home for the Harry Potter films. The Harry Potter tour boasts numerous original sets from the film series, including the impressive Great Hall of Hogwarts, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, and the Forbidden Forest. Fans can walk through these iconic locations, getting a firsthand look at where pivotal scenes were filmed.
It offers an immersive experience, allowing fans to appreciate the immense creativity, craftsmanship, and dedication that went into creating the enchanting world of Harry Potter.
Location: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR
Tips for Exploring Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
- Map out the Harry Potter filming locations you want to visit beforehand.
- Some spots might be close to each other, allowing for easy walking between them, while others may require transport.
Check Opening Hours:
- Some Harry Potter filming locations, like museums or shops, have specific opening hours. Ensure you know when they’re accessible to avoid disappointment. Many of them are extremely busy, so try and visit off-peak such as early in the morning or during a weekday.
Respect the Harry Potter Locations:
Remember that some of these places are not just tourist attractions but also places of work or residence. Always be respectful on your Harry Potter tour and avoid causing disruptions.
Occasionally, there might be special events, exhibits, or displays related to Harry Potter locations. Check local event listings or fan sites for any temporary exhibitions or events you can attend.
There’s a profound wonder in standing at the very spot where iconic scenes were filmed.
As you stand at King’s Cross between platforms 9 and 10, you don’t just see the bricks and mortar of the station; you feel the rush of the Hogwarts Express, hear the distant whispers of wizards and witches, and maybe, for a split second, believe you could dash at the wall to Platform 9¾ and make it through.
To see all these Harry Potter filming locations in London, including a day at the Harry Potter Studios, you would need to spend at least 3 days to fit it all in.
Anything less and you will find yourself manically trying to get from one location to another and not stop to take in the architecture, beauty and cultural significance that London has to offer.