The Harry Potter Tour of Yorkshire

My friend Millie, who I met while being an Elf in Lapland last year, is quite possibly the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan. Whoa that’s a bold claim, I know, but she’s unquestionably the biggest Harry Potter fan that I’ve ever met! Since there are quite a few Harry Potter filming locations in Yorkshire and the North East, Millie’s visit to Scarborough was the perfect opportunity to do some Harry Potter inspired sightseeing in an effort to prove to her that The North is better than The South.

The Harry Potter tour of Yorkshire began before Millie had even arrived in Scarborough, when she changed trains at York railway station. The scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone set in ‘Kings Cross’ railway station, where Hagrid gives Harry his ticket for the Hogwarts Express was actually filmed on the bridge in York railway station. It makes sense when you think about it, as York is all round a much prettier old fashioned looking station than Kings Cross and you can see why it was chosen as the perfect filming location for such an iconic part of Harry’s journey to becoming a wizard. Even considering the older parts of Kings Cross and its appearance before modernisation in 2007, it’s a bigger, more streamlined looking station and a far less quaint location than York. The scene wouldn’t have had the same effect if Harry had been given his e-ticket next to a lift on a glass and steel walkway.

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I obviously didn’t take this photo myself, credit to Warner Brothers for this bit of movie gold.

Although strictly not a filming location, as Diagon Alley was built as a set (which you can visit at the Studio Tour), there is a street in York called The Shambles, which could easily pass for Diagon Alley with its little old higgledy piggledy Tudor style buildings. Unfortunately, you can’t buy an owl or a nimbus 2000 in any of the quaint little shops and there and there isn’t even a bookshop (they’re really missing a trick there) but you can buy any flavour of fudge you could ever imagine and even pick up a wand for a reasonable price, although Ollivander won’t be there to help make your choice.

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Goathland station serves a small village on the North York Moors Railway line and was the filming location of Hogsmeade station in Harry Potter. The station still looks almost exactly the same as it appears in the films and muggles are able to travel to and from Hogsmeade on a steam train but there’s no guarantee that you’ll see the Hogwarts Express. There’s not much in Goathland apart from the station, some wild sheep, a few shops and a pub. The village doesn’t seem to have much interest in the fact that Harry Potter was filmed there. Just like the shambles, the shopkeepers are really missing a trick. The shops all sell Heartbeat (an old British TV drama) memorabilia but only one of the shops stocked any Harry Potter related things. As Millie said, the village doesn’t look much like Hogsmeade but they could definitely attract more tourism than they’re probably getting from Heartbeat by stocking a few more Harry Potter related products and getting Butterbeer on tap in t’pub. You won’t find a Honeydukes or Zonko’s in Goathland but a trip on the steam train makes for a great day out and you can pretend you’ve travelled to Hogsmeade on the Hogwarts Express!

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Millie, a Hufflepuff in her natural habitat.

 

Other nearby Harry Potter filming locations include:

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was used for exterior shots of Hogwarts Castle in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Durham Cathedral was used for filming some of the corridor and classroom scenes, as well as exterior courtyard shots in the earlier films.

Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales is one of Harry and Hermione’s camping spots while they are on the run in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Find out how Millie and I met and read my adventures of being an Elf in Lapland:

https://couragenerugitpastoujours.wordpress.com/category/lapland/

A Night at The Opera

I can’t quite believe that it’s already been two weeks since I left the beautiful city of Vienna, where I stayed in Wombat’s Hostel with Beth, Jasmine, Millie and Roxy for an Elfie holiday. The hostel was really nice and was located on the edge of The Vienna Naschmarkt (Vienna’s best-known market) which is home to lots of cafes, restaurants, street food stalls, tea shops, clothing and jewellery stalls and so much more. We were told that if you can’t find what you’re looking for at the market you won’t find it anywhere in Vienna. Every time you walked through the market you would be given so many free samples of food like falafel, nuts, dried fruits and, my favourite, candied hibiscus flowers. You could go in there feeling hungry and leave feeling full without actually buying anything.

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Glacier Presena

The Presena Glacier is over 3000 metres high and, from the top, gives incredible views over the Italian ski resorts of Passo del Tonale and Ponte di Lengo as well as breathtaking views over the other side of the mountain. From the top of the glacier you can take a moment to appreciate the incredible views and then ski all the way down to the bottom of the mountain (ability permitting). I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon exploring the Presena Glacier, taking in the amazing views from the top of the mountain, skiing part of the way down (avoiding the black run!) and enjoying lunch outside in the sun. This incredible photograph was taken from the very top of the Presena Glacier, facing away from the ski resort.

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A Weekend in Prague

This time last month I was wandering the beautiful winding streets of Prague’s old town. The old town is incredibly beautiful and I’ve never been anywhere quite like it. The small shops and seemingly permanent market stalls in the old town reminded me of Christmas markets with the scent of mulled wine and cinnamon in the air. The cinnamon rolls served in many market stalls were incredible and definitely my favourite find, particularly the ones served with a coating of Nutella in the centre.

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