London x London

Posted on Published: 30th November 2020  - Last updated: 31st December 2020 Categories Things to do

By: Author Julianna Barnaby

Where’s the Real Diagon Alley in London?

Where’s the Real Diagon Alley in London?

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Wands and cauldrons ahoy! It’s one of the city’s worst kept secrets that there are a few locations claiming to be the real Diagon Alley in London. 

Remember the magic in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Hagrid first takes Harry through the Leaky Cauldron to discover the magical shopping lane of Diagon Alley beyond? 

Harry can’t even take it all in – to the point where he wishes he had eight more eyes to soak up the magic on display. Apothecaries, owl emporiums, Gringotts, Madam Malkin’s Robes – we discover so much about Diagon Alley during the course of the books. It’s little wonder that people have made it their quest to find the real inspiration for Diagon Alley in London. 

Where are they? How much of their claims to being Diagon Alley is the work of befuddled brains turned to mush (perhaps a memory charm that’s backfired?) and how much of it is true? Let’s discover. 

PS, Wanna really discover the world of Harry Potter in London? Take this brilliant guided tour.

Where to Find the Real Diagon Alley in London

Cecil court .

Cecil Court

On the face of it, Cecil Court ticks all the right boxes for Diagon Alley. This curiously well-preserved court running between St Martins Lane and Charing Cross is… (wait for it) a hub for bookshops focused on the occult and magic. 

Lined with ye olde shops that look like they’ve been plucked straight from the 18th century, Cecil Court’s history is a jaunt through some pretty hair-raising tales – including a landlady who attempted to burn down the court in an insurance fraud scam. 

Still, gossip aside, there are some particularly interesting points that come up when you look at Rowling’s description of the location of Diagon Alley. 

“They were thundering along Charing Cross Road. Harry sat up and watched buildings and benches squeezing themselves out of the Knight Bus’s way….

Ern slammed on the brakes and the Knight Bus skidded to a halt in front of a small and shabby-looking pub, the Leaky Cauldron, behind which lay the magical entrance to Diagon Alley.” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter Three – The Knight Bus 

Booksellers in Cecil Court

It’s not the only time that Rowling describes the Leaky Cauldron as being on the Charing Cross Road and Diagon Alley just behind it either. The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted this section in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

“Harry turned on the spot with Griphook on his shoulders, concentrating with all his might on the Leaky Cauldron, the inn that was the entrance to Diagon Alley… seconds later Harry’s feet found pavement and he opened his eyes on Charing Cross Road. Muggles bustled past wearing the hangdog expressions of early morning, quite unconscious of the little inn’s existence.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 – Gringotts.

Remember that bit where I said that Cecil Court is just off the Charing Cross Road? You know where this is going. Unfortunately there’s no Leaky Cauldron pub at the end of Cecil Court – that would be too easy, but its location and appearance make it a solid favourite for being the real Diagon Alley in London. 

Goodwin’s Court 

You’re pretty convinced that you know where Diagon Alley is now right? Well hold your horses because there’s another spot just around the corner that other Potterheads swear is the real inspiration for Diagon Alley… Goodwin’s Court . 

Goodwin's Court

Now, I have to be honest, Goodwin’s Court is not located just off the Charing Cross Road – but it is only one road back, just off St Martin’s Lane so it’s not far off either. 

So, the location’s a bit off – but take one look at Goodwin’s Court and you’ll see why so many people are convinced this is the right place. You see, Goodwin’s Court was first built in in the 17th century and has been pretty much perfectly preserved ever since.

You can just imagine the higgledy-piggledy bow-fronted buildings along the court housing shops like Ollivander’s and (later anyway) Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes inside, mere metres away from the unsuspecting eyes of the muggles bustling along some of London’s busiest roads. 

Goodwin's Court

In fact, Rowling describes the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron as mostly unobserved by muggles and that’s very much true for the entrance to Goodwin’s Court – despite its super-central location, very few Londoners even know it’s there. 

Although there are plenty of people who think Goodwin’s Court is the real Diagon Alley, others argue it’s actually Knockturn Alley – the shopping area devoted to the Dark Arts where you find Borgin and Burkes. It is quite gloomy and mysterious… 

Warner Bros Studio Tour 

Diagon Alley

It’s impossible for the Warner Bros Studio Tour to have served as the inspiration for Diagon Alley but, if you want to see the best representation of Diagon Alley in London, it’s hands down the place to go. 

There’s nothing quite like the magic of wandering down the very same set where the incredible films brought the books to life – even so, Diagon Alley is the point where I remember getting so excited my mind almost melted. 

No, it didn’t serve as the inspiration but it is the place where the set designers got to pore over every description of Diagon Alley in all the books and meticulously recreate them IRL. Seriously, why wouldn’t you want to flounce around in your house robes frantically trying to tick everything off on this year’s school shopping list. 

Practical Information and Map for Discovering Diagon Alley in London 

  • I’ve included a map below with the locations of the three destinations covered in this guide. You have to pre-book tickets for the Warner Bros Studio Tour – do so here . 
  • Ready to conquer the world of Harry Potter in London? This epic self-guided walking tour covers all the Harry Potter book and filming locations in London . 
  • Want to delve even deeper? Try this Harry Potter guided tour which takes you behind the scenes of Harry Potter’s London. 

Diagon Alley London

Ready to Discover More of Harry Potter’s London?

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FEATURE 1

Self-Guided Harry Potter Walking Tour

FEATURE 2

Visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour

Coffee Shops in London Bridge

The Cauldron: London’s Potter-Themed Bar

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  • The Real Diagon Alley

diagon alley tour london

This post explains how to get to the 2 locations for Diagon Alley in London with some background information.

Be sure to take our pay-what-you-like Harry Potter Tour of London or our Harry Potter audio tour . 

  • Filming Locations
  • Harry Potter Tours in London
  • Warner Bros. Studios
  • Other Potter Film Locations

HOW TO FIND DIAGON ALLEY

There are two contenders here for the REAL Diagon Alley and many Potter fans are split as to which is the ‘real’ Diagon Alley. 

Fortunately, both are very centrally located near Leicester Square. There are several different buses that frequent the area, as well as a nearby tube station.  

We recommend using this Google Maps link for directions to Cecil Court .

Map of Diagon Alley London Harry Potter

The other contender, Goodwin Court, is a few minutes away.

Nearest Underground Station: Leicester Square Station

Buses: 24, 29, 176

For those unfamiliar with the London Underground, we have a post on how to master the system .

If you are considering a hop-on-hop-off tour while in London, then keep in mind that all have stops a short walk away from both locations.

Let Us Bring You Here

We run several pay-what-you-like Harry Potter tours  each week.

London Walking Tours

Both Diagon Alley locations are stops on our Harry Potter audio tour . Here's a sample.

THE REAL DIAGON ALLEY

In the Wizarding World, The Leaky Cauldron (which holds the entrance to Diagon Alley) sits just off Charing Cross Road.

In our world, Charing Cross Road is known for its multitude of bookshops - many of which specialise in magic and the occult.

It’s clear to see why J. K. Rowling decided that the entrance to Diagon Alley would be here!

There are two contenders here for the REAL Diagon Alley and many Potter fans are split as to which is the ‘real’ one.

There are also two locations used for the door to Diagon Alley, one in Leadenhall Market and the other in Borough Market .  

Cecil Court

Cecil Court is lined with bookshops and antiquarian storefronts.

Because of its association with magical literature and bric-a-brac, many believe that this is the REAL Diagon Alley.

Given the items that line the storefronts, the tarot card readers that work here, and the magical lamps running down the centre of the alleyway, this is definitely a contender to be the real deal.  

Godwin’s Court

Less well-known and hidden away sits Godwin’s Court. Lined with topsy-turvy buildings, crooked houses, and bulging windows, Godwin’s Court is every inch, Diagon Alley.

Godwins Court Harry Potter Diagon Alley

In fact, the set of Diagon Alley built at the Warner Brother’s studios bears a VERY strong similarity to Godwin’s Court - leaving some confidence that this is the REAL Diagon Alley!  

FILMING LOCATIONS FOR DIAGON ALLEY

Diagon alley in  harry potter and the philosopher’s stone: .

The beautifully covered pathways of Leadenhall Market stood in for Diagon Alley in the first Harry Potter Film.

Hagrid and Harry walk through the market and then enter the Leaky Cauldron Pub through a blue door.

Leaky Cauldron Entrance Leadenhall Market

The blue door (down Bull’s Head Passage) is still there and is easily spotted among the reds and greens of the rest of the Market which means it’s easy for you to find the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron yourself!  

Use this Google Maps link to get directions .

After this first film, the entrance to The Leaky Cauldron was filmed in Borough Market .

ALL 3 STOPS ARE ON OUR AUDIO TOUR

And it’s always worth a mention that the Diagon Alley movie set lies at the Warner Brothers Studios in Leavesden.

Visitors can walk the actual set of the alley where the actors filmed some of the movies' most iconic scenes.

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COVENT GARDEN TO THE REAL DIAGON ALLEY

The harry potter tour, your harry potter tour of london continues, harry potter directions.

Continue ahead, passing to the left of Australia House and cross over Melbourne Place. Go left and over the two traffic light crossings on the other side of which bear left. Go first right into Surrey Street. You pass the former Aldwych Station on your right.

ALDWYCH STATION THE GHOST LINE

Aldwych Station opened on 30th November 1907 and for the next 87 years a shuttle service ran back and forth between it and Holborn Underground Station. The last train carrying the general public departed from the station on the evening of 30th September 1994, and today Aldwych is maintained by London Underground, mainly as a museum piece and film set, whilst the ticket hall is frequently rented out for art exhibitions, book launches and other private parties.

It is without doubt the most used of the disused stations on the Underground and numerous films and television programmes have been shot in its cavernous depths.

It stands on the site of the Royal Strand Theatre, which was demolished in 1905. This may account for the ghostly actress who is often seen strolling along the tracks at night.

Indeed, the ‘fluffers’ – those whose job it was to clean the tunnels and stations on the underground at night - often used to encounter her melancholic shade and several of them were, reportedly, absolutely terrified by the experience.

TO THE NEXT LOCATION

A little further along go right through the Brick Arch into Surrey Steps. Go down the steps, turn tight along Strand Lane and pause on the right outside the:

ROMAN BATH - STRAND LANE

Although no one is sure exactly how old this ‘antiquity’ actually is, many writers, Dickens included, have referred to it as Roman. Dickens is said to have taken many a cold plunge in its icy waters, and sent David Copperfield to do likewise.

The bath itself can be viewed through the window, and what is known of its history can be read on a board outside.

If you have a group you can arrange to have the Bath opened for you and explore the interior. To do so phone 020 7641-5264

Backtrack to Strand, go left along it. In the centre of the road you can see:

THE CHURCH OF ST MARY LE STRAND THE SITE OF THE MAY-POLE

Work began on the current church in 1715 when it was built as one of the Queen Anne Churches, a Commission established by an Act of Parliament in 1711 to build 50 new churches across London.

It was at the church of St Mary le Strand that the parents of Charles Dickens were married.

The Church of St Mary-Le-Strand.

The church stands on the site of the old May-pole where the May-day festivals were held in medieval times.

But in 1517, on what became known as "Evil May-day," rioting broke out around the May-pole on Strand, and the London Apprentices went on the rampage to protest at the ever increasing number of foreigners that were settling in London.

It took three weeks for order to be restored and thereafter the May-day celebrations began to lose their lustre until they were ended altogether by Cromwell's Commonwealth and the May-pole was taken down.

However, with the Restoration of the Monarchy and the return of Charles 11 in 1660, a new May-pole was set up much to the delight of Charles and his brother, James, Duke of York.

We are told that "little children did much rejoice, and ancient people did clap their hands, saying that golden days began to appear..."

The May-pole stood for the next 50 years until it had become dangerous, its height much reduced by wind and rain.

Although a new one was rebuilt nearby in 1713, work on the church had already begun and this May-pole, the third on the site, only stood for five years before being taken down.

WALKING DIRECTIONS

Continue along Strand and, just past the bus stops, go left through the arch in to the courtyard of Somerset House.

SOMERSET HOUSE

There are often special events taking place in the courtyard of Somerset House. For example in December an ice rink is erected here and you can test balance and enjoy a little ice skating before continuing your Harry Potter Tour. Full details of events and of the history of the buildings can be seen on the Somerset House website.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE FOUR

Can you find these figures on one of the buildings.

Figures on the Harry Potter Treasure Hunt.

As you enter the courtyard pass to the right of the statue that greets you and you will find them on the wall of the Inland Revenue to the right.

HARRY POTTER TOURS DIRECTIONS

Backtrack to Strand, go left and when you get to the next traffic lights, cross the road and head for the Lyceum Theatre, which can be seen to the left. Pause in the portico.

THE LYCEUM THEATRE A Ghost Story

In the late 19th century the rafters of this theatre - now restored to its original opulent splendour by Lord Lloyd Webber - echoed to the thunderous applause of audiences that had come to marvel at the lavish Shakespearean productions staged here by Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.

One couple, however, got an added bonus with their ticket in the 1880’s when, during an interval, they happened to look over the balcony, and saw the severed head of a man leering up at them from a lady’s lap in the stalls below! Their curiosity aroused, they rose from their seats to investigate, but were forced to sit back down when the play resumed.

During the second half they kept looking over to railings, but the lady had a shawl over her lap.

When the curtain came down they raced down stairs and observed the lady leaving the theatre. Unfortunately, such was the press of the crowd that they lost her, and were left to ponder on the grisly enigma that they had witnessed.

Some years later, the husband happened to visit a house in Yorkshire where, to his surprise, he saw a portrait of the man whose face was identical to that which he and his wife had seen in the lady’s lap at the Lyceum. When he asked the owner of the house who the man was, he was told that it was a distant ancestor who had been beheaded for treason, and whose family once owned the land on which the Lyceum stands.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE FIVE

What is the connection between the Lyceum and Dracula?

Bram Stoker wrote Dracula whilst working at the Lyceum.

The answer is on a grey plaque on the theatre wall to the left just before the booking office.

DIRECTIONS TO THE NEXT LOCATION

Keep ahead along Wellington Street and go second left along Tavistock Street. Continue past Charles Fox, theatrical make up suppliers, then cross to the right side of the street. Turn right into Tavistock Court (there are toilets on the left should they be required.

As you go into Covent Garden you might wish to pay a visit to the London Transport Museum. the entrance to which is located to your right.

Otherwise continue ahead and immediately after Just Falafs Good Mood Food, go left in to the main Covent Garden Piazza.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE SIX

What did he signify that a shop sold.

Scottish Snuff.

The answer is on the information board by the old snuff shop that you pass on the left.

Keep ahead through the Piazza and on its other side go right, passing on your left the Church of St Paul's Covent Garden.

This is one of the locations in Covent Garden where you can take a break and enjoy the streets performers. Jugglers, escapologists and magicians frequently put on lively shows here.

Turn left along King Street at the end of which go over Bedford Street via the Zebra Crossing, keep ahead in to New Row and go first left into Bedfordbury.

A little way along on the right go through the passageway between 23 and 24 and enter Goodwin's Court.

Goodwin's court - Diagon Alley.

This tucked away little alley, with its glorious Georgian facades, has a genuine aura of magical secrecy about it. At night the alleyway is even lit by the flickering glow of gas lamps.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE SEVEN

What did goodwin's court used to be called.

Fishers Alley

The answer is located on a small board that gives a history of Goodwin's Court, which is located on the wall about half way along on the right

Continue to the other end of Goodwin's Court and cautiously cross over St. Martin's Lane, the traffic will be coming from your right on this one way street.

Veer left on its other side and go first right into Cecil Court.

CECIL COURT THE REAL DIAGON ALLEY.

Cecil Court being "just off Charing Cross Road" and with its curious mix of bookshops and antique shops, is widely believed to be the real Diagon Alley, or at least the thoroughfare on which Diagon Alley was based.

There is certainly a mysterious air about this delightful little thoroughfare, and the first shop on your right is even called The Witch Ball!

Although the window displays change, several of the shops display curious antique books (such as the one shown above) in their windows and some of the shop signs themselves are very colourful, not to say magical, in their own rights.

DAVID DRUMMOND THEATRICAL BOOKSELLER

David Drummond Sign - David Drummond.

A particularly colourful one is David Drummond located a little way along on the left, whilst Watkins Books at number 19 on the left ( www.watkinsbooks.com ) claims to be the oldest occultist and mystical bookshop in the world.

A FAMOUS 20TH CENTURY MURDER.

In 1961 number 23 Cecil Court was the scene of a murder that led to a major advancement in criminal detection.

At midday on Friday 3rd March 1961 the body of part time shop assistant Mrs. Elsie May Batten was found in the curtained off rear of an antique shop at number 23. An eighteen-inch antique dagger was protruding from her chest.

The shops owner, Louis Meier, remembered a young man who had shown an interest in a particular dress sword and some daggers in his shop the previous day. The sword was now missing.

It turned up in a gun shop on the opposite side of the court, where the son of the owner told police that a man had brought it into his shop that morning. Using these witness’s descriptions the police complied England’s first Identikit picture and released it to the media.

On 8th March 1961 PC Cole, who was on duty in Old Compton Street, recognized 21 year old Edwin Bush as being the face on the picture and arrested him. Bush was subsequently hanged for Elsie Batten’s murder.

Continue to the end of Cecil Court and go right along Charing Cross Road.

WHICH PUB COULD BE THE LEAKY CAULDRON?

It is through the Leaky Cauldron that the wizard community access Diagon Alley. The leaky Cauldron is a small shabby-looking inn on Charing Cross Road that is sandwiched between a record store and a large book shop. There are several pubs along Charing Cross Road, none of which exactly fit the description, so why not play a little game and decide for yourselves which one you think could be the Leaky Cauldron?

Keep ahead past the Donmar Theatre and over Cranbourne Street.

FOLLOW THAT DEATH EATER!

You are now following the route taken by the Death Eaters in the opening sequence of Harry Potter and the Half Blood prince as they fly away from Trafalgar Square leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

Keep going and pause outside Leicester Square Underground Station on the right. This entrance to the station is passed by the Death Eaters in the opening sequence of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Backtrack along Charing Cross Road, passing Cecil Court and pause alongside the Garrick Arms Pub by the pedestrian crossing.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE EIGHT

Who will be the first to spot this.

Face clue on the treasure hunt in London.

There are in fact two of these faces. You will find them on the left, just after you've passed the phone box.

They are on the first floor above Euro Food and Wine by Garrick Mansions at number 12 Charing Cross Road.

TO THE NEXT TOUR STOP

Cross over Charing Cross Road via the pedestrian crossing. Turn left on its other side and keep ahead and go right into Trafalgar Square. Veer left and pause at the top of the steps.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE A MONUMENT TO A NATIONAL HERO.

The Square was laid out in the early 1830's and, at first, nobody was at all sure what it was to be used for! Some wanted it to be London's answer to the Piazza San Marco in Venice, whilst others argued it should be a rival to the great Places that graced Paris.

There was a proposal to turn it into a monument to the then monarch William 1V. Another enticing suggestion was that the Square should be filled with a pyramid that would be equal in height to St Paul's Cathedral (twice the height of Nelson's Column) in memory of those  who had been killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The arguments continued until 1837 when a suggestion that a monument to Nelson should be erected in the square received universal support. Again their was a great deal of debate and discussion as to what would be a fitting memorial to Horatio Nelson, who was killed by a sniper's bullet at his moment of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

It was suggested that Nelson's ship the Victory should be rebuilt in stone, at twice its actual height with every member of the crew depicted in the exact position they were in at the moment Nelson was shot.

Finally the idea of a column surmounted by a statue of Nelson was decided upon and thus Nelson now stands atop his 170 foot column high above the square.

LOOK OUT HERE COME THE DEATH EATERS!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince begins with the Death Eaters launching a destructive attack on London from the air. Part of that opening sequence shows them swooping down onto Trafalgar Square.

WALK THIS WAY

Backtrack and cross the road via the crossing towards the church with the tall spire and the clock. This is:-

THE CHURCH OF ST MARTIN IN THE FIELDS.

Having swooped down onto Trafalgar Square the Death Eaters shoot past this church and along Charing Cross Road as mentioned earlier.

The church was designed in 1724 by the architect James Gibbs to replace the old church that Henry V111 had constructed for the people who lived hereabouts when the area was literally in the fields.

The church has recently undergone a major and expensive refurbishment and is well worth a visit.

Spectacular as this church is after its recent makeover it is difficult to imagine that, when it was first built it caused an absolute sensation.

Gibbs built the church with the steeple over its west end, rather than, as was the normal practice, over its east end. In addition he placed the steeple over a portico of tall columns. Its radical style caused great excitement and architects all over the country were soon adopting its design.

Three of Gibb's assistants then moved to New England and introduced 'the new English style' of church building into America. The fact that a church in this design was easy to build, and could be just as easily constructed from timber as from stone and brick, meant that, as the settlers headed west across America they took this design with them. The result is that today there are thousands of churches across the United States built in this style, all of them based on St Martin in the Fields.

Go left in front of St Martin in the Fields and keep ahead. Pass to the right of the Edith Cavell Brussels Dawn monument. Go over St. Martin's Place via the crossing, veer right and ahead into St. Martin's Lane. Cross to the Chandos Pub and go left in front of it, passing Spaghetti House.

Just before the London Coliseum, turn right to squeeze into the very narrow Brydges Place.

LONDON TREASURE HUNT CLUE NINE

Look carefully and see who will be the first to find this?

It is located on the stain-glass window that you pass about half way along on the left.

At the end of Brydges Place turn right onto Bedfordbury, go right again along Chandos Place and cross to its left side. Keep ahead over William 1V Street, veering left on its other side and a little way along on the right go down the steps into the Subway Shopping area. When you arrive at the foot of the steps on the right is:-

DAVENPORTS MAGIC SHOP CHARING CROSS UNDER PASS

Davenports is the oldest family-run magic business in the world. From the moment the dull thud of a loud bell announces your arrival, you find yourself confronted by a veritable cornucopia of all things magical and mysterious.

Ferocious-looking arm choppers, complete with severed arms, glimmer behind glass display cases.

There are ESP and Tarot cards for initiation into the secretive world of magicians, mediums and psychics.

You can even purchase a copy of the first book ever published on the subject of magic, The Discoverie of Witchcraft , written in 1584, at a time when the shop’s assistants would probably have been burnt at the stake for the demonstrations of sleight-of-hand that they perform for visitors.

Davenports location, tucked away as it is in this twilight, underground, almost secret part of London, is just a stones throw from Charing Cross Road, indeed its location could easily be described as being "just off Charing Cross Road.

Diagon Alley, "London's finest source for a wizard's every need," is described as being "just off Charing Cross Road." One can't help wondering if this hidden away shop, with its magic theme, didn't provide some of the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

THE NEXT SECTION OF THE HARRY POTTER TOUR AND TREASURE HUNT

RETURN TO THE MAIN HARRY POTTER TOUR PAGE.

diagon alley tour london

Copyright ©2015 Richard Jones.

The content on this page, whether text, videos, illustrations or photographs, is the copyright of Richard Jones and it may not be copied or reproduced in anyway whatsoever.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

The "Harry Potter" Tour and London Treasure Hunt is an independent self guided tour that is neither supported by nor endorsed by J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Scholastic Press or Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. Richard Jones recognises the fact that all rights to all the "Harry Potter" stories and characters are the property of J. K. Rowling and her publishers and representatives. Film Rights remain the property of Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.

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Third Eye Traveller

Cecil Court London (2024) – Is this Diagon Alley from Harry Potter?

By: Author Sophie Pearce

Posted on Last updated: January 1, 2024

Categories ENGLAND , HARRY POTTER , LONDON

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Cecil Court London is a quaint and curious shopping street that’s a bit of a hidden gem of Covent Garden.

Adorned with colourful Victorian shopfronts and old oil lamps, you could easily miss it if you’re not looking for it in London’s West End.

Indeed, the historic Cecil Court is anything but ordinary and it will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. It’s a book lover’s paradise and filled with boutiques offering all sorts of novels and antiquities.

It’s also popular with Potterheads as many believe that this quirky street with Victorian store fronts inspired Diagon Alley in Harry Potter!

Here’s a complete guide for Cecil Court with the history, how to get here, and the Harry Potter connection. 

Harry Potter Cecil Court London Diagon Alley

The history of Cecil Court London

Cecil Court has been a quiet corner of Covent Garden since the 17th-century and when you walk down there today, you’ll notice that not much has changed! 

According to older maps, there used to be a hedgerow that ran all the way down it. But, a substantial part of Cecil Court was burned down in 1735 due to a tenant called Mrs. Colloway. She used to run a brothel and over-insured her Brandy stock just to set it alight and claim back the funds! 

A little later in 1764, a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lodged at 9 Cecil Court temporarily when he was eight years old. He stayed with a barber called John Couzins before he left for Europe. 

Later, John Couzin’s sold tickets to Mozart’s very first London concert from his shop. Look out for the blue plaque at number 9 which marks the spot! 

In the early 1900s, the famous bookish lane of Hollywell Street was destroyed and so Cecil Court gained the new nickname of Bookseller’s Row. This is around the same time that the court received the iconic make-over which saw every shop lined with colourful Victorian storefronts which we see today.

Later, this street became known as Flicker Alley due to its links with the early British Film Industry. It still does with films like Miss Potter (2006) and Last Christmas (2019) being filmed here in recent years.

Today, Cecil Court is a paradise for book lovers, filled with antiquities and all sorts of curiosities in the various boutiques.

You feel like you’ve been transported back in time and you could honestly lose yourself for hours browsing in the shop windows alone.

Many people believe that this magical little street was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movies!

Cecil Court London Harry Potter

What is the Cecil Court Harry Potter connection?

Any Harry Potter walking tour in London worth its salt makes a stop at Cecil Court and that is due to its strong links with the Wizarding World and Harry Potter.

Many Potterheads believe that Cecil Court was the inspiration for Diagon Alley. For those that don’t know, Diagon Alley is a magical shopping street filled with supplies for witches and wizards!

It’s easy to see why people think this as Cecil Court has plenty of quirky and colourful shop windows and signs for historic establishments that sway over into the street. 

There are also lots of Bric-a-Brac, tarot readers, antique sellers, map makers, and shelves of books aplenty which do look and feel very similar to the shops found on Diagon Alley! 

Harry potter Cecil Court London Diagon Alley

Is Cecil Court Diagon Alley?

There are many Harry Potter streets in the UK that say they have a claim to fame for being the inspiration for Diagon Alley.

Although J. K. Rowling has recently dispelled some locations like Gandy Street in Exete r, she’s never officially announced what street is the official Harry Potter Street that inspired the Wizarding World.

You have the medieval and cobbled Shambles in York with its higgledy-piggledy buildings and The Shop That Must Not Be Named .

Also, Victoria Street in Edinburgh has a claim with its vibrant shopfronts in all colours of the rainbow. It’s home to Museum Context which inspired Ollivander’s Wand Shop. 

Plus, there are plenty of streets in London that are thought to be Diagon Alley such a s Goodwin’s Court and even Leadenhall Market which became a filming location for the first Harry Potter movie. 

So, I guess it’s up for debate. Do you think that Cecil Court looks like a real Diagon Alley? I think it’s a fair contender as it does have many cool shop fronts and hanging door signs. 

But, I’d say my favourite ‘Harry Potter Street’ (beyond the Diagon Alley in Universal Studios) will always be The Shambles in York. In fact, it’s one of my favourite streets in all of the UK as it’s just magical!

Cecil Court London Diagon Alley

Things to do in Cecil Court for Harry Potter fans

So, if you are visiting Cecil Court London as a Potterhead, you’re probably wondering what there is to do around here when you arrive!

Well, Cecil Court is a gorgeous historic shopping street that has plenty to do. If you’re a bookworm, you’ll be in heaven as there are so many places to buy books for your collection. 

There are lots of jewellers, art dealers, and antiques – so, it really is similar to visiting Diagon Alley in real life!

Here are all the things to do in Cecil Court for Harry Potter fans. 

1. Walk down this quaint street with all the amazing independent boutiques 

So, beyond shopping, this street is a peaceful paradise in amongst the busy and hectic Covent Garden.

On Charing Cross Road you have all these theatres, shops, traffic, and noise. But, when you head down Cecil Court you escape all that.

You’ll be in a pedestrianised area, surrounded by Victorian Shopfronts and old oil lamps and you can simply take some time to enjoy where you are. 

It’s not a huge street by any means but it packs a punch with character and there are always events that take place here and change with the seasons. 

Cecil Court London HarrY Potter

2. Go book shopping

If you’re a book lover, you will be spoiled for choice in Cecil Court. There are so many independent bookshops to visit to pick up some new reads for your collection.

What I loved is that all the bookstores were so different and had their own unique theme and character. 

Some bookshops, like Bryars & Bryars, were also cartographers and dealt in antique maps which I thought was amazing considering the modern age of Google Maps!

Here are some of the best shops in Cecil Court to explore:

  • Bryar’s and Bryar’s – A bookshop that is filled with antiquarian books and maps, a must see!
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass – probably one of the coolest bookshops on the strip! Obviously, there is a strong Alice in Wonderland theme and the whole shop is so gorgeous! They sell lots of versions of the Lewis Carroll series and Alice themed paraphernalia but it’s not limited. They also have a strong fantasy theme. 
  • The Witch Ball – a specialist retailer in antiquarian prints, jewellery and art! 
  • Goldsboro Books – open since the 1990s, this store is filled with special, first and classic edition books. The smell in here is amazing with all that old paper and binding. 
  • Marchpane – Harry Potter fans will love this store. There’s plenty of magic inspired things inside with children’s books and more links to Alice in Wonderland. 
  • Watkins – Established over 120 years ago, this bookshops serves up a bit of the spiritual and supernatural. They even have crystals, talismans and tarot readings thrown into the mix. Look out for the dried Dragon Blood on sale!

Alice Through the Looking Glass Cecil Court

3. Head to Mr. Foggs Tavern

If you were looking for a quirky place to go for drinks or a bit of lunch, I would highly recommend visiting the famous Victorian-inspired Mr. Foggs Tavern in Covent Garden.

There are many Mr. Foggs dotted about London and are all based on the famous explorer Phileas J. Fogg, Esq. from Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days.

Each one has a theme or story and the one in Convent Garden is called Mr Fogg’s Tavern. Its theme is based on the Landlady Fanny McGee who throws open her doors to a traditional Victorian tavern in the heart of Covent Garden every week!

These bars are anything but ordinary and are filled to the rafters with Victorian paraphernalia and quirky drinks inspired by the past.

Although not a Harry Potter bar per se, this place is still pretty magical and reminded me a lot of the Hog’s Head Inn or the Leaky Cauldron with its Olde World charm.

Click here to read my complete review for Mr. Fogg’s Tavern

Mr Foggs Tavern London

4. Stroll down Knockturn Alley

If you were looking for more Harry Potter locations in the area, there is one that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from Cecil Court.

If you head towards St Martin’s Lane, you’ll find a small tunnel that will take you through to Goodwin’s Court. 

This is meant to be an inspiration for Diagon Alley but I think it looks more like Knockturn Alley with all the black oriel windows and oil lamps. Plus, you could totally imagine stumbling upon Borgin & Burkes here. 

As a bonus, you’ll find lots of Harry Potter Easter eggs like Hedwig and broomsticks placed in the windows. So, make sure to snap some photos while you’re here. It’s an opportunity that you won’t want to miss. 

Read my complete Harry potter guide for Goodwin’s Court!

Goodwin's Court Harry Potter

5. Watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Did you know that the Palace Theatre is based in London West End? It’s just a few minutes’ walk away from Cecil Court!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part play that begins nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts in the Deathly Hallows. Although marketed as the eighth story of the Harry Potter series, I’d keep an open mind about that! 

However, it is extremely popular with Harry Potter fans and tickets sell out for shows months in advance. It’s not exactly cheap either as to really experience the whole package, you have to watch two shows.

If you were keen, I would make sure that you book tickets months beforehand but you can try your luck to pick up last-minute tickets on the day.

Click here to book your tickets for the Cursed Child play!

The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre London

Why not book a Harry Potter walking tour?  

If you wanted to visit a couple of the Harry Potter filming locations and inspirations in London, I would recommend booking a guided walking tour.

There are many that run but one of the most popular is by Strawberry Tours who run their tour for FREE but, these run on a tipping basis. Always remember to tip your magical guides!

These tours are really popular, so if you wanted to join make sure to head to their website to book your place to guarantee a spot.

Typically, the tour meets at The Palace Theatre at 3.30pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Click here to book your FREE Harry Potter walking tour in London with Strawberry Tours

cecil Court London HarrY Potter

Where is Cecil Court London?

Cecil Court is an idyllic shopping street in the heart of London’s West End and Convent Garden.

It’s a bit of a hidden gem that you can easily miss if you’re not looking for it and it’s tucked in-between St Martin’s Lane and Charing Cross Road (another Harry Potter filming location FYI).

If you were planning to visit Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, or Leicester Square while you’re in London, Cecil Court makes the perfect place to add on to your trip!

Cecil Court London Harry Potter

How to get to Cecil Court London 

The address for Cecil Court is WC2N 4EZ but I wouldn’t recommend driving a car in London as it would be too stressful and not to mention expensive with congestion charges.

The tube or the London Underground is the best way to get around London and it’s really cheap and convenient to use. 

The nearest tube to Cecil Court is Leicester Square and it’s a 5-minute walk from there to Cecil Court down Charing Cross Road.

Cecil Court opening times are 24 hours a day but if you plan on shopping I would personally make sure you check individual shop opening times here to avoid disappointment. 

Most shops have a website with their current opening times but the majority open around 11am – 6pm from Monday – Saturday. Most shops here completely close on Sundays.

If you plan on taking photographs of this amazing street, I would recommend visiting as early as possible as it’s often very crowded with shoppers and commuters.

Diagon Alley Harry Potter Cecil Court London

What has been filmed at Cecil Court?

Cecil Court has long been associated with the British Film Industry and it was known as ‘Flicker Alley’ in the early 1900s. 

Here are all the movies that have been filmed in Cecil Court: 

  • Victim (1961)
  • The Human Factor (1979)
  • 84 Charing Cross Road (1987)
  • Miss Potter (2006)
  • Last Christmas (2019)

Harry Potter Cecil Court London

Amazing Cecil Court Facts!

  • Cecil Court dates back to the 17th-century but was redesigned with Victorian storefronts in the 19th-century
  • Cecil Court was the temporary home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when he was eight years old. He stayed with a barber named John Couzin who sold tickets to Mozart’s first London concert from his shop! You’ll see a blue plaque at Number 9 Cecil Court.
  • In 1735, Cecil Court almost entirely burned to the ground due to a resident called Mrs. Colloway who ran a brothel and brandy shop! She over-insured her Brandy stock and then set fire to it to claim back the money. She was arrested for fraud and arson but was later acquitted of all charges!
  • Cecil Court is also known as ‘Flicker Alley’ as it was a hub for the early British film industry
  • Since the 1930’s Cecil Court has also been known as the new ‘Booksellers Row’. This moniker used to be for Hollywell Street but that was demolished in the 1900s
  • Cecil Court is part of the Jubilee Walkway, a 15-mile hike which includes some of London’s most notable attractions

Cecil Court London Bookshops

Looking for more Harry Potter locations in London?

London is full of amazing Harry Potter filming locations, inspirations, and experiences to enjoy if you’re a Potterhead. 

Just nearby you can walk over to Goodwin’s Court that is the inspiration for Knockturn Alley but many say this inspired Diagon Alley too!

You also have a Harry Potter Photographic exhibition with London’s only Butter Beer bar in Covent Garden.

Leadenhall Market , Borough Market, and Millennium Bridge are all featured in the movies as well as the St Pancras International Hotel. You can even find the Order of the Pheonix HQ !

You can head into St Paul’s Cathedral to see their Geometric Staircase that was the Divination Stairwell at Hogwarts. 

Butterbeer Bar in London

You can watch the Cursed Child in Palace Theatre or hop inside the House of Mina Lima who were the designers of most of the magical Harry Potter props like the Hogwarts Acceptance Letters and Daily Prophet newspapers! 

Just nearby you have the iconic King’s Cross Station . Although there is no platform 9 3/4’s in real life, there is a Harry Potter Shop with a trolley nearby for a photo opportunity. 

Or, you can enjoy some Harry Potter-themed experiences like afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge in their Potion Room. Or, head to The Cauldron for a magical cocktails experience.

No Harry Potter fan can leave London without visiting The Making of Harry Potter on a Warner Brother’s Studio Tour . 

It’s filled with lots of real sets, props, and costumes that are featured in the movies. It’s based in Watford but you can take an official Warner Studios Bus transfer from central London. 

If you can I would recommend a visit around one of their special events like the Dark Arts at Halloween or Hogwarts in the Snow .

Click here to read my complete guide on London Harry Potter locations

Leadenhall Market Harry potter Diagon Alley

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Save this Cecil Court Harry Potter guide for later!

HarrY potter Cecil Court London Diagon Alley inspiration

Thursday 27th of July 2023

Cecil Court has nothing to do with Diagon alley. JK Rowling has said that she has no recollection of visiting Cecil Court. Dont waste money paying for a tour which is telling untruths,

Sophie Pearce

Monday 31st of July 2023

Hi Rosslyn, despite your quite heated opinions it's something that people believe and many people search for it on Google - hence this post. It makes Potterheads happy so what's the harm? I guess some people see the magic in places and others don't have the imagination, skill or the capacity to see beyond what's in front of their nose. Being honest, who cares about problematic JK and her absurd opinions anyway that segregate entire communities?! Also, you don't need to pay money as the walking tour I mentioned is free! The fact that you work at The Witch Ball in Cecil Court and Potterheads visit because of this myth should make you happy as it brings you extra business and customers. You have to be pretty silly and closed minded not to see the potential and benefit in free advertising and extra footfall through the shop? Open your mind, get with the times and think bigger Rosslyn. There's a whole modern world out there within reach and you can benefit from it. Have a great day now! Sophie x

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

The Witch Ball does not sell Jewellery or original art. It specialises in 20th century prints only. A bigger antique map shop can be found at 1-3 Cecil Court. Storey's Ltd has been trading in Cecil Court for 40 years and specialises in Military prints and antique maps. The street has many other very interesting and unique shops not mentioned in your article.

Tuesday 5th of July 2022

Hi Tony, noted thanks! I understand there are more shops in the street than just the ones I mentioned but I'd need much more time to write about every shop in Cecil Court - this is a Harry Potter post about the inspiration for Diagon Alley so I just mentioned the highlights. Sophie x

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Harry Potter™ Walking Tour Locations

Harry potter™ tour locations in london.

Experience some of the most iconic locations in London on this enchanting Harry Potter™ London walking tour. A 2.5 hour long walk led by a friendly and knowledgeable guide who really knows their Harry Potter trivia, this tour guarantees a splendid time for every fan!

Walk past the Borough Market and Winchester Castle, get a snack at Leadenhall Market, get a photo taken at King's Cross Station and grab a drink at Sherlock Holmes' Pub.

Tour Locations

Here’s a glimpse into a few popular attractions you’ll get to see on this fascinating themed walking tour:

King's cross station Harry Potter walking tour

Platform 9 ¾™ at King's Cross Station

Dash your way into the magical realm of the wizarding world at the iconic Platform 9 ¾ at the King’s Cross Station in London. Despite platforms 9 and 10 being separated by tracks, you will find a disappearing trolley along with Platform 9 ¾ written on the wall in the station concourse. 

leadenhall market Harry Potter walking tour

Diagon Alley™ at Leadenhall Market

A cobblestoned alley that is the main shopping hub of the wizarding world, Diagon Alley is iconic for being home to the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Ollivander's Wand Shop, where Harry was first introduced to the world of wizardry. Explore Leadenhall Market, the real-life location which was used to film parts of Diagon Alley in the films.

Harry Potter walking tour

Gringotts Bank at Australia House

As the only bank of the wizarding world, Gringotts Wizarding Bank is exclusively run by goblins. Explore the building that was used to film its grand interiors, Australia House and discover its fabled history.

millennium bridge Harry Potter walking tour

Millennium Bridge

The backdrop to a nail-biting sequence in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Millennium Bridge is a stunning steel suspension bridge located between Southwark Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge. With a length of over a thousand feet, it is an absolute sight to behold.

Harry Potter walking tour

Divination Staircase at St. Paul's Cathedral

The Divination classroom at Hogwarts was located at the top of a winding staircase. Scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban featuring the same staircase were shot inside the historic St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Harry Potter walking tour

Shakespeare's Globe

A reconstruction of the world-renowned Globe Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe is a legendary performing arts venue and education center that is an absolute must-visit for fans of the Bard and literary lovers alike. You can see shots of this venue in Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince.

Book Your Harry Potter™ Walking Tour Tickets

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Harry Potter™ Studio Tour

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King's Cross Station

Geek Trippers

Diagon Alley in London: Where to Find Diagon Alley in Real Life!

diagon alley tour london

*FYI - this post may affiliate links, which means we earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For the full scoop on what this means, feel free to check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure.

The first taste Harry Potter had of the magical world was stepping foot into the winding Diagon Alley, a hidden street in London filled with shops.

In each subsequent book and film, audiences got glimpses into Flourish and Blotts for magical textbooks, Ollivander’s for wands or Gringott’s bank for all the galleons needed to buy everything. But if you’ve ever wondered if Diagon Alley is a real place and where you can find it, worry not for we’ve done all the research for you here! Find out exactly how and where you can visit Diagon Alley in London for real.

Does Diagon Alley Exist in Real Life?

Short answer, no, not really, unless you actually are a wizard, in which case, can you take us there, please? For the rest of us muggles, it’s possible to see places in London that inspired J. K. Rowling’s magical street, to visit the set used in the films at the Warner Bros. studios or see if you can find some of the locations in the city that were used for filming the entrance to Diagon Alley (aka the Leaky Cauldron).

Where to Find the Real Diagon Alley in London

If you want the most realistic experience of wandering the crooked street of Diagon Alley as it appeared in the films, then you will need to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden, a bit out of London proper. Here you can explore many of the original sets and costumes from the films, including the full-scale Diagon Alley set. So if you want to walk past the shops and even get a selfie in front of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, then this is where you need to go!

The studio tour is pretty much a must-do for all Potterheads so that you can also visit the sets used for the Gryffindor common room, the Burrow, Snape’s classroom, Dumbledore’s office and more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2XhPw7JzCE/

Where to Find the Entrance(s) to Diagon Alley

For a taste of Diagon Alley in the actual city of London, there are a few places where scenes of people entering the alley were filmed, which you can also visit for yourself:

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market is one of the prettiest little spots in London, and well worth a visit! When does it appear in Harry Potter? Well, you see Leadenhall Market briefly in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when Harry and Hagrid are headed to the Leaky Cauldron and Harry is reading about how he can choose from “An owl, a cat, and a toad…” You see the famous covered market in the background as Harry reads that line, but then they step into a smaller side street (Bull’s Head Passage) where they enter the Leaky Cauldron.

Borough Market

In The Prisoner of Azkaban the entrance to Diagon Alley magically relocated to one of London’s best food markets: Borough Market. After Harry gets off the Knight Bus at the Leaky Cauldron, he’s dropped off on Stoney Street between Park & Southwark.

12 Great Newport Street

In the Half-Blood Prince opening sequence you see some Death Eaters swooshing through an alleyway into Diagon Alley. This filming location (if you pause the clip at exactly the point before they go through the wall) was filmed at 12 Great Newport Street. So, if you’re a superfan, you could go here dressed as a Death Eater for a pic!

Places That Inspired Diagon Alley in London

It’s also widely debated that J. K. Rowling was inspired to describe Diagon Alley because of a real-life location. Hard-core Potter fans argue over which one of these was the ‘actual’ inspiration for her creation but we think you should just visit both and decide for yourself!

Goodwin’s Court

There are so many nostalgic side streets hidden in Central London, and Goodwin’s Court is one of them, located steps away from Leicester Square Tube Station. What makes this particular street so special? Basically, it’s a dead ringer for Diagon Alley, crammed with ornate window frames and gaslight lamps that look like something from Victorian London. Another street that is considered to have given J. K. Rowling her inspiration for Diagon Alley is…

Cecil Court

Also close to the Leicester Square Tube Station is this 17th-century lane filled with beautiful shopfronts and renowned for its many wonderful bookstores! There are also lots of antique shops selling everything from unique maps to esoteric goods and one-of-a-kind jewellery and art. It definitely feels like you might just stumble into Flourish and Blotts…

https://www.instagram.com/p/BmLw0MgF6QK/

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Katie Collins

Wander down Harry Potter's Diagon Alley with Google Street View

Wander down Harry Potter's Diagon Alley with Google Street View

Google has given its map users access to many wonderful, bizarre and otherwise impossible to access places, but now it is opening up fictional worlds to exploration by [adding Diagon Alley from the

Harry Potter series to Street View](https://www.google.co.uk/maps?q=Diagon+Alley+at+Warner+Bros.+Studio+Tour+London,+Warner+Bros.+Studio+Tour+London,+Studio+Tour+Drive,+Leavesden&hl=en&ll=51.690882,-0.417287&spn=0.004835,0.013411&sll=51.689718,-0.417566&layer=c&cid=10355248391383225485&panoid=u1gcE6cVKELE_xgImwtVHQ&cbp=13,274.23,,0,-1.66&hq=Diagon+Alley+at+Warner+Bros.+Studio+Tour+London,+Warner+Bros.+Studio+Tour+London,+Studio+Tour+Drive,+Leavesden&t=h&z=17&cbll=51.690875,-0.417249).

Muggles shouldn't get too excited, as the real Diagon Alley remains out-of-bounds to all non-magical folk, but curious Potter fans can now zoom in on Hertfordshire's Warner Bros.

Studio Tour, where the Diagon Alley film set is permanently stationed.

Wander down the virtual street and you can peer through the dusty windows of Ollivanders where Harry's wand chose him, shortly after he first discovered he was a wizard. Follow the cobbles and you'll find Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, which features a six metre tall mannequin above the main entrance, and the amazing medicinal world of Mr Mulpepper's Apothecary with its fantastic collection of jars and cauldrons. The 360-degree view also allows you to check out Eeylops Owl Emporium, where Harry purchased his loyal snowy owl Hedwig.

If you're keen to enjoy more of the otherwise rather pricey Warner Bros Studio Tour experience for free and from the comfort of your home, you're also able to browse around the lobby and cafeteria.

Google has previously provided Street View access to the Amazon, the Swiss Alps railway and the National Gallery in London. Earlier this year it even donned wetsuits and under the sea with its cameras to allow holiday-starved scuba divers and marine life enthusiasts to navigate around panoramas of the Great Barrier Reef.

This latest, more magical move sees it joining the likes of online Potter portal Pottermore in offering extra access to Harry's wizarding world. Perhaps it was always inevitable Google would branch out into fictional locations though, as to paraphrase Dumbledore, "for it is through Google we enter a world that's entirely our own." Fingers crossed Hogsmeade and Godric's Hollow will follow shortly.

Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Harry Potter discovered he was a "window". He of course discovered he was a wizard. Wired.co.uk has corrected the mistake and apologises to any muggles this confused.

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Guide to Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida

Family walking around Diagon Alley with Dragon in the back

“Welcome, Harry, to Diagon Alley. Here’s where you get your quills and your ink, and over there all your bits and bobs for doing your wizardry.”  — Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Just like Diagon Alley was one of Harry Potter’s first glimpses of the Wizarding World, working the VIP Preview for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida was one of my first experiences as a team member at Universal Orlando Resort. I’ll never forget the moment I first passed through the bricks and saw the iconic street all aglow!

There’s so much to see and do here, from the thrilling ride beneath Gringotts Wizarding Bank, to the Wizarding World’s most famous shops. You won’t want to miss a thing, so here’s everything you need to know.

WHAT TO DO | WHERE TO EAT | WHERE TO SHOP | TOUR LONDON | HIDDEN GEMS

Take it all in.

Surprised Little Girl in the street in Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley is so mesmerizing, I recommend you pause for a moment when you first enter to give yourself a chance to absorb everything. The towering Gringotts Wizarding Bank. The animated facade above Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The tantalizing aromas wafting from the Leaky Cauldron. All the incredible little details, from the intriguing magical objects in each storefront, to the entertaining ads printed on the walls (as someone who writes ads, I have a soft spot for those), are all definitely worth a closer look.

Journey deep underground on Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts

Inside the renowned goblin-run institution, you can go on an incredible thrill ride through the subterranean vaults. You’ll encounter Harry, Ron and Hermione, as well as more sinister characters. I’m generally a complete wimp when it comes to coasters (hence why I’m not a Gryffindor), but I can’t help but love this ride!

See a dragon breathe fire

Shot from below of Dragon Breathing Fire Diagon Alley

The first thing I noticed when I first entered Diagon Alley was the dragon atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank (it’s hard to miss a fire-breathing dragon). My favorite spots to watch it are in the middle of the street near Shutterbutton’s, right outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. It looks especially stunning at night.

Slink around the infamous Knockturn Alley

“You’re a mess, Harry, skulking around Knockturn Alley. Dodgy place. Don’t want no one to see you there.” — Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

If the Dark Arts are your thing, you’ll love wandering these dark corridors. Be sure to stop by the notorious Borgin and Burkes, home to powerful Dark Arts objects. In the courtyard around the corner from the shop, look for a bird in a cage in a window and use your Interactive Wand to see the magical effects on the bird. More on Borgin and Burkes and Interactive Wands below.

PRO TIP: Knockturn Alley is the coolest place in Diagon Alley, literally. The sun never seems to shine on this dark street, which means it’s nice and cold. The perfect spot to come to and escape the heat. 

See a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders Wand Shop

Girl casting spell at Ollivanders in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There is nothing more essential to a witch and wizard than their wand. Now’s your chance to witness the unforgettable moment when a wand chooses a wizard — it could even be you! Browse through unique wands, wand sets, character wands, and Interactive Wands — and check out our Guide to Wands in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter .

Cast spells with Interactive Wands

Witches Cast Spell with Interactive Wands in Diagon Alley

With a wave of your wand and the proper incantation, you can cast spells in over a dozen locations in Diagon Alley. Find the locations on the map that comes with your Interactive Wand purchase. Knockturn Alley spell-locations are illuminated on the sinister street. 

PRO TIP: While you’re at it, embrace your inner Weasley twin and convince an unsuspecting friend to stand under the umbrella above the restroom entrance in Horizont Alley while you use your Interactive Wand to cast Meteolojinx . And to make it up to them, I recommend trying your hand at Incendio to illuminate the dazzling Flimflam Lanterns near Knockturn Alley.

Sing along with Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees

As a singer myself, I love seeing a wizarding legend performing some of her greatest hits including “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love” and “You Charmed The Heart Right Out Of Me.” If you watch close to the stage, you may even get picked to be a part of the show! During the Holidays at Universal , you can catch a fun, seasonal performance.

Get lost in the plot of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

You’re never too old for storytime! The Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts uses a trunk full of props and puppets to retell the famous wizarding fairytales: The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Tale of the Three Brothers . PRO TIP: Download The Official Universal Orlando Resort App to see the latest showtimes and find out when you can catch a concert or a story.

WHERE TO EAT

Leaky cauldron.

Woman stands in the middle of Leaky Cauldron

Try some traditional British fare in this unassuming pub. I love the fish and chips (aka fries) or a Ploughman’s: a platter with bread, cheese, veggies, and scotch eggs. You can also get cold, frozen, and hot Butterbeer here, as well as a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

PRO TIP: If you’re craving an adult beverage, the Wizarding World has exclusive Wizard’s Brew and Dragon Scale beers as well as Fire Whisky liquor, available at the Leaky Cauldron, The Fountain of Fair Fortune and The Hopping Pot.

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour

Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour

Fun fact: I was the very first person to ever purchase a souvenir ice-cream dish here (according to the team member I purchased it from). To this day, I display it proudly on my work desk as a reminder of the day I tried my first Butterbeer soft-serve AND in memory of the VIP Preview where I tried every flavor of hard-packed ice cream in one night (I’m very dedicated to my craft). Earl grey lavender topped with crystals is my favorite, tied with chocolate, naturally (if you’re also a chocolate fan, check out my Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Chocolate Desserts at Universal Orlando Resort ).

PRO TIP: You get two scoops with hard-packed ice cream, so I sometimes like to combine salted caramel blondie with apple crumble, so then you get a salted caramel apple crumble blondie.

The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Woman sipping Butterbeer Fountain of Fair Fortune

This place is bubbling with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. My favorite is the non-alcoholic fishy green ale, a creamy cinnamon and mint concoction with blueberry bubbles.

The Hopping Pot

I like to grab a Hot Butterbeer here on cooler days before catching Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. You can enjoy all the drinks mentioned above, as well as beef pasties, chips, and Butterbeer soft-serve. 

Dairy-free Butterbeer is now available at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

WHERE TO SHOP

Weasleys’ wizard wheezes.

Guest holding Pigmy Puff Weasleys Wizard Wheezes

Embrace your inner mischief-maker inside the twins’ colorful joke shop. Browse through Fred and George’s most infamous creations: Skiving Snackboxes, U-No-Poo pills, Nosebleed Nougats, and more. 

PRO TIP: If you adopt a Pygmy Puff, the cashier can ring a bell and make an official adoption announcement. 

Borgin and Burkes

This dark and dingy shop in Knockturn Alley is ideal for the purveyor of Dark Arts Objects, including Death Eater masks, accessories, possibly cursed jewelry, and other collectibles. Keep an eye out for notable nefarious items throughout the store.

Magical Menagerie

Woman holding magical creature Magical Menagerie Diagon Alley

As an animal-lover, I make a beeline for this store. Crookshanks, Buckbeak, Hedwig, and Pygmy Puffs are some of the many plush toy animals you can find. 

Globus Mundi

If you’re a world-traveler like me, make sure you stop by the official travel agency of the Wizarding World. Stock up on travel essentials like passport holders and luggage tags, as well as hoodies, travel mugs, and more.

Gringotts Money Exchange

Gringotts Money Exchange

Chat with a Gringotts goblin and trade your U.S. currency for $10 or $20 Gringotts bank notes. You can use them for purchases in the Wizarding World, as well as select locations throughout Universal Orlando.

Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions

Girl tries Robe Madam Malkins Diagon Alley

Admit it: you’ve always wanted to have a gown just like Hermione’s from the Yule Ball. This shop is the go-to for wizarding wear, including Hogwarts robes, ties, scarfs, sweaters, jewelry, and hats.

Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment

Rep your Hogwarts house with t-shirts, mugs, bags, and more, along with Ministry of Magic-themed merch.

Quality Quidditch Supplies

Quidditch fans, this store is for you! Shop for Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Quaffles, sweaters, brooms, and fan attire for the Holyhead Harpies and Chudley Cannons.

Shutterbutton’s

If you’ve ever wanted to create a moving portrait of your own, now’s your chance to act out 12 iconic scenes in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade . Then take your portrait home on a souvenir DVD.

Scribbulus

Welcome to the Ravenclaw sanctuary. Okay, technically all Hogwarts houses can come here, but you know who’s nerding out over ink, feather quills, parchment, and notebooks.

Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop

Sugarplum's Sweetshop in Diagon Alley

This tongue-twister of a shop has all kinds of tasty treats, from caramel apples to cauldron cakes. My favorite is the tin of Bing Bong Ginger Snaps. If you’re on a quest to enjoy Butterbeer in all forms, try the Butterbeer Fudge.

Wands by Gregorovitch

Guest purchasing a wand at Wands by Gregorovitch

I know there are a lot of Ollivanders’ loyalists, but this rival wandmaker is well-respected, too. Find the wand belonging to famous Bulgarian Quidditch champion Victor Krum, as well as other character and interactive wands.

TOUR LONDON RIGHT OUTSIDE DIAGON ALLEY

Before or after you enter the famous Diagon Alley, take in the sights of London, including the Knight Bus, Hogwarts Express: King’s Cross Station, snacks, shopping, and some magical surprises. I must admit, every time I come here, I wish I could visit the half-price bookstore, but it’s never open — I know, typical Ravenclaw!

Girl in Knight Bus

Stop by the Knight Bus

Stranded witches or wizards can flag down the purple triple-decker bus for emergency transportation. Right now, it’s parked outside Diagon Alley. Chat with the conductor and then peek through the windows.

Board the Hogwarts Express : King’s Cross Station

Unlike Harry Potter before his first year at Hogwarts, you know how to reach Platform 9 ¾: walk straight through a brick wall. Then ride the train to Hogsmeade Station to get to Hogwarts. En route you’ll encounter familiar faces and unexpected creatures. 

You’ll need a Park-to-Park ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express between Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Universal Islands of Adventure.

Enjoy a traditional English snack 

If you’re a baked potato fan, look no further than the London Taxi Hut. They’ve got beans & cheese, broccoli & cheese, shepherd’s pie, and loaded jacket potatoes, as well as hot dogs, crisps (aka potato chips), bottled beverages, and beer.

Wear your British pride

Shop at the London Taxi Hut Store for a variety of merch bearing the Union Jack, including t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and keychains. My personal favorite is the teddy bear — I’ve always had a soft spot for stuffed animals (pun intended).

HIDDEN GEMS

There’s more than meets the eye in Diagon Alley. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve discovered.

Woman sitting in front of the Daily Prophet

The Daily Prophet

If you put your ear up to the The Daily Prophet office, you can hear the sound of reporters hard at work.

12 Grimmauld Place

Do you know what happens if you knock on 12 Grimmauld Place in London? Stand outside long enough and you might catch sight of a familiar face in one of the windows.

The Phone Booth 

If you pop inside the red phone booth in front of the record shop in London and follow the instructions inside, you’ll hear a mystery — or should I say Ministry — message.

Goblin Answers

I never pass up an opportunity to learn, especially from fellow magical beings. If you ask the Gringotts goblin in Gringotts Money Exchange a question, he’ll answer. If you’re feeling brave, ask “Are you a house-elf?”

Hidden Spell Locations

Try to find a couple of mystery Interactive Wand spell spots: one near a Ravenclaw haven and the other in Carkitt Market with a rather unpleasant aroma. 

Magical Beasts

Look up toward the ceiling in Magical Menagerie and you can catch sight of cat-like Kneazle and other fantastical creatures.

Magic Mirror 

Fair warning: if you stand in front of the mirror in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, it can be a bit judgmental.

Parseltongue Practice 

Think you may be descended from Salazar Slytherin himself? Right outside Magical Menagerie to the left of the entrance, you can see if you understand Parseltongue by trying to converse with a resident snake in the shop window.

Vanishing Cabinet

In the corner of Borgin and Burkes, you’ll find a Vanishing Cabinet from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. If you put your ear right up to it, you might hear what’s inside — at least for that moment!

Weasleys’ Wildfire Whiz-bangs 

When you’re browsing through Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, look up at the ceiling to see their famed magical pyrotechnics.

I’m lucky enough to explore Diagon Alley on a regular basis, and every time I do, I notice something different and wonderful. What do you love most about Diagon Alley? Any hidden gems you’d add to the list? 

Must be 21 years and older with valid photo identification to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. Drink responsibly. 

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Louise Cooper

Louise Cooper is a senior copywriter for Universal Orlando Resort. She's a bibliophile, Ravenclaw, singer, poet, baker, hiker, wildlife photographer, world-traveler, and die-hard HHN fan (pun intended).

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We are very excited to visit Harry Potter World in Orlando. We keep a kosher diet and are hoping there may be food options for us, or can we bring kosher food into the park? Thank you.

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Diagon Alley

Nearby attractions, related tours.

  • The Tube  entrance flummoxed Mr Weasley on his way to the Ministry of Magic with Harry.
  • The Ministry of Magic  visitor entry where Harry used a very unusual phone box, as well as the Public Toilet entrance behind a statue.
  • The Grimmauld Place  lookalike street - full of history and mystery in Craven Street.
  • Trafalgar Square  where the death eaters swept through at the beginning of the  Half-Blood Prince
  • Diagon Alley  for some virtual shopping at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and to visit the darker side of the magic world in  Knockturn Alley
  • The historic opera theatre in the West End, where the  Cursed Child  first came to life.
  • The curious shop chock full of Harry Potter artwork
  • Piccadilly  Circus  where Harry celebrated his birthday on the run while escaping the Death Eaters at the beginning of his journey for the Deathly Hallows.

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IMAGES

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  2. Diagon Alley At Warner Bros Studio Tour London

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  6. Harry Potter Studio Tour London

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COMMENTS

  1. Diagon Alley

    Getting Here Find the best route to the Studio Tour from your location. Plan Your Route Explore the Tour Discover what you can expect to see on your visit. See More Browse the wizarding street of Diagon Alley. Book tickets online and admire the beautifully crafted props in the shop windows.

  2. Where to Find the Real Diagon Alley in London

    Where's the Real Diagon Alley in London? Love This? Save and Share! Wands and cauldrons ahoy! It's one of the city's worst kept secrets that there are a few locations claiming to be the real Diagon Alley in London.

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    By Margaret This post explains how to get to the 2 locations for Diagon Alley in London with some background information. Be sure to take our pay-what-you-like Harry Potter Tour of London or our Harry Potter audio tour . Directions The Real Diagon Alley Filming Locations Harry Potter Tours in London Warner Bros. Studios Other Potter Film Locations

  4. Wizarding World

    Discover the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall and explore the Forbidden Forest, all before boarding the original Hogwarts Express at Platform 9-3/4. and wandering down Diagon Alley.

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    London Harry Potter London Tours Diagon Alley Diagon Alley™ London Welcome to Diagon Alley™! Step onto the cobbled stone and navigate your way through the narrow, winding streets stocking up on supplies for your new year at Hogwarts.

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    THE GHOST LINE Aldwych Station opened on 30th November 1907 and for the next 87 years a shuttle service ran back and forth between it and Holborn Underground Station.

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    Travel by train directly to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Enjoy timed access and be greeted by a guide who will reveal the wonders you will encounter throughout your tour of the original sets, props, and costumes from all eight of the Harry Potter films.

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    Diagon Alley, London Tours Our most recommended Diagon Alley, London Tours 1. From London: Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour Perfect for those with a penchant for Harry Potter, this Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London provides a unique opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter films — the most successful movie series of all time.

  10. Cecil Court London (2024)

    Mr. Foggs Tavern, Covent Garden. 4. Stroll down Knockturn Alley. If you were looking for more Harry Potter locations in the area, there is one that's just a hop, skip and a jump away from Cecil Court. If you head towards St Martin's Lane, you'll find a small tunnel that will take you through to Goodwin's Court.

  11. Sets

    Since its construction, walls have shifted, shop fronts have moved and entire buildings have been carefully tweaked, leaning just slightly, to create the street that is seen in the films. Many of the Diagon Alley set pieces were also re-dressed for use in the village of Hogsmeade for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The original design ...

  12. Diagon Alley, London Walking tours

    1. A Muggle's Guide to London: Harry Potter Walking Tour Visit the London sights made famous by J.K. Rowling's much-loved masterpiece on a 2.5-hour guided walking tour. Hunt for the Leaky Cauldron, visit the real-life inspiration for Diagon Alley, and jump like a chocolate frog into a side of London that muggles don't know.

  13. Harry Potter™ Walking Tour Locations

    Diagon Alley™ at Leadenhall Market. A cobblestoned alley that is the main shopping hub of the wizarding world, Diagon Alley is iconic for being home to the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Ollivander's Wand Shop, where Harry was first introduced to the world of wizardry. Explore Leadenhall Market, the real-life location which was used to film parts of Diagon Alley in the films.

  14. Diagon Alley, London, London

    Travel by train directly to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Enjoy timed access and be greeted by a guide who will reveal the wonders you will encounter throughout your tour of the original sets, props, and costumes from all eight of the Harry Potter films.

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    Google has taken its Maps street view team to London to capture a 360-degree view of the magical world of Harry Potter.Google Map users can now visit the set on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in the ...

  16. Diagon Alley in London: Where to Find Diagon Alley in Real Life!

    If you want the most realistic experience of wandering the crooked street of Diagon Alley as it appeared in the films, then you will need to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden, a bit out of London proper. Here you can explore many of the original sets and costumes from the films, including the full-scale Diagon Alley set.

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    Studio Tour, where the Diagon Alley film set is permanently stationed. Wander down the virtual street and you can peer through the dusty windows of Ollivanders where Harry's wand chose him ...

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    Where is Diagon Alley in London? It may well surprise many Harry Potter fans, but if you're wondering 'where is Diagon Alley in London?' then there are actually at least two contenders for the real-life alleyway, both of which you can visit during your next trip to the UK capital city.

  19. Guide to Diagon Alley in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at

    TOUR LONDON RIGHT OUTSIDE DIAGON ALLEY. Before or after you enter the famous Diagon Alley, take in the sights of London, including the Knight Bus, Hogwarts Express: King's Cross Station, snacks, shopping, and some magical surprises. I must admit, every time I come here, I wish I could visit the half-price bookstore, but it's never open ...

  20. Diagon Alley, London Sightseeing walking tours

    Our most recommended Diagon Alley, London Sightseeing walking tours 1. London: Harry Potter 3-Hour Private Walking Tour Your guide will meet you at the Westminster Tube station, and from here you'll begin your 3-hour private walking tour. Visit the Ministry of Magic and other locations from the Harry Potter film franchise.

  21. The BEST Diagon Alley, London Tours 2023

    Our most recommended Diagon Alley, London Tours 1. From London: Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour Perfect for those with a penchant for Harry Potter, this Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London provides a unique opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter films — the most successful movie series of all time.

  22. Diagon Alley, London

    On this Live Virtual Tour, you will discover the mystical Magical World of Harry Potter as your experienced virtual guide takes you to the film's most popular filming locations in London including virtual shopping in Diagon Alley and the Grimmauld Place lookalike street. ... World of Harry Potter as your experienced virtual guide takes you to ...

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    Our most recommended Diagon Alley, London Neighborhood tours. 1. Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour