If there’s one piece of advice I have for those planning to travel to London, it’s to have a plan. London is HUGE. And inside all of that hugeness, there is a ton of stuff to see and do. Thankfully, red double-decker buses and the Underground exist to help you get pretty much anywhere in the city, but even figuring out transportation requires some thinking ahead.
That being said, our last two days in London were planned pretty strategically. And not necessarily because we tried to fit in so many things to do, but because there was quite a bit of travel involved to make our plans work.
Which brings us to day four. First stop: the Victoria & Albert Museum.
I visited V&A once before with a friend, but we didn’t get to see much before it closed (bad timing on our part!). So I was keen on returning and delving deeper into the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. There were numerous extravagant exhibits from all different time periods and places – my favorites being fashion through the ages and displays of furniture from the past.
After weaving through the exhibits, we hopped back on the tube to make a pitstop at Earl’s Court Station for my sister, Kathryn, to get a quick photo with this old Police Box. I heard it’s bigger on the inside. :)
Our next stop was Covent Garden. As soon as we stepped onto the cobblestone streets, we found ourselves in a sea of people, all admiring the street performers or making their way to the various shops and restaurants.
On the way back to our friends’ house for the evening, we decided to make another pitstop at King’s Cross Station in an attempt to find Platform 9 3/4. Much to our dismay, the location had been turned into more of a tourist attraction since the last time I visited, and we would have had to wait two hours, give or take, for a simple photo. Little did we know that the next day would present more than enough opportunities for Harry Potter photo ops.
And that brings us to our final day in London. Of all the things we planned to do on our trip, this final day was a priority for my sister and me. Of course, we wanted to experience the city life, culture, and history of London, but there was one other thing we knew we had to do.
We were going to catch a bus all the way out to Leavesden, Hertfordshire to tour the Warner Bros. Studio: The Making of Harry Potter.
Leavesden is quite a ways outside of London, so my sister and I opted to purchase our tickets through a tour company called “Golden Tours.” They have buses that run all over the city for various things, but one of their routes takes you to the Warner Bros. Studio, and I would definitely recommend them. They have a few different pick up/drop off locations, and as long as you keep an eye on time, you’ll be able to easily get through the tour without feeling like you missed anything.
Our bus was scheduled to pick us up near Baker Street Station, so Kathryn and I, being the nerds that we are, were super excited to take a stroll through Sherlock Holmes’ neighborhood. I’ve never been to the museum, but it’s definitely on my list for next time.
Once the bus pulled up to the stop, we got our tickets from the driver, and we were off! (cue Hedwig’s Theme)
Now, I won’t spoil anything for you by showing you a bunch of photos, because it’s truly something you must see for yourself if you’re in London and happen to be a Harry Potter fan. But I will say: it was magical. Seriously! I found myself in awe of the creativity and effort put forth to make J.K. Rowling’s story come to life. And walking through the actual sets completely blew my mind – especially Diagon Alley.
And to top it off, we finally got a photo with Platform 9 3/4. What a fantastic way to end an amazing trip.
It was not an easy task saying goodbye to London. I suppose that’s the catch when it comes to traveling, though. But as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Your time in a new place, while short, can still teach you so much, so that when you return home, you’re able to love the world in a new way.
Until next time…