UK Trip- Day 14: Countryside

April 22:

I woke up early to mail postcards & head out to meet the tour group to go to Harry Potter locations in Lacock and Oxford. The tour guide turned out to be one of the women who was on the bus tour yesterday; she had been undercover to evaluate that tour guide and she recognized me. Later when we were talking, she was rather stunned and thrilled that I had gone on FOUR BritMovieTours through the company LOL But I would absolutely recommend them to anyone! They were all amazing.

On the bus, after seeing some clips for the places we would be visiting that morning, the tour group got to vote on which Harry Potter movie to watch. The one I voted for didn’t win. The one that won was Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II. Really? If you had two Harry Potter movies to watch THAT is the one you would choose first? So… I spent the morning crying my eyes out (four tissues).

We got to the little village of Lacock, which is one of the most adorable little villages I’d been to so far that trip. I still have a hard time believing people actually LIVE in amazingly quaint places like that! We went to the abbey and found out it was a special weekend and we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee–what amazing timing (I of course bought a ton of postcards at the gift shop).

First we headed over to the house used as Lily and James’ house. I recognized it at once and teared up. Also, there was a huge monument in the first yard to them and the roof was caved in. I’m told that to muggles, the house looks perfectly fine, but all witches and wizards can see the monument. For those of you who can’t see the monument in the photo, it was breathtaking.

Then we walked over to the house that was Professor Slughorn’s temporary place of residence in the sixth film. The family who lived there apparently had a little girl who loves Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe surprised her one day as a thank you for letting them use the house.

We walked through the village some more (shots of the streets were used in movie six as well as other British movies like Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth.

Then we went into the abbey, with hallways and rooms used for parts of Hogwarts.

Snape’s Potions Classroom

The door Snape walks through into his classroom

Snape stood here!

Sign telling us Harry Potter was filmed here (with photos of scenes all NOT filmed here)

Quirrel’s DADA Classroom

The cauldron is a permanent part of the room

Harry walked here

Harry walked here!

Mirror of Erised room

Courtyard & hall

Because it was a special day/event (there were a whole bunch of camera enthusiasts in town) we got to explore the rest of the abbey for free as well. It was a lovely place.

I then walked around the village on my own for a while (passed “Slughorn’s house” again) and ate lunch at the wonderful lacock Bakery – so many yummy things! I had a vegetable pastie, rose lemonade, and an almond-jelly thing.

While eating, I had some great conversations with fellow Harry Potter tour members. The little kids were writing Harry Potter names in the bakery’s guest book–very clever. They were from France, so we had a fun time comparing the English names and words with French ones (Voldemort’s middle name is Elvis, for example). Two girls from St. Louis (both of them vegetarians also) joined us and somehow the conversation turned to Wizard Rock. We were recommending groups to the little ones and talking about our favorite groups. One of the girls asked if I knew that the Whomping Willows and one of the Moaning Myrtles got married ;-) I mentioned Snidget and both girls completely lost it with excitement. “Snidget? OMG you know Snidget?! We saw her in concert last year! She seems so nice!” Trip to the UK: $3000. Talking WRock in the middle of the English countryside? Priceless!

We then got back on the bus and headed to Oxford which, I learned, is made up of multiple colleges. We were supposed to go to three on the tour, but we could only go to two because one was closed that day (we missed Draco’s tree and Cedric’s bench. Aww. But I was okay with that). We also didn’t get to go into the library, because children aren’t allowed in. I did get to see some great things, though :-) There were stairs that the students walked up on their way to the Great Hall before they got sorted (where we finally see Trevor, where Harry refuses to shake Malfoy’s hand, and where we see McGonagall for the first time). There was a balcony that Ron and Hermione stood at the top of at the end of the first movie while Harry called up to them (“All right, Ron?” “All right. You?” “All right. Hermione?” “Never better.”). I also got to go to the room where they filmed both the Hospital Wing scenes and Professor McGonagall’s dance class.

The stairs

Never better!

Stairs without me on them.

Entrance to the Great Hall

The Great Hall

Trelawney’s ancestor

Hospital wing room

And the dance room

Sign showing the scenes filmed there

There was, of course, some additional time to spend looking around Oxford. I loved the Great Hall (which inspired the Hogwarts Great Hall), especially the stained glass window with the little Alice in Wonderland characters in the corners. Lewis Carroll was inspired by a lot of different things at the college to write Alice in Wonderland.

We waited for the bus to pick us up. It was a few minutes late and then drove past us and we kind of laughed and tried to decide if we should run after it. But then it came back around. On the way home, we watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (I think seeing the amazing bouncing ferret clips twice before made us hungry for it and we almost all voted for that one). We got back to London and the movie turned off just as Harry and Cedric were racing for the cup (saving me from more tears).

I packed up all my stuff at the hostel and snarfed a nearby snarf with Eeyore (the building next to my hostel is one where Percy Shelley lived; my mind immediately went to Methos upon seeing that, naturally). I also went to recycle some things and stumbled upon a bookshelf at the hostel. I checked and, yep, two BookCrossing books were on it! I journaled both and slipped them back on the shelves.