Sights worth seeing,
October 12 2023
London’s Harry Potter experiences are just the start of London’s literary sights where childhood characters and stories come to life. Fire up the imagination of young children with props, potions and Paddington Bear.
From deepest, darkest Peru to sandwiches with the Queen, Paddington has captured the heart of the nation. Follow the sticky footsteps of this marmalade-loving bear, created by author Michael Bond. The bronze Paddington statue is on platform one of Paddington Station and you can buy your own bear from the station’s Paddington store.
If you’re a fan of the Paddington films, walk along Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill, where the fictional Brown family lived. You can also visit Mr Gruber’s antique shop, called Alice’s, at 86 Portobello Road. Watch the Changing of the Guard, just like Paddington did in Paddington at the Palace. He also enjoyed messy tea and sandwiches with the late Queen during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, so you could have a royal round off to your Paddington adventures with a visit to Buckingham Palace.
London’s Kings Cross platform 9 ¾s is the epicentre of all things Harry Potter. There’s a luggage trolley embedded in the concourse wall for the perfect photo opportunity and a Harry Potter merchandise shop. If you’re looking for tasty magic drops and wicked potions to scare away evil homework-loving teachers, visit Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.
Soho’s House of MinaLima is a fantastical shop and gallery that takes you into the film world of Harry Potter, thanks to the two graphic artists who created the sets and props for the movies. Lastly, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter to step into the Harry Potter film sets for real.
Scatter fairy dust and fly away to Neverland in the heart of London. Peter Pan’s author, JM Barrie, lived close to Kensington Gardens and took inspiration from the people and activities he saw as he walked there. There’s a bronze Peter Pan monument in Hyde Park at the spot where the boy who never grew up lands in Barrie’s book, The Little White Bird.
And you can walk by the Darling family’s grand Georgian townhouse home at 31 Kensington Gardens. For swashbuckling pirate antics, visit the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Here, children can explore the main deck of the tea clipper, turn the ship’s wheel and even climb the main rigging (if they’re over 10 years old).
See the outside of the home of author P. L. Travers, who created her practically perfect nanny at 50 Smith Street, Chelsea. It’s also the inspiration for the Banks’ family house in the Disney film, with a blue plaque on the house.
The inspiration for Admiral Boom, who liked to fire his cannons from the roof, is Admiral’s House in Hampstead, where an eccentric naval officer built a ship’s quarterback on the roof and fired cannons on the King’s birthday. You can fly kites in Regent’s Park and sit on St Paul’s Cathedral steps while humming “Feed the Birds” for a piece of Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Finish your literary tour with a bedtime story in one of our family-friendly rooms in Central London. Hotels such as Thistle Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and Thistle Trafalgar Square put you in the heart of the city. Or take your pick of Thistle Hotels across London.