2016 Trip Journals: London

*Mea Culpa, the blogging as I traveled thing just didn’t happen given how busy I was! So these journals were written on the trip, most retrospectively, with a couple written after I landed back in Canada. This was an utterly amazing trip, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys.*

So, I landed in London on time in Gatwick airport, which is a definite step down from Heathrow, let me say that! But the savings were worth it πŸ™‚ It was pretty easy to navigate finding my accomdations; International Hall of the University of London which was in the Russell Square area that I am familiar with.

International Hall is a great place to stay in London I’ll say; you pay hostel price for your own room and sink, breakfast and although the shower is ‘shared’ there are single showers where the door locks so it’s really got everything you need for super cheap πŸ™‚

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In a ridiculous turn of events in the next event I killed my phone again (sigh) and so I lost the pics on my phone from London and Munich – this pic is from http://www.hotel.r.net

My first day of London I went to The Who Shop; the Doctor Who shop that is famous in London. I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed; they have a couple cool props and TARDIS fronts, but it was mostly licensed merchandise you could get anywhere, which was a bit disappointing. Β It was also in a bit of a weird area in London, which was difficult to get to, which didn’t help with the enjoyment.

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Outside View of The Who Shop – you aren’t allowed to take pics inside

 

The second day in London was my Harry Potter Studio Tour and Oxford walking tour. It didn’t get off to a great start – the booking company I used – Viator – printed the pick up times as an hour later than the actual time so I missed the bus. The tour company – different from Viator – were super good about it though. They got me a paid cab to the studio so I didn’t miss the tour. I wrote down the name of the guy who had been so helpful, but lost it on my phone, but let me say to anyone looking at booking through Viator; make sure you check your times, but the actual company that does the tour really is great, I have nothing but good things to say about them! Β I lost about an hour in the studio, but I did everything I’m 2 hours and didn’t feel rushed so that turned out on after all πŸ™‚

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This is the bus you can take from the city if you don’t do a tour like I did, and I’d recommend it; it came regularly and wasn’t given the wrong times πŸ˜‰ from dosomethingdifferent.com

The actual studio itself is super cool; they got great sets and props, and it was so cool to see it all. My favourite was probably the Hogwarts Express, but Privet Drive was very cool too.

The Great Hall:

TriWizard Ball Costumes:

Gryffindor Common Room, Fat Lady, Mirror of Erised, Twisted Hallway

Potions/Snape

Miscellaneous

Dumbledore’s Office

Hagrid’s Hut

Weasley’s

Voldemort

Hogwarts Express

Night Bus and Privet Drive

More Miscellaneous/Special Effects/Monsters

Dragon Alley

Hogwarts

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Holy moly that was a lot of pics! Ok, finally moving on πŸ˜‰

The Oxford tour was also a lot of fun. Our guide was great; she told us about all these movies that have filmed there, and about meeting the Harry Potter cast when they filmed there, as well as of course, the actual city and university πŸ˜‰ I checked out the Science Museum, Library, and one of the Colleges and had a pretty good time there.

I ended the night with dinner at an Indian place I found called Punjab that was amazing (though not for those not into spice!)

Butter Chicken on the left which was great – though served on the bone that made for a mess – and kulfi on the right, which is Indian ice cream and utterly delicious πŸ™‚

The third day in London was utterly amazing; it was the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child day πŸ™‚ I’ve put up a post with my review, but I’ll say it again; it really was that good. I was there at noon to get my tickets, and when we were in line to get into the theatre, there was a little excitement. The building just across the road from us caught on fire, and so the theatre ushers came and herded us away from the smoke which had filled our part of the road. Thankfully no one was hurt, and the building beside the building on fire happened to be a fire station, so the fire was kept under control very quickly and we all got in on time and safely.

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There was a ton of smoke, but it did clear out really fast.

The play ran from about 1-4:00 and then 6:30-9:00, and I went for dinner in between to at a Fish and Chip place I found with my mom last trip. I also waited with some others for the cast after the show, and had a great time chatting to them and having them sign my program. It really was just the best day on this trip so far; the thing everything else needs to live up to! πŸ˜‰

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Sooooo goooood πŸ™‚

The last day in London was also pretty amazing, as that was my guided inside the stones tour of Stonehenge. I used Anderson Tours, and we departed around 1pm for our first stop Avesburry, which is another Henge and pretty cool in its own right. Our guide was pretty amazing, so even though none of us were there for Avesburry, or Long Kennet Burial Mound it was still cool.

Avesburry

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The Devil’s Chair – if you sit in it you’ll either sell your soul or get married. Little girl asks, “Isn’t that the same thing?” My kind of person πŸ˜‰Β 

Long Kennet Burrow

And then, the main event.

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My favourite shot; we really couldn’t have asked for better weather.Β 

We got 30 minutes inside the stones and 30 outside around sunset, and it was just a beautiful clear day and it was gorgeous. If I hadn’t been to the play this would have been the best thing about the tour no questions!

I was also able to FaceTime my mother, sister and father (all separately) while at Stonehenge and share the experience with them, which made it extra special πŸ™‚

Then I got up at 5am (I forgot how far the airport really is) to catch my flight to Munich. 😦 Overall London was an amazing time. I always have a good time in London, and this time was no exception. The play and Stonehenge were both experiences that would make it into my top 10 life experiences and it was an amazing start to my trip πŸ™‚

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