Themed holidays and day trips offering guided tours of Harry Potter film locations all across the UK have surged as, after fifteen years, the Potter franchise finally reaches its end. Some tour operators claim they offer the chance to “experience what living like Harry Potter would really be like,” but given the poor lad has spent most of his life burdened with the responsibility of saving the world from everlasting evil whilst being pursued by a homicidal sociopath with a face like the back of a spoon, that particular experience might be best avoided. At least during the peak summer months.
Day tours of London allow visitors to take in Platform 9 and 3/4 (at King’s Cross Station), Gringott’s Wizarding Bank (Australia House on the Strand), Diagon Alley (Charing Cross Road) and the geometric staircase leading to Professor Trelawney’s classroom (inside St Paul’s Cathedral).
Meanwhile, holidays and short breaks include tours across England, Scotland and Ireland, taking in locations from Hogwarts, sorry, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, to the pretty village of Lacock, more commonly known as Godric’s Hollow, before travelling on the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig and on to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher, where Harry and Dumbledore had a decidedly hairy moment in the Half Blood Prince. (If you lean towards the darker side and hey, no-one’s judging, Malfoy Manor, otherwise known as Hardwick Hall, has become a popular visitor’s spot in the East Midlands.)
The ultimate Potter holiday is of course completed by a trip to Edinburgh’s “Elephant House Cafe” on George IV Bridge. It was here that JK Rowling wrote the first words of the first book and as such it claims to be “the birthplace of Harry Potter.” Until tours of the inside of JK Rowling’s head become available, it will have to make do.
Image: Harry Potter’s secret platform 9 3/4 by Nenyaki, on Flickr