My Harry Potter Adventure in the UK – Muggle Tours

It has been a long time since I’ve written anything of substance, an incredibly long time. I attribute it to life. That is, work, school, trips, etc. etc. etc. This past December, my boyfriend and I traveled to the United Kingdom. It was the first time I had been there in over five years. I will have plenty of stories to tell, but I’d like to start with my Harry Potter adventure. This is partially driven by the fact that Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s site dedicated to our favorite boy wizard, has released information on wizarding schools across the world. The nerd in me rejoiced at the fact the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny, is located within flying distance of me. But as always, I want to know where my letter is…

In the meantime, it’s time to turn to my Harry Potter experiences in the United Kingdom. My boyfriend and I traveled to England between Christmas and New Year’s this year. First of all, I learned to not travel during that time – London has many things going on, but for the wannabe traveler/tourist, many of the sites are closed due to the holidays and Boxing Day. On the other hand, it made it easier for us to simply walk around and explore London. On the day after Christmas, we did a walking tour of some of the filming locations used for the Harry Potter films. The tour was organized by a company called Muggle Tours. For about $50 USD, we spent a leisurely 2.5 hour walk learning some fun facts surrounding the film’s production. Our tour guide was named Joseph, and he was just about as much a fan of Harry Potter as I am (and that is saying something – I was the one who founded a student organization dedicated to Harry Potter during my undergraduate career). The tour itself took us throughout a good deal of London, starting near where the famous Knight Bus scene was filmed and ending in Cecil Court, an alley that may have served as the inspiration to Diagon Alley. I cannot talk enough about how wonderful the experience was. I chose not to take a significant amount of pictures of this tour, but trust me, it was well worth it.

There is something awesome about Potterheads. We can all come together, and it is perfectly okay to be passionate and perhaps even a little crazy about our favorite wizard. Our group was a mixture of those who had read the books and seen the movies, did one or the other, and those who may have been dragged along for the ride. But it did not matter; we were all there to learn, and that is what mattered. The tour itself consisted of many interesting informational tidbits. For instance, the Knight Bus actually consisted of a triple-decker bus. For the life of me, I wondered why they had not simply digitally added the third level on. But, on the other hand, it was really cool to think that the moviemakers actually went through the trouble of creating such marvel. I did get a chance to see the real Knight Bus, but that is a teaser for a future post. 🙂

What else did we see? Well, the Muggle Tours website actually provides a much better list than I could ever give:

  • The entrance to the Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

  • The wending roads of old medieval London reminiscent of Knockturn Alley

  • Several locations over which Lord Voldemort’s death eaters wreak havoc (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

  • The bridges under and over which the members of the Order of the Phoenix fly on their broomsticks en route to Grimmauld Place (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

  • The alleyways off Charing Cross Road that was the inspiration for Diagon Alley & Knockturn Alley and a favourite of JK Rowling

  • The visitors’ entrance to the Ministry of Magic (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

  • The site where the trio infiltrate the Ministry using polyjuice potion (Deathly Hallows I)

  • No. 12 Grimmauld Place

Should you be in the London area, I highly, highly recommend this tour. It was great fun, was very informative, and our tour guide was fantastic. There’s something to be said for someone who leads a tour and is passionate about his or her subject rather than a dull, boring one. I know for a fact that you will learn something new.

This is a storefront that was featured in the Prisoner of Azkaban.
This is a storefront that was featured in the Prisoner of Azkaban.

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