I left my hotel in Glasgow around 11:00 AM for a 3:30 PM flight because I took a taxi to the airport with a few people from my Contiki trip. My flight was delayed for an hour and a half, but finally landed at Gatwick in London around 6 PM!
Having arrived at Gatwick a week prior, I knew exactly where everything was and easily caught the Gatwick Express to Central London. Once I arrived in London, I transferred to the Underground and was at my hostel by 7:45 PM.
The hostel, Wombats London, was absolutely beautiful. It had a pretty cool bar in the basement, but the atmosphere was what made it unique. It felt like you were truly underground and the bar was filled with brick arches around each column!
The following morning, I woke up and headed to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers Studios in Watford. I’ve been wanting to do the tour for years & was thrilled to finally be able to fit it into my itinerary. It did not disappoint!
I took the train from Central London and then a shuttle to the studio from Watford Junction. I decided to splurge on the audio guide which was £6 so I could get the full experience. After a queue that moved relatively quickly, I was treated to an introduction movie that set the stage for what was to be an amazing day.
After the movie, the screen lifted to show the door to Hogwarts Castle behind it. Once the door was opened, we walked straight into the Great Hall!
The rest of the tour highlighted areas like the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore’s Office, Snape’s Classroom & various experiences that told the story of how the movies were cast and filmed!
We then were treated to a steaming locomotive none other than the Hogwarts Express! We were able to walk inside it and see where some of the scenes were filmed including the first time Harry and Ron meet Hermione!
Then, I took a quick pit stop to have some of the famous butter beer which tastes like cream soda.
Then, I walked outside and saw the Knight Bus, Privet Drive including the Dursley’s House and the Hogwarts Bridge. Since it was the 15th Anniversary of Harry Potter, we were able to go in the Dursley’s house which was pretty cool. We walked right passed the cupboard under the stairs.
I then went inside and learned about some of the different visual effects and makeup work before walking through a life size model of Diagon Alley.
The tour concluded with a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts. It was huge and took up the whole room. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps – it was the perfect finale to a perfect tour.
After the tour, I headed back to London where I met with my Dad’s cousin and his wife, David & Joan. We went to a pub and I had fish and chips for the first time in my life. It actually was not bad! We chatted for 3 hours before I headed back to my hostel for the night.
The following morning, I walked from my hostel to the Tower of London because I’ve never been to it! It was much more expansive than I thought and I was happy I was finally able to see the Crown Jewels.
I then headed back to my hostel, grabbed my bag & headed to the airport.
It was a whirlwind 11 days in the United Kingdom, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I saw amazing sights, had great experiences and met awesome people. It was definitely a trip I’ll remember for the rest of my life.