When people find out that I like Harry Potter their first question is always the same – is that why you decided to go to the UK? MY answer is simple: no. HOWEVER it does make for some very easy to find touristy things to do! London in particular has so many amazing things for a Harry Potter fan to check out that is what I am going to talk about today – the top 5 things to do in London as a Harry Potter fan!
(5.) Find sites from the movie
Number five is a pretty easy one since even if you are in London with non-Harry Potter fans you can still check out these sites since they are tourist attractions anyway! Locations like St. Pancras International, Leadenhall Market and Millennium Bridge are all already popular tourist stops for non-Harry Potter fans but are even more popular for fans of the series who will recognize the locations from the movies.
(4.) Primark, London
Taking advantage of the popularity of the franchise, the Primark location in London has a whole section for just Harry Potter merchandise! It can be noted though that most of these items can be bought at ANY Primark location, so it is really the design elements of the section itself that makes this location truly magical. The section has been set up to look like the Forbidden Forest, kind of an odd design choice, with element of the Gryffindor Common Room thrown in for good measure.
Homeware and clothes make up the primary sales of this section, though you can also purchase a few fun bits and bobs like pins and bags. If you are looking for things that are a little less ‘common’ though I suggest that you move along to number 3 on the list.
(3.) Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾
Looking for a fun pieces of Harry Potter merch to send home to your family or hoard for yourself? Then look no further than the Platform 9 ¾ Shop! Designed to look like Ollivander’s wand shop this fun little store has everything from clothes to wands to jewelry, copies of the books, plushies and even REAL versions of the candy from the movies!
The prices are shockingly decent considering it is a tourist trap first and foremost with items within every type of price range! When I was there I picked up a Slytherin scarf and hairbow as well as a Chocolate Frog and tiny stuffed Hedwig all for around 35 pounds!
(2.) Platform 9 ¾
Without a doubt the best FREE thing you can do as a Harry Potter fan in London. This popular destination allows for you to wait in line to get your very own photo taken with a Hogwarts trolley, House scarf and wand. When it first started you could only wear a Gryffindor scarf, but now you can wear any of the 4 house scarves and choose from a variety of wands to pose with.
Professional photographers who work for the attached store can take a photo for you (them taking it is free but you have to pay to get the photo) OR you can have a friend take the picture for you. I went by myself and I decided that I wanted to pay to get my own copy of the photo and I do not regret it one bit! It is a great memento of my trip and looks awesome on my shelves in my staff accommodation
(1.) Warner Bros Studio Tour London
The number one thing that any Harry Potter fan can do while in London is take a trip over to the Warner Bros Tour London. Currently the tour is focusing on the ‘Making of Harry Potter’ where you can see how they used motion-capture technology to animate Dobby and even take a look at the costumes used in the films.
Of course the attraction is always changing with October focusing more on the Dark Arts aspect of the franchise and November through December turning the attraction into ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ which turns the whole set into a snowy wonderland just in time for the holiday season! All of these events will be changing up again though for next year – so who knows what will be happening next!
Unlike the other attractions on this list, this one you have to pay for AND buy tickets in advance since they only allow a certain number of visitors at once into the studio.
I actually did 4 out of these three things during my one week in London – though I do have plans on returning to London and experiencing the Tour as well as returning to the attraction I already visited!
Next time on Backpacks and Broomsticks: A look at my home away from home!