Wands at the ready

We have a magical feel to this blog, hold onto your Nimbus 2000 because we will be showing you the secrets of Harry Potter (well where the film locations are anyway)! The Harry Potter film franchise is the highest grossing film series in history, and our wonderful capital is showed off extensively! With gripping story lines, magic spells, Quidditch matches and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Potter Mania has captured the imagination of kids (and grownup kids) the world over.

We begin with the one everyone knows, Kings Cross Station. Harry and his friends leave for Hogwarts from platform 9 3/4. There is now a Harry Potter shop at King’s Cross, and a lovely photograph can be taken with a trolley placed to look like it’s halfway through a brick wall. But the exterior shots of Kings Cross in the movie, was actually shot outside St Pancras station next door to Kings Cross. I think the most memorable scene shot here was in the Chamber of Secrets, when the Flying Ford Anglia is parked outside.

In the Philosophers Stone, Harry visits the Reptile House of London Zoo (where he talks to a Burmese Python). This can be part of a great day out for kids. The Komodo Dragons are particularly impressive!

Harry, Ron and Hermione apparate to Piccadilly Circus while on the run from Death Eaters who attack Bill and Fleur’s wedding during the Deathly Hallows Part One, this is where you will find the famous Statue of Eros. Eros was originally designed as a memorial to Lord Shaftesbury in 1893. Built by Alfred Gilbert, it is supposed to be Anteros, the brother of Eros, or the Angel of Christian Charity but alas this was lost on Londoners! This was the worlds first aluminium sculpture.

Lincoln’s Inn Field (nearest tube Holborn) is used as 12 Grimmauld Place, the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Harry, his friends and the Aurors from the Order, have just completed and amazing escape on their brooms from Privet Drive. Flying along the River Thames, they show off some beautiful highlights of London and Westminster. When they arrive at Grimmauld Place the group use the north gate from the gardens of Lincoln’s Inn Field to cast the spell that reveals the property. If you visit Lincoln’s Inn Field, there are two free museums there, the Hunterian Museum, and Sir John Soane’s Museum, which we have highlighted in previous blogs. We go here on our Ghost Walk!

No stroll through the City is complete without a trip to Leadenhall Market (closest tube Bank, Monument or Liverpool Street). This beautiful indoor market was designed by Sir Horace Jones (the architect behind Tower Bridge), and opened in 1881. The area is used in the first film when Hagrid takes Harry shopping for school supplies. “Can we find all this in London?” Harry asks Hagrid, as they are walking through Leadenhall Market. “If you know where to look” Hagrid replies. They then enter the Leaky Cauldron through 42 Bull’s head Passage, which is now an opticians! Make sure you check out all this beautiful market has to offer, but try not to go too close to lunchtime, because it is located in the heart of the finical district and gets very busy.

In the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry catches the Knight Bus to London (because he’s blown up his Aunt) and as it’s going over a bridge it has to narrow magically to get past two other buses. This bridge is Lambeth Bridge very close to the Houses of Parliament and also the Tate Britain (which is free to visit). Harry is dropped off at the Leaky Cauldron, which is now located south of the river near London Bridge station. The entrance is located in the heart if Borough Market (which we see on the City and Southbank tour daily). No trip to London is ever complete without a visit to this fantastic area. There’s street food, cider tents and top quality produce, make sure you check it out!

The interior shots Gringotts Wizarding Bank are filmed in the Australian High Commission. This grand interior is shown off extensively in the films, but sadly cannot be viewed by the public without express permission. It is used as one of the largest polling office in the world during the Australian elections. It is located on the corner of Aldwych/Strand opposite the church of St Clement Danes.

I hope you can catch some of these sights on your next trip to London. If you have any questions/comments, or you want to request a subject we can blog about, please tweet us @freelondonwalks or find us on Facebook/freelondonwalkingtour.

A couple of weeks back, Monday morning