The 10 Ultimate Experiences for the Harry Potter Fan Traveling to the U.K.
Believe it or not, two years ago I had never read a single Harry Potter book (gasp!) Then I had major surgery and my sweet daughter started reading the books to me to help me pass the time. I quickly became a mega-fan and began saving for my trip to the U.K. where I could experience all the magic for myself! I've comprised a list of the ten Harry Potter-themed experiences that I don't want to miss and want to share if with you, my fellow wizards!
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Where to stay in U.K.
The Balmoral Hotel
Legendary hotel and landmark clock tower, The Balmoral Hotel is a regal and luxurious hotel that is a true love letter to Scotland.
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Great Scotland Yard Hotel
Luxe Victorian hotel with posh rooms in the heart of London.
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A modern twist on vintage luxury, offering unique accommodations steeped in rock-and-roll history, nestled in the heart of London's vibrant Soho district.
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Things to do in U.K.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter: This immersive experience takes you behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films. Walk onto the actual sets, such as the Great Hall, Dumbledore's office, and Diagon Alley. You’ll be fascinated by the intricate props, including the Nimbus 2000 and the Sorting Hat. You can even step onto Platform 9¾ and board the Hogwarts Express. The studio tour offers an incredible opportunity to see the magic of the Harry Potter world come to life.
Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station, London: Located in the famous King's Cross Station, Platform 9¾ is a must-visit for any Harry Potter fan. The iconic platform is marked by a trolley disappearing into the wall, making for the perfect insta-worthy photo!
The Jacobite Steam Train, Scotland: Head out on a memorable journey aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, which is often recognized as the Hogwarts Express from our favorite films. The scenic ride takes you through breathtaking landscapes, including the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. As the train crosses the viaduct, you'll be transported to the magical world of Harry Potter.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland: Discover the enchanting Alnwick Castle, which served as the exterior of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the first two films. Explore the magnificent castle grounds and imagine yourself as a student at Hogwarts. I mean, does it get more magical than that? You can even engage in broomstick flying lessons led by trained instructors, you’ll be ready for a Quidditch match in no time!
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾, London: Adjacent to Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station, this dedicated Harry Potter shop is a treasure trove of merchandise. From Hogwarts house apparel and magical wands to collectible items and accessories, you'll find an extensive range of official Harry Potter merchandise to commemorate your visit.
The Elephant House, Edinburgh: Delight in the cozy ambiance of The Elephant House café in Edinburgh, known as the birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling spent hours writing the early Harry Potter books here, drawing inspiration from the city's charm. Enjoy some tea and be surrounded by the café's Harry Potter-themed decorations and the stunning view of Edinburgh Castle.
Harry Potter Walking Tour, London: Embark on a guided walking tour that takes you through the streets of London to discover iconic Harry Potter filming locations. Visit Diagon Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and other spots that brought the wizarding world to life on the big screen. Learn fascinating behind-the-scenes stories and trivia about the making of the movies.
The Cauldron, Edinburgh and London, You will have two different experiences to choose from. First is the Potion Making Class where you’ll receive a magic wand rental to concoct two fabulous cocktails, each of which has a different molecular reaction. Two cocktails not enough? Don’t worry, you can add on more experiences! Second is the Wizard Afternoon Tea, an interactive tea brewing experience. You’ll receive a magic wand that will open your tea stand and puzzle chest, which contains your ingredients. You’ll also be treated to a host of confectionary delights While this isn’t *specifically* Harry Potter-themed, I promise you’ll leave feeling like the magical wizard you are!
Oxford University, Oxford: Visit the prestigious Oxford University, where several Harry Potter scenes were filmed. Marvel at the grandeur of Christ Church College, which served as the inspiration for Hogwarts' Great Hall. Take a guided tour of the campus to learn about the university's rich history and its connections to the magical world of Harry Potter.
The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh: Stay at The Balmoral Hotel, where J.K. Rowling finished writing the final book in the Harry Potter series. The hotel has a luxurious and magical experience, complete with a "J.K. Rowling Suite" that features and owl door knocker and the autographed marble bust of Hermes. What a magical way to end your stay in Edinburgh!
Need to Know
Looking for more Harry Potter experiences? Check out Fora Advisor Barba Victorio's guide, The Top Harry Potter Experiences in London.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to England.