I think it’s pretty safe to say that among the millions of Potter fans scattered across the globe, there are very few of us who haven’t at some point dreamed of boarding the Hogwarts Express from platform 9 3/4, and being whizzed way from our everyday muggle lives to the excitement, danger and magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
What many of these fans may not realise however is that this famous literary platform, situated in King’s Cross Station, St Pancras, really does exist!
Not as an actual platform from which you can be spirited away to Hogwarts – unfortunately – but instead in the form of quite possibly the most awesome gift shop you will ever visit in your life. Which makes a very neat substitute.
To say that The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 is a must-visit for any Harry Potter fan is an understatement. Even as a casual Potter fan this shop is simply amazing, and I never tire of visiting it.
To name one of the many, many things that makes this Potter-devoted store so awesome, the sheer level of Harry Potter merchandise and goods available is simply jaw dropping.
You can buy literally everything here, from key rings modelled after snitches, horcruxes and other significant items from the books (I own a beautiful time-turner key ring which I brought from this store – it’s truly gorgeous!), to adorable stuffed, cuddly Hedwigs and high quality (and accordingly highly priced) replicas of the Hogwarts uniform, including jumpers, scarves and ties.
Oh, and they are available in all four houses, of course. Whether you are a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw, rest assured that you can kit yourself out with your appropriate house uniform here.
They also sell rather gorgeously produced Hogwarts express tickets and Hogwarts acceptance letters, which are a lovely consolation prize for those unfortunate witches and wizards among us who failed to received their real acceptance letters in the post.
Seriously though, the Hogwarts Express Tickets are really cool – I’ve got mine stuck up on my mirror! The gold lettering on them is really nice and it does look really official.
However the most awesome gift on offer, without any competition, is that the shop actually sells detailed replicas of the various wands used by the different Potter characters in the books and movies.
Yes, you read that right. You can literally come to this shop and purchase Voldermort’s wand. Pretty darn cool right?
Buying a character wand will cost you a whopping £34 pounds, but it is a really neat piece of movie memorabilia for any die-hard Potter-fan, which I’m sure many people will be itching to get their hands on.
On the subject of wands, this brings me to another of the many things that make this shop so astoundingly great. The decor.
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 seems to be styled after a fusion of the various wizarding shops Harry visited in Diagon Alley, as described in the Philosophers Stone, and the designers have done a very impressive job.
Much of the shop has been modelled after Olivander’s Wand Shop, with boxes upon boxes of wands stretching up to the ceiling in a variety of colourful boxes, waiting for their fated witch or wizard to come and claim them.
Old fashioned books and chests litter the shelves and balconies overlooking the shop floor, and a variety of golden bird-cages sway gently from the ceiling among a mesmerizing starry backdrop.
It is beautiful, simply beautiful.
To describe it as ‘magical’ would be a cliché, but there is simply no other word. The Harry Potter Shop at King’s Cross stands alone as the most magical shop in London, without a single doubt. It is simply breathtaking.
Oh, and I can’t miss out another of the numerous things that makes this Potter-dedicated store oh-so-great; Platform 9 3/4 may not quite exist in reality, but you can recreate that famous scene where Harry crosses through the wall to the aforementioned platform, and get a professional photo taken of you doing so for posterity.
This is going to cost you – either in the form of either a very, very lengthy wait if you want to go for the do-it-yourself option, or a £20 fee if you wish to skip the endless queues and get a professional photo.
And the queues are humongous – I simply can’t stress how enormous these queues are, even on a weekday. Be warned.
Regardless of time or cost however, for many dedicated fans this is doubtless a unmissible opportunity to recreate one of their favourite Potter scenes, and the time or cost is very worth the resulting prize.
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 can be found in King’s Cross Station, St Pancras (the overground station, not the underground one), can be found relatively easily if you follow the signs to platforms 9 and 10, and is open all days of the week from 8 till ten.
It is packed to the rafters with everything a Potter fan could ever desire, and is the perfect place to buy Harry Potter related gifts for yourself or fellow fans.
So whether you are a hardcore Potter-nut, or a fairly casual fan like myself, do not miss one of the most amazing and magical gift shops in London, and quite possibly the world!
There is nowhere quite like The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4.
After all, where else can you possibly find a shop can that will meet all your wizarding needs?…
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