With the recent release of the ‘Cursed Child’ stage play script, J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter are back in the spotlight for yet another continuation of the popular book series.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, when things are slightly more settled in the Wizarding World and Harry Potter has started a family with Ginny Weasley. They have three children: James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter, and Lily Luna Potter.
Without spoiling the story, the script truly reflects the importance of family and friends and is nothing short of extraordinary in terms of portraying emotions and the character descriptions. If you’re dying to watch the play, but all you have is the script, it might do you some good to explore the Wizarding World again by visiting these 10 magical destinations that every Harry Potter fan should visit at least once!
The iconic scenes of Platform 9 ¾ were shot at the famous King’s Cross Station in London. While most Harry Potter fans will know that, as it is stated in the book, check this place out!
Due to the alarming number of Harry Potter fans, the current King’s Cross Station has a “hidden access” equipped with a sign, half-entered luggage, and Hedwig sitting on the border between platforms 9 and 10.
Shown in all the movies, King’s Cross Station is a popular place for Muggles to take a picture entering the secret platform. Close by, there is a Harry Potter merchandise shop where you can grab a copy of the books or films.
Any attempt to make a run for the Hogwarts train will lead to naught, as special permission is needed to enter the secret platform.
King's Cross Platform Visit
Address: Euston Rd, London N1 9AL, United Kingdom
Price: from 49.97 USD
Duration: around 2 hours required
2. Reptile House, London Zoo
Shown in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone movie, London Zoo’s Reptile House shot to fame.
Find out if you’re a Parselmouth like Harry Potter! Exterior and interior shots where Harry learns about his ability to communicate with snakes were filmed right here at the Reptile House. The closest London tube station is Camden Town, with parking available.
In the film, the snake that Harry communicated with was a Burmese python, but today the enclosure is used by a dangerous black mamba. While you’re Harry Potter hunting, enjoy your day at the Reptile House where you can be sure to find other interesting exhibits for both adults and children alike.
In order to find the exact exhibit, look out for a plaque beside the enclosure, which commemorates the iconic scene. Unlike King’s Cross Station, London Zoo charges for entry and will not take knutts or galleons for an answer!
3. Lavenham, Suffolk
Remember that heart-wrenching scene where Voldemort* is seen casting the Killing Curse onto Harry Potter’s parents, Lily and James Potter?
At Lavenham, there are rows of houses that were replicated to create the entire town where Godric’s Hollow stood. Although visiting Lavenham would not mean seeing the exact spot Lily and James died in order to protect the “Chosen One”, it’s a good attempt!
With its black and white striped houses and small pathways, it looks exactly like Godric’s Hollow, but with more people roaming around. Since you’re visiting the area, stop by one of the quaint little coffee shops for a good cup of warm coffee and watch the world go by (or other Harry Potter fans!).
*he who must not be named
4. Gloucester Cathedral, England
Cue the Harry Potter theme song!
Gloucester Cathedral formed the interior set for three Harry Potter movies: The Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Half Blood Prince. It is currently free to visit the cathedral, so spend as much time as you need walking through the hallways that Harry Potter and his friends walked.
The corridors hold the fond memories of Ginny Weasley writing on the wall (during the Chamber of Secrets), and the same cloister was a bustling corridor of witches and wizards on their way to transfiguration class.
Charming and intriguing, visit Gloucester Cathedral to walk the same hallway that ‘the boy who lived’ did.
This is one of the must-visit attractions for the ultimate Harry Potter fan. Why? Because Harry found Ron and Hermione on this route to Hogwarts.
A true story of friendship and love, the Jacobite Steam Train appeared in all the movies … and you can ride it too! As it moves along the railway, with the white smoke billowing away in the wind, you can see lush greenery all around, similar to what was portrayed in the movie.
Do note that if you want to take the Hogwarts Express, it will not bring you to Hogwarts! It starts at Fort William, making its way to Mallaig, before returning to Fort William again. The train also stops en route at the village of Glenfinnan. The quaint villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, and Morar lie just at the valleys of the towering mountains.
You can make use of the train service from early May to the end of October, and trains depart promptly at 10.15 am and 2.30 pm. Make sure you are on time and through Platform 9 ¾ early. Don’t get stuck or you might have to steal a flying car!
Jacobite Steam Train
Price: from 511.55 USD
Duration: around 3 days required
6. Claremont Square, London
Making its first appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and subsequently featuring in Deathly Hallows Part I, Claremont Square appeared as the exterior of Grimmauld Place.
Home to the Black Family before it became part of the ‘Order’, Claremont Square definitely has some magic in; no matter how hard you search, there is no number 12, is there?! Said to have been inspired by Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the biggest public square in the city, Claremount Square is an iconic site in the Harry Potter movies. The closest tube station is Angel.
So, most of us know Harry Potter as the ‘boy who lived’, or the one who killed He Who Must Not Be Named. But how many of us remember the time where he was still a budding wizard in his first year at Hogwarts?
If you need some memory jogging, head down to Alnwick Castle, where you can relive the first moments where Harry called ‘Up’ to his broom during Madam Hooch’s class.
Harry Potter learned to fly in the grounds of Alnwick Castle. It was in the same grounds that Draco Malfoy took to the skies to taunt Neville Longbottom. With its wide patches of greenery and the aged castle in the background, it was a perfectly chosen set to portray the vast land that Hogwarts stood on and the grandeur associated with going to that school.
And, don’t we all wish we went to Hogwarts and had flying lessons with Madam Hooch?!
Address: Alnwick NE66 1NQ, United Kingdom
Price: from 46.03 USD
Duration: around 8.5 hours required
8. Leadenhall Market, London
Diagon Alley is one of the most iconic locations in the Harry Potter films, with many of the shops involved in a first-year’s book purchases, wand selection, and even pet-picking. Furthermore, Harry Potter himself picked out items from each of these stores and withdrew money from the famed Gringotts Bank.
So, while Leadenhall Market isn’t Diagon Alley per se, it is the Muggle’s street that leads up to it. In a section of the market there is a secret (or magical!) passageway that leads to the blue shop used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in the films.
Coincidence? I think not! Hidden behind that brick alleyway there is definitely some magic involved! Do check out London’s Leadenhall Market, the passageway to the Wizarding World!
The Great Hall of Hogwarts was constantly filled with all sorts of fantastic meals and hardworking students studying for their O.W.L.S.
The University of Oxford, one of England’s most prestigious and historic universities, was part of the inspiration for Hogwarts Great Hall. With its tall, curved ceiling and stunning window panes along the walls that let the light through, it is truly a sight to behold, even without all the magic involved.
The hanging portraits, long wooden tables, and small orange lamps are as close as you can possibly get to seeing the Great Hall come to life. Although you won’t get a chance to see the sky change colour or the portraits on the walls talk, the atmosphere of the entire hall is very much filled with something similar to what those at Hogwarts felt on a daily basis … it’s simply magical!
Look around the university grounds if time permits and you may unknowingly find yourself in a few other recognisable places that appeared in the Harry Potter movies.
University of Oxford, England
Price: from 114.41 USD
Duration: around 10 hours required
No Harry Potter fan’s visit to Europe and the United Kingdom will be complete without exploring Leavesden Studios. Formerly an old aeroplane factory, it became home to the place where the world-famous movies were filmed for over a decade.
At the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, visitors can spend time chilling in the Great Hall and Diagon Alley, pass by the Dursley’s home at 4 Privet Drive, walk around the famous Knight Bus, and enjoy a cool sip of the signature butterbear, otherwise only available at other Harry Potter themed parks in Japan and Florida.
Capture the moment by taking an awesome souvenir photo; hop on a broom against a green backdrop and get ready to fly in the sky (or, at least, that’s what your photo will show!) with your robes billowing against the wind (a fan will help with that!).
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Address: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden WD25 7LR, United Kingdom
Price: from 72.33 USD
Duration: around 7 hours required
Contact: +44 345 084 0900
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