London – All things Harry Potter

Our first full day (after having arrived late the night before) was not our typical exploration of the city we were in but instead was a headlong dive into the world of Harry Potter in celebration of our daughter’s 12th birthday. We did however start the day off the English way with the perfect breakfast for the birthday girl…

When they say full, they mean full. The English know how to do breakfast.

Once our tanks were filled up we headed out to figure out The London Underground and get to our first destination of King’s Cross where we would find platform 9 3/4 so we could get to Hogwarts.

Found the platform but had to engage in a little magical battle

We would consider The Underground fairly easy to figure out and navigate after having travelled through similar public transportation systems in many cities around the world. The most efficient and best value is to get yourself an oyster card for £5 (just over $9 CAD) and add any amount in increments of £5 as the fare for riders with the oyster card is half the price of the fare for a single journey ticket. Additionally children under the age of 11 travel free, children under 16 travel at a children’s fare (about half the price) but unfortunately there are no seniors fares for visitors.

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The oyster card for public transport in London

My mom (who joined us on this English adventure) at King’s Cross Underground Station.

After having found Platform 9 3/4 we were off to Hogwarts via a ride on The Underground to Euston Station, then a ride on the London Overground to Watford Junction (15 minute on direct train, 40 minute on other trains), followed by a shuttle bus ride to Warner Bros Studio tour London. We spent approximately 3.5 hours there and the kids loved it! Warning: Hogwarts is not cheap (but not much is in London) at a cost of £124 ($226 CAD) for a family of four plus £48.95 ($89 CAD) for an additional adult ticket with audio guide and souvenir guide book for the birthday girl.

The Overground train

One of the shuttle buses that travel between Watford Junction station and Warner Bros Studio Tour London. Cost: £2.5 round trip per rider.

Entrance to the studio tour

The birthday people got the privilege of opening the door to Hogwarts

Hogwarts Great Hall

Sometimes. But the mischief is strong in this one.

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The wand chooses you kids, not the other way around.

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Ready to fly

 

These three do not look like they are in need of urgent transport from the Knight Bus

Hogwarts Express pulling in

The potion room

Incredible model of Hogwarts that took 12 weeks just to assemble

We ended the day just as we started – the English way – a stop in the pub. We chose the pub across the street from Watford Junction for the convenience, ambiance and by the shuttle bus driver’s raving English review “it’s not bad as far as pubs go”;) It was an excellent choice where the food was good, the beer was plentiful and the prices were reasonable compared to London.

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Great pub if you’re ever in Watford Junction

 

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