Travel insights from Jenna Buege, contributing editor of The Compass
Accio Vacation: 6 Magical Harry Potter Experiences You Can Only Have in Europe
Are you still waiting for your Hogwarts acceptance letter to arrive in the mail? Owl delivery service can be slow, take your magical future into your own hands with a trip to the fabulous world of Harry Potter in Europe.
Warner Bros Tour
A place where your favorite moments come to life, Warner Bros Studio in London is where scenes featuring the Great Hall, Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and Platform 9 ¾ were filmed. Today the studio is jam-packed with priceless Hogwarts memorabilia, authentic props and original costumes. While on the studio tour you’ll learn about Dolores Umbridge’s enchanted kitten decor, say “hello” to Aragog and have the chance to take your best stab at parseltongue in an attempt to unlock the Chamber of Secrets.
After exploring the movie magic at Warner Bros, head to the streets of London for an inside look at even more famous filming locations. HP-themed sight-seeing tours are popular in the city and can be taken via foot or by bus. Once the muggles are adjourned and the tour begins, you’ll visit popular wizard hangouts like the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, the visitors’ entrance to the Ministry of Magic and Knockturn Alley. In addition, tour groups convene near the bridges which members of the Order of the Phoenix flew en route to Grimmauld Place and stop at several locations where the Death Eaters wreaked havoc on the wizarding world.
One thing worth noting is that you may need a tube card depending on which tour you choose so be sure to do some research ahead of time.
While the iconic School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may be fantasy, many scenes were filmed in real places. External shots of Hogwarts in the first film were recorded at England’s Alnwick Castle including the scene where Harry learns to ride a broom. Fast-forward to year two where transfiguration class was taught at England’s Durham Cathedral. Those wild moving staircases featured throughout the series are none other than those of Oxford’s Christ Church College. Remember when Mad-Eye Moody turned Malfoy into a ferret in Goblet of Fire? You can visit Oxford’s New College on Holywell Street and recreate the scene for yourself. After such an extreme transformation, a trip to Hogwarts’ Hospital Wing might be in order found at the Divinity School of Oxford University.
The sites listed above are just a few of many magical filming locations throughout Europe.
Hit the Big Stage
Have you ever wondered about Harry’s life as an adult? What about his son, Albus? The eighth installment in the Harry Potter series, The Cursed Child, aims to answer these questions and is the first of the stories to be presented on stage. If you’re looking to score some tickets for the show during your time in London, visit the Palace Theatre or harrypottertheplay.com.
Spend the Night
Are you a next-level witch or wizard? Consider staying overnight at a Harry-Potter-themed hotel. London’s Georgian House offers rooms in what they refer to as the “Wizarding Chambers” where guests can fully immerse themselves in a room decorated to rival the Gryffindor common room. The hotel’s Wizarding Chambers even have their own secret entrance, if that isn’t mystical enough for you, I don’t know what is.