JK Rowling first gave us a window into her incredible imagination with the magical world of Harry Potter in 1997. Fans young and old wanted nothing more than to crawl inside the books and live in this world. Twenty years later the books may have come to an end, but the magic lives on, and being a part of it is now a reality. Pack your cloak and wand and get ready to explore the best Harry Potter experiences around the world.
No going through the fireplace necessary to reach Diagon Alley as all you need is an entrance ticket to awaken you inner wizard. Unless you’re a muggle, you’ll surely opt to take the Hogwarts Express over walking to Hogsmeade Village, where you can enjoy a frozen butterbeer. Go on the thrilling rides, have your perfect wand chosen at Ollivander’s, explore Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, and dine at the Leaky Cauldron or Three Broomsticks. Sure to be an unforgettable experience for die-hard fans, this is where every last detail of Harry Potter comes to life. Those on the west coast can check out the Wizarding World in Hollywood.
The Osaka version of the Wizarding World has many of the attractions as its Orlando counterpart, but one of its greatest features is touring Hogwarts while waiting to get on the Forbidden Journey, an exciting flight simulator. You’ll walk down the dimly-lit corridors where you can explore Professor Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Other highlights include Flight of the Hippogriff, a roller-coaster for all ages that takes you past Hagrid’s Hut, and Osaka’s own Hogsmeade, where you can grab a butterbeer and sample the wizards’ favorite sweets at Honeydukes.
No stranger to film crews, Glencoe was the primary outdoor filming location for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as well as the backdrop of Hagrid’s Hut on Loch Torren. This beautiful location doesn’t only make for picturesque onscreen adventures, though. You’ll want to grab your camera and have your own little escapade as you trek through the highlands and snap some scenic shots.
Located near Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire in Wales, Freshwater West Beach was featured in the last installation as the setting for Shell Cottage and final resting place of Dobby. The abode was built down to the last detail on the sand dunes along the coastline, but promptly removed after filming. Still, visitors can walk in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and Ron at this location, which also happens to offer spectacular waves for surfing.
Currently in the Netherlands until September, this exhibition has been traveling around the globe since 2009. It’s the perfect opportunity to get a close look at the costumes and various wands, brooms, and other objects that appeared in the movies. These artifacts are displayed in sets inspired by the film’s locations to create an even more authentic experience.
If luck is on your side, you may be able to catch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play, by Jack Thorne. In this eighth Harry Potter adventure co-created by J.K. Rowling, we follow a middle-aged Harry whose son, Albus, is beginning his studies at Hogwarts. Currently playing at London’s Palace Theatre, audiences Stateside can catch the action on Broadway in the spring of 2018.