Leadenhall Market in London…

This ornate Victorian marketplace was the setting for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Couldron in the Harry Potter films. 

The ornate 19th-century painted roof and cobbled floors of Leadenhall Market, located in the historic center of London’s financial district, make it a rather magical place to do a bit of shopping — even before it played a starring role in the Harry Potter films.

This covered Victorian market is one of the oldest markets in London, selling meat and fish as far back as far as the 14th century. The current green and red roof, however, was constructed in 1881 and made Leadenhall Market a popular attraction in London.

The marketplace was featured a few times in the Harry Potter series — it was the film location for some of the original exterior shots of Diagon Alley, the cobblestoned shopping hub of the wizarding world where Hogwarts students can stock up on school supplies like spell books and wands.

Today if you wander down the market’s Bull’s Head Passage you may recognize the blue door of an optics shop (an empty storefront at the time of shooting) as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron in Goblet of Fire. In the films, the magical Diagon Alley is accessible to wizards and witches from London through the Leaky Cauldron, an assuming pub wedged next to a record store. If only that were true for us Muggles.


Platform 9 3/4 in London…


Harry Potter fans know: the best way to get to Hogwarts is aboard the Hogwarts Express, which dutifully awaits students of the prestigious wizarding school at Platform 9 3/4 at the start of each term. Reaching the platform, of course, is an adventure in itself; magical blood and nerves of steel are required in order to pass through what appears to be a solid brick barrier to where the platform is located on the other side.

Details of Platform 9 3/4 were made public by the 1997 publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the debut novel of J. K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular Harry Potter series. Kings Cross station reappeared several times throughout the series, serving as the setting for some of the most pivotal moments, and the station was later used as a shooting location in the Harry Potter films. For several years now, Kings Cross has celebrated its role in the beloved books with a marker indicating the location of Platform 9 3/4, below which a baggage trolly can be seen disappearing into the bewitched barrier.

Construction on Kings Cross Station between 2005 and 2012, however, made the magical platform even more elusive than usual, shuffling the marker and accompanying trolly to various locations around the station several times, at one point relegating it to an alcove outside. In 2012 it was announced that the attraction had finally found a permanent home in the New Western Departures Concourse, nestled between Platforms 9 and 10, right where you would expect it.

Important to note: for muggles, the barrier remains quite solid, and Potter fans are advised against attempting to cross it.

Easily found within King’s Cross Station, but allow plenty of time if you wish to wait in line to pose with the magical trolley, or visit the adjacent Harry Potter Shop, especially during the high tourist season.