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York for Harry Potter fans: Our Guide to the wonderful wizarding world of York

York Harry Potter Shambles

York is a magical place for anyone to visit, but for Harry Potter fans it’s extra special thanks to the city’s connection with JK Rowling’s much-loved books. Grab your cloaks and wands and hop on your broomsticks to enjoy some fantastically enchanting York experiences.


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☔️ Rainy days in York

🛌 The best places to stay in York with kids

🥴 The best unusual things to do in York

👶🏼 The best things to do in York with a baby/toddler

📗 Read the Little Vikings Family Guide to York

😎 The best things to do with older kids and teens in York

1. Amble down the Shambles – or should that be Diagon Alley?

Potions Cauldron York

Popular with Harry Potter fans the world over, York’s famous medieval street, Shambles (an old word meaning meat market or open-air slaughterhouse) is said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Although none of the Harry Potter films was filmed in York, and JK Rowling hasn’t confirmed the link, walk down the cobbles and you’ll soon see why the connection has been made: its timber-framed buildings ooze history, charm and magic. Formerly a street of butchers’ shops adorned with hanging meat and with raw sewage running along it, it’s a street that could tell a story or two.

Potions Cauldron York

Although it retains its original charm, the modern-day Shambles is a sweet-smelling experience with many a treat for Potter fans. Visit The Potions Cauldron at No. 9 ¾ (of course) to experience their magical apothecary or even book their Cauldron Experience (pictured above). Use your Little Vikings Family Card to pick up a FREE chocolate frog!

Why not pick up a butterbeer from The Potions Cauldron? It’s York’s most magical drink!

Also on the Shambles is The Shop that Must Not be Named, complete with official Harry Potter merchandise, a cast of Potter-mad staff and even broomstick parking. It’s the ideal place to pick up a new wand or replace your old cloak. Shambles, York YO1 7LX

The shop that must not be named york

2. Visit York Railway Station to cross the King’s Cross bridge

Apparently, the bridge that Harry and Hagrid cross is at York Station! There’s some debate about it, but why not take a pilgrimage to York’s main transport hub and watch out for steam trains that are Hogwarts-bound… York Railway Station, Station Road, York YO24 1AB

3. Play wizard-themed golf at The Hole in Wand

The Hole in Wand

The Hole in Wand is a marvellously magical world of mini-golf, based in Coppergate near the JORVIK Viking Centre. It’s a really fun thing to do with children aged 3+ (although better suited to 6+ if they want a fighting chance of getting a hole in one!) and ideal if you’d like an alternative to the museums. The attention to detail is excellent, it’s good value and you can even just pop in for a drink or something to eat. There are restorative potions and brews on offer, and snacks too. (*Use your FREE Little Vikings Family Card to enjoy a FREE VIP upgrade!*). Visit The Hole in Wand website for the latest information.

4. Go on a wizard walk

wizard walk of york

The Magic Hatter brings his award-winning entertainment to the streets with The Wizard Walk of York – the most magical ticket in town and a multi-award-winning experience! Join The Wizard of York on a quest to find magical creatures as you wand-er the snickleways of this enchanting city. A wonderfully whimsical tour that wizard fans will go Potty for! Selected days, starting from The Shambles. Pre-booking is required at www.wizardwalkofyork.com.

5. Head to Hogsmeade (AKA Goathland Station) and climb aboard!

A short drive from York is the North York Moors, one of the most stunning parts of the country. The North York Moors Railway is one of the top visitor attractions, not least because of its connection to the Harry Potter films. Goathland Railway Station was transformed into Hogsmeade, welcoming Harry Potter and his friends to their new term at Hogwarts. While you’re there, we’d really recommend riding the North York Moors Railway for the full experience – it’s a truly magical thing to do, and one of our top recommendations for family days out in the North York Moors. Goathland Station, Cow Wath Bank, Goathland, Whitby YO22 5NFVisit the North York Moors Railway website

6. Stay at The Enchantment Chamber

For an immersive Harry Potter experience, there’s no better place to stay than The Enchantment Chamber, a Harry Potter-themed apartment just a snitch’s throw from York city centre. With magical artefacts and attention to detail, it’s a stay to remember. For something more traditional, take a look at our family-friendly places to stay in and around York, from hotels to self-catering. The Enchantment Chamber, 44 Cocoa Suites, Navigation Rd, York YO1 9AEVisit the Enchantment Chamber website

7. Or stay at 101 House at the End

Award-winning self-catering house, 101 House at the End, is a unique house of witchcraft and wizardry. Located a short walk or drive from York city centre, next to York Racecourse, it’s like spending a night in the Potter film set! Spend a night in the iconic Emerald bedchamber, snuggle up on the sofa in the Victorian Reading Room and indulge in a bubble bath in the stunning bathroom. 101 Sutherland Street, York – Book via Airbnb or other booking sites

8. Explore Malham Cove 

Have courage, channel your inner Dumbledore and head out to Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales where you’ll see one of the settings for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, where Harry and Hermione hide from Lord Voldemort. There are numerous walking routes for children who are old enough to embark on a hike (or babies who are happy in a carrier) and it’s an absolutely stunning place to go. If you’re looking for a family-friendly place to stay in Malham, we’d recommend The Lister Arms which has very comfortable family rooms. Malham, Skipton BD23 4DJ

There’s a lot for Harry Potter fans to love about a trip to Yorkshire, from York’s Shambles to the North Yorkshire Moors for Hogsmeade and the Yorkshire Dales too. Happy wizarding! 

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