Expelliarmus! A Harry Potter trip to London!
“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ― Albus Dumbledore
Are your kids Harry Potter fans? Did they see the Harry Potter movies or read J.K. Rowling’s books? Then they will love a Harry Potter themed trip to London! Not only can you see the real movie set with the Great Hall, the class rooms and Gringotts Wizarding Bank, but you can also fly your own broomstick and have a Butter Beer at the Warner Bros Studio Tour, or visit some Harry Potter film locations in central London.
All aboard on the Hogwarts Express!
London is a great city to take the kids to. When we decided to go on a Harry Potter themed weekend to London, it was our third trip to London with kids, so we had done most of the city’s highlights. However, it is still cool to walk around in London and cross the Tower Bridge, or eat an English Breakfast at Borough Market. We walked around London to find some of the Harry Potter film locations, and that took us to a beautiful place in London that we hadn’t visited on previous trips at all.
Leadenhall market – Diagon Alley in London
Leadenhall market in London is a beautiful Victorian covered market where some of the scenes of Diagon Alley were filmed. What a gorgeous place! You can immediately see why Diagon Alley was inspired by this location with all the colorful shops. The pub ‘the Leaky Cauldron’ can also be found here (42 Bull’s Head Passage), although apparently later on it was also filmed at Borough Market. We saw some other Potter fans in Leadenhall market and it made us feel like we were walking on the movie set.
We tried to find the second Leaky Cauldron in the Borough Market area, but that was not easy and not so recognizable anymore. The Borough Market is a great area to explore anyway so that did not matter. We had our English Breakfast in the known market café called Maria’s Market Café And then wandered around. The address of the Leaky Cauldron is supposed to be: Stoney Street number 7. We saw a restaurant at that location (see photo below). Apparently, this was used for the entrance to the pub in the Harry Potter film. The beautiful Pub on the angle of the street the ‘Market Porter Pub’ was also used in one of the films.
Platform 9 ¾
You will find Platform 9 ¾ at London’s Kings Cross Station where you can take your picture while you try to run through the wall to head to the Hogwarts Express. Sometimes there is a line for this photo opportunity and if you were planning to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour anyway, please note you can also take this photo there.
“I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” ― Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter Walking Tour London
We just walked around to find the locations for ourselves, but many Harry Potter walking tours can be taken in London, so if you prefer and would not like to miss any of the locations this could be an option for you.
Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour London
This was so much fun!!!
Alohomora! Open the door to Harry Potters World and the real film sets!
Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio is located outside of London, at about an hour by public transport. You can either take a train to Watford and then the special Harry Potter Bus, or, you can pre reserve a coach which leaves from Victoria Coach Station or Baker Street in Central London. The last option was what we did and we thought it was just perfect. During the trip a Harry Potter movie is shown on the bus to get in the mood for the world of magic. We reserved our bus at Golden Tours as that one was recommended on the Warner Bros website.
Harry Potter entrance tickets
When you have bought your Harry Potter Studio Tour entrance tickets, you will have chosen an entrance time. Allow at least 3 hours for the full visit of the studios, and prepare to spend a lot of time in the shop.
The visit starts with the Great Hall of Hogwarts and that’s also where the feeling of magic starts! As you continue to move in the studio you will get to a cool broomstick flight simulation. You will get on a broomstick and the staff shows you the moves. If you are willing to buy the video for 20 pounds, you will have a video of yourself flying though London, over the train tracks and arriving at Hogwarts.
You can also try to lift up a broomstick, learn all about Quidditch, see the classroom sets, Professor Dumbledore’s Office, and the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory. Kids can search for Golden Snitches in the Harry Potter Passport you get at the entrance, but we actually forgot we had those when we walked through the magic wizarding world.
New at the Harry Potter Studio Tour was the part with Gringotts Wizarding Bank and a cool part with special effects with the dragon.
About half way through the tour, do take your time to taste a real Butter Beer! Yum! It was actually not bad! Right after the restaurant you will get to Pivet Drive where you can see Harry’s family’s house and his room underneath the stairs.
If you continue you will get to the Howarts Express and Platform 9 ¾ with its photo opportunity.
We enjoyed this day a lot and it is really recommended for all Harry Potter fans!
Family friendly hotel in London
Since you will probably not only go to the studios in Watford, it is still best to stay in central London! We can recommend two good family friendly places. One hotel has a view on the Tower of London, which is one of our preferred places to visit in London with small kids:
And the other hotel is close to Borough Market, and at walking distance from Leadenhall Market (Diagon Alley) as well. To see this hotel recommendation, click here.
Would you like to do other things in London as well, then check out our article on visiting London with kids!
What a fun trip for the whole family!