London + Harry Potter Finale

July 15, 2011

image by Greg Williams

I’m on the road! The whole family piled into the van this morning and we are driving to London. We have tickets to see Harry Potter 7 Part 2 tonight!!! Some might say this is a silly excuse for a roadtrip, but I can not believe how excited I am.

Maude and I visited in March, but no one else in the family has ever been to England, not even Ben Blair. Ralph and Olive have been practicing English accents and Betty is sure we’ll get to meet Princess Kate. I’m hoping to sneak in a visit to the Liberty store.

It’s a short trip — we’ll be driving back on Monday. But I’m absolutely giddy that we’re going. I’m such a Harry Potter fan, of both the books and the movies, and I can’t think of a better place than London to see the show. But I’m a little stunned that this is really the final installment. What? No more HP to look forward to? Sad. : (

The other day, I told Ben Blair that I secretly hope they’ll debut a Harry Potter Reboot trailer during the previews. A restart of the movie series with book 1, and a totally new cast of 11 year olds. Does that qualify me as the biggest nerd ever, or what? : )

P.S. — Maude and I stayed at the Grange St. Paul on our last visit, and we loved it. So for this visit, we booked rooms at the Grange City. The location looks fantastic! Where do you stay in London?

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Starr July 15, 2011 at 4:20 am

Enjoy! I love being in England.

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2 The New Diplomat's Wife July 15, 2011 at 4:47 am

What a great trip – nerdy or not, your kids will remember this forever, While you’re there, try to do a “grazing lunch” on saturday at Borrough Market.

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3 Laura July 15, 2011 at 5:18 am

You will be staying just by a wonderful old Wren church, St Andrew by Wardrobe! It has a bell taken from a church in Herefordshire (near Wales!) that was said to ring whenever a vicar from the original church died! Guessing the big kids might like spooky trivia! Enjoy your time here…

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4 KerryFox July 15, 2011 at 5:43 am

Have a fabulous trip!
Make sure you go to St Pancras! (Great new terminal there now) and Harry Potter topical!
Hyde Park is a tourist cliche, but its lovely – the Diana memorial fountain and the Serpentine, on a hot day with kids, is simply lovely
I really hope the kids enjoy our fabulous city! Be safe!
The advice about borough market is also great… And there are City clipper trips (waterbuses) up and down the Thames – far cheaper than the tourist trips!
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modalpages/15547.aspx

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5 Jan @ Family Bites July 15, 2011 at 5:43 am

Sounds SO fun! We’re off to see it tonight too, albeit not in London :)

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6 Kim July 15, 2011 at 6:01 am

We stayed in County Hall, our nightly view was The Eye and Big Ben. Gorgeous. We did the Eye at night, and it was spectacular. Have a great time Blair’s!

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7 Bri (like the cheese) July 15, 2011 at 6:13 am

I’m so glad to read that you’re a Harry Potter fan too! I am actually a little sad going in to this movie because I know I’ll be facing what I coined after finishing the books as “post Potter depression”.
I am already looking forward to sharing them with my children – who will also have to wait a year in between us ‘releasing’ each book & movie to their access once they’re old enough!!

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8 Sandra July 15, 2011 at 6:31 am

No Babble round up this week? :(

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9 Ale July 15, 2011 at 6:34 am

Yes you all have to go to St. Pancras Station and see if you can catch the Howgart Express :)

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10 Kirsteen July 15, 2011 at 6:35 am

Have a fab time! I love Harry Potter, I’m betting the film is amazing x

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11 Mary A. July 15, 2011 at 7:10 am

I went to opening night at midnight last night myself. I haven’t done that for any of the other movies, but I just felt like I needed to do it for this final installment. I can’t help but feel a void (again, just as I did when I finished the last book). I will miss Harry, Hermione, Ron and the gang. I hope your guys enjoy the film. I think it was very well done and pays appropriate tribute to the books.

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12 Anjeanette July 15, 2011 at 7:56 am

What a great way to see Harry Potter! I’m sure it’s a trip you won’t regret. I love London. I lived there for over three years. My brother is headed there next week so we made a walking map for him to see some of the major sites. If the weather is nice, it’s a great way to see the place. I posted it to my blog if you’d like to have a look.

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13 Kari July 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

We stayed at the Savoy – one of my favorite hotel stays ever!

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14 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag July 15, 2011 at 8:17 am

HOW EXCITING!!! Today will be slightly less on the excitement scale for me, we’re going to see ‘Winnie the Pooh’ — but that’s big excitement in Julia’s world!! I was fortunate to have stayed at Claridge’s years ago with my parents and I think I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, silly silly silly! Have a glorious time :)

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15 cathy s July 15, 2011 at 8:19 am

We stayed at the Union Jack Club. Saw 8 plays in 7 days! London Theater is the best…..I know you will have a wonderful visit and want to return again and again.

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16 Dawn July 15, 2011 at 8:21 am

Have a great trip! And I’m delurking to say that we are having a boy in November and his middle name is going to be Potter…who’s the nerd now?!?!?!?!

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17 cathy s July 15, 2011 at 8:22 am

Oh, needed to mention, I went to a tea in Virginia (I am from North Carolina) and sat at a table with Nancy Wall Hopkins, Food Editor at BHG. I mentioned your blog and told her I bought the issue because of YOU! Just wanted her to know that bloggers make a huge impact. She was pleased, and yes, gracious too!

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18 Barchbo July 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

What a GREAT reason for a road trip – see Harry Potter on his home turf!

My favorite part of this post is that Ralph and Olive are practicing English accents – love! And I hope Betty does get to meet Princess Kate – apparently you should haunt the High Street shops! :)

I’ve never seen a Harry Potter film but I’ve read all the books – I like hearing about other people enjoying them more than I would like the films themselves, I think!

Safe travels!

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19 Jules July 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

Have fun! We are going to see it tonight and have been re-reading the books and watching the films in preparation! I am so sad that it will be over soon! I had exactly the same thought as you, how amazing would it be if they made them all over again!?

If you are heading to Liberty you should have a look for my friend’s cushion line as Liberty have just started stocking her stuff – Abigail*Ryan homewares. http://www.abigailryan.com/ It is far too easy to spend money in Liberty! There’s also a fab clothes store around the corner called Fever London – they have a mix of their own designs and also vintage clothes and accessories.

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20 Emily Price July 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

We are also huge Harry Potter fans at our house. I can’t imagine seeing the finale in London! LUCKY!!!! I hope you have a wonderful trip.

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21 Carly July 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

Hello!
I am an American (live in Kansas City, MO now) but my husband and I lived in London for a year in 2009. We lived VERY close to the Grange City. You will love being “next door” to the Tower of London and very convenient to the Tower Hill tube stop. The rest of the City area will probably be pretty dead over the weekend but if I could suggest two things somewhat near to where you are staying (besides the Tower) that I think you will love based on reading your blog faithfully.
Saturday morning go early to Borough Market – it is an amazing food market and your kids will love it. I find that Londoners don’t wake up terribly early so you can miss the huge crowds. Also, Spitalfields Market is near downtown and a mix of funky crafts and food. Very cute.

You might have too many “touristy” things to do and I don’t blame you, but if you can work in Borough Market I don’t think you will regret it.

Enjoy your time in London. I do miss it!

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22 Dee July 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

Oh, how cool! I am a huge Harry fan myself. My husband and I are taking our newly minted 11 year old to see it for his birthday treat.

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23 Heather W. July 15, 2011 at 9:29 am

I loved the books soooo much! You have to separate the movies and books though. The movies are so different but they are awesome. I’m so excited to see this last movie too.

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24 Nicole July 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

I have never seen a Harry Potter movie or read a Harry Potter book. But, I can get excited about going to London! That city is amazing!

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25 r8chel July 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

There’s no such thing as a silly excuse for a roadtrip to London. London is always a great idea.

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26 Sabrina July 15, 2011 at 10:11 am

We are huge HP fans here too. We’ve (meaning the hubs and I) been to almost every movie, maybe not at its midnight debut, but at least the next evening on opening day. I am sad to think the books and now the movies are going to be all over. What a wonderful idea to see the movie in London.

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27 se7en July 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

Just so you know… I am totally dying of jealousy!!! DYING!!!

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28 Wendy of Wendys Hat July 15, 2011 at 10:30 am

Have fun in London {I love that place} and say hi to the Queen for me! Liberty is a must on your trip! We were now wishing that we had saved all our money and gone to the premiere in London too! We already saw it with the die hard fans here in Vegas {dressed in costume and all}. We never miss a midnight premiere here. So, at the end of the movie when they show everyone 19 years in the future {just like in the book}… you think for a moment that their might be a future for more movies of some sort… HP nerds keeping fingers crossed! Great movie now waiting or the launch of Pottermore.

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29 jen July 15, 2011 at 10:44 am

so jealous you are going there!! i took a year off of “life” when i was 19 and was a nanny in london. so much fun and diverse. really loved it and i came home with a bit of an accent!!! tres drole! anyways harry potter rules and i am counting the days too when my kids are old enough to start reading the books – we started our first chapter book last week, charlie and the chocolate factory – but i have hooked them on the first movie already. also if you are looking for someone to eat that’s to die for go to Ottolenghi – absolutely divine!! http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/

happy travels!!! oh and if you do see kate say hi from me! ;)

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30 My Traveling Troop July 15, 2011 at 11:01 am

How exciting! Have a wonderful time in London, and enjoy the movie! I am a fan of the Harry Potter movies too, and will be watching it next week on my bday. Can’t wait! Say hi to Kate & Will for me!

Cheers,
Kristina

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31 Design Mom July 17, 2011 at 5:00 am

Will do!

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32 Larissa July 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I am a huge HP fan and have lived in London for the past 4 years (American, though). Love watching the films here and seeing places I recognize! I have to say one of my favorite things to do in the city is just wander around and “discover” new things. With only a few days though, I would have to agree with other comments about Borough Market – it’s one of my favorites! Another must is afternoon tea somewhere; I love Richoux (St Johns Wood, Mayfair, Knightsbridge or Piccadilly), but I haven’t found many places here that I don’t like in regards to afternoon tea. They have a themed Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel near Tottenham (haven’t been, but it sounds fun)!

Cheers!

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33 Carina July 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Last trip we stayed at the Mayfair and loved it. When we saw ‘Hereafter’ it was fun to recognise the hotel in the London scenes.

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34 Catherine July 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I just came back from Harry Potter. I hope you like it as much as I did (I am such a big fan myself)!

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35 Maddy July 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Will you and girls be going anywhere fancy enough to wear cool hats?

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36 Sherri July 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I share in your Harry Potter geekdom and am exceedingly jealous of your trip to London for the big movie (my teen went to a midnight viewing here in the states). Have fun! (btw – I often wish Hogwarts was a real school where I could send my wizard offspring :-).

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37 Lacey July 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

How exciting to see the final movie in London! Saw it this morning in Texas. Movie was fantastic and satisfying, yet bittersweet. It felt like saying goodbye to old friends. Thankfully, I can revisit them whenever I want. They’re only a page turn away (or as long as it takes to insert a DVD and press play). Have fun!

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38 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com July 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Sounds like a fun road-trip! My sister lives in London, and believe it or not, I am yet to visit :D

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39 Grace July 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Have u heard of Pottermore? I’m super excited about it :)

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40 Design Mom July 17, 2011 at 4:59 am

I’ve heard mentions, but don’t really know anything about it. Off to google…

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41 Liz July 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

What a fantastic weekend, and a great place to see the movie. We’re going to see it next week.

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42 jen July 16, 2011 at 7:10 am

Oh! What a fun trip!

I’m really wondering though: How do you fit your family into hotel rooms? Do you get more than one room or just stuff into one cozily? We have four kiddos, and this is always the question for us. Here in the states we are usually able to get a suite that is large enough to all stay together, but I can’t figure out what we would do on the trip to Europe that I’m dying to take!

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43 jess July 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

I never thought of that – “Harry Potter Reboot” – but I’m in love with the idea now. I can’t wait to talk to my friends about it.

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44 Meagan July 16, 2011 at 11:41 am

I saw the movie and it’s SO perfect. I cried for the better half of the movie and cried on the way home, haha. I’ve got post-Potter depression.

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45 Design Mom July 17, 2011 at 4:58 am

Seriously! I was bawling for half of the movie. I started when the teachers set up protections around the school.

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46 Sara July 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm

SO thrilling that you’ll get to see the final HP in London!!!! Wow!! So cool!! Missing the premiere is one of the few things I’m sad to miss being in Germany this summer.

I love your idea of a re-boot!! I love this cast (especially Emma Watson!!), but I am also sad that it’s ending. When I finished book 7 I was sad for days ;). I AM excited for my kids to become old enough to read them and watch the movies, though!

Have a great time!

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47 MamaChristy July 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I really want them to do a HP mini series. One season for each book. An hour each week (okay, half hour if child-labor laws interfere). I would be THRILLED. and I would pay for a premium movie channel for seven years to get it.

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48 Design Mom July 17, 2011 at 4:57 am

That would be amazing! I vote yes.

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49 Mary July 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

My hotel stays in London haven’t quite been the status of the Grange or Claridges. Did stay at The Trafalgar a last spring which was a great location. In December though I stayed just off Gloucester Road at the Fraser Queen’s Gate. Had a kitchenette so I could pop down to Waitrose and buy food and wine for meals (save money and eat healthy). It is just up from the Science Museum (great for kids) and V&A Museum (great for you). And while not totally inexpensive, it didn’t cost me the equivalent of a car payment either:).

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50 emily July 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

is the movie (& series) very violent? for those of us with very small children but who loved the early books, what do you recommend for movie viewing? Books first, then movies when they’re older? My kids are very much in a violent-free bubble. but I loved the HP early books; 1-4.

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51 michelle July 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm

this is going to sound snarky, but I don’t mean it to be. mormons are ok with all the demonized aspics of the movie. just curious.

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52 Rebecca July 17, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I love your idea for a repeat of the Harry Potter movies with an entirely new cast! I’m a nerdy HP fan too! I don’t want to see it end…but, I do love the books more than the movies and will always have those around for a re-read.

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53 juliagblair July 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

I do think the Harry Potter craze is wonderful. Somehow it brings together
people (especially children) from everywhere in common and amazing wonder and imagination. Non political, non nationalist, but totally connecting. Marvelous that you could see it in London!

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54 Honeybee July 18, 2011 at 6:13 pm

I may have talked about and hoped for the same Harry Potter revival as you. Wouldn’t it be so fun to follow Harry’s kids at Hogwarts…maybe one day soon. :)

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55 Stephanie July 19, 2011 at 5:07 pm

How fun Gabby! I wish we could have joined you. I’m having the best time ever re-reading the books with Kate! I tricked her by letting her listen to the first 2 audio books on the way to Disney World last year, then when she asked for the third I told her to read it. Of course, she loved it, AND we went together to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in January :-) Now she’s on The Order of the Phoenix.

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56 roonie July 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Yes you all have to go to St. Pancras Station and see if you can catch the Howgart Express :)he he

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