5 Harry Potter must-dos in London

CALLING ALL POTTERHEADS!

If you’re a magic-loving muggle wandering the streets of London, you’re in for a treat! London is one city where it’s not unusual to see wannabes dressed in wizard robes on the streets, so you don’t have to worry about having any judgemental stares when you let your inner potter fantasy free. But before you say ‘mischief managed!’, make sure you tick these 5 Harry Potter must-dos off the list!

#1 Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter

Dive right into the ACTUAL set of all six Harry Potter films at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, and get to see what it takes to make the magic happen in the films. The first film came out 10 years ago, at a time where CG is not everything, and real-life stage effects had to be used to create magic in films. From props, huge-ass sets, costumes, VFX, very cool robotic versions of the magical creatures, all the way to the actual Hogwarts Express and the delicious food (butterbeer, butterbeer ice cream, chocolate frogs, etc),  it’s going to be one hell of a immersive experience!

Tip 1: Get your tickets at least 1 month in advance at their official website as the time slots fill up quick!

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The Magical Entrance…life-sized chess pieces!

Best way to get there: Shuttle Bus
Hop on the shuttle bus at Watford Station with a print out of your ticket confirmation at hand. This is the best way to get to the studio IMO because then the magic starts even before you reach the studio. The double-decker is covered in Harry Potter print, so you wont be able to miss it when you get out of the station. These buses even have customized number plates – HP05BUS / HP06BUS. Once the bus takes off, an introductory clip will get you into the right mood. Similarly on the way back, a goodbye clip is played.

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Photo Credit: Mullanys Coaches

Don’t worry too much about booking a tour or a guide for this, as the studio is extremely easy to navigate with a written explanation for each exhibition, and you can also rent a digital audio guide for £4.95.

Tip 2: Grab your free passport at the entrance (they only give it to kids, so you’ll have to ask for it, but we’re all kids at heart here when it comes to Harry Potter). At every exhibition there’ll be a passport stamping station, so chop those memories away!

Remember to prepare a half-filled tummy in order to enjoy the yummy Potter goodies at the cafes and restaurants at the tour.

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Why drink Butterbeer…when there’s BUTTERBEER ICE CREAM???!!! Perfect for a hot summer day.

This tour is much more detailed and there’s much more to see as compared to the ones at Universal Studios, so it will definitely be worth the time and money spent!

Tip 3: Don’t bother heading to the Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross if you’re going for this, because they have the full set (of the platform and the actual Hogwards Express) at the studio. There’s also lots more photo opportunities, exclusive merchandise, and YOU GET TO BEAT THE CROWD/QUEUE. You’re welcome.

#2 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Grand Entrance @ the Palace Theatre

BOOM! POW! AWESOME! Be prepared to see flying dementors, magical sparks, blasts of green fire, etc. The magical and extremely mind-blowing stage effects puts this play up there with the best of the best. The play is set 19 years after the series end, and Harry is now in his late 30s, with 3 kids of his own, one of them whom is the black sheep/slytherin of the lot – Albus. Constantly under pressure to measure up to his dad, Albus struggles to fit in at Hogwarts, and ends up finding friendship in someone we’d least expect. Throw in a few unexpected twists, dramatic family feuds, then add in time travel into the mix (the stage effect for this is legend…wait for it….dary) and BOOM, you end up with a magic-packed five hours well spent. Surprisingly, these five hours flew by like a breeze, especially when the surprises keep you on the edge of your seat. Talking about seats….

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We didn’t get the best seats…learn from our mistakes!

You’ll want to get the tickets in advance online for this ( Official Website ) We got ours the day before at the box office, and ended up with a restricted view at the back of the Dress Circle.

Best Seats:  First 4 rows of the Dress Circle/ Last 4 rows of the Stalls
These seats give you the best views as there are no pillars or ceilings blocking your view. It is also ideal to get something a little further away from the stage to be able to see the stage effects in its entirety (especially when there’ll be magic flying out from the stage), but not too far till you can’t to see the actor’s faces.

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The fabulous stage! Photo credit: AAP

Tip: Join THE FRIDAY FORTY
Every friday at 1pm, the organisers release 40 tickets for every performance the following week at just £20 per part for some of the best seats in the house. The button below the countdown clock on the website will change into a ‘book tickets’ button the moment the clock strikes zero. Exciting, isn’t it? Go give it a try!

#3 Tour for Muggles

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Mingle with the Muggles! Photo Credit: Tour For Muggles

Get to visit the Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley, the Ministry of Magic and much more! If you’re a potter film buff, it will be so much fun to go on this one, especially when you get to meet other potterheads. Somehow the magic is contagious, and no one’s immune (even you know who)! At every stop, the guide gives an excellent performance in explaining the fun facts and behind-the-scenes stories to the tour. Be prepared for a approx. 2.5hours tour, and don’t forget to bring along your tube card for a short train ride!
Price: £14 and £12 for kids aged 11 years old and under
Tip: This tour can also double up as a ‘London Sightseeing Tour’, as you’ll be passing the main London attractions along the way. So save some moolah, and kill 2 birds with 1 stone with this tour!

#4 Afternoon Tea @ The Potion Room

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A taste of magic… Photo credit: Cutter & Squidge

How can we no include one of the most English things to do when in London? Yes, it is the oh-so-posh afternoon tea ritual, but with a magical twist! We are on a roll! At the 4th on our list is having a wizard-themed afternoon tea at The Potions Room. A feast for all senses, this experience allows wizards/witches wannabes to try their hand at making colourful potions under a Potions Master ( he can never replace Snape in my heart tho). Then comes the sandwiches, pies, puddings, cakes, and biscuits, which will make you feel like Aunt Marge under an inflation charm when you devour it all.

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Enjoy tea at an actual Potions classroom!  Photo Credit: Cutter & Squidge

Even though this bakery is not affiliated to the Harry Potter franchise, you will still be able to enjoy a literal taste of magic!
Tip: If you’d like to go on weekends, try booking 2 weeks in advance.

#5 School of Witchcraft & Wizardry

 

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Decor is on point! Photo credit: Enigma Quests

 

Do you solemnly swear that you are up to no good? Then this escape room will be perfect for you! Being a student at Hogwarts is always a spellbinding adventure, and you get to have a taste of it at Enigma Quests. There are 3 different kinds of escape rooms at Enigma Quests. There’s The Interstellar, The Heist, but we only care about this one – The School of Witchcraft & Wizardry! This escape room isn’t part of the Harry Potter franchise either, but it gives you an idea of what it takes to be a witch or a wizard. Pass your ‘OWLS’, solve mind-boggling puzzles, and fight against the dark forces is all part and parcel of the experience, HELL YES!
Details: Game lasts 60mins | 3-5 players | tickets start from £90
Tip: Book at least 1 month in advance, the slots get snatched up fast!

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