Put your comfy shoes on folks – we’re going to head on a Harry Potter walking tour of London that will, I 100% guarantee, make you feel like you’ve just stepped into one of the films.
OK, maybe not 100% but at least like 56%.
London just so happens to be a rather magical place for Harry Potter fans.
In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that there are few destinations that boast so many cool Potter related locations (believe me, I’ve looked).
As someone who burrows down on the sofa to watch the films every year and has reread the books a *rather obsessive* number of times, I can’t tell you how exciting it was to create this Harry Potter tour of London.
The first time I did it for “research” but by the fifth, well there’s no point in pretending it was for anything other than the JOY of it.
This tour will take you through London, visiting the very locations used in the film series and even a few spots that provided JK Rowling with inspiration for her books.
See the Muggle entrance to the Ministry of Magic, the bridge destroyed by the Death Eaters, the real life Diagon Alley and the hidden base for The Order of the Phoenix.
Fun as it would be to hop on your Nimbus 2000 and speed around the city checking out all of the Harry Potter London locations, chances are you don’t have a magical flying broomstick hanging around.
Not to worry, here’s a magical self-guided Harry Potter walking tour of London.
It’s a biggie, and I’d suggest taking all day to do the tour, but you can split it over two days if that suits you better.
Now it’s your turn. Let’s go!
Practical Information about the Harry Potter Walking Tour of London
Kings Cross Railway Station
Lambeth Bridge, Westminster
13km + short underground trip between Angel and Bank.
Walking Time: 3 hrs 15 mins
Suggested time to allow for the tour: 5- 6 hours
Difficulty of Tour
Medium: Flat terrain but it covers a reasonable distance.
TfL fees for underground between Angel and Bank.
Places Visited on the Tour
- King’s Cross – Home of Platform 9 ¾
- St Pancras Station – The Setting for the Flying Car
- Claremont Square – The Order of the Phoenix HQ
- Leadenhall Market – Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron
- Tower Bridge – The Backdrop to the Order’s Flight Through London
- Stoney Street – The Entrance to the Leaky Cauldron
- The Millenium Bridge – The Site of the Attack by the Death Eaters
- St Paul’s Cathedral – Part of Hogwarts
- Australia House – AKA Gringotts
- Goodwin’s Court and Cecil Court – Diagon Alley
- The House of Minalima
- Piccadilly Circus – Part of the escape to London in the Deathly Hallows
- Great Scotland Yard – The Ministry of Magic
- Westminster Station – Closest tube to the Ministry
- Lambeth Bridge – Where we witness some of the Knight Bus’s frantic journey
- There are a number of cobbled streets on this walk that may be difficult to navigate by wheelchair or with a pushchair.
- There’s no lift access at Angel Station to access the Northern Line. Instead, you can miss stop three (Claremont Square) and get the Circle or District Line to Liverpool Street Station for Leadenhall Market.
If you don’t want to miss Stop Three, you could consider starting the tour at Claremont Square, then doing Stop Two (St Pancras) followed by Stop One (King’s Cross) and then getting the underground to Liverpool Street for Leadenhall Market.
- There are stairs between Leadenhall Market and Tower Bridge and again between Tower Bridge and Stoney Street but you can take a less direct route to avoid these.
- There are stairs to descend from the Millennium Bridge but there is also a wheelchair accessible lift as an alternative.
Stops on the Harry Potter Tour of London
Stop One – King’s Cross Station
Address: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9AL
All aboard the Hogwarts Express!
We’ll start our tour at King’s Cross Station.
King’s Cross train station is the very place that the Hogwarts Express departs from in the books and the films.
Apart from dreams of what it would be like to actually whizz away on the train to Hogwarts, there are three things that you won’t want to miss within the station.
The first is the actual spot between Platforms 4 and 5 where Platform 9 ¾ is supposed to reside. There’s not actually that much to see here though.
Much more exciting is the trolley half-buried into the wall poised for you to take that classic shot. It’s next to the Harry Potter Shop in which you can pick up your very own wand…. cos #wizard life.
Back to that photo of you running through the wall at Platform 9 ¾.
I won’t lie – unless you get there first thing in the morning, chances are that you are going to have to queue for it. Like, for hours.
I’m not saying that it isn’t worth it but forewarned is forearmed.
What I will say that if you are planning on going to the Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden – DON’T BOTHER QUEUING at King’s Cross.
There are several spots in the studio’s reconstruction of Kings Cross where you can get the same shot and (oh blessed day), there are zero queues. You’re welcome.
Watch The Scene: Harry Finds Platform 9 ¾ in The Philosopher’s Stone
→→ →→ 6 minute walk. From The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾ to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Walk south-west towards Pancras Rd (the nearest exit from King’s Cross), turn left onto Pancras Rd, turn right, take the stairs and the St Pancras Renaissance is on the right.
Stop Two – St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Address: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4QP
After Kings Cross, it’s a simple matter of strolling across the road to St Pancras International (flying cars unfortunately not included).
St Pancras doubles up as the exterior of the station from which the Hogwarts Express departs.
It’s really the front of the station – now the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, then the Midland Grand Hotel (and designed by Sir Gilbert Scott) that we’re really interested in.
I totally understand why the filmmakers used the exterior of St Pancras in the films rather than King’s Cross… who doesn’t want an eyeful of that beautiful Gothic architecture?
Plus, it makes it even more dramatic when Harry and Ron purloin the Ford Anglia to fly to Hogwarts when they miss the Express in The Chamber of Secrets right?
Watch the Scene: Harry, Ron and the Flying Car in The Chamber of Secrets
→→ →→ 17 minute walk.
From the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, walk north-east and take the stairs, turn right onto Pancras Rd and shortly after turn left onto Euston Rd/A501. Walk along Euston Road for 130 metres, then take the left hand fork onto Pentonville Road. Carry on along Pentonville Road for 800 metres before turning right onto Claremont Square. Follow the square to turn left and numbers 23-29 are across the road.
Stop Three – Claremont Square
Address: 23 Claremont Square, Islington, London N1 9LX
Claremont Square is one of the more tucked away locations on our Harry Potter London walk. It’s about a 15 minute walk from St Pancras.
A quiet terrace of Georgian houses in Islington might not look like much but Claremont Square is the film location for 12 Grimmauld Place.
Still not ringing any bells? Make your way to numbers 23 to 29 and all will become clear.
It’s the home of the Order of the Phoenix – a.k.a the Black residence that Sirius kindly donates to be used by the order in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and is used again by the trio The Deathly Hallows Part I.
Claremont Square was the perfect location for Grimmauld Place, which is described in the books as being close to King’s Cross Station and a small square with terraced houses (check and check).
Luckily for all of us, the Fidelius Charm that stops muggles from seeing 12 Grimmauld Place in the Order of the Phoenix doesn’t actually stop us from seeing the properties at numbers 23 to 29 Claremont Square in real life.
Watch The Scene: Harry Arrives at Grimmauld Place with The Order of The Phoenix
→→ →→ 5 minute walk to Angel Station from Claremont Square, 5 minute underground ride to Bank Station, 6 minute walk from Bank Station to Leadenhall Market.
Walk east on Claremont Square, turn left to stay on Claremont Square. At the end of the road, turn right onto Pentonville Road. After 250 metres, turn right onto St John Street – Angel Underground Station is on your left.
Take the Northern Line to Bank.
Exit Bank Station and turn onto Cornhill, walk along Cornhill for 300 metres, turn right onto Gracechurch Street where you will find the entrance to Leadenhall Market on your left.
Stop Four – Leadenhall Market
Address: Gracechurch St, Langbourn, London EC3V 1LT
The next stop is pretty far, (around 45 mins walk), so we’re going to hop on the tube from Angel Underground Station to Bank and cut the transit time to around 15 minutes.
But where are we going next on our Harry Potter walk of London?
We are heading to Leadenhall Market.
Leadenhall Market is one of London’s most beautiful markets. It was originally built in the 15th century as a wool, leather, meat and fish market but the current architecture dates back to the Victorian times (1881 to be precise).
Does it look familiar? It was, of course, used as a Harry Potter filming location – specifically as the area of muggle London used to access Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Cast your mind back to the first film.
There’s lots of excitement (Harry has just found out he’s a WIZARD after all) and it’s relatively upbeat and fun – so the gorgeous gold and red tones of Leadenhall Market fit in perfectly.
The Philosopher’s Stone was directed by Chris Columbus (who also directed Home Alone, Mrs Doubtfire and The Chamber of Secrets). Chris imagined the world of Harry Potter as one of wonder and discovery.
Like Harry, Hermoine and Ron, we’re all excited to be thrust into the hubble and bubble of the wizarding world with its immense promise.
Exit the market onto Lime Street, but before you set off and away, walk down Bull’s Head Passage (the entrance is on the right).
Walk down until you see a white door at number 42 (pictured above).
What was then an empty optician’s was used as the entrance for the wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron in the Philosopher’s Stone.
The Leaky Cauldron serves as the entrance to Diagon Alley where Potter gets all excited and spends his galleons on the things he will need to start at Hogwarts.
Watch the Scene: Walking to The Leaky Cauldron and into Diagon Alley
→→ →→ 16 minute walk from Bull’s Head Passage to Tower Bridge.
Walk south-east from Bull’s Head Passage onto Lime Street Passage. Turn right onto Lime St, then left onto Fenchurch St. Walk for 50 metres, before turning right onto Rood Ln. Continue for another hundred metres to turn left onto Eastcheap, which turns into Great Tower Street. Near the end of the road, take a slight right to cross onto Byward Street and turn left onto Tower Hill Terrace, follow the terrace then turn right onto Tower Bridge Approach. Take the stairs up to Tower Bridge.
Stop Five – Tower Bridge
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
From Leadenhall Market, it’s a relatively short zip to Tower Bridge.
I’ll be honest, Tower Bridge only makes a fleeting appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and another in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but it’s always worth taking a peek at, particularly when it’s on our way to our next stop anyway.
Remember the scene in The Order of the Phoenix when Harry flies past Tower Bridge on his journey along the Thames along with the rest of the order?
Of course you do.
They make their way from Tower Bridge, following the path of the Thames under London Bridge and past the Houses of Parliament.
Away from Harry Potter, Tower Bridge has had a long and eventful history. Want an example? The two walkways that now form the Tower Bridge experience used to be one of London’s informal red light districts.
Not only that, in the fifties a bus had to jump between the opening sections when the bridge started to open with it on it.
Turns out that Tower Bridge is pretty magical even without wizards zipping around it in the air. Who knew?
From here, you can also glance over to City Hall on the left – the glass asymmetrical globe that looks like it’s leaning away from the river.
City Hall also pops up at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince when the Death Eaters cause havoc, wreaking destruction on the area. The office workers (filmed inside City Hall) stand up and look at the tumultuous events taking place outside.
How different it is from the cheery tones of the first films right?
By now, things have taken a much gloomier tone in the films. Voldemort is definitely back and the films have evolved to be much darker – both in events and aesthetic.
Watch the Scene: Death Eaters Attack London in The Half-Blood Prince
→→ →→ 15 minute walk from Tower Bridge to Stoney Street.
Walk over the bridge to cross onto the South Bank of the Thames. Take the stairs on the right, then turn left to walk next to the water. Carry on for 400 metres, then turn left onto St Olaf Stairs to emerge onto Tooley Street. Continue onto Montague Close for 200 metres, then turn right onto Winchester Walk and left onto Stoney Street.
Stop Six – Stoney Street
Location: 7A Stoney Street, London SE1 9AA (entrance to Tacos El Pastor)
Cross Tower Bridge and head to Borough Market, which is about a 15 minute walk once you get to the other side.
Borough Market is London’s best-known food market – with a bounty of fresh produce and delicious street food that attracts people from far and wide. The market is mentioned as early as the 13th century, but historians believe it’s even older than that. It’s the perfect place to stop and refuel.
That’s not what we’re here for though.
Stoney Street, next to Borough Market is the second place that features as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron (the first was in Bull’s Head Passage next to Leadenhall Market, which we’ve already seen).
Head underneath the railway bridge on Stoney Street and look at what is now the entrance to Tacos El Pastor and you’ve found it! The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the next stop on our Harry Potter free walking tour of London.
The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third film in the Harry Potter series and the first film to be directed by Alfonso Cuaron who created a much darker and dirtier world to reflect the growing malignancy present in the books.
Gone are the bright colours of Leadenhall Market, the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron in Stoney Street is formed of the grimy brickwork of the Victorian Railway arches.
It looks a bit nicer these days, thanks to the colourful artwork added by El Pastor – but imagine standing here without any of the art or colour and you’ll see why it was the perfect place for The Leaky Cauldron.
The Knight Bus drops Harry off here after that memorable bus ride that involved squeezing through the narrow gap between two other buses and almost hitting an old lady crossing the road.
His journey ends by coming to a sharp stop in this very spot… and the Knight Bus setting off a car alarm in the process.
Speaking of the Knight Bus – did you know that it was not a special effect, but a real life bus created from slicing two Routemaster buses, splicing them together and rejigging the structure so it had three decks.
The filmmakers weren’t able to drive it across London as it was too tall for the city’s low bridges so they had to transport it in pieces and put it together on location to film each scene. They also had to add 8 tonnes of weight to the bottom to stop it from falling over. These days you’ll find the Knight Bus hanging out at the Warner Brothers Studios in Leavesden.
When Harry wakes up the next morning in The Leaky Cauldron, he looks out the window and takes in some of the most important features of the London Bridge neighbourhood: Borough market, Southwark Cathedral and the river beyond – as well as the mish-mash of buildings that make up this historic area of London.
Next door at number 8 Stoney Street, you’ll find the Market Porter pub (IRL one of the few pubs in London licenced to serve in the early morning to cater to the early morning workers at Borough Market).
Can you guess where you’ve seen it before?
OK, I’ll tell you. As the Third Hand Emporium in The Chamber of Secrets and the very place where Harry meets the vain charmer Gilderoy Lockheart.
Watch the Scenes: The Knight Bus and the Entrance to the Leaky Cauldron
→→ →→ 9 minute walk from Stoney Street to Millennium Bridge.
Walk north on Stoney St back towards (but past) Winchester Walk.
At the end of Stoney Street, turn left onto Clink St. At the end of Clink Street, turn right onto Bank End, which becomes Bankside.
Continue alongside the river for 400 metres before turning to walk onto the Millennium Bridge.
Stop Seven – Millennium Bridge
Address: Thames Embankment, London SE1 9JE
Now we’re on to the Millennium Bridge – which you should walk over (beware, it wobbles a bit).
I think that we can all agree that those Death Eaters are a right nasty lot.
It’s a pretty bad sign of things to come for poor muggle London when they destroy the Millennium Bridge in Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince plunging all the people walking along it into the Thames.
Perhaps don’t think about that too much while you’re walking over the bridge though.
The name might be a bit of a giveaway, but the Millenium Bridge was built to commemorate the millennium in London.
Things didn’t quite go to plan though – when the bridge opened in the year 2000, it became the object of ridicule because it wobbled so much that it was deemed structurally unsound – and it knocked over a fair few pedestrians as they tried to cross it in the process).
To cut a long story short, it had to close for another two years while they tweaked it to make it safe for public use.
Like Tower Bridge and London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge first makes its appearance in in Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix when Harry flies through London to Grimmauld Place.
But it’s really the scene of the Death Eaters striking the Millennium Bridge and causing it to fall and rip apart, toppling pedestrians into the river that really sticks with you.
In the story, Voldemort has told Cornelius Fudge to step down as Minister of Magic, and when he refuses, The Dark Lord attacks London, spreading the Dark Mark in the sky and having the Death Eaters cause mayhem as they run riot.
It’s a chilling start to the film and a sure sign that things are getting out of hand.
It’s interesting that the filmmakers chose to use the Millennium Bridge as a stand-in for the fictional Brockdale Bridge the Death Eaters attack in the books.
The sight of the iconic Millennium bridge twisting and writhing in the air not only strikes terror into the viewer as it’s such a well-known sight, but is also a cheeky nod to the bridge’s early problems in real life.
Remember how the bridge wobbled and caused people to fall over… well, what if that wasn’t structural issues at all but because of the Death Eater attack?
It can’t be true (don’t worry – it isn’t)!
Watch the Scene: Death Eaters Attack London in The Half-Blood Prince
→→ →→ 5 minute walk from the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Walk north on Millennium Bridge and continue onto Peter’s Hill, which turns into Sermon Lane. At the end of the lane, turn left onto Carter Lane and turn left onto St Paul’s Churchyard.
Stop Eight – St Paul’s Cathedral
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
We’re not going to go into St Paul’s Cathedral because the part of the cathedral used in the films is only accessible as part of a special guided tour run by the Cathedral itself.
Still, you can read this as you walk past one of London’s most recognisable buildings.
St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, built as part of the reconstruction of the city after it had been ravaged by the Great Fire of London.
Inside the cathedral, the Geometric Staircase (or the Dean’s Stair as it is officially named) was used as the spiral stairs to Professor Trelawney’s Divination classroom in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They also pop up again in The Goblet of Fire as the stairs to the Defence against the Dark Arts classes.
Walking from St Paul’s to Australia House takes you along Fleet Street – historically the heartland of the British Media.
Today there may be fewer journalists around, but much of the area’s history continues to shine through – from the peek at St Bride’s Church you’ll get as you pass St Bride’s Lane, to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – a Sam Smith’s pub that dates back to 1667 and used to be frequented by Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, among others.
As you continue along Fleet Street, you’ll see a statue in the middle of the road – a monument flanked by Queen Victoria on one side and Edward VII on the other.
This spot marks the boundary between The City of London and The City of Westminster, where we will spend the remainder of this tour.
Continue on, past the Royal Courts of Justice to Australia House.
→→ →→ 15 minute walk from St Paul’s Cathedral to Australia House.
Continue along St Paul’s Churchyard, which turns into Ludgate Hill and stay on here for 200 metres. Cross the road and continue straight onto Fleet Street. Walk for 500m to the beginning of The Strand. The High Commission of Australia sits within the roundabout.
Stop Nine – Australia House
Address: Strand, London WC2B 4LA
Time to withdraw your galleons – for which you’ll need to head to Australia House, which doubles up as Gringotts in the film series.
It might have been the inside of Australia House that was used as an actual filming location but take a close look at the outside of the building as it clearly influenced the design of the bank used in the film (which was part of the set in the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden).
The triangular shape and imposing architecture of both is no coincidence.
It is indeed the wizarding bank, just missing a few bells and whistles.
Australia House is the longest continually-occupied diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom – the exterior was built with marble shipped from Australia.
Inside, it’s no less striking – no wonder the makers wanted to use it as a filming location for the series.
Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to enter the building.
If you’re doing this tour on a weekday, you may be able to poke your head inside to see a snippet of the stately interior that serves as Gringotts in both Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and as the backdrop to the trio’s antics in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.
Still, it’s not quite the same as it was the Exhibition Hall rather than the lobby that was used in the films anyway.
Imagine row after row of goblins tapping, calculating and keeping themselves busy around the large Exhibition Hall (jazzed up with a few props) – and voila, you have Gringotts.
Watch the Scene: Harry Visits Gringotts Bank in The Philosopher’s Stone
→→ →→ 12 minute walk from Australia House to Goodwin’s Court.
Walk west on Aldwych towards Melbourne Place. Take a slight right onto Kingsway and cross the road. Turn right onto Drury Lane, carry on for 160m then turn left onto Russell Street. Walk straight for 140m, through Covent Garden Market and turn right towards King Street. Turn left onto King Street, continue straight ahead as it turns into New Row and turn left onto Bedfordbury before turning right into Goodwin’s Court.
Stop Ten – Goodwin’s Court
Address: Goodwin’s Ct, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4LL
Strolling along the narrow passageways around Charing Cross Road I wouldn’t blame you if you got the distinct feeling that the next stops on our Harry Potter walk in London was a part of the city Harry himself would be familiar with.
Crooked ye olde buildings overhang the narrow walkway of Goodwin’s Court, one of the two spots in the area that are said to have inspired Diagon Alley.
Delightfully quaint bow-fronted buildings transport you to another age – their iron-barred windows and dingy brickwork are thought to date back to 1690.
Some people are convinced that Goodwin’s Court was the basis for the set of Diagon Alley in the Warner Brothers Studios – and I have to say, the two do look convincingly alike.
Rumour has it that the only reason that Goodwin’s wasn’t used as Diagon Alley in the films was because it was too narrow for the filming equipment needed.
What do you think?
Before you get too carried away though- I will say that others champion our next stop, Cecil Court as the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Let’s go and take a look.
Watch The Scene: Harry and Hagrid go to Diagon Alley in the Philosopher’s Stone
→→ →→ 1 minute walk from Goodwin’s Court to Cecil Court.
Walk to the other end of Goodwin’s Court. Turn left onto St Martin’s Lane, cross the road and turn right onto Cecil Court.
Stop Eleven – Cecil Court
Address: 2 Cecil Ct, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HE
Just around the corner, you’ll find the other contender for the inspiration for Diagon Alley – Cecil Court.
Slightly bigger and much better-known than Goodwin’s Court, Cecil Court is just off Charing Cross Road – the place that JK Rowling chose as the entrance for the Leaky Cauldron in the books.
Charing Cross Road pops up a few times in the books, both when Harry and Hagrid walk down it in the Philosopher’s Stone, not to mention when the Knight Bus takes a jaunt down here in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Rowling herself has said “Charing Cross Road is famous for its bookshops… This is why I wanted it to be the place where those in the know go to enter a different world”. Nifty.
Anyway, back to Cecil Court – the court is lined with all kinds of antiquarian and occult booksellers, all housed behind quaint Victorian shop fronts promising a passage into another world.
In other words, it’s totally on point for Diagon Alley. I always half-expect to find Ollivander’s tucked amongst the shops – sure you can see why.
Watch the Scene: Diagonelly to Diagon Alley in The Chamber of Secrets
→→ →→ 6 minute walk from Cecil Court to the House of Minalima.
Walk to the other end of Cecil Court. Turn right onto Charing Cross Rd and walk along for 300 metres. Turn left onto Moor Street, then after 70 metres, left onto Old Compton Street and left onto Greek Street. The House of Minalima is on your left.
Stop Twelve – The House of Minalima
Address: 26 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 5DE
Our next stop isn’t a filming location but it is one of the coolest Harry Potter shops in town.
The House of Minalima is the shop where all of your Harry Potter-related dreams come true.
Part Harry Potter exhibition, part shop, this multi-floored space in Soho was started by two of the graphic designers responsible for bringing the books to life in the films.
Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina met when working on the Harry Potter films.
Together they designed so many of those iconic graphics that you’ll remember – the striking covers of the Daily Prophet, the wanted posters from which death eaters’ faces stare malevolently (even thinking about Bellatrix’s twisted features gives me the creeps).
As you can imagine, visiting The House of Minalima is a pretty big deal.
You can also pick up limited edition posters, cool badges – even your very own potion books to bring home.
Now if that doesn’t make you go all heart eyed emoji, I don’t know what will.
Watch the Scene: The Daily Prophet Exonerates Harry in The Order of the Phoenix
→→ →→ 7 minute walk from the House of Minalima to Piccadilly Circus.
Walk south-east on Greek St towards Romilly St. Turn right onto Shaftesbury Ave and continue for 450 m. Turn right onto Piccadilly Circus.
Stop Thirteen – Piccadilly Circus
Address: West End, London W1J 9HP
Piccadilly Circus is terrifying enough at the best of times. The thronging crowds and neon lights are a recipe of things guaranteed to set your teeth on edge.
Well, imagine how stressful it would be if you apparated there only to be nearly hit by a bus and then chased by Death Eaters trying to kill you.
Sound familiar? That’s exactly what happens to Harry, Hermoine and Ron in the Deathly Hallows Part I.
They apparate into the bright lights and buzzy atmosphere of Piccadilly Circus and go into a cafe where they have a wizarding fight with two death eaters.
Swing by Piccadilly Circus, but keep your eyes open – you never know who’s on your tail.
Watch the Scene: The Ministry has Fallen and the Escape to London
→→ →→ 12 minute walk from Piccadilly Circus to Great Scotland Yard.
Turn from Piccadilly Circus and walk east onto Coventry Street. Turn right onto Haymarket and walk straight for 300 metres. Cross Pall Mall and bear left onto Cockspur Street and continue for 200 metres. At the roundabout, walk across to Whitehall, continue along Whitehall for 150 metres and cross the road to enter Great Scotland Yard. The filming location is on the right.
Stop Fourteen – Great Scotland Yard
Address: Great Scotland Yard, Westminster, London SW1A
Meander to Great Scotland Yard to hunt for the two entrances to the Ministry of Magic (the muggle and the wizard versions).
Great Scotland Yard looks innocuous enough.
There are some rather beautiful buildings and it’s located just off of Whitehall, the heart of British government – as in 10 Downing Street is just off Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament sit at the other end.
Nothing incredible to see here… right?
Great Scotland Yard was used to represent the heart of the wizarding world – the Ministry of Magic – neatly reflecting the area’s importance in the real world.
Cast your mind back to Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix when Arthur Weasley takes Harry to the Ministry for his hearing on performing underage magic. They enter the Ministry through a red telephone box underneath a stone archway.
Well, you’ll have to picture the telephone box and the archway near the junction of Scotland Place – do so and voila – you have the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.
The fake bridge is a duplicate of one just around the corner on Scotland Place, CGIed here to cover up some of the ugly doorways of the buildings in the scene.
The exterior of the Ministry on Great Scotland Yard pops up again in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I when Harry, Ron and Hermoine lie in wait for Mafalda Hopkirk and the other wizards they impersonate using polyjuice potion. We see it again when they’ve transformed and are making their way to break into the Ministry.
Watch the Scenes
→→ →→ 8 minute walk from Great Scotland Yard to Westminster Station.
Retrace your footsteps along Great Scotland Yard back to Whitehall. Turn left onto Whitehall and follow it along. There is an entrance to Westminster Station is on Whitehall.
Stop Fifteen – Westminster Underground Station
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 2JR
Make your way from Great Scotland Yard along Whitehall to Westminster Station. Westminster Underground Station might look like any other tube station from the street but I know the beady-eyed amongst you will spot that there’s much more to it than this.
It is the very same station that Harry used in the Order of the Phoenix when he’s travelling to his disciplinary hearing at the Ministry. You know, the station where Mr Weasley struggled to get through the barriers – an experience with which we can all relate.
They had to close Westminster Station for a whole day in October 2006 to film these scenes – they chose a Sunday as it’s relatively quiet at the weekends.
Even so, it’s something that has never been done before as thousands and thousands of people use the station even on a quiet day. If you ever needed proof of how important the Harry Potter films became, this is it.
Watch the Scene: Harry & Mr Weasley go to the Ministry
→→ →→ 9 minute walk from Westminster Station to Lambeth Bridge.
From Westminster Station, cross the road to walk towards the Houses of Parliament on Parliament Square. Continue along Abingdon Street and Millbank to reach your final destination, Lambeth Bridge.
Stop Sixteen – Lambeth Bridge
Address: Lambeth Bridge, London SE1 7SG
I’m guessing that by this point, you are going to be pretty tired.
It’s been a lot of walking (and of magic) for one day but there’s one last stop for you to take a look at before we hop on our broomsticks and fly home.
It’s only a ten minute walk from Westminster Station to Lambeth Bridge where you can relive the antics of the Knight Bus.
Cast your minds back to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry storms out from the Dursleys only to be rescued by the totally fabulous Knight Bus.
Careering through the streets of central London at what is, quite frankly, a rather irresponsible speed, the Knight Bus hurtles around, narrowly avoiding mowing down old ladies and causing destruction.
With me now?
Then you’ll certainly remember the excitement when the bus has to squeeze between two muggle London buses on a bridge. Lambeth Bridge is that bridge.
While you won’t see any optical illusions here, it’s a cool little spot to add to your tour of Harry Potter filming locations in London, if only for the beaut views of the river Thames, Parliament and beyond.
Watch the Scene: The Knight Bus Ride to the Leaky Cauldron
And with that, it’s a simple matter of saying Mischief Managed, putting away your Marauder’s Map (OK, the Google Map on your phone if we’re being realistic) and giving yourself a huge pat on the back.
Thank you for joining this London x London Harry Potter Audio Tour and I hope you have an absolutely brilliant time discovering all the places featured on this tour.
Eat, Drink & Visit on the Harry Potter Walking Tour
- Borough Market makes the perfect lunch stop as it’s right next to Stoney Street. As one of London’s best-known food markets, you’ll have plenty of choice.
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – A cute old-school Sam Smiths pub on Fleet Street.
- This tour takes you to Tower Bridge and past St Paul’s (which contains another filming location but you have to pay for a tour to access it) – if you have the time, they’re worth visiting in themselves.
Love Harry Potter? These Should Also Be On Your Radar
I didn’t cover these spots as part of the tour, but you should have them on your radar if you want to discover even more Harry Potter locations in London.
Warner Brothers Studio Tour
The Harry Potter Studio Tour at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden was where a lot of the magic behind making the films happened.
Seeing the sets and props IRL, walking along Diagon Alley, popping into all the rooms in Hogwarts – it’s brilliant.
I know that tickets are quite expensive and you have to book ages ahead but it’s absolutely worth it.
London Zoo’s Reptile House
Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, you could speak Parseltongue?
Well, there’s no better place to test out that theory than in the Reptile House at ZSL London Zoo… otherwise known as the location where Harry first speaks parseltongue and sets a snake free.
As you do.
The Cauldron – The Harry Potter Cocktail Bar in London
Sorry kids but if you’re under 18, time to skip ahead because The Cauldron is strictly one for the adults.
What if I told you that there was a Harry Potter-inspired cocktail bar in London where you can make your own (drinkable and boozy) potions. You would think that was pretty awesome wouldn’t you?
Good. Because that’s exactly what I am telling you.
The Cauldron is a cool pop up in Stoke Newington where you can don your robes, pick up your wand and spend a few hours cooking up a few real-life brews.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – The Harry Potter Theatre in London
I have to be honest here. I haven’t actually been to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet.
It makes me endlessly sad inside and believe me, seeing the play (which is actually split into two parts) is high up on the list of awesome things I need to do like, yesterday.
Everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s awesome.
In the meantime, you can book your Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets here.
Cutter and Sqidge – The Harry Potter Afternoon Tea in London
It should be clear by now that there are a lot of Harry Potter-inspired experiences in London. But few are going to appeal to your stomach as much as the rather delicious Harry Potter afternoon tea at Cutter and Squidge. London does a jolly good afternoon tea at the best of times but when you add in a few drinkable and edible potions, it gets so much better.
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – The Harry Potter Escape Room in London
Escape Rooms can be totally brilliant or pretty naff. We can all guess which category a Harry Potter escape room falls into right?
So what does it involve? You and your team of fellow witch and wizard wannabes are locked in a room, your task? To solve a series of Harry Potter-themed enigmas to defeat the dark side and win your freedom. Simples.
I hope it’s clear by now that there’s so much magic in London – it’s just a matter of finding it. Here are a couple of practical tips to help you along the way.
- Wear comfortable shoes to go and do the London Harry Potter walking tour and allow yourself all day to do it, it’s a biggie!
- If you don’t live in London, Georgian House has created a series of Harry Potter themed rooms where you can stay. Check prices and availability.
Looking for More Harry Potter London Guides?
Check these out…
Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour
Harry Potter Filming Locations
Unusual Things to do in London
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