Harry Potter had a bit of trouble with the instructions on his ticket for the Hogwarts Express. Hagrid could have mentioned that the platform wasn’t exactly going to be obvious! But really, everything Harry needed to know was right there on his ticket: ‘take the train from platform nine and three-quarters at eleven o’clock’ from King’s Cross Station. No witch or wizard should set off for Hogwarts without their ticket, so we’ve put this at the top of our list!
Harry paid eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts for his Hogwarts Express snacks from the trolley, and he got some of everything: Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Droobles Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Liquorice Wands… Some pocket money for the train wouldn’t go amiss for the long journey to Hogwarts, and you never know… you might just make a best friend along the way.
Now this is an important one. It would be pretty embarrassing to turn up at Hogwarts without a magic wand, and borrowing one wouldn’t be much help since ‘the wand chooses the wizard’ for a reason! So whether wizarding newbies have a unicorn hair, phoenix feather or dragon heartstring core in their wand, it should be one of the first objects to be packed for Hogwarts! Did you know that you can find out which wand would choose you if you become a member of the Harry Potter Fan Club? Sign up and discover your wand here.
With a Hogwarts letter comes a school list setting out all the essentials a wizarding student will need to get before they arrive. First on the list is the Hogwarts school uniform. First-year students require the following:
• Three sets of plain work robes (black)
• One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
• One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
• One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
And all the clothes need name tags as well, so robes don’t go walkabout! No wonder Hogwarts trunks get heavy…
Students may also bring a pet along with them to Hogwarts. Would you take a visit to Eeylops Owl Emporium to buy a feathered friend like Hedwig? Or would you prefer a toad like Neville’s, Trevor? Or how about a clever cat like Hermione’s, Crookshanks? Did you know you can choose your pet on our website? Register for the Harry Potter Fan Club and pick for yourself!
Since wizarding folk are going to Hogwarts for more than just adventures, remembering to pack those all-important magical school books is a must! Yes, unfortunately, lessons and homework are required (it is a school after all!), and those books are going to weigh trunks down a lot! Are you ready for the list? Here they are: The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1) by Miranda Goshawk, A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot, Magical Theory by Adalbert Waffling, A Beginners’ Guide to Transfiguration by Emeric Switch, One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore, Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander, and The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble. It’s a good job first-years aren’t allowed a broomstick – there wouldn’t be room!
A wand alone isn’t quite going to cut it at Hogwarts. For Potions, first-years also need ‘1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)’ and we’re not sure Snape would be very pleased if a student forgot to pack it! Aside from a cauldron, the school list also says:
These last three sound pretty breakable, so best pack them carefully!
It isn’t any good just to read the Hogwarts set texts, at some point students will also need to write essays – we’re sure Hermione was absolutely delighted about this. Quills and ink are the order of the day at Hogwarts, and essays tend to be written on parchment. It’s not all work and no play though, these writing tools would come in handy for sending letters by owl post to family or friends.
Hagrid tells Harry to be himself when he starts Hogwarts and we think that’s pretty good advice. Keeping an open mind when meeting new witches and wizards, as well as which house you’re sorted into would definitely help on that very first day. And we think wizarding newbies should keep an open heart too – it might mean meeting exactly the right friends to help them get through the rest their time at Hogwarts – and it is usually rather eventful! Did you know you can try the Sorting Ceremony for yourself on our website, find it here...
Trying on a tatty old wizard’s hat in front of a whole school of strangers doesn’t exactly sound like a walk in the Hogwarts grounds. Not to mention there are ghosts all over the place – including one who is covered in silver blood, and one who is nearly headless! Magical surprises aside, talking to new people can sometimes require just as much courage as coming face to face with the Bloody Baron! So those starting at Hogwarts would need to be prepared, be themselves and dig deep for that wizarding courage!
And for more Back to Hogwarts fun, check out our special 20th anniversary hub where we're celebrating 20 key moments from that first film.