KidTripster Teen: 10 Attractions in London for Harry Potter fans
Many Potterheads like me still can’t get enough of the enchanted world of Harry Potter. Fortunately for us, London is a Potter fan’s wonderland. These 10 attractions can add even more magic to any HP devotee’s London vacation.
Pause for a moment at Platform 9 ¾ to get your picture taken as you race to catch the Hogwarts Express… well, sort of. While Platform 9 ¾ is a fictitious track (platforms 4 and 5 were used for filming purposes), there’s a tribute to this magical spot inside King’s Cross Station that provides a perfect photo opportunity. It’s a luggage trolley jutting from the station wall and, for a moment, it transports you on the imaginary trip that you’ve dreamed of. You can don any house colors (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin are all available) while the “conductor” instructs you on how to jump and make it appear as if you’re speeding through the wall on your way to Hogwarts! Cost: Free.
KidTripster Tip: This photo op is extremely popular and usually has long lines. Early morning is the best time to go to beat the crowds.
Photo courtesy: King’s Cross Station
2/Take a Tour for Muggles
Duke St. Hill (near London Bridge Tube Station), Southwark
There are countless Harry Potter tours in London. Some involve walking, while others are given in buses or London taxis. In my opinion, they all fall a bit flat when trying to live up to the spellbinding world of wizards. What they all seem to be missing is the magic.
The one exception is the Tour for Muggles. Operated as “a Ministry of Magic initiative,” this walking excursion is intended to school muggles and is conducted by “real” wizards. Mystical guides tell stories inspired by their hero, Harry Potter, and impart their vast wisdom about the rich history and tradition of wizardry. Every detail on the tour is carefully aimed at creating a magical atmosphere for mere mortals. It’s honestly the best wizard education that a muggle receive without having to sit through a history of magic lecture from Professor Binns. Cost: Youth (under 12) about $18; Adult about $20, depending on the exchange rate.
Photo courtesy: Tour for Muggles
3/Sleepover in the Wizard Chambers at the Georgian House
35-39 St. George’s Dr., Pimlico
When I first read about the dorms at Hogwarts, all I wanted was a chance to spend a night there. While Hogwarts isn’t currently accepting applications, Georgian House Hotel can provide the next best thing.
Hidden behind a hotel bookcase, there’s a portrait-lined hallway that leads to the wizard chambers. The only way to enter is with a skeleton key adorned with a steel owl dangling from the end. The interiors of the rooms are just as you’d imagine wizards’ sleeping quarters to be, complete with stained-glass windows, antique tapestries, vintage rotary phones, and four-poster beds. Staying here may be a bit more expensive than the average London hotel, but how many people can boast that they’ve spent the night in a wizard’s chamber? Cost: starts at $340/night; breakfast included.
For more of KidTripster’s favorite places to stay in London, click here.
Photo courtesy: Georgian House
4. See Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theater
113 Shaftesbury Ave., Soho
Harry’s amazing adventures continue on the London stage! The Palace Theater has been completely transformed for the Tony award-winning play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This story picks up 19 years after the events that took place in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You’ll marvel as the show immerses you in a world of dramatic duels and spectacular spells. This play is unique in that it’s presented in two parts, having theater goers return for a second performance, either the same day or next day. It’s kind of like the ultimate sequel! Cost: about $40-$360/ticket.
These tickets are harder to come by than phoenix feathers. Luckily, there’s still hope with what they call “The Friday Forty.” Every week, 40 tickets for every performance the following week are released on TodayTix for some of the very best seats for about $50. To get a hold of these tickets, you have to enter a lottery on Friday and maybe use some Felix Felicis.
Photo courtesy: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
5/Admire artwork from Harry Potter films at House of MinaLima
26 Greek St., Soho
If you adore the graphic art from the Harry Potter films, this unusual gallery is the place to go. What started as a pop-up shop has been converted to a permanent fixture in this quirky Soho neighborhood. Named for the genius minds that created all the props for the Harry Potter films, House of MinaLima has packed four floors full of extraordinary designs and filled every corner with Potter magic. All the displays are absolutely incredible, and there’s even a shop where you can buy reproductions of many of the prints as well as other cool gifts like stationery and badges. Cost: Free.
Photo courtesy: House of MinaLima
6/Grab some goodies at Hardys Original Sweetshop
Though this candy store can’t compare to Honeydukes, it might be a close second. The Hardys Original Sweetshop shelves hold almost every type of candy conceivable including a wide array of wonderful wizarding treats. Some of its stock includes: chocolate frogs, licorice wands, sherbet lemons, and everyone’s favorite, Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans. Hardys even bundled a bunch of Harry Potter goodies packed in a special souvenir bag for around $12. It’s a magical memento that’s sure to disappear quickly! Cost: Free to enter, but you exit without purchasing something, you have more willpower than me.
Photo courtesy: Hardys Original Sweetshop
7/Buy Potter paraphernalia at Hamley’s Toy Store
188-196 Regent St., Mayfair
No, you won’t find a dungeon in the basement of this famous London toy store. What you will find is a fantastic Harry Potter emporium that’s bursting with a bounty of every Potter product imaginable - from wands to snitches and everything in between. You’ll also find dazzling toy demonstrations, fab photo ops, and even LEGO likenesses of Harry and Hagrid. There’s so much to look at that you’ll lose all track of time. I found it hard to leave without first taking a gazillion pictures and of course, purchasing a trinket or two! Cost: Free to look.
Photo courtesy: Hamley’s Toy Store
8/Wield your wizardly wisdom at a Potter-inspired escape room
2-12 Wilson St., Finsbury
Think you’ve got what it takes to become a wizard? This is your chance to prove it! At Enigma Quests, teams can enlist in a magical mission, but it won’t be easy. Amidst mind-mangling exams and tedious trials, players will have to put their brains to the test to graduate from Hogwarts, all in under 60 minutes! Cost: about $109/teams of three, depending on the exchange rate.
Photo courtesy: Enigma Quests
9/Enjoy wizard-themed afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge
20 Brewer St., Soho
While not officially endorsed or related to Harry Potter in any way, fans of the series will love this afternoon tea experience at Cutter & Squidge. You’re whisked beneath this SoHo Bakery to a classroom where - under the guidance of an expert potions master - you conjure up concoctions of your own and the dine on the marvelous magical munchies. It’s an experience too spellbinding to miss. Cost: Youth (8-12) about $48; Adult about $60, depending on the exchange rate.
KidTripster Tip: Of course, an experience this entrancing is bound to be quite popular, so I recommend reserving your spot well in advance.
KidTripster Tip: The recommended age is 8 and up, and since alcohol is served here, all wizards under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Check out our KidTripster Teen’s other favorite places for afternoon tea in London. Click here.
Photo courtesy: Cutter & Squidge
10/Peruse paintings at the National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin’s Place, Charing Cross
This suggestion may seem like it’s on the wrong list, but I feel it’s worth mentioning for the most die-hard Harry Potter fans. The National Portrait Gallery makes the list because it houses a painting of Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliff. The gallery only exhibits portraits of the UK’s most celebrated citizens like British royalty and historically important figures, so having one’s likeness displayed among them is considered quite an honor. Radcliffe is, in fact, the youngest non-royal to ever have his portrait hung here. What an accomplishment! The best part about this place? There’s no admission fee, which makes this attraction even more attractive! Cost: Free.
KidTripster Tip: Since it’s only a few blocks from the National Portrait Gallery, Potterheads may want to pass by the Odeon Luxe Cinema. It’s the largest single-screen movie theater in the UK. It has almost 1700 seats on three different levels. The cinema has hosted the world premiere of every Harry Potter film, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on November 4, 2001.
Laine Messier is a world-traveling, homeschooled high schooler. Her life did a total 180 when her dad took a job in Abu Dhabi. Now she splits her time between the USA and UAE, finding fantastic things to do in both places and everywhere in between. Outside of being an avid adventurer, she also loves mystery novels, superheroes, and gluten-free pizza.