If your children go mad for all things Hogwarts, heading to London with kids is the ultimate way to have a hands-on Harry Potter experience. Here you will find the official studio tour, you can sleep in a wizard’s chamber, you can participate in unofficial trivia walks of London with kids and you can even set foot on Platform 9¾. Here is the suitcases&strollers travel guide to London with kids, Harry Potter style.
The ultimate wishlist Harry Potter experience in London is, of course, the Warner Bros Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter tour. The tours run right next to where the films were actually produced and boast many of the original props, sets and costumes used in the movies. You can walk across the Great Hall, see Diagon Alley, ride a flying broomstick (it’s best for little girls to wear pants and not skirts or dresses for this one) and taste some real Butterbeer.
Tickets for the attraction are limited and sold on a time slot basis, so pre-plan and book in advance. It is best to arrive in the mornings because it can be quite crowded in the afternoon as families linger inside. The attraction is not stroller friendly so bring your baby carrier with you (you can check your travel stroller into the cloakroom). You should also bring your own food (you can have a picnic at the outdoor backlot) if you want to avoid the lunchtime queues.
[For more travel tips on theme parks for kids, see the suitcases&strollers interview with Theme Park Guy.]
If your kids are old enough to do a walking tour, book in with Muggle Tours who host two-and-a-half hour tours that start near London Bridge station and end at Leicester Square. The tour takes you around many of the London landmarks you might recognise from the films including the entrance to the Ministry of Magic and 12 Grimmauld Place. This is a fun and engaging way to encourage exploring the streets of London with kids while minimising the likelihood of children complaining (the company recommends children should be aged over 7 because of the volume of walking involved – babies are not welcome on the tour). You need to bring a train ticket as a tube ride is involved and the tours depart in all weather conditions so dress appropriately.
[For more travel tips on movie-themed family holiday activities, see the suitcases&strollers story Searching For The Hobbit in New Zealand.]
The tour does not take visitors to the famous Platform 9¾ to see the departure point of the Hogwarts Express; to see that head to Kings Cross train station where there is a special site set up to pose for funny photos and you can visit the souvenir store.
Then spend the night dreaming you are at Hogwarts at the new Wizard Chambers at the Georgian House. Set in the basement of the hotel, these Gothic-style rooms have all the fine details to transport little wizards into fantasy land including four poster beds, cauldrons and dungeon-like sliding doors.
The space can be a little crowded but if you are particularly after an all-encompassing Harry Potter accommodation in London with kids, this is worthwhile.
[For more travel tips on quirky family-friendly accommodation ideas in Britain, see the suitcases&strollers story here. http://www.suitcasesandstrollers.com/articles/view/quirky-accommodation-the-british-isles?l=s For more travel tips on family-friendly accommodation in London, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
Images: Georgian House; Muggle Tours; © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. 2014 Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. 2004