I Ugly Cried Around the UK: My “Potter” Journey
In April of 2015, my mom called me at school to inform me that for my college graduation present, my parents had decided to pay for a trip to Europe, primarily so I could go to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I began to cry immediately out of shock and love, and even as I began to plan my trip, I never thought the day would actually come.
Last week, I traveled to the United Kingdom, specifically London, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland, and both were full of Potter landmarks. I anticipated lots of tears on my end, and since I’m not shy of embarrassing myself on the Internet, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my tearful photos and fun facts with everyone here.
My tour group may not have appreciated my bizarre photo choices, but I sure hope you will!
The Millennium Bridge, as seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
A steel suspension bridge designed for pedestrians to cross the Thames River, this bridge has two nicknames, “the Wobbly Bridge” and “the Harry Potter Bridge.” The initial nickname was the result of the bridge wobbling on opening day due to designers having underestimated the number of people crossing said bridge at once. Perhaps this was a sign of inspiration for its use in Movie 6 since we see the bridge twist and snap in the opening scene.
My tears are in honor of the hundreds of Muggle lives lost that day as the Death Eaters attacked.
Trafalgar Square, the site of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 premiere
I admit, I didn’t realize where I was until I was standing in the middle of this giant square. It’s hard to imagine the site being transformed for a film premiere, but the size equally compares to the amount of space needed to fit thousands of Potter fans.
My tears are in honor of being in the same location as the influential “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” quotation.
The Palace Theatre, the current home of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
After unsuccessfully being able to acquire tickets (Friday Forty attempt included), I resorted to seeking out the theater myself for numerous photos and the breathtaking view of the marquee at night. Only a few more days till the script is in my hands…
My tears are in honor of my sadness due to not having tickets. So close, yet so far.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Does this need an explanation? It was the entire point of my trip. I opened the doors to the Great Hall. I was shaking, crying, and hyperventilating.
My tears are because Harry Potter.
Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station
It was disappointing to see the commercialization of the Platform 9 3/4 trolley, but I was happy with the quality scarf handling.
My tears are because I actually took a train from King’s Cross station to Scotland. It was incredibly therapeutic.
The Balmoral Hotel
The day I stood outside the Balmoral Hotel, the hotel where J.K. Rowling finished writing Deathly Hallows, was the nine-year anniversary of Deathly Hallows being published.
My tears are because of perfect timing.
The Elephant House
This cafe is considered to be “the birthplace of Harry Potter” and features the infamous bathroom graffiti of messages from Potter fans around the world. I visited the cafe alone to truly appreciate the experience and take the time to read some of the messages written on the walls. If you go and choose to have a snack, I highly recommend the chocolate brownie. It’s delicious.
My tears are in honor of how many lives have been touched by this one boy wizard.
Perhaps the most haunted cemetery in the world, this site offered inspiration to J.K. Rowling as she searched for character names. I found the name “McGonagall” and a “Thomas Riddell” while on my tour.
My tears are because some guy named Thomas Riddell is the name inspiration for Voldemort, and what a legacy for a dead guy to have. The image below is of the grave of the Riddell family.
Honorable Mention: City of London School
Daniel Radcliffe’s primary school is staring at you as you cross the Millennium Bridge.
My tears are because baby Dan Rad.
Have any more Potter landmark suggestions? Please give me an excuse to book another plane ticket.