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

WKND - - Travel United Kingdom - 3 FE­BRU­ARY 2017

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-

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