J. K. Rowling's creation Harry Potter is known the world over. Her books, and the subsequent films based on them, are phenomenally successful and have created a fanbase eager to participate in this magical world. Chronicling the lives and exploits of a group of wizard friends— Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, the plot is about the age old fight of good against evil, and the redemptive power of love.
Harry Potter London Film Locations Private Guided Tours
Magical places to visit
London played host to many of the Harry Potter films' settings. Here's a list of the most popular Harry Potter movie locations, many of which are visited by tour guides. It would take a while to visit all the film locations but many tour companies will design a day tour based on your particular favourite Harry Potter movie moments.
Australia House - Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Australia House in London's Strand was used for the filming of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. This grade II listed building was opened by King George V in 1918 and is home to the diplomatic mission of Australia in the UK. Fine marble was imported from Australia for much of the interior - it really is as grand as in the Harry Potter movies, though it's quite unlikely you'll see any goblins. Or is it?
Borough Market - the Leaky Cauldron, Knight Bus & the Third Hand Bookshop
Borough Market is the oldest food market in England and is thought to date back to at least the 12th century. The building we see today was built by Henry Rose in 1851 and is a classic example of Victorian ironwork architecture. This ancient site exudes magic and was the ideal setting for filming the Harry Potter movies.
The real life location of the Leaky Cauldron can be seen at Number 7 Stoney Street, just under the bridge at a flower shop called Chez Michele though originally one of the shops in the Leadenhall Market was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. The shop front at Number 8 Stoney Street is recognisable in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as the Third Hand Book Emporium where Harry first met Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. It's actually The Market Porter - a traditional Victorian pub. And just outside the pub is where the Knight Bus dropped Harry off after its exhilarating journey with an anxious Harry on board.
Cecil Court - Diagon Alley
This quaint little shopping street with its eclectic shops and overhanging signs is thought to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley - the magical shopping street full of wizarding supplies - it's easy to see why with its independent shops selling art, antiques, books and curiosities. The shop fronts have magically stayed pretty much the same for over a hundred years!
Claremont Square - 12 Grimmauld Place
Islington's Claremont Square is where you'll come across the ancestral home of Pure-Blood wizard and Hogwarts alumni, Sirius Black. Just a short walk from King's Cross Station (of Platform 9¾ fame). Being in a Muggle neighbourhood, the house is guarded by the Fidelius Charm, which only allows those belonging to the magical world to see it. So if you can see it - you must be magic!
Great Scotland Yard - Ministry of Magic
Harry and Arthur Weasley enter the Ministry of Magic in The Order Of The Phoenix for Harry's disciplinary hearing at the real world Great Scotland Yard (a street in London's St. James's). It’s also where Harry, Hermione and Ron break into the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. It was originally the rear entrance to the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, hence the name 'Scotland Yard'.
A red London telephone box was used in the films to gain entry to the Ministry however this was a prop as no phone box exists there. Nothing a bit of creative Photoshopping can't cure on your tour snaps though!
Kings Cross Station - Platform 9¾
Platform 9¾ needs little introduction. It's the magical platform between platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station where aspiring wizards and witches can catch the Hogwarts Express. There's the opportunity of a photo whilst running through the wall pushing a trolley that's already half way through! Be careful though please - we're not all wizards and witches you know! There's no charge to take your own photos but there's a professional photographer on hand 9am and 9pm daily who can supply you with your favourite house scarf.
The Harry Potter Shop is also here - it's where you can view and purchase your official photos. Styled to resemble Ollivander’s Wand Emporium, you can buy time turners, horcruxes, and games, as well as Hogwarts school jumpers in the four house colours and even full sets of robes.
Lambeth Bridge - Knight Bus
In The Prisoner of Azkaban Lambeth Bridge appears in the Knight Bus scene where it squeezes its way between 2 normal 'Muggle buses' on it's perilous journey taking Harry to the Leaky Cauldron. We hope you don't have such a bumpy ride!
Leadenhall Market - Diagon Alley & the Leaky Cauldron
The ornate Victorian architecture of Leadenhall Market certainly lends itself to the magical world of Harry Potter. The market was the film location for the original shots of Diagon Alley and the doorway to the wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron. Later a shop at Borough Market was used as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields - 12 Grimmauld Place
Although the filming of 12 Grimmauld Place (the ancestral home of Sirius Black) took place at Claremont Square in London's Islington, it's thought by some Potterheads that the inspiration for the magically hidden house came from the Georgian buildings at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. J. K. Rowling lived in a London flat at Clapham Junctiion whilst working for Amnesty International. Here she penned a few chapters of the first Harry Potter book.
London Zoo - Harry speaks Parseltongue
London Zoo, located in The Regent's Park, is where Harry first speaks Parseltongue (the language of serpents) with a Burmese Python. Filming took place here for The Philosophers Stone and it's possible to visit the exact display where all the action took place. Don't worry, although Harry released the snake from captivity, we're quite sure the keepers rounded it up and placed it back in it's enclosure. Well quite sure anyway!
Millennium Bridge - Death Eaters
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the Millennium Bridge (which links London's Bankside with the City of London) is destroyed by marauding Death Eaters. The Millennium Bridge was used to represent the reported destruction of the Brockdale Bridge from the books. The attack was ordered by Lord Voldemort as punishment for Cornelius Fudge refusing to relinquish his position as Minister for Magic. It worked as shortly after Rufus Scrimgeour took up the position.
Although the book was written after the Millennium Bridge was constructed there is no mention of it. In fact there is only the news reported destruction of the the Brockdale Bridge as part of the list of terrible acts taken by the Death Eaters. However, it was decided by the film's director that a scene in the movie to show the consequences of the Death Eaters and their impact on the Muggle world would serve the plot better. Thus the Millennium Bridge, a well known London landmark was chosen for the film and the fictional Brockdale Bridge was subsequently never mentioned.
In reality the Millennium Bridge was nicknamed the 'Wobbly Bridge' after it developed a sway on its opening day in 2000. It took two years to remedy the problem - only to be trashed by Death Eaters three years later!
Piccadilly Circus - Death Eaters
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - London's Piccadilly Circus is where Harry, Ron and Hermione flee from Death Eaters. They make good their escape via nearby Shaftesbury Avenue (where Hermione pointedly says "I used to come to the theatre here with Mum and Dad."). Before heading to 12 Grimmauld Place the intrepid trio walk through an arcade where Hermione realises they had forgotten Harry's birthday.
St. Pancras Station - Flying Ford Anglia
St Pancras looks like it's right out of the wizarding world with its ornate Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. Potterheads will recall the flying Ford Anglia scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Harry and Ron take to the skies in the Weasley family's magical Ford Anglia. The outside of the station was also used for exterior shots of its somewhat less visually appealing neighbour, King's Cross Station.
Tower Bridge - flying broomsticks
Harry and the Order's route though Tower Bridge on their broomsticks in the opening scenes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix wasn't in the book but certainly made for an exciting opening to the film. Tower Bridge is one of London's most iconic tourist spots. Its Gothic Revival architecture looks like it has come right out of the wizarding world.
Westminster Tube Station - Ministry of Magic
In The Order of the Phoenix Westminster Tube Station was used as another entry way to The Ministry of Magic. It's also where Arthur Wesley got stuck at the entrance barriers to the station. To avoid the same mishap make sure you've got your Oyster Card with you!
Harry Potter fans: this is the best tour you could have dreamed of! Meet a MAGICIAN-GUIDE, who will perform tricks as you're exploring London and Harry Potter's dealings with it.
Walk in the footsteps of Harry Potter's London on a chauffeur-driven tour with experienced guide and then off to the spellbinding Warner Bros. Studio Tour-The Making of Harry Potter.