A Potter Fanatic’s Pilgrimage

*This is part one of a series of my recent trip to London*
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I just got back a week ago from my 2.5 week vacation to London!  I am going to break this post down into different posts because of the epic nature of this trip.  I started planning this in late 2015 when I scored tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  It started as a week-long vacation with a friend and grew to a two and a half week adventure in which part of the trip I spent alone.  I know this blog is supposed to be about solo travel (and it will) but this trip I arrived in London with a travel companion for the first several days, she left to come back to the US for 4 days in the middle, and then she returned for the last 5 days.  I have to admit before this trip I was wary of actually traveling alone.  It wasn’t until after we booked the entire trip that my friend found out she would have to leave in the middle.  I was forced to decide whether to stay in London or make the 8 hour flight back to the US and then the 8 hour flight back to London only to leave again in 5 days.  I started reading travel blogs, Reddit, and travel Twitter and quickly gained the courage to stay the entire time and actually
enjoy myself while alone.  We will get to those days in detail in a later post.

When planning this trip I was new to planning a vacation.  The person who I was traveling with was very hands off the entire process so I had to take charge with research, planning, and booking everything.  It all started in December 2015 when I decided to test my luck in scoring tickets to the holy grail.  I went on the HP and the Cursed Child web site and I guess I’ll say it was a Christmas miracle that I was able to secure tickets to the play on my birthday in 2017.  I started researching London like a maniac.  I started trying to figure out where I wanted to stay, for how long, what things I must see, and mapping out every Harry Potter related site I could fit into my trip.  At times it was frustrating.  London is expensive.  I had to start saving every dime I could because I haven’t yet stayed in a hostel and felt more comfortable in a nice hotel.  I wanted to get a direct flight so I didn’t have the added stress of missing flight connections and lost luggage.  I used a popular travel booking site and determined I wanted to stay in central London preferably near the West End.  I found the Amba Hotel Charing Cross.  It is an old hotel but newly remodeled.  It isn’t a “budget” hotel and I don’t intend on painting it as the economic option.  I was lucky to have someone going with me to share a room and split the cost of staying there for 16 nights.  This hotel was beautiful!  The service they provide is unlike any hotel I have ever stayed in.  The room had a free mini bar (yes I said FREE) it was stocked with water, soda, beer, wine, and assorted snacks.  It was replenished every. single. day.  It is close to EVERYTHING!  Want to see Big Ben?  Walk 10 or 15 minutes.  Want to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace?  Walk 15 minutes.   Want to see a show on the West End?  They have theaters anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes walk away.  There are tons of restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, two tube stations all within a 5 or less minute walk.

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View from my London hotel room

I decided to make only a few booked excursions and just leave the rest of the time to wander around exploring.  I, as a Harry Potter fanatic, had to go see the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  My friend is a huge Doctor Who fan so we planned a trip to Cardiff, Wales to see the Doctor Who Experience.  We both wanted to see Stonehenge so we scheduled that trip.  We of course had tickets to see Part 1 and Part 2 of Cursed Child on the same day.  My personal advice is to plan you trip like this.  There is a certain satisfaction waking up in the morning and knowing you didn’t have to rush off to catch a train to head somewhere or miss something because you didn’t get a chance to walk a mile to find food instead you had to hail a cab or rush off to the tube to be sure you made your reservation.  If for some god forsaken reason you run out of things to do in London there are always the markets.  You could spend an entire day or two or three in Camden Market alone.  There will be much more on all of this later.

In my next post I will cover my first few days in London.  I will detail my experience getting acquainted with the tube system.  I will tell you about spending the first few days visiting all of the “touristy” sites like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, and tons more!fullsizeoutput_d

I hope you enjoyed my first blog post!!  If you liked this please check back often for more post.  You can follow me on Twitter @travelling_gay or like my page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/travelinggay/

I hope to post a least a couple of times a week.  It could be more or less depending on my schedule.

Until next time!
Happy Travels!

XO

David

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2 thoughts on “A Potter Fanatic’s Pilgrimage

  1. Hey 🙂 How did you find seeing Harry Potter Parts 1 & 2 in one day? I’m doing the same this summer but people have told me it can be quite intense/long. I’m such a HP fan I’m not sure this will be the case for me!

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    1. It is very long and quite intense. I was emotionally drained after seeing both parts in one day. I still think you’ll be ok seeing both parts. I have no regrets! Just be prepared for all of the feels!!!!

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