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Harry Potter's links to Kent as JK Rowling announces new book The Ickabog

The news that JK Rowling – the celebrated author of the Harry Potter novels – is bringing out a new online children’s book, The Ickabog, set in “dark and misty” marshlands made us wonder if our county could have inspired its location.

Kent has plenty of squelchy land of the dark and misty variety – think Romney Marsh or the Hoo Peninsula, where Charles Dickens had Magwitch emerging ominously from the gloom in Great Expectations.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter

And although the Hogwarts Express departs from the mythical platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross station, from which lines only run north, Kent has its Harry Potter connections too.


The home of the Mother Church of the Church of England has its link with the occult in the city centre.

The House of Secrets in Mercery Lane sells all manner of Potter paraphernalia in a setting that would not look out of place in that centre of wizardry, Diagon Alley.

There is official Warner Brothers merchandise, including rucksacks, scarves and stationery in the colours of Hogwarts School’s four houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.

You can also buy a range of sweets such as Chocolate Frogs or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and much else besides.

The Harry Potter-themed shop in Mercery Lane, Canterbury
The Harry Potter-themed shop in Mercery Lane, Canterbury


Kent does actually feature, briefly, in the Harry Potter films. The eighth and last in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, has the boy wizard and his chums being hotly pursued towards the Dartford Crossing by the Death Eaters.

You can tell this is pure fantasy because there is no traffic jam and they do not get stuck behind a lorry caught in the lane for a tunnel which is too small to accommodate it.

Unfortunately, Harry’s owl, Hedwig, meets his demise in the skies above but at least he dies before getting to Essex. And there would seem to be a happy ending to the episode because there is no record of Harry getting a huge bill a month later for failing to pay the Dart Charge. Now that really is magic!

Another Kent location also nearly made it into the films. The producers wanted to feature scenes inside Canterbury Cathedral but were refused permission. Proof that even wizardry has to bow to a higher authority. Durham Cathedral, however, was not so picky – the action was filmed there instead.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe
Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe


The town’s much loved but sadly run-down Leas Pavilion will be hoping that actress Miriam Margoyles can bring some Potter magic to its aid.

Miriam, who played Professor Sprout on the screen, is one of many celebrities who have added their support for plans to renovate the venerable venue and bring it back to something like its former glory.


No, the county’s esteemed seat of learning has not opened a School of Alchemy but it does have a Harry Potter Society.

In their few spare moments away from their arduous studies, the students can enrol in one of the four Hogwarts School houses and take advantage of a wide range of wizard-related activities. These include visits to the studios where the cinematic versions of the books were made, a Yule Ball and film nights.

Miriam Margolyes came to Folkestone to support the Leas Pavilion
Miriam Margolyes came to Folkestone to support the Leas Pavilion


To be honest, we were struggling to find a connection here. But exhaustive research has revealed that a lad from Strood called Harry Potter passed his driving test at the Gillingham Test Centre in June 2017.

It is not known if the examiner was a Mr Dumbledore.


There was no missing the Potter link here, particularly if you live in Medway Road, Sheerness, where Denise Kerry had a huge image of the bespectacled wizard’s face painted all over the front of her end-of-terrace house.

The back story is equally bizarre. Unsurprisingly, Denise is a huge Potter fan but how she came to have his features all over her frontage could almost be a plotline for characters invented by JK Rowling herself.

It centres on an American graffiti artist called Jules Muck, whose name might easily feature in any forthcoming sequel like Harry Potter and the Spraying Muck.

Apparently, Jules was on holiday in the UK and asked a friend, actress Sara Sugarman who has a home of Sheppey, if she knew anyone who would like their home plastered in graffiti paint. As you do. Anyway, Denise volunteered and hey presto! Soon Harry’s eyes, nose and mouth were adorning the front wall.

Denise Kerry's home in Medway Road, Sheerness, transformed into Harry Potter by muralist Jules "MuckRock" Muck
Denise Kerry's home in Medway Road, Sheerness, transformed into Harry Potter by muralist Jules "MuckRock" Muck


Not the strongest link, perhaps but Sittingbourne has a recent Potter connection too. Last Christmas, the town’s panto at the Swallows Leisure Centre in Central Avenue featured Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the film series. On stage, he was The Wizard of Oz, so he clearly knows how to wield a magic wand.

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