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Here's How To Have A Harry Potter Weekend In London

Wizarding London > Universal Studios, soz.

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The magic starts for Harry when Hagrid takes him to the Leaky Cauldron, hidden in a back alley in Muggle London, so you should start on the Muggle streets, too (ease yourself into the Wizarding World)!

You can take a guided tour, like the splendid Potter-themed London walk, Muggle Tours, or you can follow our handy guide to the London-based locations as seen in the Harry Potter films and books.

Either way, you'll check out locations like Stoney Street, where the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron was filmed, and Leadenhall Market, which inspired Diagon Alley.

Don't forget to stop by the zoo and check no one's abusing the snakes.

Harry does his first bit of magic (and speaks Parseltongue) at the Reptile House in the zoo. Slytherin fans will appreciate that it's also a bit like a mini Chamber of Secrets.

Steer clear (or don't) of Knockturn Alley.

Goodwin's Court near Covent Garden inspired J.K. Rowling when she wrote about Diagon Alley's evil twin street, Knockturn Alley, and according to Muggle Tours, the film crew tried to shoot in the narrow passageway, but couldn't fit their equipment through!

Make your way to King's Cross Station.

The moment you've been waiting for! Pack your train ticket and head of to Platform 9¾ at London's King's Cross Station, but be careful not to mistake the grand facade of St Pancras International Station next door for King's Cross. The Harry Potter filming crew used St Pancras as a stand-in for King's Cross several times, since the real thing was under construction, and since St Pancras is prettier, to be honest.

You can pick up some last-minute school supplies.

The platform can be a bit busy these days, with more and more Muggle-born wizards heading to Hogwarts, so be prepared to queue if you want to buy some house patches, Quidditch gear, and whatever else will fit in your trunk.

You can buy a wand modelled after anyone in the Order of the Phoenix or Dumbledore's Army, and even some Death Eaters if that's your style. The shop is often sold out of 11-inch holly wands with a phoenix tail feather though, so consider a nice elder wand instead.

Drop your new goodies off at your dormitory.

Matt Tucker / BuzzFeed

If you want to feel like a proper wizard, book a room at the closest thing in London to the Gryffindor dormitory: The Georgian House Hotel's Wizard Chambers. You can even get there from King's Cross via the Victoria line, so it's practically like taking the Hogwarts Express straight home!

Sneak through a secret passage into Hogsmeade.

You can see all of the film's artwork (and buy so much Wizarding candy you'll guarantee yourself a visit to Hermione's dentist parents).

Stop by Diagon Alley for some window shopping on your way back to school.

Flickr: tipsfortravellers / Creative Commons

Walking through the set of Diagon Alley is so realistic you'll actually start to believe in magic.

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