Random header image... Refresh for more!

Harry Potter Sites Around London

There are dozens of book and film sites for Harry Potter in and around London.  This post is how to visit all the film sites in the area (designated as HPFL for Harry Potter Film Location) as well as places such as Charing Cross Road to look for the real Diagon Alley (designated as HPBS for Harry Potter Book Site).  The majority of these sites are in London proper, though we also traveled out to Oxford and Windsor.

Before we get started, here are some tips specifically related to Harry Potter sites in London.  Make sure you also read some general tips on traveling in London:

  • If you have some type of portable e-reader, it’s worth investing in the e-book versions of the series in order to have all of them with you while you’re walking around.  I can’t tell you how many times we had to quickly look something up in a book in order to make sure we had a fact correct, or times when we wanted to read a passage while we were standing in a certain location.  It was the easiest way to carry 7 massive books with us at all times.  We kept copies on the iPhone.
  • We also brought with us the movies on the iPhone.  Again, there is nothing like telling them you’re standing in the space where Harry stood before he was sorted in the movie, and then whip out the iPhone to prove it.  We watched snippets of the films in every location.
  • We cannot recommend enough getting the Harry Potter walking tour PDF.  Go to that site and request it, and the creator of the PDF will email it to you.  It is an amazing resource and the only reason we didn’t follow it to a T is that the kids haven’t read past book three.

Searching for the Real Diagon Alley (HPBS)

Diagon Alley is supposed to be somewhere off of Charing Cross Road, with the Leaky Cauldron nestled between a bookshop and a record shop.  We started at Leicester Square and wandered around that Charing Cross area.  We went into Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop, pretending it was Honeydukes.

We walked down Goodwin’s Court, which felt quieter and more magical than the surrounding streets.

We came to Cecil Court, which looks like Diagon Alley.  There are a lot of antique and specialty stores there including Watkins Books, the oldest occultist and mystical bookshop in the world.  Colin Narbeth and Sons had Gringotts bank notes in their window.

Across from Charing Cross Station is Davenport’s, a magic shop.  We went down there hoping the employees would know how to get into Diagon Alley, but instead ended up seeing a few magic tricks.

The Leaky Cauldron in the Movies (HPML)

While we never found the real Diagon Alley, we did go to Leadenhall Market, which Harry and Hagrid walked through on their way to the Leaky Cauldron in the first film.

The door of this store (Glass House) was painted black and it was used in the movie as the doorway to the pub.

The Ministry of Magic (HPML and HPBS)

Near Great Scotland Yard (Embankment stop on the tube) is the location for the visitor’s entrance to the Ministry of Magic as seen in movies five and seven.

While you stand there, imagine the Ministry underneath the streets.  There is even a square in the ground that looks as if it may have once housed the visitor’s entrance phone booth.  The Westminster tube station was used for the internal shots of the Ministry of Magic.  It’s easy to stand on the platform and imagine witches and wizards tumbling out of the fires as they travel by Floo powder.

Gringotts (HPML)

Australia House was used for the internal shots of Gringotts bank.  While you can’t go inside, you can stand in the vestibule and peek through the window at the gorgeous black and white floor.  Right outside Australia House is St. Clement Danes, so totally worth the trip out there.

Kings Cross Station (HPML and HPBS)

While all the Harry Potter locations were exciting, none were as emotional as being at Kings Cross.  If you go back towards Platform 9, you’ll see that someone has put up a sign saying Platform 9 3/4 and embedded a trolley halfway into the wall.  You can take your cute, kitschy picture there.

But we lucked out and spoke to a kind guard who whispered to the kids that Rowling put down the wrong platform in the book in order to throw Muggles off the scent.  The real platform is #4 (a side note: it’s free to walk onto Platform 4.  You need a ticket in order to access Platform 9).  Sure enough, when we ran over there, we saw the familiar curved barrier that Harry walks through to board the Hogwarts Express.

As well as the bridge that Hagrid disappears from in the first movie and Harry appears on in the seventh movie.


Down with Death Eaters (HPML)

We walked across Millennium bridge which appears at the beginning of the sixth film and was decimated by the Death Eaters.

Eton College (er… not really a Harry Potter per se, but gives the kids a good sense of a boarding school)

While you can’t go to the actual Hogwarts (and anyway, the real Hogwarts is in Scotland), you can go to Eton College and see a proper British boarding school.  The boys are always dressed as if they’re about to go to the Yule Ball.

And the classrooms have so much history.


Oxford Locations (HPML)

Scenes from the first Harry Potter movie were filmed at Christ Church in Oxford, including the stairs to reach the Great Hall.

The talk with Professor McGonagall before the sorting.

And the Great Hall itself.

There is so much we didn’t do, such as go out to the London Zoo and see the reptile house.  And there are dozens of sites we didn’t hit from the great walking tour PDF.

And, of course, if you truly want to complete the Harry Potter experience, you need to head out to Watford Junction outside the city to the Warner Brothers studio so you can walk on the actual film sets!  Which will be the subject of the next post.


1 Aspgriswold { 10.28.12 at 8:33 am }

This post has me drooling. Amazing. I want to copy this trip!

2 Lisa { 10.28.12 at 11:17 am }

They’ve recently opened a Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio tour in London. I went last weekend and it was amazing…costumes, sets props…riding a broom in front of a green screen…

I will write a blog post about it soon, on my new blog about the happy side of my life…


3 V { 10.28.12 at 4:15 pm }

You know you are the coolest mom in the world right?

4 Sarah { 10.28.12 at 9:14 pm }

OMG I so want to do that…I wish my husband would read the books and see the movies with me so we could do this as a family…my guess is I’ll be taking my kid(s) when they’re old enough….this is wonderful!

5 a { 10.28.12 at 10:48 pm }

Will you take me on a Harry Potter tour of England?

6 Brid { 10.29.12 at 12:07 am }

Sounds like a fun trip!
Good luck with the storm… tuck in!

7 Kristin { 10.29.12 at 1:12 am }

Oh my God, that sounds like the most incredible trip ever. I’m green with jealousy.

8 Tiara { 10.29.12 at 12:09 pm }

I haven’t read Harry Potter yet (I know, gasp!! But I’ve been saving them to read together with my daughter) & now look forward to this type of trip too! thank you so much for sharing!

9 Vee { 10.30.12 at 7:29 am }

How awesome! Great photos I recongnise it all.

10 Barb { 11.05.12 at 10:13 am }


11 Dianna and Laurie { 01.18.16 at 9:08 pm }


Why is the real Hogwarts in Scotland ????????

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author