For 20 years, London has been the home to the most famous young wizard in the world: Harry Potter. With seven books and eight films bringing in billions of dollars, no franchise has left such a significant impact on readers around the world. For international travellers who seek some culture on their vacation, London offers people plenty of chances to fully immerse in the city that started it all for J.K. Rowling and her dedicated fan base.
For muggles who seek alternative transport around the city, Platform 9¾ is located inside King’s Cross Station and pays the perfect tribute to any fan who wants to re-enact that famous moment from the Philosopher’s Stone. Much like the literary moment itself, you may not see it due to extensive and passionate crowds who queue to get that perfect Instagram shot. Fans visiting London will be amazed to see just how significant the door to Hogwarts has become!
Escape The Chamber of Secrets
London hosts some of the most alternative games and sports to families and young people who want to experience different adventures. At Enigma Quests, a company that hosts live escape games, you now have the chance to battle wizards and demons in its Harry Potter-themed adventure. Defeat the dark forces and graduate from their very own School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in this quest. The more the merrier, and teams can consist of 3-5 people. So, try to get someone from each house to defeat He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
Walk the Millennium Bridge
The famous bridge across the River Thames played a tragic role in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince after it was destroyed by the Death Eaters. Fortunately, the Millennium Bridge is still alive and well, and Londoners often use it to travel from north to south where they will end up at the Tate Modern art gallery. Summer visitors in London can walk the bridge and recapture the quintessential British feeling of pride and culture. The bridge, formally named the London Millennium Footbridge, was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 2000 and is younger than the franchise in which it appears!
This cute market, based on the corner of Gracechurch and Lime Street, is the external inspiration for every muggle’s dream shopping street: Diagon Alley. Unbelievably, Leadenhall Market has been a part of British culture since the 13th century, and much of the taste and style has remained unchanged to this day. The perfect mix of heritage and modern culture promises to excite even the most modest of Potter fans.
Visit Hampstead Garden Suburb
The opening scene of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 showed us one of the most upsetting moments in the franchise’s history: when Hermione left home to help Harry and Ron. A modest home in North London acted as the setting for the family, and visitors can walk up and down Meadway to see many homes that acted as exteriors. These small homes are under strict council restrictions, and so many of them must be kept in immaculate condition by their homeowners. This makes for some truly spectacular walks among some of the most aesthetically pleasing homes in London.
London Zoo Reptile House
When Harry first discovered his ability to speak Parseltongue in The Philosopher’s Stone, he was visiting one of the most exciting family outings in London. The Reptile House in London Zoo hosts hundreds of species that get the heart racing. King Cobras and Philippine Crocodile’s crawl around the facilities while visitors can gasp in amazement. Some dedicated fans have even tried their luck negotiating with serpents to try to get a discount on entry. This writer is one of them.
Visit the Palace Theatre to see ‘Harry Potter & The Cursed Child’
This piece wouldn’t be complete without a mention to one of the biggest West End shows to storm the world. In July 2016, the play was opened to critical and financial acclaim, adding more stories to the families we grew up as we catch up one generation later. A true masterpiece in story-telling and performance, The Cursed Child has consequently won numerous awards and accolades and sees no sign of slowing down. Fans can catch the two-part play in either consecutive shows or on two separate days. Either way, the Palace Theatre has quickly become a vital staple for any Potter fan who dreams of seeing witches and wizards fly above their heads live on stage.