Still waiting on your Hogwarts letter of acceptance? Me too! I’m about… 20 or so years overdue, so I’ve decided to enter the Wizarding World in other ways whenever I can. To that end, I love seeking out Harry Potter things to do in London each time I visit my favorite city, and I’ve put together this Harry Potter bucket list in case you want to do the same!
Whether you’re visiting London for just a day as part of a European city tour or want to plan a larger Harry Potter tour across the U.K., this list of Harry Potter experiences will ease the sting of rejection from the owl never arriving with your letter. Read on for the 15 best Harry Potter things to do in London!
1. Visit Platform 9¾
There’s no better place to start ticking off your Harry Potter bucket list than at the place where a journey to Hogwarts begins: Platform 9¾!
As the popularity of Harry Potter grew, the team at King’s Cross worked with Warner Brothers and JK Rowling to create an experience for fans that were going to come an see the famous site anyway. To solve this, they installed a luggage trolly partway into the wall and added props for effect.
Back during my earliest trips to London, you could just walk up to the trolly and take a picture. Today, you’ll need to queue up and don a scarf in your house colors. Then you can take a picture leaping into the air with joy! Or, if you’d prefer to do it your own way, show up late at night and you’ll miss the lines and cheesy poses.
2. Get All Your Souvenirs at King’s Cross
Right next to Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross station, you’ll find the ultimate Harry Potter souvenir opportunity: the Platform 9¾ shop. It’s small and usually packed – a bit like the shops on Diagon Alley must be! – but you can get anything from British copies of the books to scarves and bags to rep your Hogwarts house school.
3. Go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour
It’s a 90-minute journey from Central London to the studio in Leavesden (including the Tube, a regional train, and a bus…) but well worth it for the chance to see Harry Potter sound stages and props with your own eyes.
Some of the highlights include the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office, the Potions classroom, the Hogwarts Express, and so much more! You can also enjoy a glass of Butterbeer on the backlot where there are some other incredible props and scenes.
I’ve got a whole guide for how to enjoy the Harry Potter studio tour if you’re planning this one during your trip to London. Be sure to book your tickets well in advance as it’s almost impossible to get last minute tickets.
4. Stay in Wizards Chambers
These beautiful rooms are designed to remind you of Harry and Ron’s Gryffindor dorm room , or maybe one of the other houses if you fancy that more. There are also Enchanted Chambers if you’re looking for a smaller, more budget friendly option. Either way, you’ll have a magical night of sleep and tick off another Harry Potter bucket list experience in the process. It might be the world’s best cure for jet lag…
5. Go on a Harry Potter Walking Tour
To be honest, there are loads of Harry Potter walking tours in London – in fact, I did one on my first trip to London in 2011 (and again on my most recent one earlier this year). They vary in price, quality, length, and difficulty – so it’s important to research and read reviews to find one that’s going to chat about aspects of the Wizarding World that interest you , such as filming locations or spots that inspired the books.
Here are some of the popular tours to choose from:
- There are two Harry Potter walking tours offered by London Walks: Harry Potter Film Locations in the City and Harry Potter on Location in London Town
- Tour for Muggles is one of the top tours because they focus specifically on Harry Potter and only offer one tour. They’re pretty much experts!
- On our most recent trip, Mr. V and I booked an Airbnb Experience to Explore Harry Potter’s London. Our guide, Mark, was by far the most enthusiastic walking tour guide I’ve ever had, and showed off sights and filming locations I had never seen before.
6. Sip Magical Concoctions at a Harry Potter Themed Tea
On my most recent trip to London, a friend and I splurged on a Wizarding World themed tea at Cutter & Squidge. This Soho bakery and tea shop does regular afternoon tea, but if you reserve in advance and then head downstairs at the appointed time you’ll be in for a real treat in their Potion Room.
A not-exactly-Hogwarts-educated potions master will guide you through mixing several magical concoctions, and then you’ll enjoy sandwiches, sweets, and tea like the Elixir of Life or Unicorn Tears. You’ll have the chance for plenty of photos in the fantastic potions classroom.
Bonus! I just learned that The Georgian House Hotel now offers a magical afternoon tea experience too – you can see all the details here.
7. Master Potion Making with a Harry Potter Themed Cocktail Class
Inspired by the Wizarding World, The Cauldron made every Harry Potter fan excited when they opened in 2017. Since then they’ve gone through several iterations and are now on their third version. The nearly two-hour experience includes a welcoming drink and the chance to make two adults-only potions of your own.
Tickets are from £29.99 per person and you can choose to mix potions in the Castle (Ground-Level – think the Great Hall) or the Dungeon (Lower Ground – think Snape’s classroom).
8. Explore Secret Passageways at a Harry Potter Themed Speakeasy
The same folks who created The Cauldron have recently opened a new bar: a secret speakeasy called The Blind Phoenix. It’s even more loosely inspired by Harry Potter, but a fun alternative if you can’t get tickets to The Cauldron when visiting London. It’s a real speakeasy though – you’ll need to sign up online for the entry code or make reservations.
9. Pass Your OWLs at a Harry Potter Pub Quiz
Think you know all the Harry Potter trivia? Put your knowledge to the test at a Harry Potter pub quiz (aka trivia night for us Americans). Wizardry Quiz is the ultimate test of all things Harry Potter for muggles – and they offer two different levels for those who’ve already passed their OWLs.
You definitely need tickets in advance, and the Wizardry Quiz Facebook page is the best way to stay up on when the next one is happening and how to get tickets.
10. Ace Your NEWTs at a Harry Potter Themed Escape Room
Need something a bit more interactive than pub quiz? The School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Escape Room from Enigma Quests is the ultimate challenge. You’ll need a minimum of three people and an hour to spend trying to master spells and puzzles – “most wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic!” – to escape this elaborately designed and immersive experience.
11. Watch Harry Potter & the Cursed Child on Stage
Can’t get enough HP between re-reading the books and the new Fantastic Beasts movies (say about them what you will…)? Try and book tickets for the two-part Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. It is showing on stage in London at the Palace Theatre, and tickets start from £15 per person per part. Be sure to book in advance as it’s still wildly popular even after being on stage for over three years!
12. Visit Harry Potter Filming Locations On Your Own
While you’re exploring the rest of London, you might find yourself right in some of the Harry Potter filming locations without even needing a guide! here are some of the best ones to visit if you have a chance:
- London Zoo – You might remember Harry’s auspicious visit to the Reptile House in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. If you visit the London Zoo, you can go right into that part of the zoo – just don’t be too surprised if the boa constrictors don’t talk to you. (Do you even speak Parseltongue?)
- Millennium Bridge – This iconic pedestrian bridge connects two of London’s famous sights: St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern art museum. It was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the beginning when the bridge collapses.
- Scotland Yard – The area surrounding Scotland Yard might not seem too impressive, but it was featured heavily in several of the movies – including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. See if you can spot where! (Or take the Airbnb experience I did and you’ll see those spots with your guide.)
13. Binge on a Harry Potter Movie Marathon
Need a refresher on the Harry Potter movies? You may be able to watch a Harry Potter movie marathon while you’re in London. Yes, that means watching all eight movies just steps from where each movie premiered! My absolute favorite movie theater in London, the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square, is notorious for awesome movie marathons. Talk about the ultimate Harry Potter bucket list experience…
Lucky for us, they also do Harry Potter movie marathons a few times a year too! Be warned: the marathon clocks in at over 500 minutes of screen time, so it’s quite a commitment!
14. Admire Original Harry Potter Graphic Art
While you might not recognize the House of MinaLima by name, you undoubtedly will recognize their work. Artists Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima worked on the graphic design for the Harry Potter films, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, and now for their own design shop on Greek Street in Soho. You can buy astounding and 100% authentic prints made to look exactly like the props from the movies themselves.
Even if you’re not ready to splurge on a collectable, stop into their shop to admire their craft and artwork. It’s like a small but delightful museum.
15. Splurge in the Harry Potter Department at Hamleys
Hamleys is known as one of the best toy stores in London, and for good reason! Any toy you want, for any kid of any age – adults included! – you can find it at Hamleys!
Perhaps unsurprisingly given Pottermania and how many other awesome Harry Potter things to do there are in London, Hamleys have a whole department of Harry Potter toys, books, clothing, and memorabilia. Whether you plan to buy something for a beloved child, niece or nephew, or for yourself (no judgment!), give yourself time here as you’ll want to browse it all!
Are these Harry Potter things to do not enough magic for you? Let me know of any other Harry Potter bucket list experiences you love in the comments!