Harry Potter Play Opening At London’s Palace Theatre
First came the books, then the films and now the world premiere of the play. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II, co-written by JK Rowling, is opening at the Palace Theatre. The play is set 19 years after the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry is now a husband, father of three and an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic. As his youngest son Albus wrestles with the powers he inherited, Harry has issues of his own. The evil Lord Voldemort may have been conquered, but Harry is still haunted by his past.
The show is directed by the Olivier and Tony Award-winner John Tiffany, best known for the West End’s Once. The lead is Jamie Parker, who played Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. Paul Thornley, a familiar face on stage, film and TV, is Harry’s friend Ron, while Noma Dumezweni – who starred in Doctor Who – plays Hermione. The play is too long for a single show, so you need to buy tickets to both parts; watch them on the same day or on two evenings. It is fully booked until 2017, but call for return tickets. Unlucky? Let the stories you love come alive by visiting film locations. JK Rowling says: ‘No story lives unless someone wants to listen. So whether you come back by page or by big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.’
Harry Potter’s Tour
smallcarBIGCITY runs Harry Potter tours in classic Mini Coopers. You can visit many sights, from Leadenhall Market to Platform 9¾.
T: 020 7839 6737. smallcarbigcity.com
ZSL London Zoo
The zoo’s reptile house features in the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. After Harry speaks to a Burmese python, he makes its tank glass disappear, causing his annoying cousin Dudley to fall in as the snake escapes. ‘Thanksss!’ While there, check out the newly opened Land of the Lions.
Platform 9¾ At King’s Cross Station
The Hogwarts Express departed for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from this platform. To find it, Harry would run into a wall between platforms nine and 10. Visit the entrance to the real platform nine and you’ll find a trolley disappearing into a wall and a platform 9¾ sign. Nearby, there is also a gift shop which was opened by Warwick Davis – aka Professor Flitwick – which sells character cut-outs, wands, prop replicas, Hogwarts’ Quidditch jumpers and other souvenirs. harrypotterplatform934.com
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The neo-gothic façade of this hotel, next to King’s Cross station, is the entrance to the station in the films. Harry and Ron parked Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia outside it, before flying it to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Sip cocktails in the Booking Office Bar. www.marriott.co.uk
The opticians in Bulls Head Passage by the market is the entrance for the Leaky Cauldron wizard’s pub in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Magicians pass through it to access stalls in Diagon Alley. A 14th-century meat market, it’s now home to shops, cafés and wine bars.
Leaky Cauldron moved from Leadenhall to Borough Market for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. After a hair-raising journey over Lambeth Bridge – ‘Little old lady at 12 o’clock!’ – the triple-decker Knight bus bumps into a car outside Chez Michele florist at 7 Stoney St. Go early and try the market’s regional produce.
This suspension bridge featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Lord Voldemort orders Death Eaters to attack it. When it collapses into the Thames, it kills Muggles (non-wizards). Cross from Tate Modern for views of St Paul’s Cathedral. londonmillenniumbridge.com
This busy crossroads features in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. While escaping Death Eaters, Harry, Ron and Hermione just miss being hit by a double-decker bus outside what is now Gap (which has free wi-fi). The statue of Eros, outside the Criterion Theatre, is a good meeting point. regentstreetonline.com
Warner Bros Studio Tour London
On a tour of this studio, Harry, Ron and Hermione discuss the films on screen before you’re led into the Great Hall. You then see costumes, props and the steam train Harry took to Hogwarts before ‘flying’ on broomsticks.