For anyone who grew up in the early years of the 21st Century, there is perhaps no world more immersive than that of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter stories. The 7-book series has become a global phenomenon, spanning books, movies, plays, video games and basically an entire subculture.
It’s a world that is enjoyed by both children and adults alike and for some young people, Harry Potter is an obsession that has overtaken their lives. There are those who model their style and personality after their favourite character or who design their home with the Harry Potter aesthetic in mind.
As much passion as we can immerse ourselves in the stories, and as much as we can express our love for it, we all still realize that it’s a fictional universe. And as much as we might like to truly experience the world, it’s not possible.
But we can sure make ourselves feel like we’re experiencing it first hand. The passion is so vast and so widespread, that there are so many places around the world which seem like they are straight out of the books. Here’s 8 of them that every Harry Potter fan should visit:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
You knew this one was going to be one here. The Wizarding World is the blanket term for the entire franchise that has stemmed from the original books, but it’s also the name of the chain of theme parks spread out across Universal Studios various global locations.
If you want to see the original which was opened all the way back in 2010, you can visit it in Orlando Florida. It’s the most complete Harry Potter experience on the planet. The Hogwarts castle has been recreated, along with Hogsmeade village and Diagon Alley.
If you visit, you can get your own wand, you can get a butterbeer from the Three Broomsticks, ride the Hogwarts express and eat a variety of different Harry Potter candies such as chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans.
Before you go, you should find out what your Hogwarts House is so that you can then experience the joy of visiting that common room for the first time. There’s also a variety of rides and tours for you to enjoy too.
Harry Potter Studio
The Wizarding World is designed to make you feel like you’re actually at Hogwarts, but the Harry Potter set, located in Leavesden Studios in London, will give you a behind the scenes look at the making of the films.
You can sit in the actual Great Hall set where the actors spent many shooting days, see the dozens and dozens of props and costumes that are scattered around the set and even experience what it was like to shoot a scene on the back of a broomstick firsthand.
Georgian House Hotel
In the Georgian House Hotel in London, there is a room tucked away behind a bookcase known as the ‘The Wizard Chamber’. The room has been modelled after the Gothic aesthetic associated with Hogwarts and sleeping there makes you feel like you’re in the castle.
With four-poster beds, stained glass windows, trunks, cauldrons and candles, this room is lovingly designed with Harry Potter fanatics in mind.
King’s Cross Train Station
King’s Cross Station in London will be a recognizable location even for those who have never set foot in the city, all because it’s where young wizards and witches had to go to board the Hogwarts Express.
We all know that Platform 9 ¾ isn’t real and can only be accessed in the story by running at full speed towards the barrier between platforms 9 and 10, but the actual station has a little photo opportunity set up at that very barrier.
So you can pay a visit and immortalize the image of you breaching the barrier with your luggage on your way to Hogwarts.
The Reptile House, London Zoo
Going all the way back to the very beginning of the story, literally to the second chapter of the first book, you will probably remember the scene in London Zoo where Harry inadvertently trapped his cousin inside the snake enclosure.
Well that Reptile House actually exists, and if you head to London Zoo, you can see that very same exhibit. And of course, all the other snakes, lizards, tortoises, crocodiles and other fascinating creatures in the room.
Also known as the ‘Unofficial Harry Potter Bar’, Lockhart is located in Toronto, Canada and it’s jam-packed with Harry Potter themed stuff. In addition to the neon signs, coasters, artwork and everything else with a distinctive Harry Potter look, you can get a lot of Potter-themed drinks too.
Harry Potter: The Exhibition
The Exhibition kind of gives you a bit of a condensed version of the experience that you would get in the Leavesden Studio. There’s a lot of props, costumes and recreations of the sets. The big difference is that this is in multiple locations around the world so if you don’t want to make the trip to London, you might find the Exhibition somewhere near you.
Number 4 Privet Drive
The house where Harry Potter grew up and the site of all of his misery is actually a real place. Except it’s not called Privet Drive, and this location was actually only used for both inside and outside shots in the first film.
After that they just replicated the site on set. Still though, it’s a really cool thing to see because of its significance to the franchise. You can find it at 12 Picket Post Close, about 40 miles outside of London.
These are some of the best places for Harry Potter fans to visit, but the great thing about the Harry Potter phenomenon is that this is barely the tip of the iceberg. There is a world of fans out there who’ve all come together to share in the passion, and some amazing locations have been born from that.