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St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is a gorgeous Gothic building in London that is located inside a popular train station.
Although the architecture of the outside of the building is gorgeous, the highlight has to be the winding St Pancras Hotel staircase that is painted bright red with gold leaf fleur-de-lis and hand-stenciled murals.
If you’re a Potterhead you will recognise this historic hotel from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and it is even featured in the Spice Girl’s Wannabe music video.
Here is how to visit the breathtaking St Pancras Hotel in London with a Harry Potter filming location guide!
St Pancras Hotel history
In 1865, the Midland Railway Company wanted to build a hotel at St Pancras with 150 rooms and so they held a competition for the best design.
Out of eleven designs submitted, George Gilbert Scott’s design won even though it was for 300 rooms and much more costly to deliver.
Despite the ambitious project, the company liked his idea and so construction started shortly afterward. The hotel officially opened to the public as the Midland Grand Hotel in 1873.
At the time, it was very innovative and had hydraulic lifts, concrete floors, revolving doors, and fireproof floors.
Although there was a fireplace in every room, none of the rooms had a bathroom! The servants would deliver chamber pots as was the custom for the period.
It finally shut down in 1935 as it was too costly to maintain. It then reopened as ‘St Pancras Chambers’ and was used as a railway office.
There were threats to knock it down but Jane Hughes Fawcett fought for the building to be listed and protected.
In the 1980s the building was closed down after it failed fire safety regulations and it was restored with a multi-million-pound project in the 1990s.
In 2004, planning permission was granted or the building to be redeveloped into a hotel and in 2011 the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel was opened up to guests!
St Pancras Hotel staircase
Although the outside of the hotel is stunning, you really have to see the St Pancras Hotel’s staircase with your own eyes to believe that something this beautiful exists.
This winding Grand Staircase will take your breath away with its Victorian carpets, bright red paint, and gold fleur-de-lis.
There are vaulted ceilings with hand-stenciled designs, stained glass windows, colourful murals, and gold leaf imprinted on the walls!
It has been restored to its former Gothic glory and looks like it did when the hotel first opened in 1873.
Fun fact, the staircase was designed to be wide enough so that two Victorian ladies in their bustle dresses could pass each other.
If you’re a Potterhead, you will love visiting this staircase as it looks worthy of the moving staircases at Hogwarts Castle or the Gryffindor common room.
Spice Girls Wannabe filming location
Before the Harry Potter movies, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel featured in another famous pop sensation.
You may recognise this wonderful staircase from The Spice Girl’s music video ‘Wannabe’ which was filmed in 1996.
Originally, they had planned to film in Barcelona but couldn’t get permission for the building they wanted and so filmed here instead!
During the video, you’ll see all the Spice Girls running around, dancing, singing, and making mischief at a Bohemian party.
Apparently, they had planned to film the video in one long shot and so they rehearsed it several times with a Steadicam operator. In the end, it was actually put together from two takes.
Some countries banned this video as the girls had stiff nipples and there were even attempts to re-film it for US audiences as their outfits were deemed too scandalous!
Of course, the group refused as it was part of their brand. You know, Girl Power and all that.
As a 90s kid, I was well and truly obsessed with the Spice Girls and so it was amazing to see this filming location for myself.
Click here to watch Spice Girls’ Wannabe music video!
St Pancras Hotel Harry Potter filming location
Observant Potterheads will definitely recognise the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel as a Harry Potter filming location.
This is when Harry and Ron can’t enter Platform 9 3/4s and miss the Hogwarts Express. So, Ron takes desperate measures by flying his father’s blue Ford Anglia to find the magical train instead.
In the movie, they used the St Pancras Renaissance hotel as the entrance to King’s Cross Station with Arthur Weasley’s car parked just outside.
Later, the Ford Anglia flies over St Pancras Hotel which creates front-page news in the Muggle world and a nasty howler waiting at Hogwarts for Ron!
You’ll see all of these hilarious scenes feature in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
It also had a tiny role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 where it featured as King’s Cross Station again.
Click here to watch Ron fly the blue Ford Anglia over London!
What else has been filmed at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
As a Gothic treasure in London, there have been plenty of appearances of this hotel in the media.
You’ll see the interiors and exterior of this hotel in the following movies and TV series;
- The Secret Garden (1993)
- Richard III (1995)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
- Most Haunted Live (2003)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)
How to visit St Pancras Hotel in London
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is in central London and is located within St Pancras International Station itself.
This is just inches away from King’s Cross Station (home of the Harry Potter Shop) and so it’s really easy to visit as part of a London Harry Potter tour.
The closest tube station to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel would be King’s Cross St. Pancras tube station and it’s a 5-10 minute walk from there.
Alternatively, you can access this by overland train at St Pancras International station and via the Eurostar as the London Eurostar check-in is just outside the hotel!
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel address is Euston Rd, London NW1 2AR. Click here for a Google Pin!
Visiting St Pancras Renaissance Hotel as a non-guest
I would like to mention that if you’re visiting the St Pancras Hotel as a non-guest then you are restricted to certain areas of the hotel at this time.
You’re allowed to enter the lobby and visit their restaurant and bars but the top of the staircase and the facilities are strictly for hotel guests only.
However, non-guests are allowed to stand at the bottom of the staircase to get some photos from there. But, that is your lot for the time being. It may change in the future.
I was allowed to take photos here with special permission and you can enquire yourself when you get to the hotel – you never know you may get lucky!
Book a room at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The best way to enjoy the St Pancras Hotel staircase without fuss would be to book a room at the hotel when staying in London.
It’s the perfect place to stay for fans of Harry Potter as you get to stay in one of the filming locations.
Although, don’t get your hopes up about seeing a flying Ford Anglia out of your window!
As a hotel guest, you’ll get to explore all the areas of the hotel to your heart’s content and of course, admire the staircase without limits.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is also a great choice if you were travelling via Eurostar as the hotel is located in St Pancras International Station itself.
So, you would only have to make a short commute to get to the Eurostar station in the morning.
Although not the cheapest accommodation in this area of London, it’s a quality hotel and extremely convenient.
Click here to book a room at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
Visit Platform 9 3/4’s at King’s Cross Station next!
If you’re visiting the magical St Pancras Hotel then you’re in touching distance of King’s Cross Station, the home of Platform 9 3/4’s.
Of course, that platform doesn’t exist. But, you can visit The Harry Potter Shop which has its very own Wizarding World luggage trolley.
You can get a great photo of you ‘disappearing’ through the wall along with your Hogwarts House scarf and wand.
There are also filming locations to be found like when Harry travels through the archway to Platform 9 3/4s which is located between King’s Cross platforms 4 & 5.
An amazing time to visit would be on the 1st of September which is also known as Back to Hogwarts Day in the Potterhead and Wizarding World.
Every year, fans gather at King’s Cross Station to hear a special announcement for the Hogwarts Express at 11 am. Many fans dress up for the occasion so make sure to don your house robes.
They always put on an amazing show which is live on stage. There are usually performances, pop-up counters, photo opportunities, and souvenirs up for grabs!
Click here to read my complete guide of Harry Potter at King’s Cross station
Discover 12 Grimmauld Place
If you wanted to visit even more Harry Potter filming locations, then I would recommend walking over to Claremont Square which is also known as the Order of the Phoenix HQ.
That’s right, Claremont Square was actually 12 Grimmauld Place in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
In the movie, the House of Black was protected with a Fidelius Charm and was hidden between the Muggle residences of 11 and 13.
You could only see Number 12 if you were a magical person and had been told the secret!
But, don’t fret. Even if you’re a Muggle, you can still visit the real filming location for this magical home at numbers 23-29 Claremont Square, Islington.
The closest tube station for this is Angel and then it’s a 5-minute walk. Or, it’s a 10-minute (uphill) walk from King’s Cross Station.
Click here for directions on how to find 12 Grimmauld Place in London
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Looking for more Harry Potter locations in London?
There are plenty more locations and experiences that you can seek out if you’re a Potterhead in London!
I would recommend visiting the House of MinaLima and The Cursed Child performances at the Palace Theatre.
Or, you can visit some of the inspirations for Diagon Alley like Cecil Court and Goodwin’s Court.
Talking of Diagon Alley, one of my favourite locations I visited has to be Leadenhall Market. A gorgeous Victorian wonder that featured as the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley.
You can head into St Paul’s Cathedral to see their Geometric Staircase which was the Divination Stairwell at Hogwarts.
I would then catch the tube over to the River Thames to see sights like the Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, London City Hall, and Borough Market which all featured as filming locations.
You could go for a Harry Potter afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge and then finish the day off with immersive experiences like magical cocktails at The Cauldron.
Plus, you can’t forget the Harry Potter Studio tour. It’s a must-visit for any Potterhead! You can visit the regular tour and add extras like their magical afternoon tea.
Or, if you’re visiting in the Fall you can book to visit their Dark Arts event or the magical Hogwarts in the Snow at Christmas time!
Click here to read my complete guide on London Harry Potter locations
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