First, find The Leaky Cauldron pub between a bookshop and a music shop. Go to the rear courtyard and tap a brick in the wall, found by counting three up and two across, three times. You have reached your destination: Diagon Alley, wizarding London’s High Street where every wizard’s and witch’s needs are met.
That’s all very well if you’re a wizard or a witch. But if you’re a simple mortal, you can reach one of the locations of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Leadenhall Market, on foot. Simple take the tube to Monument Station and walk up Gracechurch Street. You’ll see the entrance to your right.
It’s easy to see why the film producers chose Leadenhall Market as a location. The brightly coloured shop fronts, the wrought iron and glass ceiling, the coats of arms of the City of London and the dragons (symbols of the City), fruits and flowers that decorate the walls, albeit Victorian, seem to be suspended in time with an almost magical quality.
There has been a market here since the 1400s. It started as a meeting place for poulterers and cheesemongers, then other merchants joined and it became an important market within the City in what used to be Roman London. Although it suffered little damage during the Great Fire, the market was rebuilt as a covered structure with a further redesign in the 1880s. The market spills out to outside streets and alleys.
Nowadays, Leadenhall is a busy shopping center with pubs and restaurant alongside shops. I visited the market at lunchtime, probably not the wisest move. The place was crowded with City types enjoying a pint -it was during Oktoberfest too. The restaurants are rather small and fill up quickly, better make lunch reservations. I strolled along the aisles, admiring the intricate iron work and decorative scrolls and vines and flowers high up on the walls. Leadenhall Market is a lovely example of Victorian architecture. Even if you don’t eat or shop here, it is well worth a visit.