The boys and I have been invited along with a selection of other bloggers to become New Things Ambassadors, a project run by CSMA. Over the next coming month we have been asked to help inspire other families in trying something new.
Read all about the NewThings project here This week the challenge is to visit a New Place.
This week we visited London. Ok, it’s not a new city for us to visit as we are up there at least once a month but it was the fact that we visited lots of new places in London that we have never been to before. London has a vast amount of hidden treasures that we may pass every day and not know they are there.
The boys and myself are huge Harry Potter fans, like many we have read the books and watched the films, we even have a few Harry potter toys lying around the house but we have never been to the Harry Potter studio tours, as It is slightly too expensive for us to go to as a family. So we took to the internet and found a perfect website to help us out with our OWN tour of London, visiting many of the locations that Harry Potter movies were filmed.
First up we caught the underground train to Leicester Square, we exited onto Charing Cross Road.
This is where the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed when the Death Eaters swoop down over Trafalgar Square, heading down Charing Cross Road leading a trail of destruction behind.
Next we made our way along Cranbourne Street, taking a right at the end onto St Martin’s Lane. Go left onto New Row and a little along the road we saw Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop
Just like Honeyduke’s sweets shop in Harry Potter, Once inside this shop you are instantly surrounded by shelves that are stacked to the brim of all types of sweets. We bought a bag made up of Harry Potter themed sweets, costing £10 – not bad considering one of the packs cost 3.99 on its own! Inside is a long jelly basilisk, a chocolate wizard, a pack of liquorice wands, a pack of sherbet lemon sweets, a chocolate frog, a packet of popping candy and very famous every flavour beans.
Once stocked with some Harry Potter themed goodies, we headed on over to the other side of the road where we went right into Bedfordbury. Just along on the right hand side there is a passageway tucked away called Goodwins Court. This wasn’t in the Film but it has a magical feel to it with the lamps above the doorways. We must have passed this alleyway many times before but had no idea what was down it, until now!
At the end of Goodwins Court, cross over St Martins lane, veering left and head down Cecil Court. The court has such a magical, mysterious feel to it, not used in the HP Films but believed that Cecil Court was the influence of Diagon Alley. With curious antique and book shops, there is plenty to look at, most of the shops even have Harry Potter items on display for sale.
Next we headed on over to Leicester Square, where we walked towards Shaftesbury Avenue. This is where Ron, Hermione and Harry apparate to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and nearly get run over by a number 19 bus.
As you walk along Shaftesbury Avenue you are taking the exact route that Harry, Hermione and Ron took in the film when discussing the Theatres. A little along the road you will see an arcade with large globe lights over head
The same route that the young wizards took as they discuss about missing Harry’s birthday.
From here we made our way towards Nelson Column at Trafalgar Square, this is where the Death Eaters launch an attack on London from the air in the opening sequences of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Looking at Trafalgar Square in a different way and trying to remember clips of the film, made it feel quite real for us.
Next we headed on over to The Entrance of Ministry Of Magic which is actually on Great Scotland Yard and on the corner of Scotland Place.
In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr Weasley enter through the ‘visitors entrance’ which was in a red telephone box located to the left of the brown door. The telephone box was a prop that was lowered down onto set and removed once the filming had finished, there are many telephone boxes scattered around London we found some great ones on Parliament Street to have a photo taken in.
On the other corner of Scotland Place, it was used in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one , where the young wizards drink the polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry of Magic.
If you head along towards Horse Guards Parade towards Horse Guards Avenue, standing with your back towards the Spencer Comptons statue, you will notice that this is where the Staff entrance into the Ministry of Magic was. The entrance was in fact a ‘gentleman’s Toilet’ and was only a prop that was placed in the middle of the road.
On the next part of the tour we headed to the Train Station to catch a train to Temple. Exiting the station we walked up the steps to the left and turned right. At the end of the road turn left into Milford Lane and walk up the steep flight of steps ahead along to Essex Street. At the top of the street you will find that you are on the Strand, turn left and ahead on the right hand side you will see Austraila House: Gringotts Bank. Look inside and see the magnificent crystal chandelier and the glorious marble floor. the boys said it really was Gringotts Bank!
We made our way back to Temple Station where we caught the underground train to Monument, here we headed up Fish Street Hill, crossing over Eastcheap and turning left along Gracechurch Street. Keep on walking along over Fenchurch Street and turning right into Bull’s Head Passage.
Here we found a blue optician doorway which was used in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the entrance into The leaky cauldron.
On the last part of our NewPlaces tour was to head to Kings Cross Station, where we was going to see if we could enter through Platform 9 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts. We caught the Northern Line train from Bank to Kings Cross and headed to KIngs Cross St.Pancras. There was no way we could have missed where the Platform was as there was a queue of people waiting to photograph the famous Platform 9 3/4 sign. There is even a luggage cart placed against the wall, where you can pose for photo.
Kings Cross station was in every Harry Potter Film as it was the location where young wizards caught the Hogwarts Express from to journey to Hogwarts.
We had a fabulous day in London visiting places that we never knew were there, London really is the City with hidden treasures. We saw London with open eyes and noticed how beautiful buildings were and how magical and mysterious the City really is. We had fun as a family and I enjoyed being with the children in such a wonderful City. If you’re looking for ideas on days out then why not take a look at CSMA 10 Cheap things to do with the kids.
We found all of the locations with the help of downloading the guide from www.the-magician.co.uk
We would like you to join in and share your experiences with us too, they don’t have to be the same as our challenge, they could be trying new clothes on, visiting a new country or playing a new sport for the first time, join in with the linky or just use the hashtag #NewThings