“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” – Albus Dumbledore Sorcerer’s Stone
Earlier this year, Pete and I had an amazing adventure visiting London.
Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour has been on my bucket list for about as long as I can remember after reading the books and watching the movies; yes, in that order. As you can tell, I’m a bit of nerd when it comes to the “Boy Who Lived.” So, when we traveled “across the pond,” as the Brits like to say, going to the studio tour was a bit of no-brainer. And I must say, the tour is just as magical as reading the first book!
Even if you’re not a Potterhead ( an endearing term coined for fans of the series ) there are plenty of fun activities and things to explore.
We opted for getting our tickets through Golden Bus Tours because they offered a comfortable bus ride to and from the iconic King’s Cross Station to our final destination. I must note here that the ride was roughly 45 minutes to an hour away from London dependent on traffic. If you don’t want to go through the bus tour, I recommend buying your Harry Potter ticket months in advance!
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The Golden Tours Bus Plays Harry Potter Videos
My husband can tell you that “giddy” is an understatement when it comes to describing my reaction as the bus driver played The Philosopher’s Stone from a nearby tv screen. While traveling on my way to the Harry Potter Studio tour from London, I could not be any happier.
Besides, who wouldn’t be gleeful when they are surrounded by tons of Harry Potter fans who really understand your obsession? I jest…well, not really, but you get the picture.
After our ticket was collected by the bus driver, we passed the time talking. One thing I was sadly disappointed with was the fact that the WIFI on the bus that was promised was spotty and did not really work on our cell phones. But, who was I to complain? I was on my way to the place where all Potterheads fantasize about!
After we rolled up, we grabbed some snaps of chess pieces from The Chamber of Secrets and a full backdrop of Hogwarts, because, “Why not?”
The Cupboard under the stairs is real
Then, we headed inside the building and onto our first peek inside “The Making of Harry Potter.”
I shamelessly had Pete take a million photos. But of course my all time favorite would have to be seeing the famous cupboard under the stairs.
This was a moment of intense anticipation. I have always felt a special place in my heart for the series, and here was the very same little cupboard where the Sorcerer’s Stone began.
We traveled onwards to watch a small documentary about the history of the Harry Potter books and the making of the movie series. Then, finally, we were ushered into the entrance to the Great Hall! For those who aren’t familiar with the book or movie series, that’s the magical dining area for all Hogwarts students.
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The Great Hall is modeled after a Real Building
As we waited to enter into this magical location, we stood at the front doors of the Great Hall. The architecture of the Hall was actually modeled after Christ Church in Oxford, England. Once we were ushered into the Hall, I waved hello to the Headmaster and his colleagues Snape and McGonagall. Yes, I know, I’m a nerd.
After this, I spied on the other house tables and inspected their costumes.
Looking swell, Ravenclaw!
eACH HOGWARTS HOUSE IS REPRESENTED AT THE HALL
The amount of intricate detail of the costumes and set design were mind-blowing. What was incredible was that each house had its own dedicated section within the Great Hall.
Although I wasn’t able to capture every single aspect of this place, the memory and feelings will stay with me for years after I’ve visited. I’m sure of it.
hogwarts has a real curriculum
As I walked through some amazing scenery, I peeked into a bookcase and found some incredibly beautiful books. All of them with original artwork and referenced in the book series. Each of these books were beautifully displayed in a corner that I felt most people didn’t pause fast enough to really get to enjoy. Make sure you stop by if you go to visit.
So much of our journey has been about saving and debt payoff, it was a relief to put money towards a well-deserved vacation!
Platform 9 & 3/4 is alive and well
Of course, no one can really visit the Studio Tours without stopping by Platform 9 & 3/4. We headed on over to the Hogwarts Express and stood in line to take a shot at this historic albeit fictional location!
Each Character has a dedicated luggage
We passed by some of the most cherished character accessories which included monogrammed luggages and carts. Below is a photo of Luna Lovegood’s items.
And of course, there were many evil villains’ items there as well.
The Burrow has magical interactive elements
I explored the comfort of the Burrow and had so much fun with the interactive components!
And who could forget Lupin’s trunk!
There were so many highlights on this trip that were truly amazing!
They actually had a green screen section where you could fly over Hogwarts in your house robes on a broomstick and take a photo transposed onto a Wanted poster. I couldn’t record it or take a photo, otherwise, they would have thrown me out. It’s too bad though, that was one of my favorite parts!
I couldn’t have done this trip if I hadn’t saved up enough money. Seriously, we enjoyed this trip because we did it not only without debt, but we rarely checked our bank account.
Butterbeer icecream will make you never want to leave
Another favorite of our adventure was trying out the Butterbeer ice-cream. This is only available at the Warner Brother’s Studio tour in the UK and I have to say that it was delicious, although, I am quite partial to the frozen butterbeer I had at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
Not only were we able to enjoy this trip without fearfully checking our bank account balance, but we paid off our student debt and car loan after our traveling adventures!
Overall, as I reflect on our amazing travel adventures, I think about how blessed I am to have what I have and experience the beauty of the world around me. It all started when I stopped dreaming that things would happen to me and started planning and working towards my dreams. Dumbledore said it best, ”It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
I’m so glad that my dream to travel to London came true, but I want you to dream too!
What’s your travel vacation dream? Comment below if you’ve already had your dream vacation or if you plan on going on one in the future!