Downton Abbey and Harry Potter Studios

OK, so we already knew that the operation was imminent pre-phone call, so we’d planned some nice things to do over the summer holidays, one of which was a trip to Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) and the Harry Potter Studio Tour on 6th and 7th August 2012.

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey!

As you can see above, Highclere is pretty popular now, and it is so impressive to see close up! We drove up in the car and arrived in time to have our picnic lunch under the trees on the left of the picture. We were able to see around the house – I hadn’t got massively into Downton at that point but it was still really cool. There was also an Egyptian exhibition which was also interesting, but I was slightly disappointed by the gift shop – definitely not as good as the National Trust!

Once we were done at Downton, we drove to St Albans to a B&B. We thought we’d get takeaway fish and chips, seeing as the shop was just down the road…except the road was VERY long (for anyone with local knowledge it was London Road). In the end we gave up and went back for the car. The shop was pretty much empty and we had to wait about 10 minutes for our food (we got some free spring rolls though), but we finally got it, drove back, and even had some cutlery from the B&B. It did sort of make the room smell of grease and chips though so we had to leave the rubbish in the bathroom. We watched a bit of the Olympics – women’s cycling omnium and the women’s pole vault.

This is the point where I apologise to Imi and Claire, my friends who live in St Albans, who were extremely put out that I had been in their home town and not told them (actually I can’t remember if they both know now, so sorry!) – I didn’t know until we arrived that we were going to St Albans, and I was shattered – not great company.

Anyway, the next day we went off to nearby Watford to Leavesden Studios, to see the Harry Potter Studios! It was SO good – I don’t want to say much about what’s inside because I want you to find it just as surprising and magical. What I will say is that it is really good, AND the gift shop is great (although very expensive, my only purchase was a T-shirt). Also you can ‘ride’ on the Knight Bus, as you can see below.

Riding the Knight Bus

Riding the Knight Bus!

You can see that I’m standing with one leg bent, but I’m definitely noticeably crooked, even with all the layers and bag etc on. But the good thing is that I’m smiling, so I had a good day. Apart from the small worry about having to rush through the exhibition to find a toilet (that didn’t happen, they are provided if you’re wondering), I really enjoyed it.

Thanks, as always, for reading – I thoroughly recommend these places, especially if you’re looking for some treats pre or post-operation! Please comment/follow/read on etc!

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