In the world of Harry Potter, the Ministry of Magic is the governing body of the magical community in the United Kingdom. Since so much of the Ministry of Magic is based on the realities of our world, it means there’s quite a bit to see for Potter lovers who are visiting us here in London! From locations mentioned in the book, to filming locations, there’s a lot of the Ministry of Magic to be discovered! The Ministry of Magic is a stop on our pay-what-you-like Harry Potter Film Location Tour.
Every Harry Potter fan knows the most famous train platform in the world: 9 and 3/4! Located in London’s King’s Cross Station, the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 holds the secret entrance to the magical platform that can only be accessed by running straight ahead – directly into the barrier. This takes wizards and witches out of the ‘muggle’ world and into the magical world where they can pick up the Hogwarts Express, the red steam-engine train that will speed them up to Scotland to Hogwarts. For all witches and wizards, their first entrance into the world of Hogwarts comes as soon as they step through the barrier onto Platform 9 and 3/4. It’s also worth noting that it was near this platform where Harry Potter first met Ron and the entire Weasley gang!
The post explains how to find the Leaky Cauldron and Third Hand Emporium at London’t Borough Market. The Leaky Cauldron has actually two filming locations (See our Diagon Alley post for information on Leadenhall Market). Still waiting for your invitation to Hogwarts? Us, too! But in the mean time, it IS possible to visit the world of Harry Potter. London is filled with locations connected to the books and locations used for filming of the movies – and one of the best spots to visit is Borough Market. If you’ve ever wanted to visit The Leaky Cauldron or buy some ‘third hand’ magic books, then Borough Market is the place to go!
Borough Market is located just south of the river and is very easily accessible by train, bus, and on foot. Both Harry Potter locations can be seen by taking a simple stroll down StoneyStreet. Even when Borough Market is closed, the buildings are still available to visit.
The Leaky Cauldron – No. 7 Stoney Street, SE1 (map)
There have been two entrances to the Leaky Cauldron during the filming of the Harry Potter movies. For the first film, a shop in Leadenhall Market was used. After that, however, a small shop at Borough Market was used and features in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. A small flower shop – Chez Michele – underneath a railway arch on the edge of Borough Market serves as the entrance to the magical pub.
The Third Hand Book Shop – No. 8 Stoney Street, SE1 (map)
What stands here in the regular world is The Market Porter Pub. But in the world of Harry Potter, this building serves as a “Third Hand Emporium” in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This is the location where Harry would meet his hapless future professor: Gilderoy Lockhart.
Potter-lovers will also remember Harry disembarking from his crazy journey on the Knight Bus just outside the Leaky Cauldron – and this is the exact spot that scene from the movie was filmed!
This post explains how to get to the 2 locations for Diagon Alley in London with some background information. There are two contenders here for the REAL Diagon Alley and many Potter fans are split as to which is the ‘real’ Dragon Alley… Harry Potter’s first introduction to the wizarding world comes when Hagrid takes him through The Leaky Cauldron Pub and into the secret back entrance to Diagon Alley – and Potter-heads from all over the world have been coming here ever since to try to find this magical alleyway themselves! Here we’ve got all the information that you need to take a trip to Diagon Alley yourself! Be sure to take our pay-what-you likeHarry Potter Tour of London.
London is a culinary capital and food tours here are becoming more and more popular. But at Free Tours By Foot we think paying upwards of £50.00 for a food tour for a set time and date is not necessarily affordable or flexible for many visitors. So we’ve put together a self-guided food tour so anybody can explore Borough Market for FREE by themselves at any time* – you’ll only pay for the tasty treats you’ll surely purchase yourself!
This self-guided food tour leads through the world-famous Borough Market, where people come from all over the world to eat and drink. Borough Market is one of the largest food markets on the planet, and there is plenty here to get full without spending a fortune. From British food on show or international treats from across the globe – there’s always something for everybody at Borough Market.
[*Note: We recommend you visit Borough Market on the busiest days, to get the chance to see all of the stalls. This means Thursdays to Saturdays. The market closes before dinner time so try to come in the afternoon for the best experience.]
How to get to Borough Market
Start:London Bridge Underground Station
When you exit the station, follow signs for BOROUGH HIGH STREET. Walk along the High Street. Walk until you come to STONEY STREET and turn RIGHT. Take the FIRST entrance into the market on your right and immediately turn LEFT. You will pass one lot of stalls then come to a second. Your first stop is at the second lot. Here is a map of the inside of the market.
STOP 1 – Olive Oil Company – Flavoured Oils and Vinegars
This is a perfect place to start your tour as the Olive Oil Company is always offering up free samples of their amazing flavoured oils and vinegars. Taste all you like – with fresh market-baked bread, of course – and purchase your favourites. The staff here know their stuff and will talk you through all the interesting flavours available – the perfect appetiser before your feast begins!
When FACING the Olive Oil Company, go to the LEFT and follow the circle of stalls around, keeping the stalls on your right. You will then come into your next stop on the other side from where the Olive Oil Company is.
STOP 2 – Borough Olives – Nocellara Olives
Olive lovers get ready: this is the holy grail! Borough Olives provides a HUGE variety of fresh olives from all over the world (think Spain, Morocco and Greece) at very affordable prices. Feel free to sample to help you discover the ones you like best, then pick up a tub of your favourite for under £5. Our suggestion is the Nocellara olives – vibrant green, HUGE, and with a thick meaty texture, they’re the best you’ll have ever had.
For those of you who are not too keen on olives, don’t worry! Borough Olives also serves up delicious salty Feta cheese, gorgeous sun fried tomatoes and a range of pesos. Think about picking up a jar, grab a delicious loaf of bread, and snack on later!
With your BACK to the Olive stall, step forward toward the next group of stalls directly ahead of you. Then go to your LEFT. Keep the stalls to your RIGHT and walk around until you get to your next stop.
STOP 3 – Parma Ham and Mozzarella Stand – Burrata and Buffalo Mozzarella
Here you’ll find some of the finest mozzarella London has to offer – soft and fresh – and we recommend stepping things up and getting the Burrata – a fresh Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream which is impossible NOT to like. You’ll also be able to taste incredible Parma ham which is imported direct from Saint Ilario, a world renowned producer of Prosciutto di Parma. The ham, which is cured for 24 months, is described as ‘tender, lean and packed with flavour…’ We agree!
FACING the Parma Ham and Mozzarella stand, turn to your RIGHT and walk a few steps – your next stop will be directly in front of you.
STOP 4 – Bread Ahead Bakery – Foccacia Bread
To perfectly accompany your olive oils, dips, ham and cheese, you need to pick out a perfect artisan bread, and this is where you’ll find it. Bread Ahead is a pure London bakery – based in Bermondsey, in the South East of town. There’s a huge variety of bread here and, if we’re honest, everything is good! Prices run from between £2 – £7 depending on what you’d like but our personal recommendation is the foccacia bread. Depending on the day, the selection of foccacia on offer could have garlic and rosemary, tomatoes and olives, herbs and nuts…and the list goes on!
FACING Bread Ahead Bakery, walk to your LEFT. Walk until you get to the last stall on your right and then turn RIGHT. The second lot of stalls on your right will hold your next stop.
The Bath Soft Cheese Co. is perfect British product. All the cheeses here are organic and are made near Bath using milk from cows owned by the same company. Their signature cheese is the Wyfe of Bath semi-hard cheese which is named after a character in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Their soft cheese is not to be missed – it is, after all, where they got their name – and has a pedigree that goes back to the 1790’s and it is even claimed that Admiral Lord Nelson enjoyed this cheese! For blue cheese lovers, there’s plenty here for you, too. It can sometimes be a bit overwhelming so talk to the staff – they’re lovely, friendly and they know exactly what they’re talking about!
When facing the Soft Cheese Co. you will see an exit out of this part of the market behind the stalls, in the direction you are facing. Take that exit which will bring you onto BEDALE STREET, which runs between the different parts of the market. Turn LEFT and this street turns into CATHEDRAL STREET. Walk as far as you can before hitting the Cathedral, and enter the market again on your RIGHT (this should be the third entrance on your RIGHT).
Scotch eggs are a true British tradition – most often found in country pubs, they are quickly becoming the hottest pub food trend in town. A traditional scotch egg is a boiled egg, surrounded by sausage meat, rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried or baked…what’s not to like? The various eggs on offer here contain not just ordinary sausage meet but pulled pork, lamb and mint, black pudding, or even chorizo. Scotchtails also serves up a vegetarian option with the egg surrounded by beetroot and lentils. If you’ve got the space left – consider ordering their sweet potato fries which are the best to be found at the market. Price wise, Scotchtails also delivers, and you won’t have to spend more than £5 to get a delicious bite to eat.
With Scotchtails to your back, walk to your LEFT. Keep walking in this direction and turn RIGHT as soon as you can. This will lead you straight to one of the largest stalls in the market – and your next stop.
STOP 7 – Borough Nuts – Nuts and Snacks
This is a personal favourite, and it’s a guarantee that there is something for everyone at this stall. Huge baskets overflowing with dried fruits, nuts, and baklava are on display, alongside yogurt and chocolate coated goodies – all of which are priced by the weight. This makes it a perfect budget-friendly stop because you can choose to spend exactly how much you’d like to spend! Our personal recommendations are the spicy cashew nuts! For those with a sweet tooth, take a look at the yogurt coated banana chips – yum.
With Borough Nuts BEHIND you, walk to your RIGHT. Walk a few paces and your final stop will appear on your LEFT.
STOP 8 – Comptoir Gourmand – Canele’ and Desserts
It’s time for dessert and Comptoir Gourmand is the place to get it! All the desserts here are created by owner Sebastien Wind, who is an exceptionally talented chef-patissier who uses French technique to create all the delicious delicacies you’ll find at this stall. Try the Canele’ de Bordeaux – a pastry with a smooth custard centre and a thick caramelized sugar crust, or the beautifully colourful meringues, or even gorgeous shortbreads boasting plump raisins and crunchy pecans. There’s so much to choose from here, you’ll have a hard time deciding! It’s the perfect way to end your feast.
OPTIONAL BONUS STOP 9
If you’d like to grab yourself a cheeky drink to enjoy during your tour, pay a visit to Cartwright Bros. This stall specialises in importing wines sourced from independent estates. You can purchase a bottle (or three!) or you can also buy by-the-glass. The delicious prosecco is our personal favourite! You’ll find this stall on MIDDLE ROAD which cuts through the Market.
Finish:Either River Thames or London Bridge Underground Station
Once you’ve finished your food tour – you have an option of where to go. Perhaps you’re going to take your goodies away, in which case you can follow the signs back to LONDON BRIDGE STATION. Or maybe you’d like to sit somewhere nice and enjoy your snacks! If so, you have the option of sitting in the courtyard of SOUTHWARK CATHEDRAL – which you can see from the Market itself. Or, if you’d like, you can go back to STONEY STREET and follow it toward the river, where it will dead end into CLINK STREET. From there, turn LEFT, go under the bridge then turn RIGHT and you will be on the Southbank of the Thames where you can find a lovely bench to sit and enjoy the London skyline!
Although an American, Jimi Hendrix’s career was made here in London. He came to London, aged 24, in 1966 and took the city by storm. His first concerts in the UK sky-rocketed him to fame and when he returned home, he was already a qualified music idol. Hendrix would return to London and live here for months at a time before his final visit – and unexpected death – in 1970.
The following post lists all of the most significant places where Hendrix played and stayed in London. Interested in visiting these places during your visit? Join us on our Rock N’ Roll Tour of London, which takes you through Soho and shares the musical history of this wonderful neighborhood! Also, be sure to check out our Free Tours by Foot London page for a full list of all of the pay-what-you-like tours that we offer!
London is a culinary capital and food tours here are becoming more and more popular. But at Free Tours By Foot we think paying upwards of £50.00 for a food tour isn’t necessarily affordable and value for money. So we’ve put together a self-guided food tour that is absolutely FREE to take – aside from the tasty treats you’ll need to purchase yourself!
This food tour takes place in the popular London neighbourhoods of Soho, Chinatown and Piccadilly. A popular place to eat for both locals and tourists alike, there’s a huge diverse culinary culture here which means you’ll be tasting food from all over the world, and eating like a true London “foodie.”
In 2016 the world lost one of music’s biggest icons: David Bowie. However, even before his death, super-fans from all of the world would travel to London to seek out locations that were connected to the superstar. Then, in the aftermath of his death, fans began converging all over London to pay their respects at places associated with one of the most famous Londoners of our time. For those who would perhaps like to do the same, what follows is a list of London locations that have a connection to David Bowie — some of which are featured on our Rock N’Roll Tour of London!
Trident Studios is London’s premiere recording studio. Located in the centre of London in St. Anne’s Court, Soho, the studio has played an integral part to the recording of some of the world’s most celebrated records. Read through the following to learn more about its history, where it was located, and how to join us for a visit on our Rock N’ Roll Tour of London! Also, be sure to check out our Free Tours by Foot London page for a full list of all of the pay-what-you-like tours that we offer!
History of Trident Studios
Founded by brothers Norman and Barry Sheffield, Trident made a name for themselves in the 1960’s and still operate today in their original location. The site of Trident Studios has been the site of pilgrimage for thousands of London visitors who want to get a glimpse of a building where hours and hours of musical history were recorded.
Why Did Trident Become The Recording Studio of Choice?
The Sheffield brothers were interested in using state of the art technology which really helped draw attention to their studio. Trident Studios were one of the first recording studios in the UK to employ an 8-track reel to reel recording deck (compared to Abbey Road’s 4-track) and to employ Dolby noise reduction. They were also known for their Bechstein Piano which, at over 100 years old, was taught out by musicians such as Elton John and The Beatles who wished to play on it.
Once Beatles began recording their work at Trident and soon other members of Apple Records began recording there as well…putting the studios on track for mega-success. Read more »
Though no longer in operation, The Marquee Club was a true prestigious musical institution that was known throughout the world and is still recognised today. Read through the following to learn more about its history, where it was located, and how to join us for a visit on our Rock N’ Roll Tour of London!
Opened in April of 1958, by Harold Pendleton (secretary of the National Jazz Federation) the Marquee Club was one of the world’s premiere live-music venues until it’s closer in the 1990’s. Although a small and a remarkably affordable and accessible venue, it still launched the glittering careers of multiple world-famous musical acts.
The Club began as an intimate venue in a basement on Oxford Street originally hosting Jazz performances. In 1964 the club moved into the heart of Soho on 90 Wardour Street and soon began hosting acts in the rock genre, then later including punk, new wave, and hard rock as the years would go on. This location would become ‘The Marquee Club’ (an exhaustingly warm, sweaty, sticky venue that was meant to hold no more than 700 people but routinely was packed with as many as 1,000..!) that generations would remember.
The Wardour Street location was ordered to be demolished in 1987 as the constant vibrations of the music blaring from the venue over 30 years had slowly moved the entire facade of the building, which began dangerously tilting toward the pavement. Therefore, the club would move one more time, to Charing Cross Road, in 1988 but this final version would be closed less than a decade later. Today this final location is the home of a Wetherspoon’s pub.
So far the Marquee Club has remained closed but talks are underway (as of time of writing – June 2017) to open a new club which would also host a permanent exhibition featuring the history of the Club