It wasn’t meant to be a 48 hour-trip. It was meant to be 60 hours, but Mother Nature’s intervention and a cancelled flight later and 48 hours was all that was left. However with some brisk walking and countless subway changes, it proved enough time to have the full London experience.
Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been waiting for your Hogwarts acceptance letter since your 11th birthday. It’s slightly overdue at this stage but I live in hope. Regardless of your level of interest, the Harry Potter Studio tour would amaze even its most indifferent visitors.
It’s a disclaimer that should be posted on the gate, but please know that after you take this tour, you’ll probably never look at the films the same way again. Don’t let this act as a deterrent though, as it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you take some time to look closely at the set, and the hundreds and thousands of props that it contains, you’ll kick yourself for never noticing some of the details. Did you know that the cereal box in the kitchen in The Burrow was entitled ‘Cheeri Owls’, or that many of the specially-painted portraits that decorated Hogwarts Castle were actually those of the crew? Well I didn’t.
The tour itself takes about 3 hours, depending on how long you wish to stay and ogle each set. You’ll get the chance to sit in the Ford Anglia, wander through Diagon Alley and slurp some butterbeer (think of an ice-cream float, but weirder). After all that you can go and pay extortionate money for souvenirs from the giftshop. You’ll want to buy everything, but you won’t be able to afford anything. I did, however, pool my life-savings to buy some Griffindor pyjamas – totally worth it.
It would be rude to travel all the way to London and then not go see a musical in the West End. So with nothing but our good manners firmly in mind, we descended on Leicester Square in the early hours of the morning to procure some discounted tickets for that night’s production of The Phantom of the Opera in Her Majesty’s Theatre. Apparently, this is the only way to get tickets to a musical, as you’ll usually pay a lot less, for a lot better seats.
The show was nothing short of amazing. I had chills. CHILLS.
Madame Tussauds was somewhere that I had always wanted to see, since my parents had given it rave reviews after their visit there. Perhaps it was because of this hype that I was left slightly disappointed by the whole place.
Don’t get me wrong, those wax works are crazy-real. If someone stood still for a minute you’d nearly stop to try and figure out which famous person they were, only to scurry away red-faced after they walk off. It was almost unnerving. Except for the Robert Pattinson statue. Now I’ve never met Rob myself (yet), but I’ve seen my share of photos of him, and he does not look very like his Madame Tussauds counterpart. But I did get to have tea with Audrey, 50’s demi-God and original #GlamGirlo.
In truth, it was the Chamber of Horrors that let me down. My dad had told me tales of a place that would give the Chamber of Secrets a run for its money in terror-enducing screams. What met us instead was a short passage through a darkened room containing some strobe lighting and one or two not-that-bothered, psychotic murderers wandering around. I didn’t scream once. And I’m a baby.
Nevertheless, it’s still a must-see and worth a place on the top 5 things to do in London.
London was more or less snowed in during our two-day visit, so the skies weren’t exactly a picture of clear blue. We decided to brave the heights of the London Eye regardless and it turns out, snowy London from 443ft in the air looks pretty cool. It’s a pretty expensive 40 minutes, yet it’s worth it for the pretty pictures you can get there, like this one on the right, which Instagram helped me out a little bit with. Just prepare yourself for some possible motion sickness afterwards. I spent the rest of the day feeling like the ground was moving beneath me.