Visiting the best Harry Potter London sites
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“Mom, are you crying?”

*sniff* “No.” *sniff*
(Okay…maybe just a little.)

When we visited London, 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.

WB Studio Tour London - Harry Potter sites in London

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Andrew and I know the books and the movies like the back of our hands. Cadence has also finally read the series and seen the 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 a walking tour in London, a tour to Oxford, and a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour north of London which houses the sets, costumes, and artifacts from the movies.

Where to find the best Harry Potter London sites

Walking Tours in London with London Walks

If you’re looking for great Harry Potter London walking tour, 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.

Famous Harry Potter London sites with London Walks

The best Harry Potter walking tourWe 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.

London Walks - Harry Potter guided tours in London

This Harry Potter London tour is 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!

Fun Harry Potter London tours for kids

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 has 22 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.WB Studio Tour - Best Harry Potter sites in London with kids 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. We’ve been twice now, and the magic never gets old.

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.

  • Can't find tickets?

    WB Studio Tour London is extremely popular as you might imagine and tickets sell out quickly, especially for special events (like Hogwarts in the Snow) and weekends. We almost had to give up visiting in 2017 as tickets were sold out until Jan. 2018. We made it work by booking a Harry Potter day trip with our partner Viator. It was a little more money, but we got to visit the Studio and Oxford in the same day with a knowledgeable guide. It turned out to be a magical day – perfect for any Harry Potter fan!

    Book this Harry Potter Tour with Viator here.

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.

WB Studio Tour London - the best Harry Potter attractions in 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.Visiting the Harry Potter sites at the WB Studio Tour London 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


Harry Potter London visit at the WB Studio Tour London

Incredible sets from the movies

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).

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?

WB Studio Tour London - the best London Harry Potter sites

We saw the inside of Hagrid’s hut, the Gryffindor common room, and Professor Dumbledore’s office as well. Professor Snape's potions classroom at WB Studio Tour LondonDiagon Alley - best Harry Potter sites in London

New for our 2017 trip was the Forbidden Forest set, which was really neat and one that wasn’t on display before.Hagrid and the Forbidden Forest at WB Studio Tour London

Props and other magical items

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 - Harry Potter tour London

They even have a gorgeous framed display of all the characters’ wands.Magic wands at the WB Studio Tour LondonProps from the Harry Potter files - Harry Potter sites in London 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. Quidditch Anyone?Quidditch set at WB Studio Tour London

  • New for 2017-18 - Hogwarts in the Snow!

    We were lucky enough to see Hogwarts in the Snow during our 2017 trip where many of the popular sets got a winter dusting of snow and some holiday cheer!Hogwarts in the Snow - WB Studio Tour LondonHogwarts in the Snow - WB Studio Tour LondonHogwarts in the Snow - WB Studio Tour London

The Backlot Tour

After a quick meal and some mandatory Butterbeer, we toured the backlot which houses the knight bus, Number 4 Privet Drive, the Hogwarts bridge, and the Potters’ house in Godric’s Hollow.Hogwart's Bridge - Best harry Potter sites in LondonNo. 4 Privet Drive - Harry Potter tours for kids in London The kids also got to hop on Sirius Black’s motorbike.

WB Studio Tour London backlot

Related: If you love Harry Potter, be sure to check out our post on Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s amazing!

King’s Cross Station and Platform 9¾

Hogwart's Express - WB Studio Tour LondonNext, 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.

Hogwart's Express - best Harry Potter sites in London

There are also several spots here to get a shot of the kids headed through the platform.Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross - Harry Potter tour

Tip: There is also a Platform 9¾ at London’s King’s Cross station if you’re interested. Read through our guide to London with kids for this and lots of other fun recommendations!

From concept to screen – art and special effects

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.Special effects at WB Studio Tour London

You can even turn yourself into Dobby! Super Fun! #DabbinDobby3D Dobby at WB Studio Tour London

We then wandered through rooms of the artists’ renderings in the form of blue prints, paintings, and 3D models. The detail is remarkable.Artist mock ups at WB Studio Tour London

The grand finale

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.

Hogwart's Castle at WB Studio Tour London - best Harry Potter sites in LondonHogwart's Castle at WB Studio Tour London

While in this room, learn all about the model, how it was built, and how they used it for shots in the movies.Hogwart's Castle at WB Studio Tour London - best Harry Potter sites

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.

For our second visit, the kids were 10 and 12. Andrew was a bit bored at the things he had seen, but enough had changed that it was still fun. The girls were as enamored as ever.

Don’t for get the Harry Potter souvenirs!

Honeyduke's candy at WB Tour LondonA stop at the gift shop is mandatory, and I’m sure that everyone in the family will find something to take home (chuckle).
WB Studio Tour London gift shop - best Harry Potter tours for kids

  • Still can't get enough magic?

    The British Library is running a special exhibition called Harry Potter – The History of Magic until the end of February 2018, and it’s fantastic! If you think you want to visit, book now! If you can’t make it, buy the book! We did, and it’s a great coffee table book that talks about the exhibit in depth with great photos and interesting insights and history. It’s about as close as you can get without being there in person.

Harry Potter filming locations at Oxford University

Harry Potter sites at Oxford UniversityThere are several scenes from the Harry Potter films that were filmed at Oxford University which is why we were excited to visit here. We booked a tour with Viator that took us to WB Studio Tour London and Oxford on the same day. It was a great day trip, and our guide was quite knowledgeable and lots of fun. She made sure that the kids were always up towards the front so they could hear, and she made sure to get them involved in the tour which was nice.

See more Harry Potter tours and day trip from Viator here.

Harry Potter walking tour at OxfordIn addition to learning about of the the history and hearing some funny anecdotes about the filming, we had time to look around, do some shopping, and pop into the King’s Arms pub for some fish and chips. Everything was getting decked out for Christmas, and we had a great time!Oxford University - Harry Potter England sites

It’s well known that J.K. Rowling drew much of her inspiration for her books from Oxford. Does this look familiar?Harry Potter sites at Oxford University

Hmm…what do you think – is this a coincidence? See if you can find it when you visit Oxford!

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 £39 for adults, £31 for kids ages 5-15, and children under 4 are free. Family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) are £126. They are limited and tickets are sold for a set time, so book as far ahead as you are able. Saver tickets are available for some days that are slightly discounted. Remember, if they are sold out, check places like Viator for tours and packages that include tickets to the Studio.

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 the tour that we booked

Check here for the latest prices.

Day Trips to Oxford

Oxford is easy to get to and not far from London at all. Trains run from Paddington and Marylebone stations (near Baker Street Tube station) and take around 1½ hours. Google Maps or Rome2Rio can help you with schedules and tickets.

If you want to travel with a guide on a bus, consider doing what we did and booking this trip with Viator. The guides were great, and the schedule worked perfectly. If was a full day of Harry Potter, so what could be better?

  • Need a place to stay nearby?

    We stayed a few nights at the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes which is just a short walk from the Baker Street Tube Station. We loved our stay for the family-size room (sleeps 4), boutique feel, nearby restaurants (YO! Sushi) and Sherlock Holmes decor. Perfect!

    Click here to check the latest prices.

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

Related: Check out our post on visiting London with Kids!

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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Visiting the Best Harry Potter London Sites

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