Are you searching for the best Harry Potter things to do in London? Well, you’re in luck because London is great for us Harry Potter fans since many places in the city doubled as sets for the Harry Potter films. Whether you decide to make a day of it or sprinkle in attractions during your week in London, here are all the spots you can visit to rediscover the magical world of Harry Potter.
- 1. Visit Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station
- 2. Number 12 Grimmauld Place
- 3. Find the Entrance of Diagon Alley at Leadenhall Market
- 4. Walk Across Millenium Bridge
- 5. Find the Divination Staircase at St. Paul’s Cathedral
- 6. Locate the Ministry of Magic near Great Scotland Yard
- 7. Run from Death Eaters in Piccadilly Circus (& Shaftesbury Avenue)
- Bonus for Australian Citizens: Stop by Gringotts at Australia House
- Harry Potter Day Trips from London
- Map of Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
- Getting Around London
- Where to Stay in London
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. Visit Platform 9 ¾ in King’s Cross Station
Where was Platform 9 ¾ filmed?
All students of Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry need to find Platform 9 ¾ to begin their school year. But for us muggles who never received our acceptance letters to Hogwarts (I’m sure a bloody owl went missing with ours, right?!), where can we attempt to recreate this magical experience? Well, there are a few answers depending on what you want to see.
In the first couple of Harry Potter films, there are 2 key scenes related to the train station:
- In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry walks around bewildered in his search for Platform 9 ¾.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ron and Harry drive Mr. Weasley’s flying car since they can’t get to the platform.
There are 3 primary filming locations for the Hogwarts train scenes.
- If you’re looking for the platform barrier, King’s Cross Station was the filming location for Platform 9 ¾. Contrary to its name, the precise location of the train barrier that separates the muggle world and the wizarding world is between platforms 4 and 5.
- If you’re looking for the exterior of the train station from The Chamber of Secrets, you’ll actually need to head over to the beautiful St. Pancras Station.
- And, you’ll have to venture out of London to York Station if you’re looking for the bridge where Hagrid and Harry walk to the Hogwarts Express in The Sorcerer’s Stone.
💡TIP: St. Pancras Station is a 2-minute walk from King’s Cross Station so you can easily visit both places.
How to Get to Platform 9 ¾?
Once you enter King’s Cross, you can follow the signs or ask around for “Platform 9 ¾.” Unlike Harry, you won’t get any eyebrow raises if you ask where you can find Platform 9 ¾. However, if you ask this question, you’ll be directed to the back of the station instead of the actual filming location between platforms 4 and 5 to prevent congestion. You do not need a train ticket to get to the sign.
In front of the plaque, you’ll find a trolley with some props you can use to take pictures and live out your 11-year-old fantasy. There’s also a shop right next to it where you can buy Harry Potter paraphernalia (literally called The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾).
Tips for Visiting Platform 9 ¾
Try to get to the station early to avoid having to queue. For your photo, be sure to take advantage of the available props such as the wand and your house-themed scarf. If you want to go all out, bring your own robes or dress up representing your Harry Potter house.
The station is open for many hours of the day and matches the schedule from when the first train runs in the morning to when the last train arrives at night. You can visit the Transport for London website for specific train timetables if you’re planning a super early or late visit.
Yes, the platform 9 ¾ sign is located before entering the ticketed area. If you’re trying to visit the actual filming location at platforms 4 and 5, you will need a ticket but be cognizant of the fact that King’s Cross Station is very much used by locals and gets very busy.
Yes, it’s free to take a picture in front of the platform sign. There is also a professional photographer who can take your picture, which you can purchase from The Harry Potter Shop next door. If you’re traveling solo, just be careful who you ask to take your picture as pickpocketers sometimes linger around to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
If you’re a Harry potter fan, 100%! It’s one of the best free Harry Potter things to do in London, King’s Cross Station is easy to get to, you get a great photo op, and you can even buy some Harry Potter souvenirs to take back home.
2. Number 12 Grimmauld Place
Where is the house in Order of Phoenix filmed?
Potterheads will know that the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is located at 12 Grimmauld Place, home of the Sirius Black family. The Order’s HQ appears twice in the films:
- In Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, Mad-Eye Moody performs a charm to reveal Grimmauld Place.
- In the first Deathly Hallows, the trio hides out here after being chased by Death Eaters.
As Muggles, we won’t be able to see the Order’s headquarters at Number 12 Grimmauld Place but we can see the neighborhood.
How to Get to Claremont Square in London
Located in the borough of Islington near King’s Cross Station, you’ll find Claremont Square. There are multiple streets in the area that have iconic Georgian homes featured in the movies. To get to the actual filming location, make sure to navigate to numbers 23-29 to find the houses between the Order of the Phoenix headquarters.
💡TIP: Like Kreecher, there are other beings in the wizard and muggle community that live in this area. Be respectful of the fact that this is a residential area and avoid lingering for too long.
⌛RECOMMENDED TIME: <15 minutes
📍ADDRESS: 23-29 Claremont Square, Islington, London N1 9LX
3. Find the Entrance of Diagon Alley at Leadenhall Market
Where was Diagon Alley filmed?
If you’re looking to find the place where Hogwarts students and the rest of the wizarding community do business, you’ll need to visit a few locations in London:
- In The Sorceror’s Stone, Harry and Hagrid walk through Leadenhall Market to get to Leaky Cauldron in order to arrive at Diagon Alley. The Leaky Cauldron entrance is actually a storefront that you can still find at Leadenhall Market. Sadly, the bright blue entrance is no longer and has since been painted white.
- In The Chamber of Secrets, one of the buildings in Borough Market is used as the bookstore where Harry meets Gilderoy Lockhart and Lucius Malfoy for the first time.
- In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a flower shop inside Borough Market replaces Leadenhall as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.
💡TIP: Neither of the locations at Borough Market is really recognizable as the Leaky Cauldron entrance. If you’re on a time crunch or just looking for the most iconic Harry Potter filming locations, stick with Leadenhall Market. However, Borough Market is 100% worth a visit if you’re interested in eating and drinking your way through one of London’s oldest food markets.
How to Get to Leadenhall Market
There are multiple tube stations that are less than 15 minutes away from Leadenhall Market on foot. If you’re coming from King’s Cross Station, you’ll take the Circle line and exit at Liverpool Street Station.
Even though much of the magic of Diagon Alley was created elsewhere, you’ll find Leadenhall Market enchanting in its own right. Dating back to the 14th century, the market is frequented by locals and tourists who come here to eat, shop, and admire the beautiful architecture of this historic building.
Tips for Visiting Leadenhall Market
The nearest tube station to Leadenhall Market is Monument Station.
If you’re looking for ambiance, visit the Market around lunchtime Monday through Friday. This is when the nearby office workers come out to the market to take their lunch break. If you want fewer crowds for pictures, come early on the weekend.
Even if you’re not a Harry potter fan, Leadenhall Market is a beautiful and historic landmark located in the City of London. Best of all, it’s free to roam around and easily accessible if you’re already in the area.
4. Walk Across Millenium Bridge
What bridge did the Death Eaters destroy in Harry Potter?
Located in central London, Millenium Bridge was famously destroyed by the Death Eaters in their search for Ollivander in the opening sequence of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Millenium Bridge is an architectural marvel in its own right as the first pedestrian bridge that enables crossing the River Thames on foot. It boasts one of the best views of the city and especially of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
How to Get to Millenium Bridge
Millennium Bridge connects iconic London landmarks in the City of London and Southwark. In about 5 5 minutes, you can get from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Tate Modern/Globe Theater. If you’re coming from elsewhere in London, there are also multiple tube stations that will get you within 5-10 minutes of walking distance to Millenium Bridge.
⌛RECOMMENDED TIME: <15 minutes
📍ADDRESS: Millennium Bridge
5. Find the Divination Staircase at St. Paul’s Cathedral
Where is the spiral staircase in the Astronomy Tower in Harry Potter?
Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, you’ll find the spiral case that the trio and their Gryffindor classmates used to get to and from class.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban, the trio and their Gryffindor classmates use the staircase to get to Professor Trelawney’s Divination class.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the staircase is featured when a disturbed Neville Longbottom looks out the window after receiving a lesson about the unforgivable curses from Mad-Eye Moody (or more accurately Barty Crouch Jr.).
How to Get to St. Paul’s Cathedral
If you’re planning on visiting Millenium Bridge, you can either start in St. Paul’s Cathedral or cross the bridge towards the church. You can also reach St. Paul’s Cathedral from the St. Paul’s or Bank tube station on the Central Line.
Tips for Visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral
Yes, and in fact, you can only see the staircase by going inside the church. Do note that you’ll need a separate ticket for the Public Triforium Tour to view the Geometric Staircase, which is an additional £10 per person in addition to admission. The Public Triforium Tour is an hour long and only runs once a day for a few times a week so be sure to book your tickets in advance.
The best time to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral is around noon on a weekday, which gives you ample time to go on the Public Triforium Tour (if available) and explore other parts of the church with minimal crowds.
You can explore much of the Cathedral and its interesting architectural elements in 1-2 hours. If you’re interested in seeing the crypt and the dome, you’ll likely need an additional hour.
⌛RECOMMENDED TIME: 1-2 hours
📍ADDRESS: St. Paul’s Cathedral
6. Locate the Ministry of Magic near Great Scotland Yard
Where is the Ministry of Magic filmed?
If you’re looking for the Ministry of Magic, then head over to Great Scotland Yard. Located in Westminster, you can find this iconic street that serves as an entry point to the ministry building.
- In The Order of the Phoenix, Mr. Weasley and Harry walk down Great Scotland Yard and enter a magical phone booth that takes them to the lobby of the Ministry of Magic. Sadly, the phone booth that’s featured in the film doesn’t exist but you can still recognize the buildings and surrounding area. This is also where the trio drinks Polyjuice potions before entering the Ministry in Deathly Hallows Part 1.
💡TIP: You can also visit Westminster Station, which is where Mr. Weasley and Harry exit on their way to the Ministry. Westminster Station is about 10 minutes walking distance from Great Scotland Yard.
How to Get to Great Scotland Yard
Charing Cross Station is the nearest tube station to Great Scotland Yard. If you visit Westminster Station, you can get to Great Scotland Yard in about 10 minutes on foot.
Great Scotland Yard is a short and easy stop to make while you’re exploring other sites in Westminster such as the Parliament buildings and St. James’s Park.
7. Run from Death Eaters in Piccadilly Circus (& Shaftesbury Avenue)
Where is Shaftesbury Avenue in Harry Potter filmed?
In the first Deathly Hallows movie, Hermione apparates the trio to Shaftesbury Avenue to escape from the Death Eaters. She explains that she used to come here with her parents to explore and enjoy the theater. They walk through Piccadilly Circus before hiding out in a coffee shop as they plan their next steps.
Like Hermione’s muggle parents, you too can visit Shaftesbury Avenue in London which is a major road in the West End. From Shaftesbury Avenue, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to Piccadilly Circus.
How to Get to Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is one of the most trafficked parts of central London. The most central tube station is Piccadilly Circus but the area is highly walkable and has alternative tube stops nearby.
Tips for Visiting Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is charming regardless of when you visit but in different ways. During the day, you can better appreciate the beautiful architecture that lines the streets. At night, the lights turn on and the area comes alive with people ending their day with food and drinks. Just make sure you visit while shops and restaurants are open, which is typically between 10 AM and 11 PM.
Piccadilly Circus is like the Times Square of London. It’s worth walking around to be surrounded by the bustling energy and historical buildings in the area. If crowds aren’t your thing, then skip.
⌛RECOMMENDED TIME: 1+ hour
📍ADDRESS: Piccadilly Circus
Bonus for Australian Citizens: Stop by Gringotts at Australia House
If you’re searching for the place where all banking happens in the Potterverse, then you’re looking for Australia House. Unfortunately, Australia House is a government building that’s closed to the public so only Australian or British citizens searching for visa help or attending cultural events can visit Gringotts in person.
⌛RECOMMENDED TIME: <1 hour
📍ADDRESS: High Commission of Australia, London
Harry Potter Day Trips from London
Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you won’t want to miss the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour. What used to be the set for the Harry Potter films, the studio has since transformed into a one-of-a-kind experience that will take you behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies, showcasing the incredible sets, costumes, and props used to bring J.K. Rowling’s world to life. I’m generally not one for tours but the self-guided studio tour is incredibly well done and is such a treasure for Harry Potter fans of all ages – it’s truly the closest anyone will ever get to feeling like a part of the Potterverse. And the best part? You can easily visit the studio tour as a day trip from London.
How to Get to the Harry Potter studios in London
The best way to get to the Leavesden Studios is by taking the train from London Euston railway station to Watford Junction Station. From Watford Station, you’ll see signs for the Hogwarts Shuttle bus stop which will get you to the studio in about 15 minutes.
💡TIP: Watford Junction Railway Station is a train station, which is where the Hogwarts Shuttle bus picks people up. There is a similarly named tube station called Watford Station. These are not the same stations. If you take an underground line from Central London to Watford Station, you’ll need to walk over to Watford Junction Station to find the bus stop. The route from Euston will save you about 30-45 minutes of transportation time compared to the tube but you’ll need to be more mindful of run times.
Tips for Visiting Harry Potter Studios in London
The average visit takes about 3-4 hours but there’s no time limit for how long you can spend at the studio. I’d recommend getting an early tour so you can spend as long as you like exploring all that the studio has to offer. When you get hungry, you can grab some food from the cafe or eat your own food in the picnic area.
Notable highlights from the studio tour include:
– Diagon Alley and some of its well-known shops such as Ollivander’s and Flourish and Botts
– The Great Hall
– Hogwarts Express
– Gringotts including the Lestrange Vault
– The Forbidden Forest and its magical inhabitants
– Professor Dumbledore’s Office
– Model of Hogwarts for aerial shots
– Costumes, classroom sets, and more
1000000% worth the money and time. Not only is it an absolute dream come true for Harry Potter fans, but it’s also one of the most well-organized and thorough studio tours in the world that’s interesting to anybody who has ever enjoyed the Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter Day Trip to Oxford
Oxford is also a quick day trip from London, just a little over an hour from Paddington Railway Station. Once you arrive, you’ll find that it’s easy to explore the city on foot or by bike. Oxford is home to several locations that inspired the Harry Potter books and films including:
- Christ Church College – This college was used as the filming location for Hogwarts Great Hall, as well as for several other scenes throughout the series.
- Bodleian Library – This library was used as the filming location for Hogwarts Library.
- Duke Humfrey’s Library – This library, which is part of the Bodleian Library, was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts Restricted Section in Sorceror’s Stone.
- Divinity School – This building, another part of the Bodleian Library complex, was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts Hospital Wing.
- The Bodleian Library Quad – This area was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts courtyard in several of the movies.
- New College – The cloisters at New College were used as the filming location for the ferret scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
- Oxford University Museum of Natural History – The museum was used as the filming location for the Hogwarts infirmary in Sorceror’s Stone.
Map of Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
- Platform 9 ¾ (King’s Cross Station & St. Pancras Station)
- 12 Grimmauld Place (23 Claremont Square)
- Diagon Alley (Leadenhall Market & London Migraine Clinic)
- Bridge Destroyed by Death Eaters (Millenium Bridge)
- Divination Staircase (St. Paul’s Cathedral)
- Ministry of Magic (Westminster Station & Great Scotland Yard)
- Escape From Death Eaters (Piccadilly Circus)
💡TIP: There are plenty of Harry Potter walking tours available that will take you to some of these places. I have yet to find one that will take you to all of these film locations available in London so I’d personally recommend creating your own, DIY walk tour using the map above.
Getting Around London
Whether you’re doing a Harry Potter walking tour or just generally sightseeing, you’ll find London to be a wonderfully walkable city thanks to the city’s highly efficient and integrated public transportation system.
I’d highly recommend taking the Underground (Tube), bus, or train to get around London which you can access with a prepaid Oyster Card or Apple Pay.
Where to Stay in London
If this is your first time in London, I’d suggest staying in Westminster or somewhere else in Central London close to a Tube station. London is massive and most of your time will be spent sightseeing in central London so you’ll want to make sure you have a quick and easy way to get from place to place. Accommodations in the area will be more expensive but it’s worth the convenience if you can swing the cost.
One of my favorite places to stay in London is at Sonder Kensington Gardens in Kensington and Chelsea. As a solo female traveler, I appreciate that it’s close to a Tube station, less crowded, and safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best part about this guide is that everything I mentioned is free to do except for St. Paul’s Cathedral. In order to see the Divination staircase in person, you will need to pay an entry fee and purchase a ticket for the Public Triforium Tour.
NOTE: Other guides mention visiting the Reptile House at the London Zoo, which is where Harry discovers his ability to speak parseltongue in the first film. I didn’t add it here because I personally wouldn’t recommend anyone pay $30 to see the outside of one exhibit that’s momentarily featured in the film. You should only go if you’re interested in seeing the zoo outside of any relation to Harry Potter.
If you’re still craving more Harry Potter and you have the budget, you can also watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre. You can also treat yourself at the Georgian House Hotel with a wizard afternoon tea, potion making, or a magical stay in one of their wizard-themed rooms.
Final Thoughts: Harry Potter Things to Do in London
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply enjoy the magic of Harry Potter, London has plenty of things to do. From visiting filming locations on foot or by tour, there’s something for every aspiring witch and wizard. Don’t miss the chance to explore this enchanting world in the heart of London!
As usual, feel free to leave comments or have any questions & I will always reply 😊