London for Harry Potter fans

Harry Potter Studio Tour

This can only be described as a day of pure magic if you are a Harry Potter fan.

The tour is outside of central London in Watford, there are plenty of places to stay nearby. If you are staying in central London then you need to get the train out to Watford Junction from Euston Station and then the shuttle bus to the studios. Full details and directions can be found here.

Andy and I first visited without Pip and really enjoyed reading all the information and finding out how everything was made. We decided to take a Potter mad Pip for her 7th birthday and she enjoyed it just as much, even though she probably got completely different things from the tour.

The tour starts with a look at various sets and props. There is some information about some of the animatronics used as well as how they filmed various scenes. I found this area fascinating. There is written information by each area and you can also opt to get an audio tour which gives some extra information.

The tour then moves you through wardrobe, make up and special effects as well as some of the larger sets with a mixtures of videos, text, displays and actual sets which you can walk around. There are plenty of photo opportunities all the way round. The tour can take as long as you want and you can spend as much time in each area as you want.

Half way round there is a restaurant and butter beer bar. The food is good although like most food at attractions it’s on the expensive side. You can also bring your own food an eat here or outside in the picnic area.

There are a number of interactive points around the tour where you can ride a broomstick, board the Hogwarts express and practice your wand skills amongst other things.

There are various points around the tour there are places to get refreshments and purchase souvenirs. There tour starts and finishes at the same place where there is a café and large shop so there is plenty to do while you are waiting for your tour time.

Top tips:

If it is your birthday make sure to mention it when asked at the start, Pip was given a birthday badge and a special role at the beginning of the tour.

The Studio Tour is decorated for Christmas and it’s definitely worth visiting at this time of year for an extra special magical feel.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter is on the stage and it is epic! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes up the story from the where the epilogue of the last book leaves off. 19 years later and Harry, Ron and Hermione’s children are at Hogwart’s.

Harry Potter and the Cursed is on at the Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue.

Not only is the magic, choreography and scenery epic, the play is actually epic at almost 6 hours long. It is split in to 2 halves which are roughly 3 hours each. These can be seen back to back, one at 2pm and one at 7 pm with a 2 hour break between them (timings do differ slightly on different days).

As with Harry Potter the age it is suitable for depends on your child. The storyline is quite complex and the second half is quite dark but Pip (age 10) loved it!

Top tip:

If you are seeing both shows on the same day then make sure you book somewhere for dinner in between as the restaurants in the area get very busy with pre-theatre goers.

Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition

One of the newest additions to the Harry Potter activities in London the Photography exhibition takes you behind the scenes and on location of the filming of the Harry Potter films. The exhibition is located in Covent Garden and is a combination of photos, costumes and props.

Some of the information is similar to the items on display at The Making of Harry Potter studio tour and some is new. You can learn about some of the filming locations and take a walk through filming memories. There are interactive station where you can have your photo taken against a green screen and then buy your own broomstick photo or wizard ID card.

You mostly walk around the exhibition at your own pace, there was a staff member in one area talking about some of the costumes on display and another staff member that told us about some of the original props that you can see.

The exhibition is also home to London’s only bottled Butterbeer bar. We didn’t try the Butterbeer when we went but did stop for something to eat in the café and the food was amazing to look at and delicious. We also managed to get the very cool copper cauldron (disclaimer, I’m not sure if it is actually a cauldron) seat.

There is also a small gift shop on the way out.

Wizard Exploratorium

Situated just a couple of minutes walk from the Palace Theatre, this isn’t Harry Potter themed but is a chance for witches and wizards of all ages to learn some new spells and create your own magical tea blends.

The afternoon tea experience lasts for 1 hour and 45 minutes and gives you the opportunity to make 2 different teas as well as sample an assortment of sandwiches and cakes.

We had a selection of sandwiches in different breads, warm savoury muffins, mini scones with jam and cream, mini lemon meringue tarts, chocolate macaroons with unicorn blood and coconut and raspberry cheesecakes. All of it was delicious.

The sessions is partly interactive as your host takes you through the spells needed and creates the atmosphere. After this you are then free to make your teas and eat your cakes at your own pace. The session was exactly the right amount of time and we really enjoyed ourselves.

You can also chose to do a magical cocktail making or wand making session.

Platform 9 3/4

Platform 9 3/4 used to be tucked away between platforms 9 and 10 at Kings Cross train station but since the concourse has been redone it has been moved to the main area and can be found just to the left of the train information boards.

There is a photographer available between 9am and 9pm to take your photo, you are able to pick a scarf in your chosen house colours so that you look like you are on your way to Hogwarts. Photos can be purchased from the Harry Potter shop next door but you are also able to take your own if you want instead.

At busier times, weekends and school holidays, there can be a large queue so if you can you should try to time your visit for quieter times of the week.

The Harry Potter shop next door is themed to look like Ollivanders Wand Emporium and sells everything you could need for your Harry Potter collection.

There is also a similar photo opportunity at the Harry Potter Studio Tour.


MinaLima are the team behind the graphic style of the Harry Potter films. At their London shop and gallery you can see some of the original graphic props used in the films as well as art work and prints inspired by the graphic style of the films. They have also worked on the Fantastic Beasts films as well as many others outside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As it is a gallery, this is an activity that is probably more suited to slightly older children but fans of Harry Potter will love looking at the collection.

They are currently working on some new editions of the Harry Potter books and Pip treated herself to the first one. It is beautifully illustrated with pop ups and outs on some of the pages.

House of Spells

A couple of minutes walk from the Palace Theatre on Shaftsbury Avenue is House of Spells, a fandomed themed shop with a huge selection of Harry Potter products.

They have a wide selection of clothing, wands, gifts and anything else you could need from the World of Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts.

They also open until 10pm so you can pop in for a visit after you have finished at the theatre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s