Twenty years ago, JK Rowling’s first book on the Boy Who Lived (also known as Harry Potter
Twenty years ago, JK Rowling’s first book on the Boy Who Lived (also known as Harry Potterin larger circles) was released worldwide. 500 million copies, over 80 translations and 8 movies later, the love for Harry Potter and his magical world is only growing.
Hop on to your broomsticks and tour the world of Harry Potter by taking these 20 experiences around the world.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Hogwarts grounds may be off-limits for apparition (honestly, Ron, don’t you read?), but we have found you a secret passageway. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Universal Studio’s gift to Potterheads. Take a ride on a dragon-turned-rollercoaster, go on a Hogwarts tour with simulated Harry, Ron and Hermione, shop for chocolate frogs at Hogsmeade and buy a wand at Ollivanders in Diagon Alley—just don’t get into a fight with Malfoy, will you?
The park is in Orlando, Florida and in Osaka, Japan. Find out more here.
Who said you need a letter from Hogwarts to take the Hogwarts Express train? Start your journey at the King’s Cross station where the train takes off. Then, take a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train (which was painted red for the movies). Lastly, visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct where the iconic shot of the Express steaming its way towards Hogwarts is shot in the movies.
Hogwarts is one place that all Potterheads dream of visiting. Though that might never happen, we can always go to places where different segments of Hogwarts were shot. One can go to Oxford, the place where Harry danced on the Yule Ball or the Black Park where we see the trio and Fangs lurking in the Forbidden Forests. If you are a Quidditch fan, visit the Alnwick Castle where Harry and Malfoy slugged it out for the snitch in an action-packed match between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Also, make your way to the Durham and Gloucester Cathedrals where other parts of Hogwarts were shot.
Elephant House is one of the places where the Harry Potter manuscripts were first penned down. JK Rowling is known to have been living in Edinburgh, Scotland while writing the first half of the series. Today, Potterheads flock to the café, in which the loo is covered with Harry Potter graffiti, quotes and memorabilia, undoubtedly by fans.
Every year, new wizards and witches would go through the congested streets of Diagon Alley to purchase their books and clothes. Leadenhall Market could be called London’s very own Diagon Alley for muggles, and was partly used for shooting in the first film. Take 10 minutes to walk through the place and see if you can spot shades of the wizarding marketplace here.
Always Café in Hanoi is Vietnam’s tribute to Severus Snape and JK Rowling’s fantastical world. What the eatery lacks in space, it makes up for in its magic. Cloth hangings representing all four houses, Umbridge’s decrees and posters for the Undesirable No. 1 aren’t the only things decorating the walls here. There are broomsticks, potions to drink and from what we hear, butterbeer, which comes pretty close to what we imagined.
Here Lies Dobby
This one’s a little emotional, but talk of Harry Potter is incomplete without his trusted friend and elf, Dobby. In the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, Dobby was shown being buried by hand by Harry near the fictional Shell Cottage. This scene has been shot on Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and is visited often by fans to give Dobby, the free elf, socks and flowers.
The Nook Cafe, Philippines
Ever wondered how you’d look in a Gryffindor robe or on Harry’s Nimbus 2000? Well, here at the Nook Cafe in Quezon City, you can try on the Hogwarts uniform and ride Harry’s trusted broomstick. Also, make your way to the copy of Harry’s room under the stairs at the Dursleys. And why not drink a glass of Butterbeer when you are there?
Mr and Mrs Dursley may be perfectly normal—thank you very much—but their house at 4, Privet Drive is no more. In fact, it is one of the most visited spots by Harry Potter fans. The façade of the Dursleys’ house was shot at 12, Picket Post, an actual residential area in London.
Bonus: After Sirius left it to him, Grimmauld Place was Harry’s only other home. in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the scene where houses 11 and 13 parting way for number 12, Grimmauld Place was shot at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London.
Millennium Bridge, England
Playing a part in the sixth movie of the Harry Potter franchise, the Millennium bridge is rocked to its core by a gang of Death Eaters marking the beginning of Voldemort’s reign of terror. You can visit this iconic suspension bridge in London, over the River Thames.
The Harry Potter Play
The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play is another way to hang on to every last thread of magic. Granted, the script when it was released as a book was pretty much terrible. The play itself, however, is supposed to be a rather enchanting performance with great visual effects and a stellar cast. It is showed at the Palace Theatre in London, and is mostly booked out.
Get tickets here.
NYC Quidditch Team and Tournaments
He has caught it. HARRY POTTER WINS IT FOR GRYFFINDOR! How many times have we watched the scene in the Chamber of Secrets or felt the adrenaline of the game through the vivid descriptions in the books? Every Sunday in New York, fans gather in Central Park to play Muggle Quidditch as five teams battle it out to be crowned winners. Swing by if you’re in the city, and stay away from the bludgers.
Give the plain ol’ hotel rooms a rest, and camp at Georgian House in London. This hotel has a special Wizard Chamber. This almost Hogwarts-like dorm room disguised as a hotel room is hidden behind a bookcase, and has everything a witch and wizard needs— cauldrons, trunks, stone archways. fireplaces, and ofcoursee, a hearty breakfast.
Make a booking here.
The Bookstore in Portugal
Livraria Lello in Portugal a bookstore conjured right out of imagination—filled from head to toe with bookcases with a grand burgundy staircase that leads to further books. Rumour has it that when JK Rowling was teaching in Portugal, she visited this store and was inspired by its staircase for the series.
Harry Potter tours
Magic is in every corner of England, and you too can find it. Severus, oops, we mean several groups in London organise walking tours across the city, with visits to popular film locations interspersed with trivia. A few even host treasure hunts.
Harry Potter Studio Tour, Warner Bros., London
Go through an original Harry Potter studio tour at Warner Bros. in London. See breathtaking sets, original costumes, and authentic props that were adorned by your favourite stars. Discover the artistry in every stitch of the Wizarding world while you visit the Great Hall and Diagon Alley as well.
Bad Owl Coffee, Nevada
Experience the food and drinks of the wizard at this Harry Potter-themed cafe in Nevada. Have their special Butterbeer Latte and drink till your craving is satisfied. Stay away from the dementors hanging on the wall and make your way to the Hogwarts acceptance letters threaded to the ceiling. Slyther-in to the cafe to have a truly magical experience.Hagrid’s House
Among the hills of Glencoe in Scotland, overlooking the Torren Lochan and the Signal Rock forest was where our favourite giant’s entire hut was set up for the movies. Hagrid’s welcoming abode was surrounded by the lush green forest, which over the years has become a coveted spot.
Take actual magic lessons at this Polish castle, which has been converted into a Hogwarts for those still awaiting their letter. You can practise transfiguration in McGonagall’s classes and learn Potions with Snape, while attempting to venture into the Forbidden Forest located at the edge of the castle. A true Potterhead’s fantasy awaits you at this epic place.
The Harry Potter Exhibition
The Harry Potter ventures on a European tour into the city of Milan in Italy. Watch through the corridors of the exhibition and meet Sirius Black’s family elf, Kreacher. Meet Hagrid’s friend, Buckbeak and see Quidditch costumes of the different houses.
Find out more here.