Books for your To-Be-Read list:
- Harry Potter #1-7 by J. K. Rowling | Purchase from IndieBound
- Here At Hogwarts by Lucy Knisley | Purchase from Knisley’s Website
Disclosure: If you purchase a book through this IndieBound affiliate link, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the businesses that help keep this blog going.
Because I share a birthday with Harry Potter (and J. K. Rowling), and because I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, I love visiting Harry Potter related destinations for my birthday. So in honor of Harry’s birthday, here are several Harry Potter destinations that all fans should put on their bucket lists.
1. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal, Orlando, USA
Harry Potter is definitely one of those books you want to step right into. Who doesn’t want to step inside the specialty shops of Diagon Alley or a magical castle? The Universal Parks give us the opportunity to do just that. No matter what house you’ve self-identified with (or the internet has told you you belong to) you’ll enjoy shopping for a wand, or maybe robes, flying behind your favorite characters inside the castle, and visiting the pub for a Butter Beer. Also, don’t forget to visit Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom!
[Read more about the Wizarding World experience in this post: Literary Destination: The Wizarding World, Orlando, FL Note: I have not been back since the train and second part of the park were opened.]
2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London – The Making of Harry Potter
Are you the kind that likes to ruin the magic? Even if you’re not, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour is definitely worth a visit. The Tour includes the props, costumes, sets, animatronics, and models used in the filming of all eight Harry Potter films. You’ll be able to board the Hogwarts Express train, take your photo on a broom and platform 9 3/4, and purchase Hogwarts house sweaters made at the same factory where all the sweaters for the films were made. Although there are bus tours that will take you to and from the Studio from London, the best option is to reserve a morning ticket and take the train so you have as much time as you want to move through the studio experience.
[Read more about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, London – The Making of Harry Potter in this post: The Ultimate Harry Potter Fan Destination: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London]
3. House of MinaLima, London – Graphic Designers of the Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Films
The House of MinaLima is the shop and exhibit space of the graphic artists of all the Harry Potter and Magical Beasts films. I didn’t realize exactly how much graphic art was in the films until visiting this little studio. From the newspapers to the Twins’ joke boxes, the front of school books, to the crests, and of course the famous Hogwarts Letters.
4. The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4, Kings Cross Station, London
Those photos all over the internet of people with a Hogwarts house scarf flying out behind them while holding onto a cart as it disappears through a brick wall are taken here. Unfortunately, this is such a tourist trap that you have to wait in TWO different lines for this experience, one to get your ticket, and the next to get your photo. When I visited I was told it was about a 45 minute wait in one line and another 20-40 minutes in the next. To enter the gift shop, however, was no wait at all, provided you could even fit inside. Having already taken a similar photo at the Harry Potter Experience, I skirted the lines and entered the shop. I was on a mission to purchase a Gryffindor cardigan as a birthday present for myself. As I entered the shop, the salesperson at the register just about climbed on the desk and shouted, “NO NEED TO PUSH AND SHOVE!” It was that crowded. I took the opportunity to dive under legs and snag the last Gryffindor sweater off the shelf, thankfully in my size.
5. Cloisters of New College, Oxford – Filming Location of Harry Potter #4
Stepping into this college cloister may make you immediately spin around looking for Mad-Eye-Moody. I did. This is the courtyard where the scene in Harry Potter #4 in which Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret was filmed. If you’ve seen the films a number of times, you’ll recognize this place the moment you enter.
[Read more about this experience in this post: Spend a Literary Day in Oxford]
6. The J. K. Rowling Room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel, Newport, Oregon
Although one wouldn’t think to look for a Harry Potter destination on the coast of Oregon, the Sylvia Beach Hotel has one room decorated in the style of a Gryffindor dorm room.
[Read more about this experience in this post: The Sylvia Beach Hotel: A Bed & Breakfast for Bibliophiles]
*Bonus: Places on my bucket list
- Alnwick Castle, England, one of the filming locations for the Harry Potter films, and the other locations listed on their helpful Harry Potter Filming Locations page
- The Elephant House, Edinburgh, Scotland, the cafe where J. K. Rowling. drafted many of the Harry Potter books
- The Bodleian Library, Oxford, England, filming location
Have you been to any of these places? Is there somewhere I missed? Let’s discuss in the comments below and tell us which Hogwarts House you identify with!
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