London is a city that has inspired many generations of writers. From Shakespeare to Dickens, some of the most memorable fiction is set in the English capital. This is understandable, the architecture and history of London is vivid and full of inspiring settings. Guests of 5 star hotels in London’s West End are well placed to enjoy the landmarks that have been imbibed with new life by literature and film.
The Harry Potter franchise is just one of these, and is amongst the most famous contemporary fictions set in London in the world. Adored by adults and children alike, the fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may be an ambiguous liminal space but almost every one of the books and films have large sections filmed in or set in London. Harry Potter has reinvigorated many historic parts of the city with new life and meaning. Guests of the Montcalm restaurant and hotel with a penchant for Potter, can find many famous locations from the series in the English capital, and can even find landmarks dedicated to the franchise scattered across London.
This blog will outline some of the ways that guests of hotels near Chiswell Street London can get their Potter fix whilst visiting the city.
Harry Potter Tour – Warner Brothers Studio
Based in Leavesden, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour of the Harry Potter films gives you insider access to some of the set reconstructions, costumes and behind the scenes concept art behind the series of films. From a lifelike replica of the Hogwarts dining hall to the interior of Number 4 Privet Drive, you can learn about the work of thousands of artists and set dressers who made the film series what it is. Ride a broomstick in front of a green screen, and experience seasonal changes to the sets.
Though the studio is in Greater North London’s Watford area, you can reach Watford Junction in just 20 minutes from Euston Station in Central London. You can then catch a shuttle bus (included as part of your entrance fee to the tour) to the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden. The shuttle bus journey will only take 15 minutes, and you can expect to spend around 3 and a half hours on the tour.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child
Taking place at the Palace Theatre, Harry potter and the Cursed Child began its run in London in June 2016, and hasn’t stopped since! The play, set 19 years after the end of the Harry Potter books, was written by JK Rowling and Jack Thorne and tells the story of a new generation of Hogwarts students. Easy to reach from Tottenham Court Road, this play has been a fan favourite for Harry Potter lovers and continues the story of Harry’s son in the seventh book epilogue in a thrilling and suitably theatrical way.
Kings Cross Station
The famous London terminus stands on its own two feet as one of the most famous and beautifully designed Victorian Stations in London. Its ties to the Harry Potter Universe are just the icing on the cake for tourists. Visitors can find a monument to the stations links to the franchise: a luggage trolley submerged in the wall between two platforms – although not between platforms 9 and 10 (because of structural issues). Expect a queue if you want a snap beside the trolley, this is one of the most popular photo opportunities for Harry Potter fans in London.
Platform 9 ¾ Shop
The nearby platform 9 ¾ shop is filled with official merchandise. Set within the station, its opening times are between 8am and 10pm between Mondays and Saturdays and on Sundays 9am till 9pm. Expect to find some great Harry Potter goodies including clothes, toys and sweets like the ever popular Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans – and they really are “every flavoured!”
Cecil Court And Goodwins Court
Thought to be the inspiration for Diagon and Knockturn Alleys, Cecil Court and Goodwins Court are a stone’s throw from Leicester Square. The former is lined with independent bookshops and even ones on the occult. To see some true spellbooks, head to Atlantis Bookshop and peruse the alchemy and occult titles.
Goodwins Court dates back to 1627 and has original gas lamps at night. This street is teeming with atmosphere, and it’s easy to see why it was the inspiration for the more magical streets of the Harry Potter world.
This Thameside sheltered market has hundreds of years of history, dating back to the 1440s and is situated in the City of London near St Paul’s Cathedral. Full of independent and high end boutiques, its gilded roof and paved walkways were transformed throughout the Harry Potter films into Diagon Alley.
Another setting used to film Diagon Alley, visiting guests of hotels in Central London will probably stumble upon this world famous food market without the Harry Potter connotations. Teeming with ingredients, foodstuffs and street food stalls, this sheltered market is another with hundreds of years of history and is situated close to some of the most popular attractions in London. Make sure to check out the Globe Theatre and the Golden Hind not far away.
In Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince (film version), the Millennium Bridge is a key spot during a thrilling chase sequence. Death Eaters destroy this iconic footbridge close to the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend trying to recreate this moment, it’s a great experience traversing it with or without the Harry Potter context thanks to its stunning views over Central London.
Reptile House At London Zoo
In the first Harry Potter book, Harry and Dudley Dursley are taken to London Zoo in Regent’s Park where Harry talks to and frees a snake in the Reptile House. This iconic moment from the first book – and film – is a key moment in Harry’s transformation. Plus, the zoo itself is the oldest in the world and well worth a visit in and of itself.