Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your ordinary life as a muggle, a resurgence of Pottermania has come to London. With the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the ever-growing popularity of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the city seems more magical than ever and, although Newt’s story takes place across the sea and Albus Potter’s several years in the future, there’s plenty of the wizarding world to be found in London right now…
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Admittedly experiencing this now might be a bit difficult, since it’s officially sold out until January 2018 with late-release premium tickets setting you back £199, but if you can grab yourself a last minute ticket or win the weekly ‘Friday Forty’ lottery then there’s no better way to dive into Harry’s world. Billed as the eighth story, twenty years later, the play brings back some of the best known characters in modern literary canon and takes you on their latest adventure – and the stage magic will have you convinced that maybe wizards are real…
Image credit: Counse on Flickr
The House of MinaLima
Responsible for a large amount of the graphic art (think posters, books, letters) in both the Harry Potter films and in Fantastic Beasts the House of MinaLima offers a glimpse of the wizarding world as seen on the screen. With both an exhibition of some of the original props, and a shop where you can own your own Hogwarts acceptance letter (no more waiting for that delayed owl!), this is a free, unticketed experience that’s just round the corner from Cursed Child’s home at the Palace Theatre, and every bit as magical.
The Warner Brothers Studio Tour
A little further afield lies the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, but you can get a coach (sadly not Knight Bus themed) straight there from Central London or take a train from Kings Cross. The self-guided tour takes you through sets like the Great Hall or Platform 9 ¾, and is full of props, costumes and information on how the films were made. You can even fly a broomstick and perfect your spell casting with green screen technology, or try a Butterbeer. The winter season sees the tour don a festive overlay so if you want to see the Great Hall decorated for Christmas or the castle model in the snow then it’s definitely not an experience to be missed.
Image credit: DH on Flickr
Sights from the films
One of the great things about the Potter films being set in England is that many of the locations are right here in London. A trip to Kings Cross station gives you the opportunity to have your photo taken with a trolley halfway through the wall to Platform 9 3/4, a walk across Millennium Bridge will be haunted with the memories of its destruction by Deatheaters, even Piccadilly Circus was the site of the escape Harry, Ron and Hermione made when the Burrow was attacked. You can explore these locations yourself or take a walking tour such as Tour for Muggles if you want more information on the filming of the movies as you go, but either way no location will feel the same after you realise its magical connection.