It has been an exciting month for Harry Potter fans. On July 8th, J.K. Rowling released a short story narrated by Rita Skeeter, the gossip-crazed character that readers first meet in The Goblet of Fire. The 1,500 word story is entitled “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final,” which has Rita gossiping over Dumbledore’s Army and their family. In addition, the spin-off movie based on one of Harry Potter’s school books, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be in theaters on November 18, 2016. Furthermore, July 8th marked the opening of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Such incredible buzz surrounding the book series— even three years after the last movie— makes fans want to re-embrace the wizarding world. While most people can visit Universal Studios, that experience does not easily compare to visiting some of the actual set locations in London.
Here are a few:
- King’s Cross station services north-east England and the east coast of Scotland. However, in the book series, this station can take you to the entirely different realm of Hogwarts, that is if you can find Platform 9 ¾ hidden between the walls. Since the books and films’ success, the wall between platform 9 and 10 has now been labeled as 9 ¾. To illustrate the landmark, a half cart is attached to the wall, so that fans can take photos as though they are entering the platform. King’s Cross is where all the station-based scenes have been filmed, including the scene in the last film where Dumbledore and Harry talk for the last time in the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Diagon Alley, the major shopping center for all wizards that appears in many of the movies, was shot in two different locations. The outside of Diagon Alley, or the “muggle” side, was filmed in Borough Market. The market features Dickensian cobbled streets and has now become a mecca for foodies as well as the secret entrance to Diagon Alley (which can be entered through the Leaky Cauldron). The shopping scenes within Diagon Alley were filmed in Leadenhall Market, across from the London Bridge.
- In the first film, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry discovers he can talk to snakes and accidentally traps Dudley in the snake’s tank at the London Zoo. This scene was filmed at the actual London Zoo, located in Regent’s Park, which now has a sign to mark the tank that housed the python in the movie (though it is now home to a black mamba).
- Harrow School is where Professor Flitwick’s classes were filmed in the first movie. The school was founded in the 16th century and other than appearing in Harry Potter, it has become famous for educating seven prime ministers. The Harrow District resides just north of London Center and currently operates as an all-boy boarding school.
Those are a few scenes filmed in London if you happen to be visiting there, or if you’re moving to the area, check out our Newcomer’s Handbook for moving to and living in London.
Written by: Kristin Monteith