“The boy who lived.”
Those were the words that marked Harry Potter in the wizarding world, even before he realised how famous he was or for what reason. Everyone still remembers this description of helpless baby Harry, who lived on to partake in Lord Voldemort’s demise. The books and the films left a great impact on an entire generation who hungered for more Harry Potter and wished the journey would never end. From filming locations to scattered landmarks and theme parks, Potterheads wanted to relive the saga over and over.
To satisfy Potterheads worldwide, entertainment companies built several Harry Potter-themed parks around the world. The visitors would get to travel down memory lane as they walked the streets of Diagon Alley, searched for the wand of their destiny at Olivander’s and even rode the Hogwarts Express.
This article will dig around to see whether there’s a Harry Potter Theme Park in the UK or not, and we will take you through the Harry Potter-themed attractions in the country.
Is there a Harry Potter Theme Park in England? And where is it?
As surprising as it might sound, there’s no Harry Potter Theme park in England. However, Warner Brothers couldn’t miss the opportunity to maximise the massive fanbase in the country. So, instead of a Harry Potter theme park, they created the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter. And while the location points to London, the studio is in Hertfordshire, north London.
So, how will the Harry Potter studio tour satisfy your love for the series?
A Harry Potter-decorated bus will pick you up from the hotel to head to the studio. During this, you can prepare yourself to experience everything behind the scenes of your famous favourite series. When you reach the studios outside London, you are free to wander around the sets and try out the props, including interesting-looking wigs the actors wore during the making of the films.
If you want to ride a broomstick, you will get a chance to do it! You will get to pretend to run into Platform 9 ¾ and hop on the Hogwarts Express Train to try and make it to Hogwarts on time. The gloomy Forbidden Forest, where Buckbeak, Hippogriff, and Grawp resided, awaits you. Because scenes inside Hogwarts Castle were filmed in different locations around the UK, there’s a duplicate model in the Harry Potter studio tour to make the experience more authentic.
Other authentic spots include the shops and stalls that lined Diagon Alley, the ominous Chamber of Secrets, and Hogwarts’ Great Hall, where flashbacks of school feasts and, most notably, the Battle of Hogwarts will surely bring tears to your eyes. Several Hogwarts classrooms are featured on set, where you will see jars, potions, and duplicates of eccentric creatures used in class.
One set we know you’ll be excited to witness in person, or perhaps not, is Professor Umbridge’s pink office from the Ministry of Magic. We know we almost all agreed to loathe her, but her cat obsession was worth admiration. It would explain a lot about Umbridge’s distorted character; however, that’s another topic for another day.
So, this Harry Potter tour is more of a museum and interactive experience than a theme park. It might sound a bit disappointing at first, but believe us; the tour is utterly worth the trip. It’s a great activity and day outside London if you’re travelling with kids, and we’re certain they’ll enjoy their time, as will you.
If you’re planning on taking the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter tour, we advise you to book your tickets in advance. This tour is the most sought tour in the UK for Potterheads, and tickets run out rather quickly. There are tour guides available on set, and you can seek their help or knowledge regarding anything Harry Potter-related, or you can choose to roam around freely.
What other Harry Potter-themed attractions can Potterheads visit in the UK?
The Making of Harry Potter tour that Warner Brothers introduced in the UK isn’t the series’ only related attraction. Harry Potter had a new addition to its books by introducing The Cursed Child, the 8th book of the series and there are several filming locations around the country where the cast shot numerous unforgettable scenes as well.
Harry Potter Walking Tour
The Harry Potter Walking Tour is an extra tour offered by the Harry Potter Studio Tours. You can book the extra tour, which will take you through a 2.5-hour walking tour around London to visit different shooting spots featured throughout the films. This interesting walking tour will take you to the Market Porter Pub, the face of the Leaky Cauldron pub, and the entrance to the Ministry of Magic. You will get to walk on the Millennium Bridge, which is depicted as Brockdale Bridge in the films and later destroyed by death eaters.
Although having the insights of a professional guide is enjoyable, you can do your research well and opt for taking the walking tour alone.
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Stage Play
After Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione send their youngsters off to their first year at Hogwarts at the end of Deathly Hallows, the story continues with the eighth book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The book was transformed into a stage play by Jack Thorne and earned global acclaim instantly after the first production. In addition to taking place at London’s West End theatre, productions of the play take place in Broadway, Australia, San Francisco, Germany, Canada, and Japan.
The play takes us nineteen years after Deathly Hallows, when the sorting hat places Albus Severus, Harry’s son, in Slytherin House, and he befriends Scorpius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s son. The relationship between Albus and Harry faces many struggles as they both feel dissatisfied with each other’s behaviour.
Today, you can still get tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the West End theatre in London, and you can also book your tickets online in advance. The production at West End allows you to see the play over two parts, with a 20-minute interval in each part.
Ride the Jacobite Steam Train: the Hogwarts Train
Although only witches and wizards are allowed to ride the Hogwarts Express in the series, everyone can ride the real train used in the films—the Jacobite Steam Train. You can enjoy the fascinating views of the Scottish countryside between Fort William and Mallaig. The Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the train crosses during its journey, was featured in the films extensively and is as striking in reality as it is in the films.
Harry Potter Filming Locations Potterheads Will Enjoy
A replica will never feel as authentic as the real location. The magical world of Harry Potter wasn’t all created using the wonderous green screen. Filming locations around the UK are as grandeur as they looked in the films, and paying these places a visit is an exciting Harry Potter experience and a historical one as well.
The Reptile House at London Zoo
The first encounter between Harry and magic comes through the hilarious snake cage scene, where Dudley suddenly finds himself trapped instead of the snake inside the glass cage. Even though the Reptile House at the London Zoo houses more than 600 species of reptiles, there’s no Burmese Phyton snake to be found anywhere. However, the house and the historic zoo, the oldest in the world, make for an entertaining and informative visit.
We witness first-grade students standing in two opposite lines, each with their broomstick lying on the floor to their right as Professor Hooch carefully instructs them. This playful, painful, and challenging scene was shot in the inner courtyard of Alnwick Castle, one of the most remarkable castles in England. In the same courtyard, Oliver Wood, Gryffindor’s Quidditch Team Captain, filled Harry in about the secrets of Quidditch. Shooting at the castle continued through the second Harry Potter film, The Chamber of Secrets.
Built in the 11th century, Alnwick Castle received several restoration works throughout history; the most current dates back to the 18th century and is attributed to Lancelot Brown. Today, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, Ralph Percy, and his family still reside at the castle since they bought the property during the 13th century.
Platform 9 ¾
If you’d like to take your turn in pushing your luggage trolley through Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross Railway Station will gladly offer you the opportunity. The station administration has a sign with a luggage trolley at the same spot where characters from the books and films pushed their trolleys to catch the Hogwarts Express.
The 11th-century Durham Cathedral was featured in several scenes in the first and second Harry Potter films. In his first year, we see Harry bidding Hedwig goodbye as she flies off to deliver a message, which was shot in the cathedral’s cloisters. Ron Wesley spat slugs in the second film out in the cathedral’s courtyard; he also frequently gathered and whispered with Harry and Hermione in the same spot. The cathedral’s Chapter House was home to Professor McGonagall’s class, where she taught the students the basics of Transfiguration.
Gloucester Cathedral is another holy place that dates back to the 11th century and is featured sparingly throughout the Harry Potter films. The scene where Hermione surprisingly found a troll as she got out of the lavatory, while Harry and Ron ran to rescue her, was shot in the cathedral’s cloisters. The same cloisters served as the hallway leading to Gryffindor and where the shocking statement of opening the Chamber of Secrets was written.
Steall Falls: The Triwizard Tournament
The Triwizard Tournament in the fourth book, The Goblet of Fire, is one of the series’ exciting adaptations. Producers used Steall Falls at Ben Nevis Mountain in Scotland as the backdrop of Harry’s first task in the tournament, where he had to beat the horntail dragon to retrieve the golden egg from its nest. Not far away, close to Fort William, producers chose Loch Eilt, a small island, to be Dumbledore’s burial site later in the films.
The house of James and Lily Potter in Godric’s Hollow was featured many times in the films. This vintage and historical-looking house is part of a protected heritage village in Lavenham, Suffolk. The house served as home for Jane Ranzetta and her family for three decades and now serves as a Bed&Breakfast, where you can enjoy Suffolk food and wander around the county.
The well-preserved buildings of Lacock Abbey, a 13th-century abbey in Lacock, Wiltshire, turned into a fortified residence in the 16th century. Remains of the abbey’s cloisters served as Hogwarts’ corridors through numerous Harry Potter films. One of Harry Potter’s wonderous objects was the Mirror of Erised; its name explains its purpose. With “Desire” spelt backwards, the mirror showed a person’s deepest desire, and it was in the abbey’s Chapter House. Two rooms in the abbey served as classrooms in the films, The Sacristy and the Warming Room, serving as Snape’s and Quirrel’s classrooms, respectively, in the first film.
The Market Porter Pub: The Leaky Cauldron
In the third film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry furiously leaves home, boards the purple wizards’ bus and asks to be taken to the Leaky Cauldron Pub. Harry initially intended to enter Diagon Alley through the pub, but he stayed in one of the upper rooms for a night. The Market Porter Pub in Borough Market in London served as the front of the Leaky Cauldron, and you can head there for a light drink or a refreshing lemonade.
University of Oxford
Harry Potter producers drew inspiration from the dining hall at Christ Church College in the University of Oxford to build a duplicate, more extravagant Great Hall at Hogwarts. The college’s Bodley staircase is featured several times throughout the films. It appears noticeably in the first film when first-year students meet Professor McGonagall, and at the film’s end, after Harry, Ron, and Hermione beat Voldemort for the first time.
Although there is no Harry Potter theme park in the UK, we still hope you’ve enjoyed our time with Harry Potter’s tours and attractions in the UK as much as we did.
For more fiction-themed tours based on the latest hit series and films, check out the filming locations for The Last of Us, Netflix’s Wednesday, and Banshees of Inisherin.
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