London’s King’s Cross Station was awash with little Harrys and Hermiones as Potter fans flocked to celebrate Back To Hogwarts Day.
Thousands of fans of JK Rowling’s wizarding series braved train strikes to be at the event, which was hosted by TV star Sam Thompson and included a surprise marriage proposal and a special appearance by the cast of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.
Back To Hogwarts takes place every year on 1 September to mark the moment when wizards and witches board the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾ at 11am.
This year superfan Arnav Paturkar ran the live countdown until the train’s departure, after winning a competition.
The 10-year-old, who beat hundreds of entries after the Wizarding World launched a search to find the most enthusiastic fan in the UK, said: “All my friends and family know that I am the biggest Harry Potter fan around, so when my parents told me about a competition to lead the live countdown at Back to Hogwarts, as a proud Gryffindor I just knew I had to give it a go!
"I have had so much fun, and it has been amazing meeting lots of other Harry Potter fans, just like me.
"This is a day I will never, ever forget.”
The event also saw Thompson invite fan Manish Pindoria to the stage.
He swept his girlfriend Panveet Kaur Bason off her feet by proposing – and she said yes.
Thompson said of the day: “As my cats, Albus and Cedric can attest to, I love Harry Potter!
"Being able to come back to King’s Cross to host such a brilliant event, in front of so many like-minded fans is literally my dream come true."
He added that it was great to see "the shared love that this community has for Harry Potter".
Helen Cavanagh, Network Rail’s head of passenger experience for the East Coast route, added: “It’s always amazing to see King’s Cross station filled with students from all four Hogwarts houses come together as one to mark the start of the new Hogwarts term.
"Whether you belong to Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, we’re looking forward to welcoming you!”
From today (1 September) until 3 September, visitors can take part in several activities, such as trying Butterbeer, playing Hogwarts Legacy on PlayStation®5 courtesy of Warner Bros Games, and enjoying LEGO Harry Potter giveaways and photo opportunities.
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