Order our new book, Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders
Mini book

London, England

Platform 9 3/4

Kings Cross Station pays tribute to its role in Britain's best-selling book series 

Harry Potter fans know: the best way to get to Hogwarts is aboard the Hogwarts Express, which dutifully awaits students of the prestigious wizarding school at Platform 9 3/4 at the start of each term. Reaching the platform, of course, is an adventure in itself; magical blood and nerves of steel are required in order to pass through what appears to be a solid brick barrier to where the platform is located on the other side.

Details of Platform 9 3/4 were made public by the 1997 publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the debut novel of J. K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular Harry Potter series. Kings Cross station reappeared several times throughout the series, serving as the setting for some of the most pivotal moments, and the station was later used as a shooting location in the Harry Potter films. For several years now, Kings Cross has celebrated its role in the beloved books with a marker indicating the location of Platform 9 3/4, below which a baggage trolly can be seen disappearing into the bewitched barrier.

Construction on Kings Cross Station between 2005 and 2012, however, made the magical platform even more elusive than usual, shuffling the marker and accompanying trolly to various locations around the station several times, at one point relegating it to an alcove outside. In 2012 it was announced that the attraction had finally found a permanent home in the New Western Departures Concourse, nestled between Platforms 9 and 10, right where you would expect it.

Important to note: for muggles, the barrier remains quite solid, and Potter fans are advised against attempting to cross it.

Know Before You Go

Easily found within King's Cross Station, but allow plenty of time if you wish to wait in line to pose with the magical trolley, or visit the adjacent Harry Potter Shop, especially during the high tourist season.

Edit Place