The best things to do in London for Harry Potter fans.
From official Harry Potter tours and attractions, to film locations and unofficial ‘wizard-themed’ experiences, London is full of exciting adventures for any die-hard Potterhead. Here’s where to visit while you wait for your Hogwarts letter…
1. See ‘Harry Potter & The Cursed Child’ at the Palace Theatre
This two-part play, set nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, cast a spell over the West End when it opened two years ago. Since then, it’s picked up a record-breaking nine Olivier awards, and welcomed a whole new cast to the stage. Expect powerful performances and brilliant on-stage illusions as you re-encounter your favourite characters all grown up… if you can get tickets, that is.
2. Mix up some magical cocktails at The Cauldron
Strictly for the grown-ups (and totally unofficial, you understand) this wizard-theme east London pop-up invites guests to a potions class Snape himself would be proud of. Create bubbling punches in cauldrons, colour-changing cocktails and glittering tonics, using recipes designed by one of the city’s cleverest molecular mixologists. Buy tickets here.
3. Visit the official Harry Potter studio tour
Located on the very edge of London, you can visit the real film studios where the Harry Potter series was filmed, and explore the original sets, from Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest to Hogwarts itself. The level of detail is incredible – even members of your party unfamiliar with the film will find the craftsmanship on show genuinely fascinating. The best times to visit are Halloween and Christmas, when sets are decorated for the season (you can even enjoy a genuine feast in the Great Hall, if you’re rich enough.) Get your tickets here.
4. Go for a Harry Potter-inspired afternoon tea
Conveniently located walking distance from the Palace Theatre, the basement of this Soho bakery has turned into an unofficial ‘Potion Room.’ Expect magical refreshments, colourful drinks, robes, wands and more. Find out more here.
5. Have a sleepover in a hotel’s Wizarding Chambers
Visiting the city and crazy for all things Harry Potter? Go the extra mile with this unofficial but distinctly Hogwartsian hotel room. Expect stained glass windows, stone walls, archways, trunks, cauldrons,and four-poster beds hung with velvet curtains, all hidden behind a secret bookcase door. You can also rent any DVD you want to watch – hmm, I wonder which popular fantasy series you’ll pick. Book it here.
6. Get THAT photo at the real Platform 9¾
A cute freebie for passing Potter fans, a luggage trolly embedded in the wall at London’s Kings Cross station gives us all the chance to take that first step on our journey to Hogwarts. A nearby Harry Potter gift shop gives you the opportunity to buy your own wand. Potterheads also gather here on September 1 each year, which is apparently the traditional day for new students to catch the Hogwarts Express.
7. Show what you know at a Harry Potter pub quiz
In a city as big as London, there are always committed Potter nerds looking to show off their accumulated knowledge, and a quick Google session can usually reveal an upcoming themed quiz in a pub somewhere in the city. One group, Wizardry Quiz Nights, hosts Potteroffs in Shoreditch, with 2018 dates on June 19, June 24, Sep 18, Sep 19, Nov 20 and Nov 25. Find them here.
8. Experience a Harry Potter-inspired escape room
This tricksy escape room near Liverpool Street will require all your bravery, cunning, and intelligence to magic your way out of an interactive room, before you’re caught by He Who Must Not Be Named. (OK, it’s not technically Harry Potter themed, but fans of the books will find a lot to love here.) It’s been created by Enigma Quests and the experience costs £90 for a group of three wizards or witches. Read our full article on the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry experience.
9. Go on a Harry Potter walking tour
London is steeped in Potter history, with several iconic locations from the films to visit. Guided walks will take you between them and point out some lesser-known sights you might recognise. There are several competing providers; the route masters at Evans Evans sightseeing tours and the Tour for Muggles are two well-regarded options.
10. Grab a butterbeer… or mystical elixir
Finally, you can head to the Booking Office in Kings Cross for some sparkling, mystical ‘potion’ cocktails, or to the Blind Pig in Soho for a trademark-avoiding ‘Best Bottle Butter Bitter’. Accio alcohol!
11. Marvel at some of the graphic art from the Harry Potter movies
This mesmerising gallery in Soho allows you to admire all the amazing graphic art from the Harry Potter movies. Make your way through four floors of designs, from the Harry Potter film series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to a number of illustrated fairy tale books. There is also a shop where guests can purchase graphic prints, as well as various accessories and stationery. You’ll find The House of MinaLima at 26 Greek Street, Soho. It’s open 12-7pm every day and it’s free to enter.