Are you planning a trip to London and love Harry Potter? Then this itinerary is for you! From behind the scenes stories, to attending your own potions class, this is the perfect way to spend a Harry Potter inspired day in the city.
Note: All prices are listed in GBP and USD. As of December 2019, £1.00 GBP = $1.30 USD.
1) Visit King’s Cross and St. Pancras Stations
Start your day by heading to King’s Cross Station. Although this will be a quick stop, it’s fun to see a Harry Potter filming location in the heart of London.
King’s Cross boasts both a Harry Potter shop, along with the iconic photo op of walking your luggage trolley through the hidden platform 9 & 3/4. These are located in the back of the station, not actually between platforms 9 and 10.
Once done at King’s Cross, don’t forget to walk across the street to the entrance of St. Pancras Station. It was also featured in the films, where Ron and Harry take Mr. Weasley’s flying car after getting locked out of boarding the Hogwart’s Express.
Platform 9 & 3/4 Photography
You can access platform 9 & 3/4 during the normal operating hours of King’s Cross Station. As of 2019 their hours are:
- Sunday – Friday, 5:00 AM – 1:36 AM
- Saturday, 5:00 AM – 1:11 AM
It’s free to take photos with your own camera. However, if you want a professional photo there are professional photographers available. The professional photographers operate the following schedule:
- Sunday, 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM
- Monday – Saturday, 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Cost for a professional photograph is £9.50 GBP ($12.43 USD) for one, £15.00 GBP ($19.63 USD ) for two, or £20.00 GBP ($26.17 USD) for three.
ProTip: If you’re attending the Harry Potter Studios Tour, and don’t mind taking a free photo with your own camera, then skip waiting in the long line at King’s Cross Station. The studio tour has multiple trolleys setup for the same photo op, meaning you won’t have to wait as long or feel rushed in ensuring you get the perfect pose.
2) Tour the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio
Once done at King’s Cross Station, make your way to the Warner Bros. Studios where all seven Harry Potter movies were filmed. On the tour you’ll get to step behind the scenes and learn all (okay many) secrets to how they brought J.K. Rowling’s books to life. From exploring the sets, to seeing how they built the props, and even going on a hunt for the golden snitch, there’s something here for everyone.
We honestly weren’t expecting the tour to be so in-depth and immersive! The price seemed high at first, but considering everything you get from the tour, it’s well worth it. Whether you read the books, watched the movies, or both, it’s sure to be a fun time.
Buying Your Tickets
This is a very popular tour, and you must pre-book your tickets in advance. You cannot purchase tickets at the studio entrance. The easiest way to pre-book the tickets is online at https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk. Prices start at £47.00 GBP for adults and £38.00 GBP for children ($61.50 USD adults and $49.72 USD children).
We recommend buying tickets for an early time slot versus later in the day. That way you can get some photos without a large crowd milling about. It’ll also mean you have as much time as desired in the exhibits without feeling rushed before closing.
There’s the ability to add an audio guide onto your ticket price, which provides information beyond the placards scattered throughout the exhibits. Tom rented one and found it difficult to juggle between listening to the audio guide and reading. As such, we only recommend renting the audio guide if you’re an extreme Potterhead and have the time to spare. Otherwise the written info provides a wealth of detail and will be sufficient for most visitors.
Getting to the Studio Tour
There are multiple ways for getting to the studio tour. However, we recommend using public transit because it’s just so dang easy. To do this, you first catch the Tube to the London Euston Station, where you’ll then transfer to an overground train headed for Watford Junction. Travel time from Euston to Watford Junction is approximately 20 minutes.
Once at Watford Junction, go outside of the station to the bus lot. There, close to the street, you’ll catch a shuttle bus that runs to the studio. You’ll know it’s the correct bus because it’s decorated in Harry Potter imagery.
The shuttle bus costs an additional £3.00 GBP ($3.93 USD) per person, and covers both your trip to the studio and later the return to the station. Online it says you’ll be required to show your tickets for the tour, but we weren’t asked for proof of purchase when boarding the bus.
Besides the sustainability of using public transit, we also like this route because you can pay for the majority of the journey (both the Tube and overground train) using the London Oyster Card. An Oyster Card can be purchased directly from a ticket kiosk and is a better deal than single-trip tickets if you plan to be in London for multiple days. This is because the Oyster Cards have a maximum payment limit per day, so if you do a lot of sightseeing and movement around the city, you’ll save money. Additionally, the Oyster Card can be returned at the end of your trip, refunding any remaining balance leftover.
ProTip: If traveling in a group of 4 or more people, look into group tickets for the overground train from Euston Station to Watford Junction. Our group found it to be slightly better priced than if we each used our individual Oyster Cards.
If you’re coming from out of country, and plan in advance, you can purchase a Visitor’s Oyster Card. It’s essentially the same thing as a regular Oyster Card, but includes a few other tourist specific discounts around the city. Learn more here.
Additional Studio Tour Tips
- There is so much to see and do on this tour. Wear good walking shoes and be prepared to read if you want the full download on all the makings of the film.
- Pack your own lunch. About halfway through the tour there’s a cafeteria where you can buy food, but in our opinion it’s overpriced and tastes mediocre.
- If you purchase a hot meal at the cafeteria, note that they don’t include french fries (aka chips); they’re added on for an additional cost. If you don’t want fries, then tell the cashier when ordering, otherwise they’ll just automatically add them onto your meal. Although we wanted fries with our meals, we would have appreciated the cashier’s mentioning the added cost at time of ordering so it didn’t feel like a hidden fee.
- Take your time and don’t rush your way through the exhibits, especially if you’re coming from out of town and don’t know when or if you’ll ever visit again. Even after spending 5-6 hours there, Tom and I still missed things that the other person saw.
3) End the Day at a Cocktail Potions Class
The best way to end your Harry Potter themed day is by attending a potions class. Put on by The Cauldron, they don’t have any official tie to Harry Potter (in fact, mentioning Harry Potter inside will get you looks of confusion). It’s still a wicked good time though for adult witches and wizards.
Each experience takes place over a 2 hour period. Upon entering you’ll receive capes and a magic wand. The host then leads you to your potions station, helps you retrieve your initial welcome drink (to get those creative juices flowing!) and shows you the list of brew-able potions to select from.
Working in pairs of two, you and your partner select two different potions to brew. The host will then bring you the ingredients and a set of instructions to begin. Channeling your magic, you then brew to the best of your ability.
ProTip: If attending with a group of friends, each pair should pick a different set of potions so everyone can taste the entire menu.
Overall the experience was super fun, and I can honestly say that there are some skills involved with getting the proper chemical reaction in your brewing. It’s not just a mix and drink type of experience, although I’m sure everything tastes good no matter how well you do at brewing the cocktails.
Potions for Purchase
If two potions isn’t enough, then there’s the ability to order additional cocktails. We, however, had so much fun with the props and savoring our drinks that we didn’t need any extras. Before we knew it, 2 hours was up and it was time for us to return to the muggle world.
ProTip: They do not serve food at The Cauldron, so plan to grab bites either before or after your potions class. The potions are strong, so we recommend beforehand to ensure you don’t experience any adverse side-effects.
Booking Your Class
This is a popular event, and it’s recommended to purchase tickets online beforehand. While you can try and do a walk-in experience, there’s no guarantee they’ll have space available.
Cost is £29.99 GBP ($39.25 USD) per person at off-peak times, or £34.99 GBP ($45.78 USD) per person at peak times. This price includes a welcome drink, plus two brew-your-own cocktails.
Tickets are released in batches, a few months at a time. As such, you’ll need to watch for when your desired timeframe becomes available and then request tickets accordingly.
If you’re planning on giving this activity as a gift, or are booking from out of country, then we recommend purchasing a voucher. Once you have a voucher, you can redeem it for your date of choice, before the associated batch of tickets goes live. This worked perfectly for us since we only had a few days in London and needed to guarantee we could get tickets together. It required a little extra communication with their office staff, but the team was happy to help and get our tickets sorted out.
Hours and Location
This is a witching hour event, so unless you’re attending on a weekend, plan for a late evening out. As of 2019, operating hours are as follows:
|Day of the Week||Hours of Operation|
|Tuesday||5:00 PM – 1:00 AM|
|Wednesday||5:00 PM – 1:00 AM|
|Thursday||5:00 PM – 1:00 AM|
|Friday||1:00 PM – 1:00 AM|
|Saturday||11:00 AM – 1:00 AM|
|Sunday||11:00 AM – Midnight|
The Cauldron is located at 79 Stoke Newington Rd. Although you can take a cab, we once again recommend using public transit. The Tube/overground train network is vast within London, super easy to navigate, and provides safe transport after a night of drinking.
The nearest overground train stations are Dalston Kingsland & Dalston Junction. Google Maps is great for getting directions from your location to the venue and back.
Are there any other activities you’d recommend for a Harry Potter themed day in London? Let us know in the comments below.