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Muggles and wizards alike come from all over the world to London for business and pleasure alike: catching West End shows, making withdrawals from Gringott’s, visiting Buckingham Palace, or attending hearings at the Ministry of Magic. Whatever’s bringing you to London, consider including a Harry Potter tour in your plans. You’ll see filming locations from the movies, real-life places that are mentioned in the books, and other places important to the history of witchcraft and wizardry.
Some tours even include a visit to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour north of London in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. A Harry Potter tour is a great lens through which to get an understanding of the geography and history of London itself, as well as the series that has captured the whole world’s imagination, and there are lots of options available. Consider these top-notch options.
Best Walking: London Harry Potter Walking Tour
This walking tour takes you on a magical 2.5-hour traipse through London in the expert care of a Potterphile guide who’ll show you oodles of locations from the Potterverse while peppering your walk with fun trivia about the books, the movies, and the city itself. The tour begins in Leicester Square and winds its way through the real inspiration for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron, over the Millennium Bridge, where Voldemort viciously attacked muggles in Half-Blood Prince, and a number of real-life places that inspired author J.K. Rowling. After a quick tube ride across the city, the tour ends up at Platform 9 ¾ of King’s Cross Station. Note that you’ll need a valid Zone 1 Travelcard in order to participate in this tour, as the whole group will ride the tube together.
Best Bus: Harry Potter Film Location Bus Tour of London
It’s no Knight Bus, but the luxury coach that shuttles you around the city for this bus tour is still pretty comfy. A bus tour allows riders to see a wide variety of Potter tours all throughout London, a city with a famously sprawling footprint, so you really don’t miss much here. As you zip from place to place, your tour guide will regale you with insider facts about the Potter films and give you some insights into J.K. Rowling’s own history with the city.
You’ll visit some locations that are a bit too far-flung to reach on walking tours, including 12 Grimmauld Place (actually a house on Claremont Square in Islington) as well as some of the more famous filming locations in Central London. The tour ends at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, where you’ll disembark from your coach and have plenty of time to pose with the iconic luggage trolley, stuck halfway into the brick wall between Platforms 9 and 10.
Best Taxi: Harry Potter London Taxi Tour
Splurge on the luxury option with this private London Black Taxi tour of Harry Potter-related locations. Your comfortable cab seats five people (the tour price is per cab, not per person) and is chauffeured by a driver with extensive knowledge of the city’s complex geography and plenty of Harry Potter enthusiasm. On the scheduled tour are the real-world Diagon Alley, Leaky Cauldron, Gringott’s Bank, and Platform 9 ¾, as well as plenty of lesser-known locations in between and around.
Because it’s a private tour, though, you have total control and can add or skip any other sights you’d like to see, or take a bit of extra time if one strikes your fancy -- perhaps you’d like to spend extra time posing at King’s Cross Station, or maybe Mr. Ollivander’s taking all day making your wand… whatever your needs, your driver will work with you to make your day unforgettable.
Best Warner Brothers Studio: Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros. Studio in London
Because the Warner Brothers Studio Tour is located a bit outside the city, in the northern suburb of Leavesden, it can be a bit of a haul to get there. Public transportation is an option, but this convenient tour combines both a comfortable air-conditioned coach ride to the studio site and an entrance ticket, making it easy-peasy all around. In the morning, you’ll make your way to London Victoria Station, where you’ll catch your bus for the hour-ish trip to the studio.
There, you’ll have a full three hours to explore the extensive sets, costumes, and props that were used in the making of the eight Harry Potter films: from Hagrid’s Hut to the original Hogwarts Express steam train. You’ll get a glimpse of the green-screen technology that allowed the actors to fly on broomsticks and a close-up of the animatronics that brought dragons, trolls, and more to life. At your designated time, you’ll re-board your coach and head back to London Victoria Station.
Best Combo Tour: The Magic of Harry Potter in London
If you want to see the Warner Brothers Studio Tour as well as some of the real-life filming locations from the Harry Potter movies, consider this combo tour. In the morning, you’ll follow your guide on foot through central London, visiting King’s Cross Station and other recognizable landmarks. After getting a good walk in, you can rest your feet on your comfy, air-conditioned motorcoach for your hour-long trip to Leavesden, home of the Warner Brothers Studio. Admission is included, and you’ll have a full three hours to explore the prop-packed lots where the movies were filmed, before being returned back to London. It’s a jam-packed day that offers a deep dive into the Potterverse at an excellent price.
Best Outside The City: Private Harry Potter Movie Sites from London: Oxford and Lacock
While many scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed in London, many were also filmed in areas outside the city. Christchurch College in Oxford, for example, is home to what you’ll recognize as the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll also find the grand Bodleian Library there. In the films, it’s a stand-in for the Hogwarts Library, and the real thing is packed with historic manuscripts that are fascinating in their own right. Two hours away, you’ll find the ancient village of Lacock, home to Lacock Abbey, whose arched cloister walkways became the corridors of Hogwarts and whose stony chambers became the classrooms. Both of these locations are on the docket on this private day tour that begins and ends right at the front door of your London hotel.
Your driver/guide will illuminate each stop and explain both its significance in the Harry Potter movies and in British history, and on the drive, you can use the vehicle’s Wi-Fi to upload all of the cool pictures you took. Meals are not included in the price but time for both lunch and dinner (and logical stopping points for both) are factored into the day’s itinerary.
Best Discount: Interactive Harry Potter Walking Tour of London
London has Harry Potter tours available at all different price points, but don’t write off the low-cost ones, as many of them — and this one in particular — are downright excellent. This tour begins with a sorting ceremony in front of the theatre where the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is performed. Once you’ve been assigned to your house, you’re off, winding your way through central London streets, enjoying trivia games (and winning points for your house!) as you walk from filming site to filming site.
You’ll see the real entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, the original inspiration for Knockturn Alley, the building which became the Ministry of Magic in the films, and much more. Your two-hour tour will end at Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station, where you’ll discover which house won the day. This tour involves a whole lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and be sure to bring a camera.
Best for Kids: Harry Potter Walking Tour for Muggles in London
“Aren’t all Harry Potter tours for kids?” you might ask. Well… yes, sure, but this one is really specifically geared for children and the most playful sorts of adults. Bring your wand along or even show up in full robes and get ready for a lighthearted, information-packed, 2.5-hour walk through London along with your guide, who loves Harry Potter as much as you (or your children) do. You’ll see both filming locations and those that inspired the books, including the real-life Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley, the Leaky Cauldron, and the Ministry of Magic. On your travels, your guide will also point out interesting muggle sights, like the Golden Hinde (a reproduction of Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship), the ancient Clink Prison, and the glorious St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular Harry Potter tours of London on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different tours overall, screened options from 25 different brands and read over 100 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.