Stay home. Shelter in place. Lockdown. These are words we might think describe a situation when Death Eaters are on the march – not our normal muggle lives! Yet as we face a massive public health crisis around the world, everyone has to do their part to help stop the dark forces of Coronavirus. To that end, we can’t hop on a plane or grab a Portkey to explore the magical world – we need to keep ourselves home and try virtual Harry Potter experiences instead.
While we can’t all do social distancing like in the picture above – that’s a ‘forced perspective’ photo from several feet apart at the Harry Potter studio tour – I’ve pulled together this list of the best virtual Harry Potter experiences I can think of.
If you have tried these virtual Harry Potter experiences or others, I’d love to hear your feedback and let me know what you think in the comments!
This post was originally published in April 2020, and was updated in January 2021.
1. Take a Virtual Harry Potter Walking Tour
While we can’t physically travel anywhere right now, that’s no excuse to ‘stay’ at home – there are virtual walking tours! I recently learned about two amazing virtual walking tours of Harry Potter film locations in London and Edinburgh. And these aren’t any ol’ pre-recorded ‘virtual’ tours – they’re interactive and limited to 20 guests, just like a real walking tour would be. Oh, and they’re only £5 each, so you can totally afford to do both!
- The Interactive Virtual Harry Potter Tour in London
- The Interactive Virtual Harry Potter Tour in Edinburgh
In the past few months since I first wrote this post, a number of other great virtual Harry Potter tours have popped up:
- Harry Potter’s London Virtual Tour (Airbnb Experiences)
- Harry Potter Magic in Edinburgh Tour (Airbnb Experiences)
- Magic of Film Themed Virtual Tour of London (Viator)
I highly recommend the “Harry Potter’s London Virtual Tour;” I actually took the (in-person) Harry Potter walking tour offered by the same Airbnb Experiences host!
2. Escape the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room
Relashio! This Hogwarts Digital ‘Escape’ Room, created by Sydney Krawiec, a librarian from Peters Township Public Library in Pennsylvania, has taken the muggle internet by storm. In some incredible way – maybe magic! – Krawiec has managed to create a compelling digital version of the popular ‘Escape Room’ activity so many people have become obsessed with in the last few years… and best of all, you can do it at home with the whole family!
Here’s where you can start the Hogwarts Digital Escape Room.
3. Take a Virtual Tour of the Wizarding World
Inspired by some incredible YouTube videos of parts of the two Wizarding Worlds in Orlando and Hollywood, I put together two whole blog posts that take you step-by-step into the magical world:
- How to Take a Virtual Trip to the Wizarding World in Orlando
- How to Take a 360º Tour of the Wizarding World in Hollywood
In both posts, you’ll find incredible photos and videos that help you experience the wonder of the Wizarding World from home – plus a short playlist of the exact Harry Potter songs that they play at the parks. It’ll really help you feel like you’re there!
4. Compete in a Virtual Harry Potter Race
Need to keep your body moving to stay sane in ‘lockdown?’ Virtual races are all the rage right now. (If you’re not familiar, a virtual running race is one where everyone signs up for the race, runs the distance of the race in their own location, and receives credit, medals, and shirts just like race happened in one place.)
Potterhead Running Club has regular virtual Harry Potter races. If you sign up and complete the race before the deadline, you’ll receive a cool race medal featuring different aspects of the Wizarding world.
5. Play Harry Potter Board Games
If you have space at home to set up the whole ‘House’ around a table and play a few games, now’s as good a time as any. Luckily there are also some really fun Harry Potter board and card games to play. Here they are, in order of popularity on Amazon:
- Hogwarts Battle
- Clue, the Harry Potter version (‘Cluedo’ if you want to be British like Harry and the gang…)
- Trivial Pursuit, the Harry Potter version
- Harry Potter Labyrinth
- Harry Potter Magical Beasts
6. Build the Magical World with Harry Potter Legos
If you want something to do for more than one day, why not build your own magical world? Lego is the way to go – and they have Harry Potter Lego sets for almost every part of the world you might want to build. Here are the ones I’m dreaming of building someday:
Okay, maybe I want them all! Don’t be surprised if you do too…
7. Play Digital Harry Potter Games
If you can’t unglue yourself from your screens right now, I feel you. That’s where digital games – video games and apps – are a good way to get your fix of the magical world.
EA has official Harry Potter games for each movie – seven games in total, as they skipped Chamber of Secrets for some reason. However they also have a Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup game that offers a totally different spin. There are also two Harry Potter apps which have taken the muggle world by storm: Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery and Harry Potter Wizards Unite. While Wizards Unite when you can’t spend a ton of time outside and exploring, you can potentially get started on it anyway.
8. Learn with ‘Harry Potter at Home’
If you’re a parent and stumbled across this post hoping to entertain your HP-obsessed kids, hopefully you already know about this one. As part of the effort to help educate children who can’t go to school during lockdown, the Wizarding World launched Harry Potter at Home.
The curriculum (which is actually interesting for all ages if you’re a big enough fan) includes arts and crafts, quizzes, puzzles, and more to keep kids occupied and either hook or reengage them with the magical world. It’s a great initiative to try and stupefy spare time and banish boredom – depulso!
9. Get Lost in the Wizarding World Website
Formerly called Pottermore, the Wizarding World digital site is a seriously delightful rabbit-hole of Harry Potter content beyond the ‘Harry Potter at Home’ content I mentioned above.
On the Wizarding World site, you can get sorted into a Hogwarts House (it told me I’m a Gryffindor when I know I’m a Slytherin, so take it with a grain of salt!), plus take quizzes that will tell you your wand (it says mine is “Cedar wood with a phoenix feather core, 10 ¾” and reasonably supple flexibility,” but my wand is actually Hazel wood…) and your Patronus (I got Hummingbird, which is actually 110% accurate!).
They also have tons of other interesting HP content including news and features; honestly, you can spend hours on the site easily, and they’re always adding new sections. I just got distracted while writing this and pulling links to share…
10. Let Google Guide You to the Wizarding World
While poking around for things to do one day (it’s been a looooooong lockdown!), I discovered that Google has some incredible Harry Potter resources.
- You can create your own DIY virtual tour of the Harry Potter Studio Tour using Google Maps Street View. Start here and use the little man icon (lower right corner) to drop yourself into the buildings and explore.
- Google Earth has a collection of locations you can virtually visit, including the Edinburgh cafe where JK Rowling first wrote the books, the real-life Diagon Alley, and Platform 9¾.
- Last – but certainly not least – Google Arts & Culture has a great page that allows you to virtually experience the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit currently on display at the British Library. There are articles and videos all about the Wizarding world, its characters, and its magic. There are also resources about the inspiration and history of magic itself that inspired the books. (Since nobody is able to visit this exhibit in person, we hope they extend the dates until after lockdown and can make an in-person visit too!)
These will give you something else to do on the internet than doomscrolling social media!
Do you have other virtual Harry Potter Experiences to share? Let me know in the comments!