Screen to Re(e)l Life: Harry Potter’s London

Visit any book or souvenir shop in London and you’ll see that Harry Potter mania has not died down since the final book and movie about the world famous boy wizard had been released. Most recently, the J.K. Rowling-approved spinoff Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a smash success in the West End. While you probably can’t afford tickets unless you have Malfoy-family style wealth, you’re soaking up some of the Harry Potter glow just by being in London. King’s Cross Station, home of platform 9 3⁄4, now holds a Harry Potter shop with an insane queue, and yes, the scenes from the movie were filmed in this busy rail and Underground station. Movie crews also filmed in London for scenes where the characters enter the Ministry of Magic—just like the muggle government, wizard HQ is in Britain’s busiest city. Harry and his friends can also be seen flying, via broomstick, past the famous Westminster skyline: the London Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament whiz past in The Order of the Phoenix. Other moments are subtler: The Leaky Cauldron Tavern, entrance to Diagon Alley, is alternately filmed in Borough Market and Leadenhall Market. Rowling has said she originally imagined it on Charing Cross Road, but its businesses make for more difficult filming. If you want to get super niche (by which we mean nerdy) you can stop by the Australia High Commission, a.k.a. Gringotts Bank, or Claremont Sq., the inspiration for Grimald Place. Finally, although not in the books, the Millenium Bridge is destroyed by Death Eaters in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Thankfully, it has since been restored.

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