The Best Harry Potter Days Out In The UK In 2023
Whether you are a fan or not, it is hard to imagine that there is anyone on this planet that hasn’t heard of Harry Potter.
With Harry Potter being the best selling book series of all time and captivating hearts around the world, it’s no surprise that there are now lots of spellbinding Harry Potter days out for fans to enjoy.
As a family with two young wizards-in-training, we are always looking for the next best Harry Potter thing to do.
We have been testing out lots of magical Harry Potter experiences across the United Kingdom, seeking the perfect Harry Potter adventure.
With such a wide array of Harry Potter activities on offer, there’s something magical for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned Potterhead or just discovering the wonders of the wizarding world.
Here is our pick of the best Harry Potter days out in the UK. They are our favourite Harry Potter experiences and we hope you will love them too.
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These are the best Harry Potter days out in the UK
I’m starting the list of days out for Harry Potter fans in London because there are just so many choices here.
Don’t miss our days out for families in London post with many more ideas to keep you busy on your visit to London.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
Probably the most well known of all of the Harry Potter days out in the UK is the Warner Bros Studio Tour.
Tickets to this Harry Potter attraction aren’t cheap but you can spend a whole day there and it is a truly unique experience.
You get to immerse yourself in the making of the Harry Potter films with a self-guided tour through film sets and props. There are interactive activities along the way and plenty of incredible photo opportunities.
We visited the Warner Bros Studios at 4pm on a week day in November and it was not crowded. As the tour went on, it became even less crowded until there were only a few people left.
We spent about 3 hours there in total but we could easily have spent longer there. We ate before we went so we didn’t need stop for something to eat in one of the cafes or restaurants.
We recommend going on a week day outside of the school holidays if you can. Obviously this is not possible for most people so try to get there early or later in the day if you are going at the weekend or school holidays.
We also recommend buying your tickets well in advance.
If you cannot buy tickets for the date you want and you cannot be flexible with your plans, we recommend booking a tour from London.
It will be slightly more expensive but they will have lots more ticket availability.
See here for recommended tours
The Warner Bros Studios become even more magical at certain times of the year. Our favourite is the very festive Hogwarts in the Snow which starts in November and runs until January.
Many people think that the Harry Potter studio is in London, but it is actually in Hertfordshire. You can get there easily by a direct train from London (Euston) to Watford Junction, followed by a shuttle bus to the studios. And by the way, the free shuttle bus is really cool!
Or if you are visiting by car, there is plenty of free on-site parking.
Harry Potter Walking Tour
Another really popular Harry Potter experience is a guided walking tour through London spotting the iconic film locations.
Details: Take a magical 2.5-hour stroll around London, visiting iconic film locations linked to the wizarding world.
Purchase your Harry Potter walking tour tickets here for an enchanting experience. They start from just £16 and children under 4 go free.
This tour departs from Southwark View Point on Minerva Square. The nearest tube station is London Bridge.
Harry Potter Muggles Walking Tour
Another highly rated walking tour is the walking tour for Muggles – one of London’s best walking tours for Harry Potter fans.
Depart from Monument Station and journey through the magical and muggle intersections of the city.
Led by a real-life witch or wizard, the 2-hour tour offers entertaining Harry Potter stories and glimpses of secret places.
Harry Potter Film Locations in London
If you don’t want to take a guided walking tour, you can just visit some of the Harry Potter London sites yourself.
Some of the best Harry Potter film locations you can visit are:
- Leadenhall Market: Recognize Diagon Alley scenes from the Philosopher’s Stone.
- Australia House: View the exterior of Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
- King Cross Platform 9 3/4: Visit the actual filming site for the station scenes in The Philosopher’s Stone.
- Leicester Square: a must on your itinerary for a visit to London anyway but it appears in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. You can also check out the Harry Potter statue in Leicester Square.
- Millennium Bridge, London Zoo and Piccadilly Circus all appear in various Harry Potter films.
Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross
Queue up for the famous Platform 9 3/4 recreation complete with the iconic trolley at London’s Kings Cross station.
Plan your visit early to avoid long queues. Someone will be on hand to provide the flowing Harry Potter scarf and a professional photographer will take your photo (although you can take your own photos too).
Don’t miss the chance to explore the adjacent Harry Potter shop at Platform 9 3/4 for exclusive Harry Potter merchandise.
If you happen to be visiting London on September 1st you will be in for a treat. Each September 1st at 11am there is a special train departure announcement to Hogsmeade.
Tip: if you happen to be passing through the station late in the evening or early morning, you can still take your own photo with the trolley but there won’t be anyone there with the scarf.
You can find more details about visiting Platform 9 3/4 here.
Harry Potter themed afternoon tea
Themed afternoon teas in the UK are a big thing and unsurprisingly, people have jumped on this and created some Harry Potter themed afternoon teas.
Here are a few places in London where you can enjoy a Harry Potter themed afternoon tea.
- Wands & Wizard Exploratorium: Enjoy an interactive Wizard tea experience. You can also enjoy a wand making class prior to the afternoon tea and use your own wand to cast spells and open tea chests.
- Cutter and Squidge: Immerse yourself in the Potion Room for a wizardly afternoon.
- The Georgian House Hotel: Indulge in a positively wizardly afternoon tea.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
If you love the theatre and are a Harry Potter fan then you must go and see the award-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
It has been running since 2016 at the Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
You should note, however, that this is no ordinary west end show. The show runs for 5 hours and 15 minutes in total.
It is split into two parts. Part One is 2 hours and 40 minutes and Part Two is 2 hours and 35 minutes. Both Parts have a 20 minute interval.
Harry Potter Escape Room
If you love escape rooms, how about trying Enigma Quests’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry escape room. It is a Harry Potter themed escape room.
Dive into a 60-minute adventure, solving Harry Potter-themed clues to escape. Team up with fellow wizards for a magical challenge.
The recommended age for this is 9+ but younger kids can still join in.
Wands and Wizard Exploratorium
Wand making class
Wands and Wizards Exploratorium located in the heart of Soho offers lots of fun activities for budding wizards.
We loved their wand-making experience. The kids got to craft their own magical wand, incorporating various elements for a personalized touch. It was so fun and interactive.
Afterwards, you can use your own magic wand to open up your magic tea chest at the afternoon tea (see below).
You can buy your wand making tickets here.
Wizardly potion making class
Dress up in a robe and use your magic wand to cast spells and help you create your potions.
Adults can enjoy mixing their own alcoholic cocktails with a wizardly twist while kids can join in making non-alcoholic ones.
This immersive experience lasts just under 2 hours.
You can buy your potion making tickets here.
Wizardly afternoon tea
We have already mentioned the Wizarding afternoon tea above but we’ll mention it again as it is so good!
Other Harry Potter days out in the UK
Moving away from London, there are still plenty of brilliant UK Harry Potter days out to experience.
We’ll move on to Edinburgh as this is where JK Rowling was living when she wrote the first Harry Potter book and were she drew much of her inspiration from.
Harry Potter Walking Tour in Edinburgh
Guided tours like Harry Potter Magical Guide Walking Tour or Edinburgh Harry Potter Walking Tour offer insights into the magical side of Edinburgh.
You can test your Harry Potter knowledge with an audio-visual quiz, find out your Hogwarts House and visit Tom Riddle’s grave.
It is a lovely way to discover the city that inspired J.K. Rowling.
You can buy your magical Harry Potter walking tour tickets here starting from just £16.
Significant Harry Potter sites in Edinburgh
As with London, if you don’t want to take a guided tour, you can do a self-guided Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh.
Here are some of the main sites you should included in your self-guided Harry Potter walking tour in Edinburgh.
Greyfriars Kirkyard: Visit the headstone inspiring Lord Voldemort’s name.
The Elephant House: J.K. Rowling’s writing spot.
Victoria Street: Inspiration for Diagon Alley.
The City Chambers: Spot J.K. Rowling’s handprints.
George Heriot’s School: Believed to inspire Hogwarts.
Tours: Choose from guided tours like The Potter Trail or explore self-guided Harry Potter tours in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Harry Potter Escape Room
Dive into a magical escape room experience, solving puzzles and making potions in the heart of Edinburgh at The Department of Magic Escape Room.
They also offer magic postion making (cocktails) and a themed afternoon tea.
Harry Potter Film Locations in Scotland
One of the best areas to visit in Scotland for Harry Potter fans is Glencoe (and the surrounding area).
We visited here in the summer of 2022 and had a magical 10 days touring around.
A couple of must dos on your list of Harry Potter things to do are:
Featured in various scenes, including the Hogwarts Express journey. There is a large car park and if you time your visit right, you can head up to the view point and wait for the Hogwarts Express to pass over the viaduct.
It crosses the viaduct at 10.45 am and 3.00 pm daily but you can also double check times here in case they change.
Loch Shiel and Loch Morar
These lochs have been used to film the lakes surrounding Hogwarts.
We took a beautiful scenic boat trip when visiting. It is worth doing even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan. You get a different perspective of the ‘Hogwarts Express’ as the boat trips are scheduled to depart just before the train passes by. It is honestly just breathtaking.
We used Loch Shiel Cruises.
If you aren’t self-driving, there are a couple of tours you can take from Edinburgh that incorporate a visit to the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
This one takes in the Hogwarts Express and Isle of Skye on a 4 day tour.
This one is a day trip from Edinburgh taking in the Hogwarts Express.
Jacobite Steam Train
Harry Potter fans will know the Jacobite Steam Train better as the Hogwarts Express.
Instead of just watching it pass by, you can book tickets to actually ride on it.
This iconic steam train journeys from Fort William to Mallaig along a 41-mile stretch of track taking in scenic Scottish landscapes.
The highlight of your journey will no doubt be the famed Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Witness the magic for yourself on one of the greatest railway journeys in the world.
Tickets for the train journey can sell out well in advance so make sure to book early to avoid disappointment.
Harry Potter Film Locations in Oxford
Oxford is another UK location that has been used in the filming of the Harry Potter series. Explore Oxford University locations, including the Bodleian Libraries, New College, and Christ Church.
Tours: Opt for a self-guided walking tour or join this 2 hour guided tour of the Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford.
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland featured prominently in the Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets. You will marvel at the Outer Bailey, where broomstick lessons and Quidditch training took place.
Read more about Alnwick Castle here.
The cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral stood in for the Hogwarts’ corridors in the Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets.
They are some of the most ornate and beautiful cloisters in the UK.
Visiting Hours: Open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm; Sundays, 12 pm to 5 pm.
Read more about Gloucester Cathedral here.
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience
Experience this nighttime woodland trail in Cheshire with magical creatures, sound, and light effects. Immerse yourself in the Wizarding World’s Forbidden Forest.
Tickets: Adult from £26.50, Child from £21.50. Under 5s go free. Purchase your Forbidden Forest experience tickets here for a bewitching adventure.
*This experience has currently ended but keep an eye out as they may decide to run it again*.
Harry Potter Overnight Experiences
If a Harry Potter day out isn’t enough to quench your thirst, how about staying overnight in one of these Harry Potter themed accommodations?
Stay overnight in the Wizarding World at:
- North Shire in North Yorkshire: Gryffindor Common Room dorm or the Groundkeeper’s Cottage.
- The Enchantment Chamber in York: A one-bedroom wizard-themed apartment.
- DeVere House in Lavenham: Book Godric’s Hollow for a stay in the cottage where Harry Potter’s parents met their fate.
- Georgian House Hotel in London: Faux castle details and stained glass windows. See also their afternoon tea above.
- Harry’s House in Watford: The perfect place to stay if you are visiting the WB Studios near Watford.
Virtual Harry Potter Experiences
If you aren’t able to enjoy any of the above Harry Potter days out, there are always some great virtual options.
- Harry Potter at Home: A digital hub for all things Harry Potter.
- Hogwarts Digital Escape Room: Embark on a virtual escape adventure.
- Harry Potter Fan Club: Join and discover your Hogwarts house with the sorting hat quiz.
Whether wandering through the spellbinding streets of London, traversing the scenic landscapes of Scotland, or reliving magical moments virtually, the UK offers a treasure trove of Harry Potter days out for fans of all ages.
As you plan your magical journey, remember to book tickets in advance, embrace the enchanting atmosphere, and let the wizarding world unfold before your eyes.
The magic awaits – are you ready to step into the world of Harry Potter in 2023?