the lazy nerd’s guide to London: Harry Potter & Sherlock

I think it’s pretty fair to say that London itself is a massive character in nerd culture. Being something of a pop culture nerd myself, I’m definitely not embarrassed to admit I use it as an excuse to travel. This post will just be a handful of random nerdy places I’ve gone too, it’s definitely not an in-depth look at specific fandoms. So for now let’s start with…

Harry Potter

The big ones here are Kings Cross station and the Millennium Bridge (which I’ve heard called the Harry Potter bridge by more tourists more than I’d care to admit). I’m just going to talk about the spots I’ve been to, there are many more that I’ve missed!

Platform 9 3/4 – King’s Cross Train Station

Getting to King’s Cross is simple, just jump on a tube and head towards the National Rail section of Kings Cross (aka go upstairs from the tube to ground level). Platform 9 3/4 is on the main concourse and is manned by highly enthusiastic volunteers in their Hogwarts best. Don’t let the long line discourage you, as it moves quickly. Once it’s your turn, you choose a house scarf and the photographer will take two photos of you – one looking like you’re casually walking through the barrier, and the other of you jumping. They’re also really good about you doing whatever poses you want and letting you take your own photos (you don’t have to buy their one if you don’t want to).

There’s a great gift shop there that has pretty much everything a Potter nerd would need, including exclusive Platform 9 3/4 merch.

Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge is a steel suspension bridge destroyed by Death Eater’s in the sixth Harry Potter film – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For stickler’s to the book, it’s to replace the destruction of the fictional Brockdale Bridge in the novel.

It’s found in Southbank between Shakespeare’s Globe and the Tate Modern. The closest tube station is London Bridge, and I’d definitely recommend walking through Borough Markets on your way to the riverside (you’ll see why below).

Leaky Cauldron

There were two locations used for the entrance to the magical pub, but the most iconic is located in Leadenhall Market (which was also used for Diagon Alley in the first film). It’s actually an optometrists, and you can find it in Bull’s Head Passage, EC3; a small alley off Gracechurch Street on the side of Leadenhall Market.

The second entrance is conveniently located at Borough Markets, and was used for the third film – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It can be found at 7 Stoney Street, under the railway bridge. Closest tube station is London Bridge.

The House of Mina Lima

Whilst not a filming or book location, this is a fantastic free exhibition by the artists who did the graphic design for the films and features four floors of quirky content. The top two floors are dedicated to Harry Potter, showcasing things like all the Azkaban wanted posters, a fireplace spilling hundreds of handwritten Hogwarts invitation letters, piles of issues of the Daily Prophet, a hatch to the ghoul in the attic, posters, magical sweet wrappers, Hogwarts textbooks and so much more. The last two floors are dedicated the pair’s other original works and there’s a small shop as well. It’s only a tiny building, so I’d recommend getting there just as it opens at 12pm to avoid the crowds.

It’s located at 26 Greek St, London W1D 5DE, just up the road from the Palace Theatre, and the closest tube station is Leicester Square.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Of course you can’t forget the biggest play in London at the moment! This play is on at the Palace Theatre and is officially sold out until the end of next year, however you can always try your luck in the returns line, in the Friday Forty sales or if you’re willing to pay a small (and also illegal) fortune you can look on places like Gumtree or Stubhub but I definitely don’t recommend it. The play is very good, but it’s not worth £500 for one ticket no matter how much of a fan you are.

On a slightly nerdy fangirl note, if you want to meet the cast they always come out after the performance every night to sign stuff and take photos, and strictly speaking you don’t have to have a ticket to do that. The Palace Theatre is on Shaftesbury Avenue and the closest tube station is Leicester Square.

 

Sherlock

This whole show is such a love letter to London and is so quintessentially British.

221B Baker Street

Whilst you can visit the Sherlock Holmes museum at the actual 221B Baker Street, the filming location is actually in North Gower Street (Kings Cross, London NW1 2NN) above the real Speedy’s Cafe. It’s a decent walk from the real Baker Street, so I’d suggest getting the tube to Euston or Euston Square which are much closer.

Southbank Skate Park

This is still one of my favourite spots on Southbank to chill out and take some cool photos of the skaters. This was featured in episode two: The Blind Banker. It’s located underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the south side of the river, near Waterloo Bridge, and the closest tube station is Waterloo.

St Bart’s Hospital

Ah the fateful location of Sherlock’s swan dive in the final episode of season two. The hospital is at W Smithfield, London EC1A 7BE, and the closest tube station is St Paul’s. St Bart’s is quite big, but the location of the jump is on W Smithfield Street by the ambulance station and the church St Bartholomew-the-less. As you can see in the pictures below, fans have written messages on the windows (mainly abuse to the show’s writer, Steven Moffat).

Listening to: Twisted Sister
Shows this week: No Man’s Land (Wyndham’s Theatre)
Watching: Chuck
Reading: How to be a Tudor
Current man-crush: Zachary Levi

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