Well, you know that I couldn’t very well take a trip to London and NOT go visit Harry Potter sites. We’ve done just about everything you can do related to Harry Potter in America, including visiting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley at Universal and we’ve even met Daniel Radcliffe himself in New York City. I’m not about to let the opportunity go by to not check out all the hot spots in London where the film was actually made.
But where do you even begin to look for spots in the movie? I mean London is a huge, spread out city and I knew virtually nothing about it. This is where we let the experts take over. We were invited* to take a Harry Potter movie bus tour with Brit Movie Tours to make this possible and we jumped at the chance.
I will preface this activity with the fact that my family and I do not care for traditional tours. We like to do things at our own pace, see what we want to see, and not be constrained by other people. This tour could be awesome or it could be a rough couple of hours. We weren’t really sure how it would go.
After enjoying a gorgeous, sunny morning in London, we hopped on the Tube and made our way to the Temple station, where we were to meet our tour guide who would be waiting for us with a wand, naturally! From here, we loaded onto a very comfortable coach bus to begin our tour with our very informative and funny tour guide, Celia.
We were off to explore the sites in London! From our seats, we were able to hear about significant spots and see them from our windows. Shortly before we would arrive to our destination, we would discuss a scene, accompanied by the clip from the movies, so we could see what were were about to explore. Sometimes, we were able to get off the bus and get up close and personal with a photo opportunity, and sometimes, we were only able to see the sites if they were in difficult places to get to. We were able to see Gringott’s right away, which was very cool. You would never guess where that building is hidden–right in plain site near Trafalgar Square in Australia House.
Our first exit off the bus found us outside of Scotland Yard (which in and of itself it pretty cool to finally get to see), where we saw the entrance to the Ministry of Magic. Some discerning film buffs were able to figure out this location that one never would have known to exist. We were able to take our pictures in the exact location as Ron Weasley from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I.
Our next stop found us in Borough Market, where we were able to discover the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. You will be surprised to see where the entrance is! This is where we also discovered one of the coolest markets ever and later came back to try one of the best treats, raclettes!
Next up, we headed to Leadenhall Market, another incredible marketplace where we spotted some familiar sites from the very first film, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (or as they call it in England, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). Can you recognize them?
We stopped and walked the Millennium Bridge, where Dementors wreaked havoc on London in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. The view was beautiful and the stories we learned about the filming and other hidden spots nearby were so interesting!
Of course, we ended the tour in the infamous train station, Kings Cross, where we learned all about Platform 9 3/4, got pictures taken with the luggage cart headed into the wall, and visited a very cool gift shop commemorating the location.
We found our time on the tour flew by. Getting able to learn all the fascinating tidbits about the filming, about London, the actors and more was so incredibly interesting and fun. Our guide was so great and did an excellent job keeping us engaged and entertained. We definitely saw a lot more on this tour, but I will let you schedule your own tour to see it all up close and personal. There’s nothing like doing it for yourself! It was also a fantastic way to explore the city.I mentioned before that we were nervous if we would like the tour. How did we end up feeling about it? We absolutely loved it and highly recommend it to you!
BritMovieTours does an amazing job with the Harry Potter bus tour, but many other movie tours are available like Downton Abbey, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and so much more. Check them out!
*we were invited on the tour to facilitate a review, all opinions are my own.