The Seven novels of the Harry Potter series led to a film franchise alongside a whole world of merchandising, a spin off theatre play and several spin off films and books. The story follows the adventures of Harry Potter as he discovers that he possesses inherited powers of magic. The books then follow him through his school years at the Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Harry Potter battles both in-school conflicts and the rise of the powerful dark Wizard Lord Voldemort. During his years Harry Potter falls in love and traverses teenage adolescence and love as he learns about his role in the eventual defeat of Voldemort and his army. The novel reflects on themes of hope, faith and friendship whilst using contemporary Great Britain as a backdrop for the mystical events that play out over the seven novels. The series popularity has allegedly led to literacy in children being heightened since its publication, often being taught in English lessons at school. The novels themes of inclusivity and its riveting storytelling has meant that there have even been sports created out of the franchise as well as making stars out of its film actors.
One of the most profound effects of the novel is the one that it’s had on the view of England from international audiences. Many people flock to London due to how vividly the city was evoked in the series. Not surprisingly, this has led to there being many buildings and monuments dedicated to the books as well as buildings and sites used in the filming of the movies around London. Any fans of the Harry Potter series staying in the Paddington Court Suites may find days of fun in exploring the magical effect Harry Potter has had on the UK capital.
Harry Potter World
This should be top of the list for any Harry Potter fanatics. Warner Brothers Harry Potter World is located in Leavesden, just outside of London in Hertfordshire. The tour is located in the Warner Brothers production company’s studio on London’s outskirts. It gives visitors a chance to see how the Harry Potter films were filmed and features a variety of props and sets used in the film. The exhibit was opened in 2013, attended by many of the cast members from the films including Tom Felton and Rupert Grint.
Kings Cross Station
One of London’s largest and wide reaching stations, Kings Cross was the station from where Harry Potter and his fellow school mates would take the Hogwarts Express train to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The platform in the novels is 9 ¾ and Harry Potter fans can find a plaque dedicated to it with a travel trolley seemingly running half way through the wall. This has proved to be a great spot for photos from fans of the series. On top of this, the station has its own Harry Potter shops which sells everything from the books, film copies and many other memorabilia inspired by the series. This is a great place to find a last minute gift for a loved one who happens to be a great Harry Potter fan.
The Knight Bus
The Knight Bus is featured in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The bus takes Harry through central London and has magical abilities. One of the distinctive features of the bus is that it can seemingly bend through impossibly small spaces and is a triple decker. The bus is based on the designs of the vintage double decker bus that is used on the number 15 heritage bus route between The Tower of London and Charing Cross.
The Millenium Bridge was erected at the turn of the 21st century and is a steel suspension pedestrian footbridge which links the Bankside with the rest of London. The bridge was organised as part of a competition in 1996 between Southwark council and the RIBA company. The winning design was that of the Arup Group, Foster and Partners, and Sir Anthony Caro. They created a design which resembled a “blade of light”. The bridge is a total structure length of 325 m and 4 metres across. The bridge was used in a scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, when Lord Voldemort’s Death Eaters bend the bridge using their magic powers in an attack in London.
Reptile House London zoo
London Zoo is located in Camden’s Regents Park and features many different animals. One of its notable features is the reptile house, which hosts many different types of reptilian species, most notably Snakes. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first Harry potter instalment, Harry learns about his ability to talk to Snakes when he is urged to free one in London Zoo. The Boa Constrictor conversation becomes Harry’s first indication that Harry has magical powers.
Leadenhall Market is a market place in central London, more precisely in the area of Gracechurch and Lime Street. It is open from 10am to 6pm and has existed on that street since the 14th century. Many of the shops in the marketplace are found under an ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors of the current structure. These were designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones. The market was used in Harry Potter and Philosophers Stone when Harry visits Diagon Alley, a magical secret market place where he buys his school items and is the location of the iconic Leaky Cauldron Pub.
Australia House is the diplomatic mission of Australia and is located in London’s The Strand. The materials used to construct the building were imported from Australia and its exterior is made from marble, Dove coloured and imported from Victoria. The wood is made of timber which has also been imported. It’s Harry Potter references come in the shape of it being used as the exterior for Gringott’s Bank, the only known bank in the wizarding world in the Harry Potter Universe.