A Harry Potter Weekend in London

It’s the blog who lived!

All thanks to my good friend Harry and his cursed child.

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You may (or may not) have noticed that things have been pretty quiet around here. Shane has been feverishly writing and trying to wrap up this Ph.D. thesis. He’s in the phase now that I like to call “edit purgatory”, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting brighter. Hopefully, within the next month – month and a half there will be some good news to report!

While Shane’s been working his a** off, I’ve been doing important things too, ya know. Like making sure I know how my friends on Jersey Shore enjoyed their family vacation, and fully investing myself into the career of our beloved American princess – pardon me, Duchess of Sussex – Meghan Markel. Which could have potentially come in handy last weekend because we headed to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

In case you don’t know – I love Harry Potter. Last summer, my sister, mom and I did a pretty serious HP tour of London and Scotland. We weren’t able to see the play though; tickets just weren’t available.

I bought these tickets in February 2017. So, after our travel drought (darn you, thesis!) and the long and much-anticipated wait, I was itching to get out of Groningen for a weekend!

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We arrived pretty late on Friday, so we didn’t really do much. This time we stayed near St. James Park in a hub – by Premier Inn. Wasn’t sure what to expect out of this hotel (it’s advertised as a budget hotel that emphasizes technology), but it was great! The rooms are small, but it reminded me of what (I assume) it would be like to live in a tiny house – clever storage and layout – the bed was comfy, it was across the street from the tube, and (most importantly) there was free coffee. All in all, it was a win.

Anyway, the next morning we were up bright and early to find a good ‘ole English breakfast! And we won the breakfast lottery thanks to this gem.

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It was the English equivalent of a hole-in-the-wall American diner – delicious & cheap. Dutch breakfast just doesn’t do it for me…


The play didn’t start until the afternoon, so we had all morning to do something new in London. Our intention was to visit the Churchill War Rooms, but we severely underestimated the line for this museum (mostly due to online ticket sale and the size of the museum itself) so we abandoned ship and ended up walking around St. James Park and down to Buckingham Palace.

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You may notice all the barricades in the background. They were clearly setting up for something in the future. Little did I know that in only two short days the entire royal family would be out on that balcony for a flyover celebrating 100 years of the Royal Airforce. I always seem to be just a bit too early or just a bit too late for these types of things…

We did get to see some of the Guards up close though as they marched down the street. I (naturally) ran to the road for an up-close view.

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Shane felt just fine staying where he was. (hah)

We continued our pre-show wanderings and ended up at the Wellington Arch.

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Shane noticed you could go up, and a trip surely isn’t complete without dragging him up a few flights of steps for a nice view. He might complain (especially when there’s an elevator available) but it’s always worth it. We even got lucky and saw the Royal Calvary coming through for the changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.

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Arch horses up close and personal.
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And of course, there’s always time for a pint!

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To top off the weekend, it was Pride day AND England was playing in the World Cup. It’s safe to say the city felt quite festive and was super busy! We were in the play for most of the England match, but we were out for the very end…. not that we could see anything though. You definitely weren’t getting into a pub, and there were crowds watching TVs through the windows.

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And, when England won… chaos! In a fun way.

Now, for the crème de la crème: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

Unfortunately, I can’t say much. JK Rowling sent a personalized email after the show asking to #keepthesecrets. And what JK asks, JK receives. What I can tell you is that this story is supposed to be the 8th of the series, and picks up where the books left off – Harry sending his 2nd child, Albus Severus, off to Hogwarts on Sept. 1st, 2017 (which is also why Sis & I lived the dream last year and went to King’s Cross station on Sept. 1st).  I can also tell you that the magic in the show was fantastic. It really felt like the world of Harry Potter, and if you’re a fan and have the chance to see it, then do it!

I’ll be honest, it’s a long play; Part 1 and 2 are ~2.5h each. It really doesn’t feel like it though. Shane was also happy because they serve ice cream at intermission.

We had a few hours in the morning on Sunday before we flew home, so we headed to the British Museum. Fun fact: it’s free. Another fun fact: if you go in the back entrance then you avoid the long lines in the front! This was quite by accident, but thanks, Google maps!

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We eventually made it to the front of the building.

We only had about an hour and a half before we needed to start heading to the airport, but conveniently enough the museum was prepared for this! And let’s be real, the average person’s attention span for looking at old stuff is probably only about 1.5 – 2h anyway.

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So we hit the highlights, the Rosetta Stone, an Easter Island man, and we took our time through the Egypt section just because we like Egypt.

All in all, I love Harry Potter, I love London, and we’re already looking for an excuse to go back!

And keep those fingers crossed and positive thoughts coming – hopefully next post I’ll be reporting a submitted thesis. 😉

Tot ziens,

Whitney

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We are two Americans living in the Netherlands with our fat cat, Meatball. The Shwits is a diary of our time abroad!

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