The best way to determine the success of a product, whether it’s a movie, book, or TV show, is to pit it against the ruthless passing of time. It’s easy for a certain something to be a one-time hit that will get lost among the tides and replaced by the other future products to come. Harry Potter definitely isn’t one of those one-hit marvels. The tale about a wizard boy destined to defeat an evil wizard lord together with his wizard companions changed the world so much that no matter how many times I write the word “wizard,” I can only think about the series. Sorry, Merlin, maybe fight some basilisks, werewolves, and dementors and give it another shot.
The success of the franchise was a bit surprising, especially considering the fact that J.K. Rowling got turned down by plenty of publications when she presented them her manuscript for Sorcerer’s Stone. Not only did she continue writing six more books after that, but they were also equally brilliantly adapted in a total of eight movies. Speaking of which, it was also the first series to tackle down the now overused “split the last book into two movies” formula that was picked up by other titles of the likes of Twilight, Hunger Games, or Divergent.
But if you thought that all of those things previously mentioned are enough for Harry Potter to leave a long-lasting mark on the history of literature, you were right. However, that didn’t stop the world of witchcraft and wizardry from expanding even further, fortunately for us. As time passes, the tales of Hogwarts are slowly diving into the nostalgic category and, in no time, people who have grown up with the franchise will look back to their childhood series with bittersweet melancholy. The good news is that we can all tame this nostalgic impulse, by going on a Harry Potter London adventure.
Enter the Magical World of Hogwarts (Literally)
If you’re a Potterhead, paying a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is an absolute must. The studios are the heart and foundation of the popular films and they have opened their gates to guests. In exchange for £66 tickets (£61 for children), visitors are able to trek through the original sets where the movies were shot. They showcase everything from unique costumes, props, animatronics, and special effects secrets to an environment that feels so genuine you’ll begin wondering if you’re not a muggle anymore.
There are many things that you will see on the tour, including the sets for the Great Hall, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore’s Office, Umbridge’s Office, Hagrid’s Hut, and plenty of other iconic locations.
To give away just a few of the secrets previously mentioned, there is one particular highlight that is bound to draw gasps from any visitor laying their eyes on it. Built to a 1:24 scale, the original model of Hogwarts is going to make you wonder how anyone could have the patience to craft it so finely and with so much attention to detail. The replica is the original that was used for shots of Hogwarts’ exterior during the first six movies. I’m certain that pretty much all of us didn’t doubt for a second that the castle didn’t actually exist, which makes the mastery of this construction all the more incredible.
If you’re curious about the way the impressive magical creatures were brought to our screens, the studio tour gives you a peek at an 18-foot wide Aragog hanging from the ceiling, an animatronic Buckbeak, and several models that have been used for Dobby the House Elf.
At the end of an eventful tour day like this, visitors that have a decent amount of money can stop at a merchandise shop, which is rich in items of the highest quality. You can buy any of the Horcruxes, polyester scarves for any of the houses, and even sweets. The cheapest item available for grabs is a £3.95 lollipop, with the most expensive one being a high-quality replica of Dumbledore’s robe, purchasable in exchange for a jaw-dropping £495.95.
Find Out if You’re One of Voldemort’s Lost Soul Pieces
Who doesn’t love a good, old trip to the zoo? It was at the Reptile House in the London Zoo where Harry discovered that he had the gift of Parseltongue when he realized he was able to communicate with a python. In many senses, this was the place where it all began. Sure, the trigger for the action was Hagrid’s legendary “Yer a wizard, Harry,” but it was thanks to this friendly reptilian that the audience started realizing something fishy was going on. Not only did it give an idea that he wasn’t an average child, but it was a foreshadowing that would only be explained in Chamber of Secrets.
If you’re planning to head to the Reptile House, you might as well take a look around the whole zoo. You may do this for as much as £24.25 for a ticket, with the cheapest being a children’s £17.60 ticket.
Jam Your Trolley Into a Wall (Don’t Actually Do It)
Good news – this one is for free. Head over to King’s Cross station and stop to snap a memorable photo next to the famous Platform 9 ¾. The platform was ingeniously designed to offer visitors the full Harry Potter experience, by having a trolley stuck in its wall. Moreover, you may even visit the Harry Potter Shop, located near the platform and decorated to resemble Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
Other than these three key locations, there are other places you may visit that not only will make you sigh deeply remembering all your childhood memories but will also offer you a small London sightseeing experience. Stop at the Leadenhall covered Victorian market to see where many of the shots for Diagon Alley were taken. Pass through Piccadilly Circus to reminiscence the place where the Golden Trio fled to after Fleur’s and Bill’s wedding got swarmed by Death Eaters. And since you need to travel to get to these places, might as well visit the Westminster Tube and follow the route to the Ministry of Magic that Harry and Arthur Weasley took in Order of the Phoenix.