In October 2015, I bought four tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the official eighth Harry Potter story. My sister, two of her friends and I would be seeing the play on 12 April 2017, a year and a half away. Still, we were very excited and decided to add a couple of days extra so I could finally see London properly. I’d flown to London a couple of years ago because my favourite band was playing a couple of shows in the UK, but we’d only travelled through so I hadn’t seen anything of London apart from the airport and tube stations. I was thinking about posting this in two parts but decided to just put it all in one post, because why not.
Monday 10 April
Monday the 10th started early, as our plane would take off at 7 am. We needed to be at the airport two hours before, so my alarm went off at 3:45 am, while I had hardly slept at all. Luckily, I had enough time to wake up with a little McDonalds breakfast (Egg McMuffins are still the best), and at 7 am we took off for a fifty-minute flight to London City airport. Upon our arrival, we took a tube towards Paddington station, where our hotel was located. We dumped our suitcases and heavy bags there and went on a sight-seeing tour through London.
Today was mostly spent shopping, walking, more walking and guess what – more walking. We visited the Disney store, where they had lots of Marvel and Star Wars stuff, and of course some Beauty and the Beast merch as well. The Funko’s of the new BATB movie that I wanted to buy weren’t available though, so I left the Disney store without having bought anything. I did buy the most amazing socks at Primark, though. POWER. PUFF. GIRL. SOCKS. There were three pairs – blue, pink and green ones of course. And they are really glittery and cool and comfy!
For lunch, we decided to go to a Greene King pub (which is definitely a recommendation if you want good food, great beer and WiFi), where we had nachos and beer, before checking into our hotel. After that, we took the tube to Shaftesbury Avenue, where we walked around the theatre streets for a while. A couple of hours later, we were ready for dinner and found a little restaurant simply called ‘The Diner’. I had a hotdog and we ordered some chips as well, though I hardly ate any of them because the hot dog was already enough for me. We also found the Choccywoccydoodah store, which was small but great and finally we went to Trafalgar Square (yes I got it right this time, Tanja) to see where the last Harry Potter premiere had taken place.
Tuesday 11 April
Today was Harry Potter studio tour day! I had been looking forward to this ever since we’d booked the tickets because I still hadn’t been to the studios even though basically everyone I knew had. It was truly a magical day, and I won’t be going into detail much, in case you still want to go yourself, but it was probably my favourite day out of all of them. I had heard from some people that they’d spent more than five hours inside the studios, though the ‘recommended’ time spent was around three. Honestly, I think spending five or six hours inside is a tad bit exaggerating, because in total with a break in between and some time spent in the store, we were back in London at around half past two.
After the studio, we decided to do some shopping. First, we went to the Forbidden Planet, because there was a big one close to the Palace Theater. I bought two Funko Pops, there, and spent some time looking at the signed books. They had a copy of Throne of Glass, signed by Sarah, but I ended up not buying it, mainly because it was a hardcover and I own only paperbacks, and I couldn’t find a price on the book and I’d feel a bit stupid asking for a price but not buying the book afterwards (IDK, I’m weird).
Then, after FP we went to McDonald’s for lunch and walked towards the Palance Theater where the Cursed Child was playing. We took some pictures of the logo and then made our way to the Waterstones, the biggest one in London I guess. It had seven floors, but I honestly only was interested in the one with the YA books and Graphic Novels. I bought five books and one Funko Pop, that I just happened to see on a random shelf (totally not the place where he should have been). After Waterstones, we bought some beer and went to St. James’ park to relax and enjoy the warm weather. Then we walked towards Buckingham Palace before making our way back to Paddington for dinner (pizza! yay!) and well-earned rest.
Wednesday 12 April
Of course, Wednesday was Cursed Child day! After reading the script, I was not so much looking forward to this play, even though I knew the script wasn’t the whole play. There were still the actors, the decor, costumes and special effects, but the one thing I did know already was that I would not at all enjoy the story. Still, I wasn’t going to let that get me down, and we went to the theatre early to pick up our tickets.
After doing so, we went to a little restaurant called Akuna Matata to have an English breakfast that I enjoyed very much. On our way back towards the theatre, Manon and I spotted a TARDIS standing by the south bank of the Thames. We made our way to it, got in line for a picture and while there heard that not twenty minutes before our arrival, Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Steven Moffat had been exactly where we were standing at that moment. Bummer.
At 2 pm, the play started and though I have to say the effects were cool; it still did not make me love it. I just did not love the story at all, and for me, that’s possibly the most important thing that will make me enjoy something. If I don’t enjoy a story, I will not enjoy the rest. Period. I’ve written a review of the play itself, and of course of the script when I first read it last year. In between the parts, we went to have dinner at TGI Friday’s and though it took them a while to send someone our way to take our orders, the food came very quickly and we still had plenty of time to get to the theatre for part two. (Which was, in my opinion, the part where the story went so far downhill it was just not salvageable anymore).
Thursday 13 April
Our final full day in London was again spent mostly walking. We walked from Paddington to Notting Hill, where they said was a nice market. We ended up not finding any market, but we did see some adorable little houses. After this, we took a tube all the way to Canary Wharf, which I wanted to visit because I’d found out they had filmed some Rogue One scenes at the tube station. I immediately recognised it upon our arrival and took a couple of pictures (especially of the large ‘Canary Wharf’ sign). We took a ferry to the Tower Bridge because it was too far to walk, and from there made our way to Shoreditch which was said to be filled with bars and restaurants. We found a nice little bar with a roof terrace and ordered some cocktails. They had a cat, which was the first and only cat I saw in London.
After Shoreditch, we made our way towards the place where we’d be having a Harry Potter escape room. I had no idea what to expect, whether it would really be a Harry Potter themed escape room, or we’d just have to escape a random room with the help of Harry Potter trivia. In case you’re planning to visit this escape room, set up by Enigma Quests, I will not ‘spoil’ anything for you, but I’m going to tell you it was amazing.
When we got out of the escape room, we tried to find a pub where we could have dinner, have some drinks and just relax but apparently, all of London had the same idea because pubs were literally full. I mean normally there’d be people standing outside, drinking beer, but this day it was just insane. We ended up at a Greene King pub close to our hotel that was relatively empty, and I had my first plate of real fish and chips.
Friday 14 April
Today was our last day, and though I was a little sad to leave London behind, I was very happy thinking about sleeping in my own bed again. We had a quick breakfast at the closest Pret-a-Manger, checked out of our hotel and dumped our suitcases again because our flight wouldn’t leave until 9 pm that evening, which meant we still had a whole day to spend in London.
First of all, we visited Camden Market, which was a maze of little shops that sold all kinds of things. From clothes to art to food, they had everything. I didn’t buy anything, partly because I’d spent most of my money already, but I loved walking around the market looking at what the stalls had to offer. We also thought it might be nice to visit King’s Cross station, though upon seeing the line for the Platform 9 3/4 sign ánd the store, we left the station pretty quickly. We went to Covent Garden which was quite busy with tourists and street performers, had pizza for lunch at Mod Pizza (another recommendation!).
And then my sister remembered the House of Mina Lima, which someone had been advertising for while we were in line for the play. It was close to the Palace Theater, so we went in there and looked at their small exhibition. It was great seeing all the artwork they hade made for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies, and I ended up buying two buttons – a Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes one and a Slytherin one – and a Quibbler travel card holder.
When we’d done that, we went back to Paddington for one more glass of beer and to pick up our suitcases. At the airport, I got back 7 pounds from my Oyster card and spent it on a Doctor Who magazine, another book and something to drink. Money well spent, I guess. I had a great time in London, and I will definitely go back there one day.