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Less than an hour from Lon­don.

A mag­i­cal day out

Im­merse your­self in the wiz­ard­ing world at Warner Bros. Stu­dio Tour Lon­don - The Mak­ing of Harry Pot­ter. When the fi­nal Harry Pot­ter movie wrapped, a mag­i­cal trove of trea­sures was left be­hind and in 2016, the set opened as an at­trac­tion. Con­tained within two sound­stages where, among orig­i­nal props and cos­tumes, you can walk down Di­agon Al­ley, visit Dum­ble­dore's of­fice, see the orig­i­nal Hog­warts Ex­press, and pose by Plat­form 9¾. Catch the train from Lon­don Eus­ton to Wat­ford Junc­tion, then a shut­tle bus, and you'll be knock­ing at Hog­warts within 40 min­utes.

A thrilling race

Travel to Ep­som, home to the world's great­est flat horse race, the Ep­som Derby, which takes place this year from the 1-2 June. They have had the priv­i­lege of wel­com­ing Her Majesty The Queen to The Derby for nearly 70 years. It's also where suf­fragette Emily Dav­i­son died af­ter be­ing knocked down by the King's horse while rais­ing aware­ness of women's rights.

A his­toric home

Catch the fast train from Kings Cross and you're out­side Hat­field House, Hert­ford­shire, in 20 min­utes. The main build­ing, the Old Palace, dates back to 1485, was owned by Henry VIII and was the child­hood home of Queen El­iz­a­beth I, while the Ja­cobean-era Hat­field House was built in 1611. Take a tour, to in­clude the very spot where El­iz­a­beth I dis­cov­ered she'd be­come Queen of Eng­land.

A Royal re­treat

Wind­sor Cas­tle is the week­end home of Queen El­iz­a­beth II, and the venue of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's up­com­ing nup­tials. Tour the 11th-cen­tury cas­tle and grounds, and ad­mire the lav­ish State Apart­ments and SemiS­tate Rooms, care­fully re­stored af­ter the 1992 fire. Catch a 40-minute main­line train from Padding­ton to Wind­sor & Eton Cen­tral, and it's a five-minute walk to the cas­tle en­trance.

Tak­ing the wa­ter

Jump on a train at Lon­don's Char­ing Cross and you can be in Royal Tun­bridge Wells in just 50 min­utes. This Kent spa town first found fame 400 years ago when the iron-rich Chaly­beate Spring was dis­cov­ered, and the gen­try flocked to ‘cure' ail­ments from in­fer­til­ity to hang­overs. You can still taste the heal­ing wa­ters to­day –in the sum­mer, the wa­ter is served by a tra­di­tional ‘dip­per' in Ge­or­gian cos­tume.

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