A magical journey through literary London
From the set of the Harry Potter movies to celebrating sherlock holmes’ detecting skills and visiting playwright oscar wilde’s Favourite hotel, the cafe Royal, Karen Pasquali Jones takes a novel tour of England’s capital
Gazing through the window of No 4 Privet Drive, I half expected Harry Potter’s Hedwig to come flying out. But as I stepped in the front door, past the Cupboard Under The Stairs, and into the Dursleys’ chintzy living room, complete with Dudley’s framed certificate for eating up his lunch, there was no sign of any owl. Hundreds of Hogwarts letters had already been delivered through Owl Post though and were suspended in the air. They’d no doubt just fluttered out of the fireplace — just like in the most iconic scene in the very first film of JK Rowling’s fantasy franchise, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone.
But I hadn’t been magically transported to the Muggles’ home in Little Whinging in Surrey, just outside London. I was on the actual movie set in Leavesden Studios near Watford, Hertfordshire, where all eight films were made.
Now, the Warner Bros Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter is one of London’s most popular attractions and it was easy to see why. All the costumes, props and sets are there, including — in celebration of the 15th anniversary of that first film — opening the doors to the Durleys’ house for the first time. Before this year, visitors could only stand outside the home of awful Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and cousin Dudley.
Inside, we gazed at the ugly, patterned furniture and cur-