Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? Being a Muggle is boring. Whether you want to be a witch, wizard, or House Elf (there might be someone out there), there’s nothing like seeing the Harry Potter magic right before your very eyes. Unless you’ve just been given your Hogwarts acceptance letter, it’s not as easy as taking the Floo Network right to Diagon Alley. Nevertheless, there are some places that come pretty close. Check out these five spots in the UK that you need to visit if you’re a Harry Potter lover.
Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter
If you’ve always wanted to dine in the Great Hall, take a trip down to Diagon Alley, play Quidditch on a broomstick or have a bumpy ride on the Knight Bus, the Warner Bros Studio Tour has everything a Harry Potter lover could possibly want. The main studio was turned into this tour after filming ended and is now the ultimate museum for Potterheads. It includes everything from the sets, props, a replica of Privet Drive, making of the sets, costumes and so much more. And it’s just a short ride away from the center of London!
The Elephant House
We bet you’re wondering – The Elephant House? There were no Elephants in Harry Potter? You’re right there. Instead, this was the place where it all began. The Elephant House is a small coffee shop and tea room in Edinburgh, Scotland where J.K Rowling first got the inspiration for Harry Potter and the Wider Wizarding World. From looking up at Edinburgh Castle, Rowling brought to life some of our favorite characters, locations, and magical creatures. She wrote most of the outline of the first story on a train between Edinburgh and London, but wrote the majority of The Chamber of Secrets in this little hideaway.
Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station
You can try running through it, but we’re not sure it will work (if it does, we’ll be incredibly impressed). If you’re traveling into London, you’ll be passing through the major stations anyway, so it makes sense to take a trip to the station that Harry and his fellow Hogwarts schoolmates used to take them to the Hogwarts Express. The station has honored the story in the best way possible, by signposting a pillar in-between platforms 9 and 10 as ‘Platform 9 ¾’ and is complete with a half-concealed trolley and an owl cage.
Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’re probably also a bit of a bookworm – so visiting this library is a treat for two reasons. The Bodleian Library was the location of many Harry Potter movie scenes – from the Hospital Wing to the ballroom that was used for the (slightly unfortunate) dancing lessons with Professor McGonagall in preparation for the Yule Ball. As you go further into the library, you’ll also notice huge bookcases, with books chained to the walls. Yep, you guessed it. The Restricted Section.
The Jacobite through West Coast Railways
If you really wanted to feel like you were aboard the Hogwarts Express on the way to Hogwarts, the Jacobite Steam Train is the closest you’ll get to the real thing. The train and the track were used for all the aerial shots of the Hogwarts Express (with the iconic bridge) and one of the carriages – Carriage D – was used as the interior of the train. Although we can’t guarantee the Trolley Witch will come along with some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans…
It’s every Harry Potter fan’s dream to ride on the Hogwarts Express, visit the Great Hall and see where J. K. Rowling first imagined their favorite characters in the movies and books – and now we can! We know where we’re going to do our ‘research’ – a.k.a dressing up in a cloak and carrying around a stick, swish-and-flicking while proclaiming Wingardium Leviosa.