Harry Potter World and the British Library
What an amazing trip!
On Wednesday morning, at 10:30, fourteen very excited children loaded their bags onto our smart new mini-bus and headed off from school, London bound. They were not the only excited people; Mr Hobbs, Mrs Charter and Miss Black were also looking forward to the next 48 hours.
The drive to London was straight forward, despite the Blackwall tunnel being closed, and we arrived in perfect time to park and walk to St Pancras station where we had our picnic lunch. Once full of tea and sandwiches, we headed off to Platform 9 and ¾ at King's Cross. We 'persuaded' the officials to allow us to all pose for a photograph before enjoying a little gift shopping.
Following the clear exhibition signs, we walked to the British Library. What a fantastic place: a stark, red-brick modern building proudly standing alongside the outstanding Victorian gothic architecture of St Pancras station. Once safely inside and free of coats and bags, we entered the exhibition to view at first hand the many and varied exhibits on loan, many of which were from J K Rowling.
Then back to the mini-bus for the somewhat arduous drive to the youth hostel. There we were greeted with warmth from the wood burning stove and fairy lights. While we settle the children into their rooms, we prepared our supper and settled in to watch a Harry Potter DVD.
The excited but tired children did not take long to settle and by 10pm the adults were able to get themselves ready for the next day.
Mr Hobbs expertly made ALL of our sandwiches while Miss Black made hot chocolate for the children's breakfast. Mrs Charter woke the sleepy heads and we all breakfasted in hushed, excited anticipation of the day.
Rooms tidied and bags packed, we were off by 8am. The traffic was light and we arrived half an hour before the studios opened! Once greeted by our guide, we headed off into the studios. What an amazing experience! Every aspect of the books and films were laid out before us as we made our way in awe around the vast rooms. We could touch, photograph and enjoy the experience, from flying broomsticks to self-stirring potion cauldrons. Lunch half-way round provided a welcome sit down then off again, this time looking at the prosthetics and set-designs.
Finally, we were at the grand, enormous, scaled reproduction of Hogwarts itself, where everyone stood and drank in the magical atmosphere before heading into the last leg of our day: the gift shop.
Purchases safely stowed away, a little snack and we were homeward bound. Tired children, tired adults, but what an amazing experience. From Miss Black cheekily taking her turn on the platform 9 and ¾ trolley, to Mrs Charter imitating Dobby the house elf and Mr Hobbs simply being in awe of the sheer magnitude of the franchise that is Harry Potter, a magical experience was had by all. An experience which will stay with all of us for a long time to come.