It shouldn’t be surprising that the two cities that inspired JK Rowling the most are the most represented.
London and Edinburgh, of course, feature most heavily in the author’s life.
With the Scottish capital where JK has set up her demesne.
The two major capitals in the UK are also, because of their history and their architecture, among the most used sets.
The journey starts, obvs at King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 and three-quarters.
Your Potter planner
And this is how Family Money lay out your Potter planner for you, the cost, and how much time you will need.
King’s Cross Station
20 minutes to the next destination
3.6 miles to the next destination
10 minutes to the next destination
1.7 miles to the next destination
10 minutes to the next destination
1.8 miles to the next destination
30 minutes to the next destination
2.8 miles to the next destination
Platform for success
Your journey will take you more than 70 hours to enjoy if you are driving (not including sleep or food time) and could cost you up to £2714 if you are taking part in the full trip.
Explore the different bridges that were used as filming locations in The Big Smoke and enjoy walking the corridors at Gloucester Cathedral.
And relax with a drink in one of the many Harry Potter themed bars or stay in the J.K.Rowling suite for just £2370 a night!
As well as London and Edinburgh, you will also be traveling to Watford where you can look at the Great Hall and go behind the scenes of the filming.
Other essentially English sets include Oxford, Chippenham, Gloucester, Northwich, and Alnwick.
And to reiterate your journey (and I always need telling once, twice, thrice).
You’ll start in King’s Cross Station, venture to Leadenhall Market, Millennium Bridge, Tower Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, The Harry Potter Photo Exhibition, The Potion Room Tea at Cutter & Squidge, House of Mina Lima and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
That Warner Brother Studio Tour in Watford, north of London, is a must for families.
So next one will be Warner Brother Studio Tour before going all academic in Oxford at The Dining Hall at Oxford’s Christ Church College, Duke Humfrey’s Library at Bodleian Library, New Colleges Cloisters & Courtyard and The Divinity School at Bodleian Library.
Now I confess the next bit of geography and Potterology gets sketchy for me but you’ll know where to go.
So it’s Bodley Tower Staircase and Cloisters, Lacock Abbey, Harry Potter’s Parents’ House and Horace Slughorn’s Hideaway.
I know that Gloucester Cathedral is in the West, then there’s Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience before you hit the north and Alnwick Castle.
Welcome to Edinburgh
And seeing that I’m in the second chapter of my Scottish capital life let me take you around.
The Balmoreal Hotel where the clock is always set three minutes late to allow rail passengers at Waverley some extra time to catch their train.
But that trip up to the Highlands can wait.
First we have to take in The Elephant House where JK wrote the early Potter.
Greyfriars Kirkyard where she took the names for characters such as McGonnigal.
The Victoria Street shops, J.K. Rowling Handprints, the Department of Magic Escape Rooms, the dramatic George Heriot School, The Dog House and The Cauldron (Harry Potter Cocktails).
Bridge of highs
Now some of these I confess have stumped me but I’m seduced by those cocktails, particularly as I wouldn’t be a fan of Butterbeer.
We’ll finish it off, of course, by driving past the bridge we all know, Glenfinnan Viaduct.
And if you have young people in the back make sure that the broadband is good and they can crank up the films on their laptops.
And the most famous Donald on Earth is certainly celebrating today because duck isn’t on the menu.. Happy Quacksgiving Day everyone.
We all know about the Other Donald, the one with the tuft and the big mouth who doesn’t make any sense.
I’m more interested in My Donald though – Donald Duck – and of course we go way back to when we had a quacking time out in Disney World in Orlando.
And if my luck holds out then I’ll be dancing with the duck next year at the American Travel Fair, IPW, next year.
But many of us can’t wait until then and have been working with Visit USA to get out there before then.
So, it’s just as well then that our old friends, Ireland’s national airline carrier are there to help us.
Aer we go to Orlando
From this Saturday customers will be able to travel directly to Florida, following the lifting of travel restrictions to the US earlier this month.
From this weekend, Dublin to Orlando will operate three flights per week to connect families, friends, and business in the run up to the holiday period.
This weekly schedule of direct flights to Orlando will fly on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday with fares starting from €169 each way, including taxes and charges.
Those looking to visit the Sunshine State can avail of the great Black Flyday offers on flights to the US with Aer Lingus.
You’ll get €100 off return fares to North America and €200 Business Class fares to the US (travel 1st January to 31st May 2022). Book by November 30.
With 13 direct routes between North America and Ireland, including New York, Chicago, Boston, LosAngeles, San Francisco, Orlando, Washington, Seattle, and Philadelphia, offers, which run until November 30.
That includes €100 off return flights to North America and €200 off return business class tickets.
They’ll be valid for travel from 1st January to 31st May 2022. And remember there’s pre-clearance.
Now if you want the best advice on how Aer Lingus flies then it helps to have access to the people who fly us.
And fortunately I am and they gave us the rundown on how they, and us, travel these days.
And their super-duper VeriFLY travel pass app.
Most importantly… Aer Lingus customers cannot check-in online ahead of flights to/from the USA unless they use VeriFLY.
The app allows users to upload and ensure that their travel documentation is checked and approved before travelling to the airport.
This will allow customers to get their online boarding pass and go straight to bag drop/boarding gate, and avoid queuing at check-in.
And they took just enough time off the rides to update us on the thrilliest, spilliest place on Earth.
Stars in my eyes
Now in a Galaxy’s Edge far, far, away in Disney’s twin centre in Anaheim… well, two years ago I got a glimpse into the future in the first party to try out Star Wars world.
And the future is here now in the present and ready for y’all to see it both in California and here in Orlando.
Of course Mickey, Donald and their pals have been celebrating since last month their 50th birthday (well, not theirs, they’re much older but Disney World’s).
On a theme
And the four theme parks and beyond have been in fine song.
Among the most anticipated attractions, and the ones we’ve zeroed in on are:
Disney Enchantment, a new all-new nighttime extravaganza at Magic Kingdom Park, featuring captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.
And we’ve danced along to Mickey’s In Da House party on that very street and can advise that you lose all inhibitions (or was that just me, Mickey and Donald?)
Then there’s Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot, where guests shrink to the size of Chef Remy and race through Gusteau’s restaurant on a wild adventure.
You like your French gastronomeee, oui?
Then La Crêperie de Paris is a new restaurant located in the France pavilion at Epcot which offers both table and quick-service options and features a menu from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse.
The Showbiz Lion and I
Now as a veteran of the Orlando theme parks I know how nothing sits still (well, it wouldn’t with you twirled this way and that).
Personally, I prefer a wet one, as my old sparring partner, Lady Lyons, Bev, of Showbiz Lion fame, would say.
And so we both loved Aquatica Orlando. AO can now boast Florida’s first-ever duelling waterslide, Riptide Race, which opened in the spring.
You’ll start atop a 68-foot tower and race side-by-side at top speeds, navigating tight loops and accelerations through indoor and outdoor sections.
While Florida also loves its natural as well as animated animals. And it has those in abundance, particularly flamingos.
And my go-to song when I’m out on the road is Willie Nelson’s standard… it’s my mission statement when I hit a pilgrimage, and my friend Aileeen Eglington’s Destination Anywhere radio show on Dublin South FM.