A HARRY POTTER THEMED DAY PRIVATE TOURS FROM LONDON

With our wide range of tours, from one to nine-days in length, Potter fans of all ages can discover the world of Harry and his friends. We visit recognisable film locations and see places and sites that inspired J K Rowling, and the authors of a few other children’s literary classics. You’ll enjoy picture-postcard English countryside villages and historic sites en route and collect a hatful of wonderful family memories.  Back-Roads Touring Co. Ltd Harry Potter tours are that little bit special in that you (kids and adults alike!) will be ‘doing’ and ‘learning’ rather than simply ‘seeing’. With your knowledgeable guide, you’ll learn about the English literary and folk tradition, and the myths and real characters that inspired the stories. We aim to inspire younger participants into further reading and perhaps even inspired the occasional adult!

1-Day Harry Potter Tour (London)

Our London tour concentrates on sites used in all of the Harry Potter films and includes an optional visit to London Zoo. This is an ideal tour to see other famed London icons during the day as all are passed at some point on our travels. Our itinerary also gets tour participants into less well-known areas of the city. The tour features the following film locations; Gringotts Bank, the reptile house at London Zoo where young Harry first learns of his ability to speak to snakes, King's Cross Station Platform 9 ¾ , St. Pancras Station, the location of the London School of Wizardry,  the ‘Knight bus’ scenes at Southwark and various other sets. We also recommend that various activities attractive to the younger tourist such as climbing the 212ft high Great Fire Monument and the Toy Museum are considered as optional extras. You’ll also enjoy a stroll in Kensington Gardens to see the Peter Pan memorial and discover the origin of a nursery rhyme or two.

1-Day Harry Potter Tour (Countryside)

A magical day following in the footsteps of Harry and his friends into the heart of the English countryside. Departing London, we will pass Brompton Oratory, whose Boy Choir have sung on all the Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings Films. Our first stop today is at Virginia Water, a picturesque lake in a Royal Park, which has been used for various scenes in the first 3 films and will also feature in the forthcoming ‘Goblet of Fire’. It’s then on to the real street and house used as ‘Privet Drive’. Oxford, the old University City, is our next destination where a walking tour will introduce you to the old colleges scattered throughout the city. You’ll see the medieval hall used as Hogwarts Infirmary, the library and Christ Church College dining hall (subject to opening), used as the model for Hogwarts Hall. We will also visit a very unusual museum with mummies, dinosaurs and shrunken heads. The latter, used in the ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’. You’ll also learn about the real stories and facts behind the Harry Potter stories and discover the inspiration for another great children’s classic , ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Depart London at 08.30am approximately and return by 18.00. Includes transportation and services of a knowledgeable driver / guide. Please budget £4 per person for entrance fees in addition to cost below. Lunch is not included.

2-Day Harry Potter Tour

Day One: Leaving the ‘Muggles’ of London behind, we first venture to the lake at Virginia Water. Set in the heart of Windsor Great Park, it has been used as a location in all the films to date.  Then on to the town of Windsor itself.  Alas, time doesn’t allow us to visit the castle, the largest inhabited in the world, but you’ll certainly be aware of it as we walk around the old town, see ‘Old Father Thames’ and stop for a photo opportunity at the Long Walk, the Queen’s own entrance to the Castle. There is no ‘real’ Hogwarts school, but we’ll see arguably the most famous of all boarding schools in the land, Eton College. Prince William, Prince Harry and the world’s elite have been educated here for hundreds of years.  A short drive takes us to the Dursley’s ‘Privet Drive’, which you’ll instantly recognise. Heading across the rolling hills of the English countryside takes us to the picture-postcard stone village of Lacock, where all buildings are between 200 to 800 years old. Here we will visit Lacock Abbey. The Abbey cloisters are used as a setting for Hogwarts School. Instantly recognisable are Prof. Snape’s Potion Room, Prof. Quirrell’s classroom and where Harry and Ron looked at their reflections in the ‘Mirror of Erised’.  It’s a great place to get you in the picture! There’s also Harry’s parents house!

A short drive will lead us to our overnight accommodation (three-star equivalent with en suite facilities). Evening meal and full English breakfast included

Day Two: After a hearty cooked breakfast, we travel north to the idyllic Cotswolds region, which Tolkien used as his vision of the ‘Shire’. With the timeless villages and rolling hills you can almost imagine the Hobbits living here! We’ll visit a couple of villages on route to Oxford, home to Britain’s oldest University and the location of many more Harry Potter film scenes. A walking tour will introduce you to the old colleges scattered throughout the city and their literary connections (‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ being just a few)! In addition, see the medieval hall used as Hogwarts Infirmary, the library and Christ Church College dining hall, used as the model for Hogwarts Hall. A wonderful activity highlight of our day, and much enjoyed by adult and child alike, will be a treasure hunt in a very unusual museum with Egyptian Mummies, dinosaurs and shrunken heads, the latter, used in the ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’. On our return to London, and time permitting, we’ll take a detour to see the outside of either Leavesden or Pinewood studios, where the Potter, Star Wars and James Bond films have been set.

Depart London at 08.30am approximately and return by 18.00 the following day.  Includes transportation, services of a knowledgeable driver / guide, 1 night en-suite bed and breakfast accommodation based on a twin share room.  NB. The setting of Howarts dining room , Christchurch’s Great Hall cannot be guaranteed to be open on all occasions as it is part of the college.

  

3-Day Harry Potter Tour

Day One: Leaving the ‘Muggles’ of London behind at approximately 08.30, we first venture to the lake at Virginia Water. Set in the heart of Windsor Great Park, it has been used as a location in all the films to date.  Then on to the town of Windsor itself.  Alas, time doesn’t allow us to visit the castle, the largest inhabited in the world, but you’ll certainly be aware of it as we walk around the old town, see ‘Old Father Thames’ and stop for a photo opportunity at the Long Walk, the Queen’s own entrance to the Castle. There is no ‘real’ Hogwarts school, but we’ll see arguably the most famous of all boarding schools in the land, Eton College. Prince William, Prince Harry and the world’s elite have been educated here for hundreds of years.  A short drive takes us to the Dursley’s ‘Privet Drive’, which you’ll instantly recognise. Heading across the rolling hills of the English countryside takes us to the picture-postcard stone village of Lacock, where all buildings are between 200 to 800 years old. Next, we'll stop at a fantastic site, the perfectly preserved mediaeval village of Lacock, used extensively as a location in the Harry Potter films. We can see where Harry's parents were murdered by Voldermort, and explore another recognisable part of Hogwarts. After lunch we cross the Severn Bridge into Wales. This was an area well-known to J K Rowling, creator of our boy-wizard, and places like the 12th century Chepstow Castle and the Forest of Dean must have been a source of great inspiration when she attended school in this area. We'll see her old family home and look for forest spirits (if there's time, we may have some fun in the maze of 'puzzle wood'). Later, we explore the battlements of the fairytale Chepstow Castle (where you can imagine defending the castle against the forces of darkness alongside Harry and gang, or just playing Quidditch).  Overnight: South Wales/ Forest of Dean

Day Two: There are more adventures in store for us today. In the lovely historic city of Gloucester, there's the Cathedral and the King's School, both of which were used as locations for Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We'll also introduce you to another Potter - Beatrix Potter - and her creation, Peter Rabbit. And you'll learn why Humpty Dumpty can claim his origins here. 'All aboard!' Time now to board a 'Hogwarts Express' style steam train for an exciting ride through magical countryside. Shades of Thomas the Tank! Another highlight of the day is to visit some of Harry's favourite friends - the owls and birds of prey at the National Bird of Prey Centre in Gloucester. The question is, will they tell us what they see... And while we're enjoying all of these features we'll also be touring through the magnificent Cotswolds, hearing exciting and mysterious tales of the area and stopping off to find fairy rings and villages where you'd not be surprised to find Hobbits! We'll be checking the locals to see if they have hairy feet! Overnight:  Oxford

Day Three: The majestic Oxford, 'city of the dreaming spires', is the focus of our morning. Many of the scenes in the film were shot in various locations around Christchurch and Divinity Hall at the Bodlian Library. You'll be able to have your own picture taken at the inspiration for 'Hogwarts Hall' (subject to college opening), or on the great staircase where Professor McGonnigal greeted the new students and where Harry first sees Tom Riddle. Or perhaps the child in all of us will prefer to be pictured in the cloisters of Christchurch, the setting for Hogwarts Trophy Room and where Harry is shown the trophy his father won as a seeker in Quidditch. Oxford was also the setting for a magical book of another age but still managing to thrill today's generations. You'll see where Alice wondered through the small door into Wonderland, find a dodo, and discover where Lewis Carroll took his inspiration for the White Rabbit, her elongated neck and Mad Hatter tea parties on our 'Alice in Wonderland' walk. Other childrens' authors found here are C S Lewis ('The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe') and J R Tolkein ('Lord of the Rings'). The child in everyone will also enjoy our day's treasure hunt for dinosaurs and the real shrunken heads seen in 'The Chamber of Secrets'!

For our last visit of the day, we'll stop at one of the two following options, subject to weather and group interest. The first option is the Thames riverside village of Henley on Thames where we can get acquainted with those inhabitants of the riverbank, Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad of Toad Hall. Author, Kenneth Graham, set his classic tale along this stretch of the river and we'll be visiting a very special 'Wind in the Willows' exhibition.  The second option as we return to London is to stop at a miniature village where, like Hagrid, we stride over houses and tiny people! This is the world's oldest model village and a childhood favourite of Queen Elizabeth. You'll also be introduced to our final fantastic author of the tour, Enid Blyton creator of 'Noddy' and 'The Famous Five'.

These are private tours for individuals or small groups and can be ran on any other day.. Inquire about price. Please advice dates, number of people, ages of children, and hotel you are staying in London for pickup.

Please note: 
Our tour operators cannot take the group to an actual film location while shooting is in progress. They can only take the group to past locations used. Harry Potter books and films.  The Harry Potter films have been set at various different locations within the British Isle including Alnwick Castle, Gloucester Cathedral, London, Scotland and Yorkshire. These locations will not be visited due to the time and distance constraints in travelling from London. London film locations include Kings Cross and St.Pancras Stations, Leadenhall and Borough Markets and Australia House.  In Oxford, Christ Church College Dining Hall and the Divinity Hall are part of a regular college. They are occasionally closed for private functions, alternative suggestions will be made on the day if this is the case. Depending on time of year, certain attractions may not be available (i.e. steam trains), so substitutes will be offered. Christ Church Hall is occasionally closed for College events and may not be visited 

Feedback from clients 

Bill and Sarita M , WA, August 2004  Sarita and I had a great time traveling with back roads tours on the Harry Potter Tour. We spent two days in London, three days around Bristol Bay, seeing Stonehenge, Wells cathedral, the town of Cheddar, a Roman Villa, Tor mountain, Glouster, and the forest of Dee. Then we finished the tour in Oxford mostly at Christchurch College. One of the highlights while in London was a visit to the Kew Bridge steam museum, a collection of very large nineteenth steam engines used mostly for pumping water to supply London. On Sundays, the museum fires up the boiler and the engines are energized for about a half hour each. The largest engine operational had a cylinder 90 inches large and a stroke of eleven feet. Truly awesome! Our tour guide was a blast, a very educated and interesting man that was a delight to be with. Thank you for booking this tour.  

Nikki W and grandson Michael, IL, Dear George, Sorry this rook longer than expected to get settled back in from the flurry of our trip. We had a GREAT time!! the itinerary took us to many places we probably would never have seen on our own. The tour guide Julie Schultz was excellent . She related to all of us individually and as a group with humor light heartedness and great asides on historical notes about her country of England and Scotland. It was a good mix of people and we all were looked after in fine comfort with good food.  The only thing I would recommend is that the hotels have better access to computer use for those not carrying a laptop with them. The two Novotel's at the end of the trip offered a machine for internet use but the first one was inoperative and the second one was cost prohibitive at 3 pounds for 15 mins. Jullie got the names of close internet cafes for each stop on the journey. If not I would recommend this be researched and put into your brochure of info at some point. The only other thing I would give as constructive criticism would be.. have the company change the airport map!! It was very confusing and we waited at the wrong place that even the airport information staff thought to be the right spot. We would have missed the bus departure had I not had Julie paged at the last minute. This could be a problem for others in the future and needs to be looked. at.  Otherwise, it was a great tour, and I will recommend it to others. We will use your tour company again if our travels call us to merry ole England or beyond!  

Maria and Roxanna, from NY, February, 2005, day tour of Harry Potter  The tour of Harry Potter we did with a guy named Mike, he was really nice, went out of his way, showed us a lot of places... really good! Now I can't wait to go there again.

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