​In Search of that Boy Wizard, Harry Potter film locations & inspirations

The Magic Continues ...

9 days

What a fantastic opportunity to visit England with the ‘kids’ or ‘grandkids’, introduce them to British culture, history and literature, while at the same time discovering the world of J K Rowling and Harry Potter through visits to film locations and sites and attractions associated with the boy-wizard and friends.

Quite unashamedly we’ve designed this tour to capitalize on the appeal of Harry Potter to include many other magical works of children’s literature.

Our memorable, fun-filled and magical tour has it all! Yes, there’s Hogwarts School and a taste of riding a ‘Hogwarts Express’. There are Harry’s feathered friends, witches and fairies. There are giants (you!), ghosts, and a flight across London’s rooftops…

All this and visits to the historic cities of Gloucester and Oxford. You’ll see fabulous castles, timeless villages and prehistoric temples. You’ll explore beneath the depths of the earth in deep caves and caverns and discover, too, the works of other marvelous, magical writers and their creations. We bring alive, through a selection of visits, Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, J R R Tolkien’ ‘Lord of the Rings’, C S Lewis ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’, Kenneth Graham’s ‘Wind in the Willows’ and the magic of the Merlin and King Arthur legends.

This is a fun tour where adult and child can share the experience.

“Thank you…the trip was wonderful…Mark Mahoney, our Back-Roads guide, was excellent. He immediately put us at ease and made sure to give us options throughout the tour…[my grandson] Zander told me on the steam train he wished we could travel more like that on vacations…as far as [my husband] Dave and I are concerned, we loved the ‘backroads’ concept and staying in different places, like the Tor Farm, was a real highlight. This was a vacation I don’t think Zander will ever forget and I know it’s in our great memory book! Thanks for everything”   *Van Carson, Harry Potter 9-day tour, 2005   [excerpt from a 3.5 page thank you letter!]

Available at any date for private groups of 2 – 15 people.

If you do not have a group of traveling companions and are still interested in this custom tour itinerary, you are welcomed to join a waitlist

We record who is looking for travel companions to make up a tour with them. We need between 6 and 8 persons minimum to operate a tour without it being uneconomic for us or too expensive for you. We will be happy to run the occasional special departure IF there is sufficient interest.

If you would like to check on or join a waitlist for this itinerary, please email us for full information: specialgrouptours@yahoo.com

TENTATIVE ITINERARY

Day One

The wizardry begins on arrival as you’re met at one of London’s airports by your guide. After taking you first to your hotel so you can freshen up a bit, this afternoon we’ll whisk you away into the world’s most exciting city and the first of many adventures. We have no magic-carpet, but a ride on the famed Millennium Wheel is a good substitute as this fantastic ferris wheel takes you, like Mary Poppins, above London’s rooftops.

We’ll enjoy an early evening ghost tour of London, descending into haunted prison cells below the city’s streets, graveyards where owls hoot, and to where the pirates met their ‘orrible deaths. Finally, we’ll complete our magical first day with a traditional fish ‘n’ chips supper.

NIGHTSTOP: London

 

Day Two

This is Harry’s city and we’ll take today to explore it. Our day will begin (but not too early!) with an introductory tour, seeing all of the city’s icons: Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Tower, St Pauls and Westminster Cathedral. Then to London Zoo, home of more than 600 species of rare animals. We’ll concentrate on the reptile house where young Harry first learns of his ability to speak to snakes. Imagine the surprise if one of your family suddenly finds they have this skill!

Our final visit of the day is to King’s Cross Station where we’ll discover Platform 9 3/4. You can have your photo taken where, in the film, Harry and other first year wizards boarded the Hogwarts Express for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There’ll be some jealous looks back at your own school when they see the photos.

There’s an optional visit to the original Hard Rock Cafe for dinner tonight, or to Chinatown. Tonight, dinner is not included in your tour price for flexibility’s sake.

NIGHTSTOP: London

 

Day Three

ALL ABOARD! The Hogwarts Express leaves town! Will you be on it?

We leave London and drive towards Salisbury. Our first Harry Potter location is at the Dursley’s house before we continue on to Stonehenge. Here you’ll see one of England’s most mysterious sites, the prehistoric stone temple, before we arrive at the medieval village of Lacock. It’s going to be fun exploring the 13th century Abbey and spotting which bits were used for various interior scenes at Hogwarts School. The kids can get themselves ‘in the picture’!

We’re staying tonight near the mystic heart of ancient Britain, between Glastonbury and Cheddar, where the leylines meet and there’s always magic in the air and the promise of the unexpected!

NIGHTSTOP: Somerset

 

Day Four

Today is a day of Celtic myths and magic. Glastonbury is, according to legend, the burial place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. But there’s more legend here than simply the ‘Knights of the Round Table’. This is a city associated with fairies and where Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairies, set up court in the magical hollow of Glastonbury Tor. And yes, you’ll visit the Tor itself.

This is also the day we board the ‘Hogwarts Express’ for a ride on a steam train like that featured in the films.

NIGHTSTOP: Somerset

 

Day Five

We’ll seek out the world of witches and descend deep into a world reminiscent of Tolkien’s ‘Middle Earth’, the caves and caverns of Wookey Hole, home of the Wookey Witch. But we’re on a particular wizard’s trail today. It’s Merlin the Magician we seek (and yes, he really did exist) as we cross the Severn River to Wales, land of the Red Dragon! This was an area well-known to J K Rowling, creator of our boy-wizard, and places like the 12th century Chepstow castle and the Forest of Dean must have been a source of great inspiration when she attended school in this area. We’ll explore the battlements of this fairytale fortress (where you can imagine defending the castle against the forces of darkness alongside Merlin). Later, we’ll look for forest spirits and have some fun in the maze of ‘puzzle wood’.

Our final highlight of the day is to visit some of Harry’s favourite friends – the owls and birds of prey at the National Bird of Prey Centre in Gloucester. The question is, will they tell us what they see…

NIGHTSTOP: Gloucester

 

Day Six

Stand by Potter fans! It’s another opportunity to place yourself in Hogwarts! This lovely, historic city of Gloucester has many wonderful literary connections, in addition to visiting Gloucester Cathedral and the King’s School, both of which were used as locations for Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. We’ll introduce you to another Potter – Beatrix Potter – and her creation Peter Rabbit. And you’ll learn why Humpty Dumpty can claim his origins here.

We’ll tour through the magnificent Cotswolds, hearing exciting and mysterious tales of the area and stopping off to find fairy rings and villages where you’d not be surprised to find Hobbits! We’ll be checking the locals to see if they’ve hairy feet!

NIGHTSTOP: Oxfordshire

 

Day Seven

Are you ready to practise a bit of magic of your own? Today you will be taking part in some authentic divining in the centre of a prehistoric stone circle! When the divining rods twitch what will lie beneath our feet…?

Then to the majestic Oxford, ‘city of the dreaming spires’. Many of the scenes in the film were shot in various locations around Christchurch College. You’ll be able to have your own picture taken in Hogwarts Hall, or on the great staircase where Professor McGonnigal greeted the new students. Or perhaps the child in all if us will prefer to be pictured in the cloisters of Christchurch, the setting for Hogwarts Trophy Room and where Harry is shown the trophy his father won as a seeker in Quidditch.Oxford was also the setting for a magical book of another age but still managing to thrill today’s generations. You’ll see where Alice wondered through the small door into Wonderland, find a dodo, and discover where Lewis Carroll took his inspiration for the white rabbit, elongated necks and Mad Hatter tea parties on our ‘Alice in Wonderland’ walk.

You’ll also see where J R R Tolkien (Lord of the Rings), C S Lewis (The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe) and others all met to discuss their fabulous tales. What a super opportunity of introducing new generations to a wider but always magical world of English literature.

NIGHTSTOP: Oxfordshire

 

Day Eight

We’ve more great highlights than you can shake a broomstick at for our final day.

First, to a miniature village where instead of seeing giants we’ll all be one as we stride over houses and tiny people! Our second event of the day will be to visit the caves where the Hell-Fire Club met. Why that shiver? Surely you’re not scared of the spooks!

On to the quaint Thames riverside town of Henley. This is the stretch of river that inspired Kenneth Graham’s ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and we’ll be going into a very special exhibition to learn all about Ratty, Badger and Mr Toad!

What a finish to our Harry Potter locations and family action tour and what a day to remember!

Dinner is not included tonight so you have the option to attend the theatre. There are many West End productions for families. Have you seen the Lion King yet? We can assist with tickets if you wish.

NIGHTSTOP: London

 

Day Nine

Alas, it’s time to return home and you’re transferred to your airport of departure. It has been a truly special journey through some of the most beautiful countryside of England and Wales. Everyone in the family, young and old, will have photographs and memories to remind them of their time together in the magical world of Harry Potter.

 

 

NOTE: This is an unofficial tour and is not authorized by Warner Brothers or by JK Rowling.

NOTE: Christchurch College occasionally is closed without warning for private functions. A substitute attraction will be visited should this occur.

Toll Free Tel: 1 866-725-5250
specialgrouptours@yahoo.com

Price available upon application. Rates are based upon vehicle and guide hire per day; groups of 7 - 15 would have a per person rate same/similar to one of our scheduled tours of the same length.