Platform 9¾ is in Kings Cross Station and features in the famous Harry Potter books and films. The books have become some of the best selling children’s books ever written. The adventures of 11 year old Harry have captivated children across the world and resulted in seven Harry books and eight blockbuster films.
Harry, who has inherited magical powers from his dead parents is sent to school at Hogwarts, a boarding school for Wizards. Several London locations were used during the filming of the Harry stories, including London Zoo where Harry discovers his ability to talk to snakes.
Kings Cross Station is the location used for the Hogwarts Express to begin it’s long journey to Hogwarts School. This pseudo-fictonal location was filmed at Platform 4 of the central London railway station. Originally built as the Great Northern Railway’s London terminus in 1851/2, the Hogwarts Express steam train leaves from Platform 9 3/4 on it’s journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To visit the Platform take any train, bus or tube to Kings Cross station.
Author JK Rowling admitted in a BBC interview in 2001 confusing Kings Cross with Euston Station when writing the book. “I wrote Platform 9¾ when I was living in Manchester, and I wrongly visualised the platforms, and I was actually thinking of Euston, so anyone who’s actually been to the real platforms 9 and 10 in King’s Cross will realise they don’t bear a great resemblance to the platforms 9 and 10 as described in the book.”
The real platforms 9 and 10 are in separate buildings to the main station and as they are adjacent to each other there could’nt be a magical brick wall to travel through. During filming, to overcome the brick wall problem, platforms 4 and 5 were renumbered making it easier to create Platform 9 3/4. As Kings Cross Station is not the most exciting building, the film crew used the nearby St Pancras Station, well known for it’s wonderful Victorian architecture, for external shots of the train station.
Recently Kings Cross Station has been undergoing a massive amount of construction which has meant the location of Platform 9¾ has moved from time to time. The station staff are used to excited Harry fans searching for Platform 9 and have been praised for being friendly and helpful.
Since 2011 you can get a photo of yourself with a trolley embedded into the station wall and a sign above which reads Platform 9¾. To see the new exhibit, go to platform 1 (one), turn right and exit the station. To your right you will see a dedicated area which houses the new trolley, with a specially built canopy where you can take photographs. It’s a magical way to entertain the kids for free!