London: Some Sights I Wish to See

Diagon Alley, London.
Image: Warner Bros. 2001.

Now that I am recovering from food poisoning, I have been making up for lost time by working extra long hours on my upcoming London trip — thus, my blog has been rather .. quiet .. today. I have been planning my travel based on which sights I wish to see. I decided to limit myself to London since I wish to invest my time in seeing and experiencing as much as possible while I am visiting, and I am certain that there is plenty to keep me occupied for at least one year if I had the time and money to run around London to see everything. One of the thoughts that dawned on me this afternoon — rather late, might I add — is that I’d like to see those places in London that were featured in the Harry Potter films. I wish I’d thought of this sooner so I would have more time to plan things out, but it could have been worse, I could have thought of this after I’d arrived in London or worse, after I’d returned to NYC!

So here are the Harry Potter-related things that I am planning to see and photograph while in London;

  1. Leaky Cauldron: in HP1, it was located at 42 Bull’s Head Passage, under Lloyd’s Building in the City of London, and the closest tube station is Monument (zone 1) [map] but in HP3, it was located at 7 Stoney Street in Borough Market. The Second-Hand Bookshop is located next door in real life at 8 Stoney Street. Borough Market also has a nice view of the tower that Harry saw from his room at the Leaky Cauldron in HP3. That tower is part of Southwark Cathedral. The closest tube station is London Bridge (zone 1) [map].
  2. Diagon Alley: of HP1 fame (pictured above), Diagon Alley is actually Leadenhall Market, in the City of London. The nearest tube station is Aldgate (zone 1) [map].
  3. Ministry of Magic: in HP5, when Mr. Weasley and Harry Potter go to the Ministry of Magic for his trial for underaged sorcery, the scenes were filmed in the Westminster tube station (zone 1) [map].
  4. Platform 9 3/4: is at Kings Cross/St. Pancras tube station (zone 1) in the film [map]. Apparently, the station was changed a wee bit to accomodate filming there, since the arched wall between platforms 4 and 5 was the entrance to platform 9 3/4, while the exterior of the building in the film was actually St. Pancras, which is across the street from the less architecturally endowed Kings Cross station. King’s Cross station now has a memorial artwork of sorts to the Harry Potter films where a sign is hung with “Platform 9 3/4” on it, and below is part of a luggage trolley protruding from the brick wall, seemingly disappearing into the wall itself.
  5. Gringott’s Wizarding Bank: the interior scenes were filmed in the exhibition hall in the Australia House at Temple station (zone 1) [map] — two stops away from where I will be staying at Piccadilly Circus! The public is not welcome inside this building but supposedly there are tours offered, although I am still looking around to learn more about times, dates and most important, prices, gulp!
  6. Little Whinging Zoo Reptile House: in HP1, Harry talks to a Burmese python at the Little Whinging Zoo. This footage was filmed at the Regent’s Park (London) Zoo’s Reptile House and the cage that held the Burmese python is actually occupied by a black mamba! The Zoo is located in Regent’s Park and the closest tube station is Great Portland Street (zone 1) [map]. The zoo charges a summer entrance fee of £ 15.50. This is one of the few attractions that I am going to see that is not free.
  7. Lambeth Bridge: this bridge crosses the River Thames and is the bridge that the purple Knight Bus traveled over in HP3 when it had to become very tall and thin to avoid an accident with two oncoming busses.
  8. 12 Grimmauld Place: The headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix in HP5, this is actually located in walking distance to where I will be staying. This building is in Lincoln’s Inn Fields near the Holborn station (zone 1) [map].

So that’s all for my Harry Potter London sightseeing. I will be adding these sights to the remainder of my travel itinerary so I can make the best of my time as I travel around London to see the sights!


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
This entry was posted in Harry Potter, London, England and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to London: Some Sights I Wish to See

  1. Coturnix says:

    I saw the Platform 9 3/4 back in April and had a big chuckle when I saw the luggage cart in the wall!

  2. Tabor says:

    Sounds like we are going to get some interesting tours of London…don’t forget the camera!