Laura Reynolds has a truly magical shopping experience – but finds that a visit to Gringotts Bank is essential beforehand…
The pop-up Harry Potter shop in Harrods has not been as talked about as would perhaps be expected, and on visiting it recently, you can see why. It’s doubtful that many would-be visitors have actually found it. So well hidden is it in the depths of the third floor of Harrods, it’s possible that access is by floo powder only.
However, once you finally arrive, you are greeted by a very realistic Diagon Alley-style set-up, allowing you to browse Ollivander’s wand shop amongst others. The staff – in fancy dress naturally – are all very enthusiastic, talking to visitors about the memorabilia on display, and getting into character very well (no Slytherins allowed, naturally).
Closer investigation of the products for sale confirms that this attraction is aimed at devoted collectors rather than children with pocket money to spend; there are very few items available at under £20. One of the best items was the Marauder’s Map, but at upwards of £35 each, most muggles are forced to stick to their TFL tube maps for guidance home.
Even if most items are out of your price range, there’s still plenty to see. Many costumes and artifacts from the films are on display, including robes worn by Daniel Radcliffe, and Hermione’s infamous bottomless bag. You can have your photograph taken against the backdrop of Hogwarts’ Great Hall, and can even take home an ornament from Hogwarts… if you’ve got a spare £400 lying around.
The highlight has to be the Harry Potter-themed Christmas tree. Forget baubles and tinsel, this year it’s all about Gryffindor ties and wizards hats, with the sorting hat taking pride of place at the top of the tree.
Worth a visit for the novelty factor, but don’t expect to come back armed with bewitching goodies, unless you’ve got a very large budget to blow.
The Harry Potter pop-up shop is open in Harrods until January.