The New Harry Potter and Old London Travels

I was one of many who went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday. When my friend and I arrived at the theater, snatching one of the last two pairs of seats together, we both wondered why we couldn’t have waited until Friday with the rest of the world.

Two and a half hours later I was certain we had made the right decision.

I wouldn’t say I am the most devoted Potter fan, but I do love the series. Now that I can no longer anticipate the launch of each new book, I am trying to remain content with the excitement leading up to the launch of each new movie. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this most recent film from several news outlets, but I’m looking forward the feedback from family and friends who waited until the weekend to see it. Without giving anything away, I will readily say I loved it. I thought the acting was wonderful, the special effects superb and above all else, the screen play magnificent. I laughed, cried and jumped in my seat, emotional responses that I can’t credit to any other movies I’ve seen of late that were created with the intent of eliciting one of those responses.

I am now back to reading the book, which I haven’t read since it came out in 2005, so I can go see the movie again with a clearer impression of how well the movie follows the written storyline.

I remember when the book came out because it was only about a month after I returned home from studying abroad in Northern Ireland. During my time there, I visited England several times, too many to count if I include trips through Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. While I enjoyed the countryside, I was one of many who thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of London.

Only a few days ago my colleague at work mentioned that she and her husband are traveling to London next month for their one-year anniversary. She asked me to compile some must-see/must-do items for them to consider. I don’t know how long they’ll be there, but I put together my top 10 list all the same.

Top 10 London Experiences
(Disclaimer: There are certainly more than 10, and these are in no particular order, but for your first trip, the following should give you enough of a taste to inspire a trip back.)

  1. The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge (pay to take the Beefeater tour)
  2. Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
  3. The British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert
  4. Buckingham Palace
  5. Hyde Park (this visit is deserving of a tea and pastry)
  6. St. Paul’s Cathedral (pay to walk around inside)
  7. Shakespeare’s Globe Theater (again, pay for a personal tour)
  8. Abbey Road and the recording studio
  9. Piccadilly Circus (I recommend having dinner and seeing a production)
  10. Harrods (while I don’t like shopping, this is an experience unto itself; don’t miss the Princess Diana tribute)

I did cheat and group some together, but all-in-all I think this is a pretty comprehensive list. If there’s time for a day trip, I also recommend a tour of Windsor Castle. There were some great markets set up around the area where my mom and I bought some tea sets and scarves.

One word of warning: the current ‘London Bridge’ isn’t much to look at. Given the song, I did feel I had to find it on my first visit. I wouldn’t waste the time were I to do it again.

Anything you would add?

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