"Harry wished he had eight more eyes.... There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon...." (PS5)
Diagon Alley is a magically-hidden, wizarding shopping street located behind the Leaky Cauldron in central London, just off Charing Cross Road.
Tapping just the right brick in the wall behind the Leaky Cauldron in London ("Three up...two across...") will reveal an archway which is a portal into Diagon Alley, a long cobbled street where is to be found a strange and exciting assortment of shops and restaurants. It is unquestionably the hub of commerce in the British wizarding world, with virtually every wizarding business stationed there. Consequently, the demand for space here is steep, and rent costs "loads of Galleons" (OP30).
During the summer before his third year, Harry Potter spent several weeks in Diagon Alley, staying in a room at the Leaky Cauldron by night and roaming the street by day, marveling at the incredible shops and the witches and wizards, in from all over the country, who came by to do their shopping (PA4).
Following Voldemort's return to power in 1996, wizards and witches no longer felt safe wandering out in public, and Diagon Alley changed dramatically. The once-crowded streets stood virtually empty, faces of Death Eaters plastered the fronts of once-bright shops, and street vendors popped up, hawking anti-Dark devices (HBP6). Within another year and Voldemort's taking over of the Ministry of Magic, a large number of shops had closed, replaced by others devoted to the Dark Arts, and the street was filled with Muggle-borns who had been cast aside by the new system (DH26). Presumably, after Voldemort's eventual downfall and the installation of Kingsley Shacklebolt as Minister for Magic (BLC), Diagon Alley eventually returned to its splendor of old.
Shops of Diagon Alley:
To explore each store, follow the links in the Related Entries factbox:
- Apothecary - potion ingredients
- cafes - food
- Daily Prophet offices - publisher
- Dark Arts establishments - dark items
- Eeylops Owl Emporium - owls & related merchandise
- Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour - ice cream
- Flourish and Blotts - books
- Gambol and Japes - joke items
- Gringotts Wizarding Bank
- junk shop - second-hand items
- Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions - robes
- Madam Primpernelle's Beautifying Potions - beauty products
- Magical Menagerie - pets & related items
- Obscurus Books - publisher
- Ollivander's - wands
- Potage's Cauldron Shop - cauldrons
- Quality Quidditch Supplies - brooms & other Quidditch-related items
- second hand robe shop - robes
- stationery store - writing supplies
- street peddlers
- Terrortours - travel agency
- Twilfitt and Tatting's - robes
- Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes - joke items
- WhizzHard Books - publisher
diagonally, adv - going in a diagonal, angled or oblique direction (Jo's editor hadn't realised that this was the name origin for "Diagon Alley" until a lunch on train from King's Cross for the launch of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 8 July 2000 - as reported by those present)