My daughter, Katie, is a Harry Potter fanatic so when we began to plan our itinerary for London last year it was very important to her to see some of the locations that she would recognize from the movie franchise. I began searching on line for Harry Potter tours and we selected London Taxi Tour which had a range of tours available. Despite some reservations on my part, we chose a 13 hour tour that included movie locations in Lacock, Oxford and London as well as a stop at Stonehenge. (I was actually quite pleased about the visit to Stonehenge as I had always wanted to see it and I'm not sure that I could have talked my family into a trip out of London for that purpose alone.)
No. 4 Privet Drive
We had to get up quite early for the most anticipated part of our itinerary (for Katie, at least). Our driver, Gordon, picked us up at our hotel bright and early (7:30am) and we headed out of London to see a number of film sites in Lacock and Oxford. Our first stop was on the outskirts of London to the suburban house which is No. 4 Privet Drive (where Harry lives with the Dursleys) in the films.
The next Harry Potter stop was the village of Lacock but, fortunately for me, Stonehenge was on the way so we were able to stop there as well. We were still quite early so there were only a couple of other visitors at Stonehenge and we were able to take photos without other tourists in the background. Our timing was perfect because as we were leaving Stonehenge the tour buses were starting to pull into the parking lot.
The Village of Lacock
Lacock is an absolutely charming, historically preserved English village (in Wiltshire) where a number of scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed. We started the tour in Lacock Abbey and it quickly became apparent how amazing our tour guide was. Gordon was able to walk us through the Abbey and explain each scene that had been shot there and take our photos with the exact same angle as in the film. Most of the time only Katie knew what he was talking about but I was amazed at how well he knew the films. And he impressed Katie with his knowledge, which is not an easy thing to do.
The house where baby Harry Potter lived is in Lacock as is Professor Slughorn's home. Lunch was at The George Inn, a 14th century pub in Lacock famous for its grand open fireplace with a dogwheel. In olden days a specially bred dog called a turnspit would run on the wheel in order to turn the spit over the fire. Olde English charm, a cozy atmosphere and delicious fish and chips made for a great break.
Back on the road then to drive to Oxford University where many of the interior scenes at Hogwarts were filmed. The most familiar setting to me was the dining hall. The scenes were not actually filmed here at Oxford but a set was fashioned on the Oxford dining hall.
When we finished in Oxford we drove back to London to King's Cross station to see Platform 9 3/4 and to a few other London filming sites before saying good night to Gordon after a wonderful 13 hours of almost non-stop Harry Potter. Katie will still tell you that this was one of her "best days ever".
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