How to Get the Full Harry Potter Experience In London

As the first Harry Potter play hits the London stage, we take a look at venues across the city to be wowed by the wizard.

First came the books, then the films; now the world premiere of the play is here.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II," co-written by JK Rowling, is on stage at Palace Theatre from June 7.

J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"

The play is set 19 years after the last book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” Harry is now a husband, father of three and an overworked employee of Ministry of Magic—an organisation that preserves magical law. As his youngest son Albus wrestles with his inherited powers, Harry has issues of his own. His archenemy, the evil Voldemort, may have been conquered but Harry is still haunted by his past.

The show is directed by the Olivier and Tony Award–winner John Tiffany, best known for the West End’s musical show "Once". Details are under wraps, but with special effects by Jeremy Chernick—who’s worked on Cirque du Soleil’s "Wintuk" and "America’s Got Talent"—expect to be blown away.

Cast of Harry Potter play, London, UK

Unusually, the play is too long for a single show, so to see it all you need to buy tickets to both parts; watch them on the same day or two consecutive evenings. Alas, it’s fully booked until 2017, but call for potential return tickets.

Unlucky? You can still keep the story of Harry Potter alive, says JK Rowling. “No story lives unless someone wants to listen. So whether you come back by page or by big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

So let the stories you know and love pop off the page by visiting these film locations around London. Let’s take you on a tour of the city!

London Zoo reptile house, London, UK

London Zoo

The zoo’s reptile house is featured in the first film, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” After Harry speaks to a Burmese python, he makes its tank glass disappear, causing his annoying cousin Dudley to fall in as the snake escapes. ‘Thanksss!’ While there, check out the Asiatic lions in the new Land of the Lions.

Leadenhall Market

The opticians in Bulls Head Passage, by Leadenhall Market, is the entrance for the Leaky Cauldron wizard’s pub in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” The magicians passed through it to access stalls in Diagon Alley. A 14th-century meat market, it’s now home to shops, cafes and wine bars. Note its ornate roof.

Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross station, London, UK

Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station

Hogwarts Express departed for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from this platform. To find it, Harry would run into a wall between platforms 9 and 10. Visit the entrance to the real platform 9 and you’ll find a trolley disappearing into a wall and the sign for Platform 9¾.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The neo-gothic façade of this hotel, next to King’s Cross station, is the entrance to the station in the films. Eagle-eyed fans might remember when Harry and Ron parked Ron’s dad Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia here, before flying it to Hogwarts in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Sip cocktails in Booking Office Bar or enjoy the spa pool.

Borough Market

Leaky Cauldron moved from Leadenhall to Borough Market for the third film, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Following a hair-raising journey over Lambeth Bridge—‘Little old lady, 12 o’clock!’—the triple-decker Knight bus bumps into a car outside Chez Michéle florist at 7 Stoney Street. Go early and try the market’s regional produce.

Millennium Bridge, London, UK

Millennium Bridge

This suspension bridge featured in the sixth film, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” when Voldemort ordered Death Eaters to attack it. The bridge collapsed into the Thames, killing muggles (non wizards). Cross from Tate Modern on the South Bank over to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Piccadilly Circus

This major intersection features in the seventh film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” While escaping Death Eaters, Harry, Ron and Hermione just miss being hit by a double decker outside what is now Gap. The statue of Eros is a handy meeting point outside Criterion Theatre.

Warner Bros, London, UK

Warner Bros Studio

On a studio tour, Harry, Ron and Hermione discuss the films on screen before you’re led into the Great Hall. You then see costumes, props and the steam train Harry took to Hogwarts’ before ‘flying’ on broomsticks.

Westminster tube station

Harry and Mr Weasley ride this station’s escalators in the fifth film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” en route to Harry’s hearing at Ministry of Magic. Mr Weasley uses his hand instead of an Oyster card and is puzzled when the barriers don’t open‘Trains underground! Ingenious, these muggles!’ The station closed for a day during filming. It’s close to Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

Enjoy Harry Potter in London