How to have a Harry Potter vacation

Harry Potter inspired a new generation of Anglophiles around the world to fall in love with the country and culture. And while trips to the UK are all fine and good, here's how to take your trip to the next level and get the full Wizarding experience. 

Harry Potter

1. Tour London 

Tour London

London plays a pivotal role in the series, as the crossing between the Muggle world into the Wizarding one. Visit Charing Cross Road, where the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron is supposed to be. You can also walk through Picadilly Circus, where the trio Apparate to in the movies when they escape the wedding, and visit Leadenhall Market to see where they got many of the exterior shots for Diagon Alley. 

But, maybe most importantly, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is just a train ride away from London. Set at Leavesden Studios, where the movies were filmed, you can see many of the original props and sets, drink butterbeer, and see the model of Hogwarts itself.  

2. King's Cross Station

King's Cross Station

King’s Cross may be in London, but it's so important that it deserves an entry of its own. The train station is where the kids famously take the Hogwarts Express from, after dropping through the wall between Platform 9 and Platform 10. That wall doesn’t actually exist (Rowling was thinking about a different train station when she wrote it), but there is a cart halfway through a wall where you can pose for as many pictures as your heart desires. There is now also a Harry Potter gift shop, where you can get your fill of fun, new merch. 

3. Take the train from King’s Cross to Scotland

Harry Potter

Hogwarts is in Scotland, so it’s only fitting that you round out your Harry Potter tour by taking a train following a similar path. You can take a train from King’s Cross up to Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, where JK Rowling has lived much of her life. If you want to trek a little further into the highlands, you can take a train across the Glennfinnan viaduct, which serves as one of the most famous Hogwarts Express shots. 

4. Visit Edinburgh hotspots

Edinburgh hotspots

Scattered around Edinburgh are pivotal places for fans to visit. There’s the Elephant House cafe, which famously tout itself as the place where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Thought she didn’t actually write there that much, the bathroom has been graffitied over thousands of times by fans, and it’s an amazing experience. You can also check out the café where she wrote a lot of the first book, which is now called Spoon. Outside of the building there is a small plaque marking its importance. 
For something a little more intense, you can walk through the graveyard with the Riddel grave, where she took Voldemort’s original last name from. Just ask someone to point you toward the Grayfriars Bobby cemetary.

To round out your tour, the Balmoral Hotel has the suite where she finished writing Deathly Hallows. While you may not be able to get up, it’s always fun to visit and have afternoon tea while you try to soak up the magic.