Visiting the Best Harry Potter Sites in London

“Mom, are you crying?”
*sniff* “No.” *sniff*
(Okay…maybe just a little.)

When we visited London last year, we knew we wanted to experience some Harry Potter magic. We are serious about reading in our household, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a favorite.

Dumbledore's Office

Dumbledore’s Office

Andrew and I know the books and the movies like the back of our hands. Cadence has read through Goblet of Fire, and has seen the first four movies. Carrick has seen and enjoyed all the movies, and we try to forgive the fact that he hasn’t read any of the books. So, being the Potterheads that we are, we booked both a walking tour in London and a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour north of London which houses the sets, costumes, and artifacts from the movies. Both of these tours offered up some of the best Harry Potter sites in London.

Walking Tours in London with London Walks

If you’re looking for great London walking tours, London Walks has them. We chose the Harry Potter Film Locations in the City tour. We used London Walks for this tour because we knew what a great company they were due to our previous experience with their company in Paris – Paris Walks. (Read about our Paris tour here). Our fabulous guide took us through the various spots where the movies were filmed, and he included some other interesting facts about the City of London along the way. He interacted with the children in the group by asking them questions about the movies and focusing on things he knew they would be interested in.

Great Locations on this Harry Potter London Tour

We were able to see landmarks like the Millennium Bridge and City Hall which can be seen in the sixth movie, Leadenhall Market which you can see in the first movie as Harry asks Hagrid, “Can you find all this in London?”, and the train tracks that are visible through Harry’s window at the Leaky Cauldron in the third movie.

Leadenhall Market - Harry Potter sites in London, UK

Leadenhall Market – Harry Potter locations – London, UK

View from Harry's Room in the Leaky Cauldron - Harry Potter London sites

View from Harry’s Room in the Leaky Cauldron – Harry Potter London sites

It was a fascinating way to explore the city, and we could not wait to pull out our pictures and compare them to the movies when we got home. This is a great tour for families wanting to see some Harry Potter filming locations. And, even now, when we watch those movies, the kids say “Hey! That’s the marketplace that we saw on our tour!” Our walk ended just outside St. Paul’s Cathedral where our guide performed a magic trick with the kids. It was a wonderful way to end our Harry Potter tour!

Harry Potter walking tour London

Harry Potter walking tour London

Other Things to See in London with Kids

When you're finished exploring Harry Potter, check out our guide to London with kids here. It's got 21 amazing things to see and how to get to each one! Cherio!

London with Kids

The Magic of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

One of the pinnacle experiences for me during our trip to London, however, was visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, and I would say that it was a highlight for the whole family. Needless to say, there was a lot of anticipation for this excursion. This, of course, is the largest of the Harry Potter attractions in London, and is the very best place for families looking for the best of Harry Potter in London.

What to expect when you arrive

We purchased our Warner Bros. Studio Tour tickets online ahead of time, and we found out that the time listed is more of a guideline of when to arrive. So, don’t panic like I did if public transportation gets the best of you, and you end up running a few minutes late.

Once you arrive, you will wait in line for a bit before you are taken into a theater where you watch a short film the actors have made about their time growing up at the studio. You are then lead with some fanfare into the Great Hall as though you are a first year about to be sorted.

Hogwarts Teachers - Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Hogwarts Teachers – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

From there, you take a self-guided tour through the actual sets, props, and costumes from all seven movies. You are allowed as much time as you wish, so while someone moderately interested in the series might spend a couple of hours, the true Potterheads will require much longer. We stayed for four hours, and we did not get as much time as I would have liked in the gift shop due to the fact that they were closing, and we had a bus to catch. We also missed out on the Butterbeer ice cream, which was a real bummer.

What You’ll See at Warner Bros. Studio London

We enjoyed reading about all of the scenes and learning new details about the movies from the knowledgeable staff. (Can I work there, please? #dreamjob). We saw how the floating candles worked and the mechanism behind the door to the Chamber of Secrets. We saw Harry’s first robes as worn by Daniel Radcliffe, the beautiful dress that Emma Watson wore when Hermione went to the Yule Ball, and Evanna Lynch’s jewelry that she hand made for her role as Luna Lovegood (because we all know that Luna would never wear something ordinary).

Harry Potter School Robes - Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Harry Potter School Robes – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

We also got a close up look at the changing colors of Voldemort and Professor Umbridge’s costumes. Did you know that Voldemort’s robes are really green or that the pinkness of Umbridge’s dresses intensifies as she gains power?

Umbridge's Dresses - Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Umbridge’s Dresses – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

We saw the inside of Hagrid’s hut, the Gryffindor common room, and Professor Dumbledore’s office as well. There are plenty of small artifacts there too, from the golden snitch to the philosopher’s stone, to the ornately carved goblet of fire.

Golden Snitch - Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Golden Snitch – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

They even have a gorgeous framed display of all the characters’ wands. The kids were given passport activity books at the start of the tour that they had stamped along the way, and we also took time to let them have their pictures made on flying broomsticks. After a quick meal, we toured the backlot which houses the knight bus, Number 4 Privet Drive, the Hogwarts bridge, and the Potters’ house in Godric’s Hollow. The kids also got to hop on Sirius Black’s motorbike.

Sirius Black's Motorbike - Warner Bros. backlot

Sirius Black’s Motorbike – Warner Bros. backlot

Next, we made our way through the Hogwarts Express in which there were cars containing the set decorations for the train scenes from all the movies.

Hogwarts Express - All Aboard!

Hogwarts Express – All Aboard!

As if seeing the sets, costumes, and props wasn’t enough, you get to tour the art department too. There we saw costumes and models for all the “fantastic beasts” and magical creatures. We then wandered through rooms of the artists’ renderings in the form of blue prints, paintings, and 3D models.

Harry and Ron on the Hogwart's Express - Harry Potter Studios

Harry and Ron on the Hogwart’s Express

It was all so fascinating and beautiful. But, there is a big surprise at the end of the tour…the one that brought tears to my eyes…an entire room dedicated to an enormous model of Hogwarts. It is what they used in all of the areal shots of the school grounds, and it was absolutely breathtaking.

Hogwarts Castle Model - Harry Potter Tour London

Hogwarts Castle Model – Harry Potter Tour London

Overall, the entire tour of the studio was fun, engaging, and interactive for the whole family. Our children were the perfect ages at 8 and 10 to really appreciate and enjoy all the cool things they were seeing. And, I’ll be the first to admit, I was in awe the entire time.

How to Book Your Own Harry Potter Tour in London

Walking Tours with London Walks

London Walks are not booked ahead of time. You pick a walk that you would like to go on, show up at the designated meeting place (usually an easy to find landmark near a tube stop), pay for the tour (cash only), and away you go. Currently, adults are £10, kids are £3 and under 8 go free.

It’s very simple, and we had a great time. We can’t say enough good things about London Walks. We love them so much that they have a permanent spot on our Resources page. Here is their current schedule.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Book your tickets ahead of time. Currently, prices are £35 for adults, £27 for kids ages 5-15, and children under 4 are free. They are limited and tickets are sold for a set time, so book as far ahead as you are able. Directions for getting to the studio are here.

There are several ways to get there, but we took a combination of tube, light rail, and bus. It was the cheapest option, but a little more complicated. Google Maps or Rome2Rio can help you put together a good travel plan. Build in enough time for travel however you decide to go, because you don’t want to be rushed around closing time trying to catch the last bus to the train station.

If you want something easier that includes admission and transportation for one price, you might consider this tour. Check here for the latest prices.

Disclaimer: Some of these links are affiliate links, so if you book a tour (no extra cost to you) we receive financial consideration. Thanks for your support!

So there you have it, Potterheads! What’s your favorite Harry Potter book? Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Yet?

This trip to London was part of multi-city trip we took this summer. For the other parts of the trip, check out the following posts:

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