Today is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (yeah, we couldn’t believe how old that made us feel either).
J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world has been a steadfast source of wisdom and entertainment for a huge part of our lives now, so we’ve put together a list of things to do to help you commemorate the Boy Who Lived’s beginnings in style. Right here, in muggle London.
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 last July. 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. Go on a Harry Potter walking tour
The route masters at Evans Evans sightseeing tours have come up with a two and a half hour Potter-themed walking tour that should leave you feeling like you’ve downed a hearty measure of Elixir to Induce Euphoria. This one ticks all the boxes when it comes to Harry Potter film locations. A visit to Platform 9 3/4, the Ministry of Magic visitor’s entrance, and Millenium Bridge are all on the cards, along with tasty tidbits of information from a guide who claims to be an expert on the wizarding world.
3. Visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour
This quintessential Harry Potter day-trip had to get a quick mention here. They’re always expanding and updating what’s on offer so it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for their next addition. This year they’ve added a walk through Forbidden Forest area, featuring a replica models of Buckbeak the hippogriff and Aragog the acromantula (arachnophobes beware!).
4. Drink butterbeer
The Blind Pig at Social Eating House in Soho have been serving their take on beloved wizarding drink ‘butterbeer’ for some time now and we’re well and truly sold. Who are we kidding, we were sold the moment their children’s literature themed cocktails were rolled out back in January. Finally, a place to try an authentic, (crucially) alcoholic version of this dreamy drink. It’s even served (as it should be) from their house butterbeer tap. Rosmerta would be proud.
5. Visit the Pottermore pop-up shop (1st – 7th July)
Ok, so you’re not actually able to do this one right now, but next week we’ll see the Pottermore art pop-up shop apparate into the capital for one week only. They’re selling art prints of pivotal scenes from the books and character portraits from various artists. The shop will be located at Graffik Gallery and you can find more information about its opening times here.
6. Visit the Harry Potter exhibition (20th October – 28th February)
Another ‘not quite yet’ deal, but well worth a mention, because tickets are currently selling like fever fudge. You’ll need to be faster than a phoenix on a firebolt to nab yourself a few of these bad boys, so you’d better get cracking. The exhibition will be showcasing ‘rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection’ alongside ‘original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay’ that have never been seen in public. Definitely one for the diehard ‘Potterheads’.
7. Join the Harry Potter Book Club
The Wizard Book club has just launched its series of Philosopher’s Stone readings (so you’ve missed chapters one and two), but they’re happening until September at a secret London location. You can find out more information by visiting their website but, long story short, it’s a series of get-togethers with other Potter fans where two chapters from the first book are read each week. The readings culminate in a Gryffindor common room style after-party, where you can dress up and enjoy Hogwarts themed food and drink with all your new mates.
8. Experience a Harry Potter-themed escape room
This tricksy escape room near Liverpool Street wants you to use 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. 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.
More magical things to do in London:
👗 This Gorgeous Victorian Music Hall Is Hosting A Free Vintage Fair
💀 Eat And Drink Your Way Around London Dungeon At Their Adults-Only Event
🚤 You Can Now Float Down Regent’s Canal In A Hot Tub Tug Boat
🎆 There’s A Holi-Inspired Paint Party In London This July