The news of a Harry Potter play debuting in London’s West End next summer has caused a pandemonium online and on social media. Tickets for the first four months’ performances sold out in hours. Many will undoubtedly be counting down the days until the play’s opening so to fill in the void and lessen the anxiety until the continuation of the highly anticipated saga, check out one of these best cities to visit for Harry Potter fans to refresh your memory before seeing the play.
Best Cities to Visit for Harry Potter Fans
Potter fans will relive many of the important moments of the series when they visit London. A stroll down the City’s Leadenhall Market will bring back memories of Harry’s first trip to Diagon Alley. Then there’s King’s Cross Station, where he begins his annual trip to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The aforementioned station has now been turned into a tourist attraction on its own, thanks to Platform 9 and ¾ (though Jo did admit that she was thinking of Euston Station.) In the movies, Potter fans will recall the Millennium Bridge, which was ripped and destroyed by the Death Eaters at the beginning of the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. If that’s not enough, you can head to Euston Station and catch a train to the suburbs of Watford Junction (20 miles northwest) to get a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden where all eight movies were filmed. For an authentic Potter-themed experience, book a stay at the Georgia House Hotel where you can request the Wizard Chambers room, a replica of Harry’s bedchamber at Hogwarts.
In addition to being one of the greatest university towns, visitors to Oxford will also be treated to a number of Harry Potter-themed sights. Step into Christ Church, one of Oxford University’s colleges and you’ll imagine yourself like a first-year when entering Hogwart’s Dining hall where the sorting begins. The grand staircase at Hogwarts is also modeled after Christ Church’s. The real life Hermoine most likely will spend a lot of her time at Duke Humfrey’s Library, the same one used during the first film while Harry and Ron, who were both prone to accidents, would have found themselves inside the Divinity School, recuperating.
The city of Edinburgh is where the Harry Potter book series started and ended. Jo Rowling, the series author, calls Edinburgh home and part of the appeal of visiting the city for Potter fans is seeing the cafes associated with the author. The first stop for many is undoubtedly The Elephant House, the place where Jo spent hours writing chapters for the early novels. Stay and order a cup of Fleur’s Fantasy as you sit on a table in the back room with views of the Edinburgh Castle. The most interesting part of the café though is inside the loo, where Potter fans left thousands of handwritten notes expressing gratitude to the author. Another key location is The Balmoral, the hotel where Jo Rowling finished the last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Fans can stay at the same suite, which is now named JK Rowling Suite, in honor of the author; though expect to pay a hefty price tag. Room rates begin at around 675 GBP.
The Highlands, Scotland
The appeal of Scotland doesn’t quite stop in Edinburgh. In fact, as you traverse upwards to the Highlands, you’ll find that their dramatic landscapes were incorporated in several of the films. Glencoe, in particular, provided the backdrop for many of the scenes on Hogwarts’ grounds as well as the outdoor scenes from The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half-Blood Prince. Fans can also experience part of the same train ride that Harry, Ron, and Hermoine took to get to Hogwarts through the Jacobite Steam Train, which runs from the towns of Fort William and Mallaig. It passes through the stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct, where Dementors stalled and entered the train in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Toronto, Canada made this list of thanks to the newly opened Harry Potter-inspired bar, The Lockhart, named after the utterly charming, but duplicitous sophomore Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gilderoy Lockhart. The Toronto joint offers guests a variety of cocktails referred to as “potions and elixirs,” many of which have Potter influences. Try their Lockhart Caesar, made with vodka, clamato, and a whip of death potion, or the rum-based The Shackelbolt, infused with their housemade spiced rum and ginger beer. If coming with a group, indulge on the Beffudlement Draft, a shareable cocktail served in a cauldron. There are also subtle references to the book like a mural of a stag, the form of Harry Potter’s patronus, and a sign referring to the toilets as “The Ministry of Magic.”
One cannot possibly talk about the best cities to visit for Harry Potter fans without mentioning Orlando, Florida. The city of theme parks features the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, located in Universal Studios, Orlando. The theme park has two sections: Diagon Alley, where fan can stock up on their school supplies and board the Hogwarts Express and Hogsmeade, which contains Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle.