Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: March 2013

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Seeing Harry Potter come to life.

It’s impossible to over-stress the importance of the Harry Potter books. They inspired a generation to realise the power of the written word and to get immersed in a literary adventure. As impressively, they continue to do this. The books are still hugely successful.

And of course there’s an education connection. Without Harry Potter, there would be no Hogwarts, a school which is among the most famous ever to be created. And with the eight Harry Potter films, Hogwarts was brought to life.

In the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studio Tour
It’s now possible to see two different “real-life” Hogwarts in person. One actually brings you into the real thing, via the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden, just outside London. The other introduces you to a version which cost around $250m to build and which contains an astonishing theme park adventure ride. But it’s a little bit further away – in Orlando, Florida. I have recently been lucky enough to visit both.

Let’s start with England and the studio tour. Even though I am not a huge HP fan, I thought this was incredible. It’s very special to walk into the Great Hall or amble along Diagon Alley. They’re so familiar from the books and films, and then, there they are, in front of you.

Dumbledore's study, Studio Tour

There is a huge amount to see and it takes a long time (be warned: it’s tiring). But it is actually quite magical to see Professor Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room and the “real-life” Dobby. You can find out how the films were made (the attention to detail is quite remarkable), have a photo outside the Knight Bus and see all kinds of props and costumes. You can also try Butterbeer (which was quite delicious. It tastes like cream soda) and be fleeced in the shop (the downside of the day. There is not really anything priced at pocket-money levels).

Outside the Dursley's house on Privet Drive, Studio Tour

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Sunday, 10 March 2013


Welcome to our new blog.
My family and I are lucky enough to visit some wonderful places, both on day trips and holidays. However, the write-ups for our trips are in so many different places that I decided it was time to try and put them together. It also seemed like a good idea to run it as a family blog (well, it is about family holidays) so J, my 11 year old, is the co-author (and we may be lucky enough to have some input from 7-year-old R too, if only occasionally!).
If you look at this blog, you'll see some of the great places we've been to on family holidays since J was born in 2002. It's funny to see what I wrote then about our children and how much things have changed since then (although I still do love interconnecting rooms). You can almost see the kids grow up...And there is more to come!
Thanks for visiting.