All Aboard! If you want to ride the Hogwarts Express – even if it’s just in your imagination – you’re going to have to pass through the magical gateway at Platform 9¾! But how and where can you visit Platform 9¾? Turns out you’ve got choices!
I’ve been lucky to visit all three of the “Platform 9¾” locations around the world where muggles can take non-moving photos. I have visited the one in London many times; I’ve snapped pics at the Harry Potter studio tour as recently as 2019; and I’ve last tried the different but equally magical Platform 9¾ in Orlando in 2019.
If you want to get the pic every Harry Potter fan needs in their album or social media feed, here’s the ultimate guide to visiting Platform 9¾.
3 Places to Visit Platform 9¾ Around the World
You might think: wait – isn’t there only one true Platform 9¾? How can there be more than one?!
And yes, you’re right: there is only one true Platform 9¾ as written by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books – and that’s the first one on my list. But there are two other places where us muggles can line up to snap pics at Platform 9¾ “wannabes.” Lemme break it down for you, and then read on for tips about visiting these locations.
1. King’s Cross Station, London
The one platform to rule them all… Wait! Wrong universe! ? Obviously every Harry Potter fan knows that Platform 9¾ is at King’s Cross Station in London, and this is a ‘mecca’ for many visitors. It naturally tops my Harry Potter Bucket List for London, too.
At King’s Cross Station, Platform 9¾ is not actually between Platforms 9 and 10, which are real working train platforms. That would be a dangerous security nightmare, which you already know if you’ve ever actually tried to take a train from King’s Cross!
Instead, Platform 9¾ is located in the northwest part of the main atrium in King’s Cross. It’s hard to miss – there’s almost always a line, and the official Harry Potter Platform 9¾ shop is here too. You can queue up to snap a photo with a luggage trolley; during the day it’s usually stacked with luggage and even an owl cage.
You can reach King’s Cross on foot, by car, on the Tube, and by train – there’s a reason J.K. chose this London train station to base the Hogwarts Express route, since it’s easily accessible!
2. The Harry Potter Studio Tour, Leavesden
If you’re already in the U.K., don’t miss out on visiting The Making of Harry Potter studio tour in Leavesden, England. This is a massive HP experience at the Warner Bros. Studios and includes the chance to see real sets, props, costumes, and more.
One of those ‘more’ experiences is a replica of Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross, including a full-size Hogwarts Express! Opposite the train, there are several photo spots with Platform 9¾ signs and trollies. The nice thing about this Platform 9¾ location is that there are three spots to take photos, which means there’s often far shorter lines for that perfect photo than at King’s Cross.
3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando
You already know that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando is one of the best Harry Potter experiences in the world – and you know that the Park-to-Park Ticket is worth it. That’s in part because you’ll get to pass through Platform 9¾ to board the Hogwarts Express and ride between the two parts of the magical world (Diagon Alley & Hogsmeade).
The Platform 9¾ at Harry Potter World in Orlando is a little different than others, as you can see in my photos above. Instead of a wall, sign, and cart, friends or family can stand further back on the path and photograph you as you magically disappear into the platform. It’s a fun trick of light and muggle technology, and it provides a really unique photo!
What to Bring to Platform 9¾
As you plan your trip to visit Platform 9¾ in one (or all) of these locations, here’s what I recommend you bring on the day you go to get the best picture possible.
- A Good Camera! – As evidenced by the photos above, the quality of camera you bring will make a huuuuuge difference in how good your HP photos are. At the Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross, there are official, professional photographers onsite from 8am-10pm Monday to Saturday and 9am-9pm on Sundays; they can take a great photo but you’ll have to pay to get it. Friends or family can also snap a photo at any of the Platform 9¾ locations with your own camera or smartphone.
- Your Hogwarts/House Uniform – At the Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross, you can borrow a scarf in your House colors for a photo, but elsewhere you’ll need to bring your own HP gear if you want it in your picture!
- Magical Friends – As you can also see, I’ve been fortunate to visit the Platform 9¾s with some of my friends. While it’s fun to have a solo pic, you can also mix it up by copying Harry & Ron trying to get through the barrier together in Chamber of Secrets.
Note: In the photo above on the right, my friend and I are at a temporary Platform 9¾ location at King’s Cross back when they were building the current one.
Tips for Visiting Platform 9¾
1. Technically There are Other Platforms 9¾ too…
Anywhere you see the Hogwarts Express, it’s technically at Platform 9¾, so that means there are other locations too!
- There’s an outside Hogwarts Express at all three Wizarding Worlds in Orlando, Osaka, and Hollywood.
- There’s an interior Hogwarts Express in Orlando too.
- As I mentioned above, there’s also an interior Hogwarts Express at the studio tour in Leavesden.
So there are options for other photos, too – but if you want the famous photo with the sign and cart, I’ve already mentioned those above.
2. Be Prepared to Queue Up
Getting your photo taken at Platform 9¾ is one of the most popular Harry Potter experiences; it’s no surprise that everyone wants to do it! As such, you should always expect to have to wait to get that perfect shot. And remember to be courteous when it’s your turn to not take up too much time when others are also waiting.
If you want to skip the ‘queue,’ as the Brits say, you can purchase a VIP Photo Lanyard for £15. You’ll jump to the front of the line and receive 1 professional photo for free!
3. Arrive Early or Late
The best way to avoid having to wait in a line at Platform 9¾ is to arrive early or late to one of the locations. Obviously this is tricky at the Wizarding World in Orlando or even the Harry Potter studio tour.
At King’s Cross, arriving early in the morning or late at night is definitely the best way to not have to wait in line. However, the cart props (luggage and owl cage) won’t be there, nor will the Hogwarts House scarves for you to borrow – or the professional photographer. You’ll need to bring all your own stuff if taking advantage of this tip. (King’s Cross is open from about 5am to 1am every day.)
⚡️Pro-Tip: The best way to avoid crowds in general at the studio tour is to go in the evening! Read more tips in my guide.
4. Buy Your Photos on the Day You Visit
If you visit the Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross and choose to have your photo taken by the professional photographers, you’ll need to buy the photos that day if you want them. (This is due to privacy laws in Europe.)
One photograph costs £10, so that’s even more reason to pre-purchase the VIP Lanyard and jump the queue for an extra £5!
5. Don’t Forget to Visit the Shop at King’s Cross
If you’ve spent all that time planning to visit Platform 9¾, you might as well stock up on souvenirs, too! The Harry Potter Platform 9¾ Shop is right next to the Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross – you can’t miss it. Inside you’ll find books, Hogwarts and House gear, and tons more. There are other Harry Potter souvenir shops in London, but this one is the best!
Do you have other questions about visiting Platform 9¾? Let me know in the comments!