London’s Harry Potter Film Location Tour
By Tom Wilkinson
Meeting at Westminster tube station, the Evan Evans Harry Potter Walking Tour will take you on a tour of 11 filming locations used in the Harry Potter film series. Filming locations on the list include the entrances to the Ministry of Magic, the route of the Knight Bus, and the Divination Tower. Some of the known and suspected influences on JK Rowling‘s writing are also pointed out along the tour, such as the inspirations for both Diagon and Knockturn alley.
Over the course of the tour, our guide took us from Westminster down Whitehall through the Charing Cross area and up to Tottenham Court Road. Then a quick tube ride down to St Paul‘s for a break before heading across the river to walk along the South Bank, taking in such sights as the Leaky Cauldron before taking the tube a final time to end up at Platform 9¾ . This really makes the tour stand out as one of the most iconic Potter-centric tourist attractions (and the gift shop) is not included on other Harry Potter Tours in the capital.
The Evan Evans tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and clearly enjoyed taking groups on the tours. There were visual guides to help illustrate which scenes were filmed at every stop, giving you the chance to pose yourself in some of the famous shots from the films. Though you may find you don’t have the CGI skills to make everything look movie accurate, another benefit of these screenshots is being able to see how much they modified some of these historic places.
Don’t worry that you will be lost in the crowd, either. Evan Evans ensure that if they are overbooked, additional guides will be present on the tour, and the groups will travel separately so that you always have the same, personal experience that we had.
Not Just For Kids
For the non-Potterhead parents out there, you might be worried that such a tour, while great for the kids, would not offer you much insight into London. But this is far from the case. Using the Vox Tour system – wireless headphones that receive everything the tour guide says – it is easy to hear your guide as you walk between locations.
Our guide used this as an opportunity to fill us in on the history of many of the monuments we passed on our way, such as the Elizabeth Tower (no, it’s not really called Big Ben), the Ministry of Defence, and St Paul’s.
The route of the tour also takes you past a number of sights that aren’t film locations themselves but offer a perfect opportunity to take a quick photo, such as Shakespeare‘s Globe Theatre or the Shard.
For more information and to book the excellent Harry Potter Film Locations walking tour of London, visit their website here.
Contributing Editor Tom Wilkinson makes cocktails in his spare time and podcasts about their history at Dr Wilko’s Campaign for Better Beverages. He also produces 2 other podcasts: Hat of Many Things, on random topics drawn from a hat and Unparliamentary Language about the state of British politics.