Literary Vacation - Harry Potter
What Is A Literary Vacation?
A literary vacation is a great way to take a beloved tale and bring it to life through travel. Literary vacations can be a great grown up getaway or a fun educational experience for children.
The Book: Harry Potter Series
By: J. K. Rowling
The Location: London, Windsor, and Durham England
Age Group: Adults and families with children older than eight
Harry Potter is our generation’s most famous and well known character. His author, J. K. Rowling, has created a classic that will be popular and well known for centuries and has entered the ranks of Lord of the Rings and Narnia. Popular culture over the past decade has been shaped and molded by the British orphan. Chances are if you or your child read the books in the months leading up to their eleventh birthday there was disappointment when no letter was delivered by a snowy owl andI’m sure that most Potter fans have often wondered how it would feel to step through a brick wall onto platform nine and three quarters.
The Potter books are at there core a good story. Rowling unfolds the story of The Boy Who Lived in a way that captures the reader and pulls them into the adventure and places us alongside the likes of trolls, elves and wizards making it incredibly difficult to put the books down. Potter has created a generation of readers who have gone on to read many other books that they might haven’t otherwise and has created a community of devoted fans. Every year there are conventions honoring the wizarding world, the genera of music known as Wizard Rock featuring artists such as “Harry and the Potters”, and “Ministry of Magic” has become a thing and even a theme park now exists so that fans can walk through Harry’s world.
When deciding to take a Potter vacation there is now the option to visit Florida’s theme park based on the boy wizard but if you want something a bit less commercial and more authentic the place to begin is London. While at the theme park you can walk through a very crowded Hogwarts and have a pint of butter beer in Hogsmead but in London you can see the actual parts of the muggle world that Harry visits and mentions.
When Harry first discovered that he was a wizard the first place he went was Diagon Alley the wizarding street full of wizarding shops where you can purchase quills, wands, brooms and owls. The way into Diagon Alley is through The Leaky Cauldron on Charing Cross Road. The books warn us that muggles never notice The Leaky Cauldron but children and even grown up’s can have fun hunting for it as you do a bit of shopping in the muggle shops along the road. Don’t be to disappointed if you can’t find it though (it’s not real, at least I don’t think so but I’m only a muggle).
After your shopping excursion is through the next stop is King’s Cross station where Harry departs for school. In the first book Harry has a difficult time finding the magical platform nine and three quarters and receives help from Molly Wasely. Harry may have had a difficult time finding the place but it is now far easier since the station has put up a sign marking the literary landmark. Spend some time under the sign taking some photos and remembering the adventures that happened to Harry here. His first time going to school, the year he couldn’t get through and had to take a flying car and even when he was here to see his own children off to school.
When done at the train station the next stop, as it was for Harry, Ron and Hermione, is school. While Hogwarts might be out of the question Eton, the boy’s school, is a close second. The school provides tours most afternoon and while children along may not be interested in the history of the school that the guide is sure to be sharing they are sure to have fun pointing out the things that remind them of Hogwarts, from the great hall to the elaborate staircases.
As you explore London and Eton be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the glimpses of the wizarding world that we muggles tend to over look and you are sure to have the most magical of literary vacations.