Harry Potter is UK’s most popular tourist attraction

Mark Lankester

Visitors to Britain are booking ‘Harry Potter’ tours more than any other UK attraction – out selling iconic favourites such as Stonehenge and the British Museum.

[Related story: New Harry Potter Store opens at Platform 9 ¾]
[Related story: 'Ninth' Harry Potter film being filmed]

New figures released by leading tour operator British Tours Ltd - which specialises in tailor-made trips around the British Isles - revealed that more tourists book their ‘Harry Potter’ tours than any other special interest outing they offer.

The London-based firm reported almost 700 groups booking their ‘Harry Potter locations tour’ over the last five years – just under 50% more than their second most popular trip, a tour of pre-historic monument Stonehenge at sunrise or sunset.

The day long ‘Harry Potter’ tour takes fans to locations including platform 9 ¾ at London St Pancras train station, and film locations set in Leadenhall and Borough Markets.

Guests also visit Oxford University to see Christ Church College's Great Hall, which featured as Hogwarts' dining hall , and locations such as Gloucester Cathedral - where the talking portraits in ‘The Philospher’s Stone’ and Moaning Myrtle’s scenes were filmed.

British Tours Ltd director Jason Doll Steinberg said: "A number of other films have had a positive effect on UK tourism like ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’, and ‘Pride & Prejudice’ though not on the scale of ‘Harry Potter’.”

Jason commented that other special interest tours were usually short lived: "Thousands of people wanted to visit the ‘Da Vinci Code’ locations in London and Paris,” he said, “It could almost be described as a mania but it died down pretty much as quickly as it started."

Here are the top ten most popular tours for visitors to the UK:

1. Harry Potter locations

2. Stonehenge Dawn/Dusk

3. Greenwich

4. British Museum

5. The Da Vinci Code

6. Jane Austen country/Pride and Prejudice film locations

7. Shopping

8. Jack the Ripper

9. Tours by Tube

10. Literary England - homes of Kipling, Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, the Bronte Sisters and Shakespeare.