Our last and final port was Dover, England. We sailed in early in the morning, and it was only beginning to get light, with cloud cover. I wasn’t able to get the best picture of the White Cliffs of Dover – but this is what I could see from our balcony.
I had packed up the night before as our departure time was 7am. We went down and had breakfast, and one last picture with Mickey! The girls did NOT want to leave the ship. They had had a blast on the cruise – and even now, often ask when we can do it again.
We got off the ship and made our way to the bus loading area. I had booked us an excursion to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London – and I couldn’t WAIT! It took about 2.5 hours or so to get from Dover to London via bus – but we had a couple of stops along the way. We saw this castle (I can’t tell you much about it unfortunately), and we stopped for a pit stop and a quick bite to eat.
Look! One last view of the Magic! I didn’t even notice it when I took this picture!
I happen to love Harry Potter – the books, the movies…all of it. I think the stories are fantastic, and the cast, sets, and movie production are all done perfectly (in my opinion of course!). There is not one aspect of the movies that I felt was underdone, overdone, or out of place. And I can’t think of any other movies – save the Lord of The Rings Trilogy (maybe) – that I can say that about.
So, needless to say, I was looking forward to this tour! We finally made it!
Waiting in line to enter, and they have these gorgeous portraits of the main characters all around the lobby…
I loved how they had the young Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as well as pics of when they were older. My one rather major disappointment was that they didn’t have a portrait of Remus Lupin. I might have had him over Bellatrix Lestrange, but that’s probably just my own prejudice coming through as he’s one of my top 3 favorite characters! And, in case you are wondering….Severus Snape and Sirius Black are my other two!
Getting closer to the entrance of the Tour, they had a display of the Room Under The Stairs….it was SO SMALL!!
The HP Tour only lets in a certain number of people at a time to help with crowd control. Once it was our turn to go in, they opened the doors and we entered a small room, where we watched a short movie about HP, the production of the movies, and some interviews with the cast and directors. Then the doors opened..
And you entered into another room that had the main doors to Hogwarts.
These doors then opened up, and you entered into the Main Dining Hall.
And of course – the Sorting Hat!
All of the clothes seen on the Tour were actual clothes/props/costumes worn during the production of the movies. Clothes worn during the Yule Ball, a tradition during the Triwizard Tournament.
Ron Weasley’s tattered hand-me-down dress robes.
Professor Lupin, Tonks, and Sirius Black’s clothes.
Dolores Umbridge’s clothes and her pink office.
The Ministry of Magic’s Entrance – and the clothes (on the left) that Harry and Ron wore when they transformed into employees to gain entrance into the Ministry, and Arthur Weasley’s clothes on the right.
There were TONS of props throughout the whole place! Literally everywhere you looked, you could see a prop that was used in the movie.
The wands of all the main characters.
Pictures of all the Portraits in Hogwarts.
And it was cool looking at all the sets. The Gryffindor Common Room.
The boy’s bedroom in Hogwarts.
Snape and his potions room.
This is the Weasley’s kitchen. It was really cool because you could make the dishes wash themselves, the knife was cutting food, and the broom was sweeping itself.
Probably one of the most disturbing scenes in any of the movies – the table where we watch Voldemort kill Professor Burbage solely because she taught Muggle Studies, and then Nagini has a meal.
Professor Dumbore’s office.
The Black family tree tapestry in Sirius’ house.
All of the different horcruxes.
The statue in the Ministry of Magic that depicts how Muggle haters feel.
All the rules that Dolores Umbridge had posted while she was headmaster.
The Death Eater masks and props.
All of the brooms and other props that needed a green screen.
Platform 9 3/4
We finished walking through the inside part of the Tour. But before we went to the outside lot, we had to have a Butterbeer of course! I forgot to get a picture of ours, so I got one from the internet that looks exactly like what we had. It was incredibly sweet – almost like a butterscotch and A&W cream soda combination. In other words…it was DELICIOUS!
Once we finished our Butterbeer, we made it the outside lot. They had the triple decker bus.
The Dursley’s house on Privet Drive.
The Wizard’s chess game that Ron had to win.
Once you see everything on the outside lot, you go into another building where the production of the movies is laid out.
All the masks of the goblins and various creatures.
Mermaids in the Black Lake at Hogwarts.
The werewolf that Professor Lupin turns into.
I thought this hall was really interesting. It had all the various renderings and ideas that the artists had for various characters. It was amazing to see how closely their ideas came to life.
This was a large scale model of Hogwarts that was used during the movies when they needed outdoor shots of the castle.
Once we were finished with the Tour, we of course had to go to the gift shop. And they know how to do a gift shop up RIGHT! I was finally able to start the wand collection that I’ve been wanting!! I am so excited to find a case for them and have them displayed!
We only had about 3 hours total here at Harry Potter Studio. I could have easily spent another 2 hours there, to really see everything. Hopefully one day we will be able to go back to London and I can visit again!
Once we left the Harry Potter Studio Tour, we were back on the bus and got dropped off at our hotel. But before we got to our particular hotel, we dropped off some other people at their hotels. These were some sites we saw along the way.
We stayed at a hotel right across the river from Big Ben. It was a great hotel – Park Plaza Westminster Bridge – that was located around many different attractions you could easily visit. I didn’t get many pictures once we were in London. Too busy taking in the sights and walking around!
View of Big Ben from right outside the door of our hotel.
A little of London as we walked around.
We had one more day in London. I decided that there were 2 things I had to try while in London – a full English breakfast and fish and chips.
So the next morning we woke up, and found a place near Buckingham Palace that was serving breakfast, and guess what I ordered: my full English breakfast!! And I enjoyed it immensely! There is blood sausage under the egg, that you can’t really see, and that was about the only thing I really didn’t care for about this whole breakfast! Thumbs Up!
I had also purchased tickets for us to tour Buckingham Palace in the morning. Our time to go was 9:15am – and that was a LOVELY tour! Photographs are not allowed inside, so I didn’t bother taking pictures of anything. This was the only photo I took regarding the Palace –
So of course, lunchtime rolled around and I had to find a good chips and fish place. We found one via yelp, and decided to give it a go. Again – it was a great meal, albeit a little greasy. But it was really nice to have a good dill (sour) pickle! I can’t get those in the Netherlands, and I hate sweet pickles!
The cruise was absolutely fantastic, and we saw SO MANY things! It was a bit overwhelming, but I could not recommend it more – especially for families with young kids. The service was fantastic, the people were so nice, the girls had a blast, and the places we went were amazing. MyMan and I definitely found a couple of places we would love to return to and visit again!
And as you can see – the girls had the time of their life and were exhausted by the end of our trip (as were MyMan and I!). But we loved every minute of it!