Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Visit from a Harry Potter Fan

There's no shortage of ways to indulge your inner Harry Potter fan in the London area, so when my friend Ann -- one of the biggest HP fans I know -- planned a visit with her husband, Matt, she took advantage of as many of them as she could.

No Potter fan should visit London without booking tickets for the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, where you can see all the sets, props, and costumes from the eight Harry Potter movies that were filmed there.  Ann and Matt went on their own, since I did the tour last summer with my equally fanatic sister.  If you've seen the movies, you will love it!  If you've only read the books, you'll still be impressed with the incredible attention to detail.

This was a particularly good time to be visiting London, as Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, was starring in a West End production of The Cripple of Inishmaan
Yes, that's him!
We went to an afternoon matinee, which we all enjoyed.  The play is a dark comedy set on a remote island in Ireland in the 1930's.  While Radcliffe's Irish accent was a bit weak (which made him easier to understand than some of the other actors), he did an impressive job with the physical demands of the titular role.

Now I can add Harry Potter himself to the list of actors from the films that I have seen perform live in London.  I've also seen Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) in Our Boys, and Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick, Griphook the goblin) in Wimbledon's Panto version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  I wonder who will be next?

After the show, we had some time to kill before dinner, so we toured some nearby filming locations, including a couple tiny streets resembling Diagon Alley and a sweet shop that inspired Honeydukes.
Ann is inside buying candy
After a very decadent dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, we walked through Trafalgar Square on our way back to the train station.  There was a scene in one of the movies where the Death Eaters fly over the square, and this is also where the premiere of the final movie was held, as nearby Leicester Square was undergoing massive renovations in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.
Matt, Ann, and Josh in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square at night
We spent the final day of their visit enjoying some of the other delights that London has to offer, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, afternoon tea, and a nice stroll around Kensington.
Afternoon tea at the Milestone hotel
(Note the 1923 Wimbledon painting behind us.)
Ann in Kensington Gardens
And then it was time for them to head home -- way too soon!  Ann and I have been friends since we were 9 years old, so it was great to spend some quality time with her and catch up on the goings-on back home.  If only we could apparate back and forth!

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