Here in Vienna one can’t throw a Mozart kugel without hitting schlocky souvenirs of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth. Or Gustav Klimt. Or Mozart. London souvenir shops, in contrast, are far more discreet in their tacky royal souvenir offerings, and even more so in their Harry Potter giftware selections. One tourist activity London does offer, though, is a “Harry Potter Tour,” and the three of us spent a pleasant afternoon walking about the city in the footsteps of The Boy Who Lived.

Our guide took us through several film locations, pointing out interesting historical facts about London along the way, as well. Our favorite destination on the tour was Cecil Court, just off Charing Cross Road, and the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

At first it resembles little more than an ordinary shopping street.  But when one takes pause to read the old store names and examine the curious window front displays, it becomes more than obvious where J.K. Rowling found her inspiration for the wizard’s shopping lane.


A signed, first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone sits in the window of this bookstore.
In this storefront of an alternative bookshop sits a Tarot Card Reader, who was busy with a client on the afternoon we passed.
Another favorite film location was this quiet little lane also near Charing Cross Road, Nocturn Alley.
A popular destination not on the tour is a certain platform at King’s Cross Station and we would have been remiss not to visit.

The one and only Harry Potter store is conveniently located adjacent to Platform 9 3/4, and is chockablock with chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts Beans and an outpost of Olivander’s Wand Shop.

Anna Grace had a large role in drafting our London itinerary, and our Harry Potter Tour was an excellent choice.