Getting to Hogwarts: Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station
Every Harry Potter fan longs to attend Hogwarts, the most magical school in the world. But before you can board the Hogwarts Express, you have to get on to Platform 9 3/4. Do you have what it takes to cross the magical barrier and enter the wizarding world? We visited Platform 9 3/4 to find out! Platform 9 3/4 is located at King's Cross Station in London. King's Cross is both a railway station and a London Underground (Tube) stop, so if you are taking the Tube to King's Cross, you will have to exit the Tube to get to the railway station portion.
Once you are in the railway station, follow signs to Platforms 9, 10, and 11. In the Harry Potter world, witches and wizards have to take a running start and plunge into the wall between Platform 9 and Platform 10. In real life, the "entrance" to Platform 9 3/4 is closest to Platform 9. There's a Harry Potter souvenir shop right beside it, so you can't miss it. You'll know you've found it once you see the crowds!
You didn't think you'd be the only ones eager to take a photo of one of the most popular landmarks in one of the most popular series of children's literature in HISTORY, did you? We got to King's Cross at about 5:00pm, and the line to get a photo taken at Platform 9 3/4 lasted about 30 minutes! After we had been in the line for about 5 minutes, a tour group arrived, so the line lasted even longer!
The photo opp is staffed by the folks at the Harry Potter shop. Having your photo taken at Platform 9 3/4 is free, and the staff will loan you a magic wand and a Hogwarts scarf in the colors of your favorite house (fun fact: the Hufflepuff scarf is the least popular, and is requested about 11% of the time, and the Griffyndor scarf is the most popular, requested about 58% of the time).
Once your turn arrives, you can put your stuff down nearby, and a staff member will assist you in putting on a Hogwarts scarf.
Another staff member is on hand to take a professional photo which you can purchase in the Harry Potter store (as of summer 2016, it costs £10 for single printed photo and £27 for a set including a photo and 2 photo keychains). You're not obligated to purchase the photo, and you can ask a friend to take your photo using your own camera.
The first staff member will help you pose with the luggage cart to make it look like you are pushing the trolley into the wall, and ask you to smile at the photographer. As the photographer snaps the photo, the staff member will throw the end of your scarf in the air to make it look like the scarf is floating in the air.
You can also pose for a second photo of you jumping up in the air while pushing the trolley, so it looks like you're flying into the wall.
The staff is extremely nice; they don't rush anyone, and they let people pose for additional couple and group photos. As a group of 4, we could have taken any number of photo permutations, but we didn't want to hold the line up too much, so we settled for a single group photo.
We didn't quite make it onto the Hogwarts Express, but we thoroughly enjoyed our stop at Platform 9 3/4. If you're passing through King's Cross, it's definitely a must-do, and if you're a Harry Potter fan touring London, I highly recommend carving that 30-40 minutes (plus travel time) out of your day to stop by. Getting that photo of you about to leave for Hogwarts is totally worth it!