Many people of a similar age to me (and beyond), will most likely have one thing definitely in common: we grew up with Harry Potter. I love being a Potterhead, even if the Wizarding World fangirl within me has quietened somewhat. Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favourite parts of London related to the wonderful world of Harry Potter, so you can visit them too!
First things first, of course I’m talking about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. I adore this place. Considering we didn’t get the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Orlando did instead (which I’m still bitter about), this is definitely the next best thing.
While there aren’t exactly rides or fancy reconstructions, we in London have the real deal. Original sets, props, location designs, costumes and more can be found at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, and even the most casual Potter fan will be in awe at what they can find here. Not only can you see amazing things but you can try your hand at wandwork, dress up in school robes and have a go at flying, drink yummy Butterbeer and drop the majority of your bank account in the incredible shop at the end!
Personally I’d recommend a minimum of 3 hours to see the place, there are 2 sound stages plus an outside area, so that’s 1 hour per area, but honestly if you can – stay for longer. In an ideal world, book for one of the morning entrance times and stay for the whole day! The Studio Tour is incredible all year round but at certain points during the year different special events happen too! My particular favourite is going to see Hogwarts in the Snow at Winter time, it’s truly magical.
⚡️Tips for visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour:
• Book tickets for as early in the day as possible, to get the most time!
• Make sure you fully take in everything in the sound stages, once you leave the area, you can’t go back in, so do a few laps around it!
• If you’re a hardcore fan and can’t wait to see all the awesome merchandise, save up! The merch is high quality but also highly priced.
• Wear comfy shoes! You’ll be doing a lot of walking.
• Don’t forget your camera! You’ll be wanting to take about a hundred photos a minute. No kidding. 😉
If you’re visiting London but don’t quite have the time to head out of Central London to Watford Junction for the Studio Tour, there is a pretty good alternative for you. Fans will know that magical journeys begin at King’s Cross, more importantly, at Platform 9 and 3/4! Visit King’s Cross Station and head to the Harry Potter Shop, which is tucked in the corner by Platform 9 (duh), you’ll probably spot the area by the condensed queue that’ll be out front of the shop.
Why are they queuing, you ask? They’re queuing because there is a beautiful trolley and suitcase in the wall where you can have an epic photo opportunity. Every time I’ve walked through the station recently it’s been a hefty queue but it does seem to go down quickly so don’t lose hope. There’s a professional photographer there to take your photo and you can ask them to take a photo on your own phone/camera as well. They’ll also give you a scarf to wear and of course you can pick your house colour to show off!
Once you’ve had your amazing photo taken, head on into the shop where you can find amazing legit Harry Potter merch, not quite as much as you’d find at the Studio Tour but still more than you’ll find anywhere else in London!
⚡️Tips for visiting the Harry Potter Shop:
• To save queuing for your photo opportunity, try getting to the shop earlier in the day when it might not be as busy.
• Some of the areas within the shop can be quite narrow, if you can avoid having a big backpack on, I’d advise that!
If you’re in London and absolutely ballin’, you might’ve already been lucky enough to purchase tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, currently the most sought after ticket in the West End (legit), but if not then you might be desperate to get your hands on a pair of tickets like I was.
Here’s a whole vlog dedicated to my trip to the Palace Theatre to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but it’s such a crazy story that I just have to write about it as well. Every time tickets have gone on sale, I have virtually queued for hours and hours (I was in a queue for a whole day the last time) with absolutely no luck. Before the previews for the show started I went to the box office to see if they had any random single tickets left and they had one seat in an amazing location but it was £100 I simply couldn’t spend at the time, and I was heartbroken. I tried the Friday Forty lottery for weeks and weeks with no luck.
Then one day, fate was kind to me. I went to the box office just to see if by chance they had anything available, anything at all (except perhaps for the balcony because it’s v. steep up there). Lovely David at the box office (who I’d spoken to months before as well) said they had nothing for when I ideally wanted to go, but lo and behold after us chatting he checked the system again and he noticed that there was a pair of tickets available for the next weekend.
It was a front row seat.
💸💸💸 < An accurate representation of £130 flying out of my bank account much like the winged keys in Philosopher’s Stone.
I honestly thought it would be another few years until I managed to see this show, so when David told me that there was the potential of me being able to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from the front row (something only few can say) all in one day, I absolutely couldn’t say no.
So if you’re a Londoner or staying here for a while, I’d say it’s totally worth it to just try your luck and stroll into the box office to see what they have – and please remember to be polite to the staff there. I know it’s frustrating to not get tickets to something you desperately want to see, trust me, I know, but it’s not their fault!
⚡️Tips for getting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets:
• Persevere and try the Friday Forty lottery every week. Someone’s gotta win it!
• Frequently check the website, sometimes returned tickets do pop up on the site, so you’d just have to be quick in snapping them up.
• Go along to the theatre in the day during your trip just to see if by luck there are any tickets, or if the returns queue is small and you can risk wasting a couple of hours waiting, try that!
The last thing I can suggest for you to do as a Harry Potter fan in London is to visit the House of MinaLima! It’s an adorable museum/shop full of gorgeous graphic art that you’ll recognise well from the Harry Potter films.
The best thing? It’s free!
They’re doing a special exhibition in November with the release of the Fantastic Beasts movie, so I’ll definitely be heading along to it properly then but I did have a nosey in on the day I saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, so you can see a sneak peek of it in my vlog up there! ⤴️
⚡️Tips for visiting The House of MinaLima:
• According to Google, visitors usually spend around 45 minutes here and peak times vary but generally either noon (when it opens) or just a couple of hours before closing (around 5/6) are the quietest hours.
• It’s literally just round the corner from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s theatre, so you can see two Potter attractions within walking distance of each other!
• Don’t forget to take your camera! You’ll definitely want to take some snaps of this incredible art.
• Prints are available to buy but they are pretty pricey, prepare your bank account if you think you’ll want to buy something.
These are my favourite Harry Potter related activities in London, but there’s also loads of tours where you can go and see different sights or inspirations for the series, personally though if you’re a fan – these are the things you must visit! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it’s helped you if you’re planning a trip to London, if you’ve been to any of these let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!
For now, Mischief Managed! ✨