Hey Harry Potter Fans!
Is Platform 9 3/4 a must-see in London? My family thinks so.
If you've read all the Harry Potter books and seen all the movies, you know that Harry takes the Hogwarts Express to school every year from the magical Platform 9 3/4 from London King's Cross station. The books may be fiction, but King's Cross is real, and there is a great photo op for Harry Potter fans inside.
You need a train ticket to get close to the real train platforms (which don't look like the movies,) but you'll find Platform 9 3/4 set up for Harry Potter fans in the concourse. There is a luggage trolley embedded halfway into the wall. Props and a professional photographer are available from 9 AM to 9 PM to help fans get great pictures of themselves as if they were going to Hogwarts.
We had train tickets to Paris from St. Pancras International, just across the street from King's Cross. It was easy to arrive early and check this Harry Potter site off our wish list. Here's everything you need to know about visiting Platform 9 3/4 in London.
It costs nothing to visit Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station. You are welcome to take photos with your own camera.
A photographer is on hand to take photos of you on your way to Hogwarts. These photos can be purchased in the Harry Potter Shop next to Platform 9 3/4.
When to Go
There are two websites with different information about the opening and closing times for Platform 9 3/4. The official Harry Potter Shop website says that you can visit the trolley and shop from 8 AM to 10 PM Monday-Saturday, and 9 AM to 9 PM on Sunday. The official Kings Cross neighborhood website says 9 AM to 9 PM every day.
I'm inclined to believe the Harry Potter Shop website, since they seem to be managing the photo op at Platform 9 3/4. Either way, operating hours are long, and it's likely to be open whenever you arrive. If you want to avoid a crowd, I'd be there before 8 AM or after 8 PM. You can take your own photos with the sign at other times, without the props.
Expect a Crowd
We found that the photographer gives each person plenty of time with the photo op. That's great when it's your turn, but not so great when there are 50 people ahead of you. We visited Platform 9 3/4 on a Saturday morning in June, and the wait for a photo was more than an hour.
We didn't have that kind of time or patience, so we didn't stay in line. However, it was still fun to see Platform 9 3/4 and London King's Cross, and shop for Harry Potter merchandise.
If you're serious about getting your photo op without a long wait, I recommend that you arrive early or late in the day. Avoid weekends and school holidays, if possible.
Another way to avoid the queue is to purchase a VIP Photo Pass for £15. This pass gets you to the front of the line fast, and includes a professional photo and souvenir lanyard. It is available for purchase online, and presumably inside the Harry Potter Shop as well.
Check out the Shop
The Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 3/4 is right next to the photo op. You can't miss it. It was crowded, but it was fun to peruse the fun Harry Potter merchandise inside.
My daughter bought a Hufflepuff Edition of and an inexpensive ticket for the Hogwarts Express, which she displayed under her clear phone case.
You can also purchase wands, personalized Hogwarts acceptance letters, clothing and much more. We found unique items for all the Hogwarts houses. It's Harry Potter paradise.
Look for Other Attractions
While there was a very long wait for Platform 9 3/4, there was no wait at all for the Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom photo op a few steps away. The movie was opening in London that weekend. We sat in a gyrosphere and pretended to be terrified of the life-size raptor replica next to us while an attendant took photos with my phone.
There were two big photo ops and a virtual reality experience promoting Jurassic World – all free – during our visit to London King's Cross. There was no wait for any of them.
Jurassic World isn't being promoted at Kings Cross Station now, but I assume other blockbuster movies will be promoted here in the future. King's Cross also has a list of other attractions nearby. Visit https://www.kingscross.co.uk/visitor-attractions to learn more.
Our visit to Platform 9 3/4 at London King's Cross station was a lot of fun, and definitely worthwhile – especially since we were already in the neighborhood. If you have Harry Potter fans at your house, put this destination on your list when you visit London.
Good to Know
Where: London King's Cross, Euston Rd, Greater London N1 9AL, UK. It's a short ride on the Underground from most popular London attractions. Parking is available at St. Pancras International, across the street.
When: Platform 9 3/4 is located on the concourse of a busy train station, so you can see it from early in the morning to late at night. A professional photographer and props are available from 8 AM to 10 PM most days.
How Much: It costs nothing to visit Platform 9 3/4 and take your own photos. You may want to pay for a professional photo, VIP access or merchandise at the Harry Potter Shop.
How Long: 15+ minutes. It takes hardly any time just to see Platform 9 3/4 and take a quick photo if there is no line. It may take much longer to wait in the photo queue or browse the Harry Potter Shop.
Amenities: Shopping, of course. King's Cross also has restaurants, transportation, other shopping and most other amenities that you might need in the station or nearby.Access to King's Cross public restrooms costs 30p.
- Harry Potter Shop: https://www.harrypotterplatform934.com
- King's Cross Neighborhood: https://www.kingscross.co.uk
- London King's Cross Station: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/stations/kings-cross/