Top 5 ‘Harry Potter’ Movie Locations In London

April 4, 2012

London Sights

A guest post from Nick Sim:

The Harry Potter movies have captivated audiences all over the world, breaking several box office records in the process. Given the magic-focused storylines of the books that the movies are based on, it’s not surprising that many of the locations featured in the films were created in studios or computer-generated. However, because Potter and his friends share their world with “muggles”, a variety of real-world locations also appear in the movies. Many of these are conveniently located in the city of London – here’s a run-down of 5 recognisable landmarks that every Potter fan should visit.

5. Millennium Bridge

One of the most dramatic scenes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince involves a group of Death Eaters destroying the fictional Brockdale Bridge, causing the deaths of a large number of “muggles”. The real-world Millennium Bridge plays the role of the bridge, and seeing it in real-life evokes vivid memories of the movie scene.

Confusingly, the Millennium Bridge itself is destroyed in the original Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book, on which the film is based. Londoners will perhaps not be surprised to see it collapse so easily, with the structure having earned the nickname “the Wobbly Bridge” after it was forced to close for nearly two years in order to eliminate an uncomfortable swaying motion.

4. The Reptile House, London Zoo

London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo, having opened in April 1828. The main draws for most visitors are the big cats (including Asian lions and Sumatran tigers) and the rare western lowland gorillas. Many visitors will avoid the Reptile House, preferring not to see the slithering snakes within.

Of those guests that do brave the Reptile House, it’s unlikely that many will be able to hold a conversation with one of its occupants. Harry Potter did, though, having held a lengthy discussion with a Burmese python in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A plaque commemorates the scene, which actually took place in front of the black mamba’s enclosure.

3. Leadenhall Market

One of the most memorable London locations seen in the Harry Potter movies is Diagon Alley, the mysterious street that houses a number of magical retail outlets. Of course, the alley doesn’t really exist, and was actually created using a combination of studio sets and computer wizardry.

Leadenhall Market, though, was used to represent the area of London close to Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The market itself is hosted in a spectacular Victorian building, which features an impressive painted roof. The most recognisable element is an opticians’ store, which acted as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub in the movie.

2. King’s Cross Station

Who can forget Harry Potter’s journeys to Hogwarts Castle at the start of each school year, on-board the legendary Hogwarts Express train? These commenced at King’s Cross Station, on the mythical Platform 9 ¾. In the books and movies, this is reached by walking through the wall between platforms 9 and 10.

In real-life, however, platforms 9 and 10 are separated by two tracks. The entrance seen in the movies is actually located between platforms 4 and 5, although you’ll find a trolley disappearing “into the wall” near the entrance to platforms 9, 10 and 11 on the new Western Concourse.

1. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Large sections of the Harry Potter movies were filmed at Leavesden Studios, which was fully acquired by the movies’ producer, Warner Bros. in November 2010. The company has since invested more than £100 million in upgrading the studio’s facilities. Most excitingly, this included restoring many of the sets seen in the films, which can now be seen as part of a guided tour.

The tours take in a number of indoor locations, including the Great Hall of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. Several outdoors locations are also featured, including Privet Drive (a row of 10 houses that includes the home of the Dursleys) and Hogwarts Bridge.

While it’s possible to visit Harry Potter movie locations all over the UK, most fans will be more than satisfied by the selection on offer in London. Grab your broomstick, and start exploring!

Photo credits

Nick Sim is a muggle located in Ipswich, England. He can be found online covering updates from theme parks all over the world, including all the latest Alton Towers news.

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Pete Stean is a keen blogger, amateur photographer, singer and ham radio enthusiast in his spare time... Google+

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