Every so often, a book (and usually a book series) will come around and change the rules of the game. Lord of the Rings set the blueprint for generations of fantasy epics. Years later, the Harry Potter series revolutionized fantasy young adult novels, paving the way for the myriad of series that exist today. The series shaped an entire generation’s childhood and will certainly be read for generations to come. Of course, the massively successful book series was transformed into the film franchise. For those of us who want to experience the magic in person, there are plenty of travel destinations that will have you feeling like you’re part of the wizarding world, all around our own muggle world. These are the destinations that any Potterhead must visit at least once.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is split up between Universal Studios, where you’ll find Diagon Alley, and Islands of Adventure, where you’ll find Hogsmeade Village. There is so much to see, do, and experience, you’ll most likely want to book at least two days to be able to enjoy it all.
You’l be able to enjoy the rides: Flight of the Hippogriff, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and of course, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You’ll be able to see the only Hogwarts Express train in the world here. Another feature only found in the Orlando location is the Knight Bus, which is always fun to visit.
There are also plenty of wizarding shops found all around Diagon Alley, including Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Gringott’s Money Exchange, Borgin and Burkes, Sugarplum’s Sweetshop, and Wands by Gregorovitch. You’ll also find the Leaky Cauldron, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, The Hopping Pot, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune.
You’ll find the shops and restaurants in Hogsmeade are the same in the Orlando and Hollywood locations.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood
Here you’ll find many of the same attractions you’ll find at the Orlando location, but on a smaller scale. At Hogsmeade, you’ll be able to order a classic mug of butterbeer from the Hog’s Head. If you’re hungry, head over to the Three Broomsticks, where you can enjoy some traditional English fare. You’ll also be able to buy a wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop, visit Honeydukes, the Owl Post, Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, Gladrags Wizardwear, and Hogsmeade Station.
This location might confuse you at first, but trust us, any Potter fan will absolutely love this. J.K. Rowling was living in Portugal while she was writing the first Harry Potter book. She said of her time there: “in those first weeks in Portugal I wrote what has become my favourite chapter in the Philosopher’s Stone, ‘The Mirror of Erised’ – and had hoped that, when I returned from Portugal I would have a finished book under my arm. In fact, I had something even better: my daughter, Jessica.”
It is believed that Rowling often visited the Livraria Lello Bookstore, which is gorgeous on its own accord but also looks quite similar to a lot of the descriptions of Hogwarts in the books, especially those spiral staircases!
Harry Potter Studio In London
Of course, visiting the U.K. when you’re a fan of Harry Potter is probably the ultimate destination. After all, this is where all the magic took place, both in real life and in the books. For the ultimate Harry Potter experience, you absolute must visit the Harry Potter Studio at Warner Brother’s Studio in London. You can take the “Making of Harry Potter” tour where you’ll see the actual costumes, props, and film sets that were used while creating the film franchise.
You’ll be able to see the Great Hall, the Cupboard Under the Stairs, the Triwizard Cup, the Mirror of Erised, and countless other gems that any diehard fan would love to see. Of course, there are also refreshments available, meaning you’ll be able to get your butterbeer fix while you’re there.