It’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter movie hit our screens. Can you believe it? But it seems the Harry Potter world has not lost its magic. Who doesn’t secretly dream of dining in the Great Hall, walking the endless moving corridors of Hogwarts or popping down to Hogsmeade for a butter beer and some sweets. Whilst large parts of the films were filmed in the studio, there are quite a few Harry Potter locations dotted around London. And you know the best? You could go and do a self-guided tour of the best Harry Potter locations in London… completely for free.
Intrigued? Well, let’s get started then. I would advise you dress like a muggle. And no need for flea powder or your Nimbus 2000. We will rely on our good old feet for this Harry Potter locations in London tour (although whizzing across London on a broom sounds fun).
Harry Potter locations in London: Part 1
We will start our self-guided walking tour of Harry Potter locations not just anywhere in London. We will start at King’s Cross and St. Pancras.
A large travel hub in London, this hopefully should be a convenient starting point for our Harry Potter locations in London tour, regardless of where you are staying in and around London.
King’s Cross Station
Visit King’s Cross station for platform 9 ¾. Although nowadays this unfortunately has become very commercialised, and you might have to queue for a while before having your picture taken (and then paying through the nose for said picture).
Back in the days (before the big King’s Cross extension was built), the shopping trolley was ‘stuck’ in a wall near the actual platforms 9 and 10 and you could just go there, take a couple of photos and get on with your day.
Next to the photo opp, you will also find a Harry Potter fan shop. Although not an actual Harry Potter filming location in London, you might want to pop in for a quick browse, before we continue.
The actual scenes of accessing platform 9 ¾ were indeed filmed in Kings Cross station. But not on the platform between 9 and 10, but on platforms 4 and 5. Unfortunately, you can’t access the platforms, unless you have a train ticket. So, let’s move on instead.
St Pancras Station
Right next door to Kings Cross station, we have the next Harry Potter location in London. St Pancras was used as the exterior shots of Kings Cross station in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You know that scene when Harry and Ron couldn’t enter platform 9 ¾ and decided to ‘borrow’ Mr Weasley’s modified car to fly to Hogwarts. I must say, the exterior of St Pancras station is definitely more impressive than the Kings Cross one (although that has improved greatly since the horrible canopy in front was demolished a while back).
23-29 Claremont Square
Not far from King’s Cross station, you will find Claremont Square. The area featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and Sirius Black’s old home. And good news. You don’t need a magic wand to see it. Nowadays, this Harry Potter location in London is on full display even for us normal muggles.
Our next stop is not an actual Harry Potter filming location in London, but we will include it in our tour there regardless.
Cecil Court Covent Garden
Cecil Court is said to be the inspiration behind Diagon Alley. Whether or not that is true, we don’t know. There is another potential contender, not far from Cecil Court. Goodwin’s court (off St. Martin’s Lane) certainly also gives a certain Diagon Alley vibe. Or might that be Knockturn Alley?
Either way, neither of them are actual Harry Potter locations, so let’s continue.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, HP, Ron and Hermione nearly get run over by a bus on Piccadilly Circus before heading up Shaftesbury Avenue.
So, whilst it is easy to include this location in our Harry Potter walking tour, try your best not to repeat their mistake and look out for busses and cars. Piccadilly Circus is a very busy junction.
Scotland Place / Great Scotland Yard
Head down past Trafalgar’s Square and towards the Houses of Parliament. Half way down Whitehall, we will find our next Harry Potter filming location in London. On Scotland Place, you will find the entrance to the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6). When you visit, look out for the covered bridge spanning across the road. However, the actual phone box was a prop for the film, so unfortunately you won’t be able to go down to the Ministry of Magic (or take a photo of you trying).
Continue down Whitehall and head towards Westminster Bridge. Our next Harry Potter filming location in London is right in front of you. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr. Weasley travel through Westminster station, and we can see Mr. Weasley struggle with the Oyster card system.
Harry Potter locations in London: Part 2
Australia House Aldwych
The inside of Australia House on Strand was the filming location for Gringotts Bank in several of the Harry Potter movies, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Unfortunately, the Australian Embassy is not open to the public, so you won’t be able to see the interior in real life, unless you have an appointment.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s can be seen in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, but only in the background as the Millennium Bridge gets destroyed. However, the geometric stairs within St Pauls were actually used as a Harry Potter filming location. As the stairs up to the Divination Tower at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Just a few steps from St. Paul’s is our next Harry Potter filming location in London.
In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the Millennium Bridge gets destroyed by death eaters and falls into the Thames.
Fun fact: Whilst the movie is set in the year 1996, the Millennium Bridge wasn’t actually built until 1998.
This picturesque market hall was the filming location for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Whilst you walk around, you might recognise the façade of the optician’s shop in Bulls Head passage. It was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, that Harry and Hagrid enter to access Diagon Alley via its back yard.
Actually, later on in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Leaky Cauldron (and therefore the entrance to Diagon Alley) was filmed in another London location. The flower shop on Borough Market.
More Harry Potter locations in London
There are more Harry Potter locations in London that didn’t make it into our walking tour. As they are a little out of the way. Or because they require more time / cost money. But if you are in London for longer, maybe you do want to check those out as well.
Harry Potter and his aunt, uncle and cousin visit London Zoo for Dudley’s birthday in the first movie. In the reptile house, Harry talks to a python and accidentally sets it free.
in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry takes the Knight Bus. The scene where the triple decker squeezes through two London busses was filmed on Lambeth Bridge.
The Warner Bros Studios outside London
Confession. I still haven’t visited the stadios myself. But everyone that has gone, was absolutely smitten. So as a Harry Potter fan visiting London, this should probably be on your itinerary. But allow a full day for it and make sure you budget it into your London trip, as it doesn’t come cheap.
Tell me, have I forgotten a Harry Potter filming location in London that needs to be added to this list?