Harry Potter has captivated the minds of so many people over the past two decades. That’s right, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published 20 years ago in 1997, followed by the American version, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 1998. Many locations in the book take place in the very real world of London, making this city a must-see for Potterheads from all over the world. If you only have three days to experience this city, here is good itinerary highlighting the best Harry Potter attractions while still incorporating the classic “must-dos” in London.
Start your first day with a city tour that will take you past the major icons like Big Ben, the London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. Listen to the tour guide for some inside information, and learn what monuments you’re okay just driving by and which ones you want to revisit later. One of the biggest things you probably won’t want to miss is the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which happens outside of the Buckingham Palace every hour, on the hour. Once the Palace has changed guards for the hour, head over to two different train stations (which happen to be right next to each other), King’s Cross and St. Pancras. King’s Cross, the famous train station mentioned in Harry Potter, has a special set up for platform 9 ¾ where visitors can take a picture entering the platform adorned by a house scarf of their choosing.
After visiting King’s Cross, go next door to St. Pancras. Some believe that this lesser known train station is the real inspiration behind Harry Potter’s King’s Cross Station since the aesthetics of St. Pancras mirror some of the descriptions in the books. If you have some extra time, a Harry Potter London Tour is also available which will take you past the locations used as inspiration for several Harry Potter locations, such as Gringotts Bank, Diagon Alley, and the Leaky Cauldron.
Spend your second day by traveling a little outside of London to Oxford University. This world famous University has been home to Nobel Prize winners, actors, poets, Olympic medal winners, and world leaders. Oxford is worth a visit for this impressive merit alone, but Harry Potter fans will enjoy the locations around campus that were used during filming. The Oxford dining hall, divinity room, ballroom, and one of the courtyards are all places Potterhead’s will recognize. While you’re already outside of London, try taking a trip to Stonehenge. There are no Harry Potter connections here, but this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site is a can't miss if you're in the area.
Upon your return into the city, get some tickets to enjoy one of London’s greatest gems-the theater. Don’t fret if Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets are sold out, there are always some amazing plays being performed.
Head over to the “pièce de résistance” on your last day in London-the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Plan to spend the majority of the day here because once you get in, you won’t want to leave. They have almost every prop you can think of that was used in the movies, including Hagrid’s flying motorcycle, the cupboard under the stairs, Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, the Hogwarts Express, and a whole set-up of Diagon Alley. Take your time to marvel in all the different aspects that went into making the movie, grab some butterbeer, and try not to go completely broke in the souvenir shop.
If you find yourself with some downtime during these three days, some other things to do include taking your picture crossing the famous Abbey Road like the Beatles, visiting the Leadenhall Market (which was the location for Diagon Alley in the first movie), making a call in one of the classic red phone booths, walking around Piccadilly Circus (which is where Harry, Ron, and Hermione apparate to while escaping death eaters during Bill and Fleur’s wedding), or taking a ride on the London Eye.
London is full of things to do for travelers, foodies, and Potterheads alike. If you only have three days to see as much as you can in this wonderful city, this itinerary will give you the best of both worlds; allowing you to bask in the magical world of Harry Potter while not missing out on the classic London attractions.