Inject some magic into your next group trip

Date Posted: 21/06/2017

Dumbledore's Office

This year marks 20 years since the original publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and VisitEngland has highlighted some enchanting activities to celebrate the milestone.

Groups can take advantage of some of these UK-based ideas, which range from an exhibition dedicated to the Harry Potter universe, to a lesson in learning how to play Quidditch.

British Library, London

Groups who want to delve right into the magical world of Harry Potter can do so by visiting the British Library where a new exhibition called Harry Potter: A History of Magic will open on 20th October and run until 28th February 2018.

The exhibition, created in partnership with the series' publisher, Bloomsbury, is set to be the first of its kind to celebrate a single series of books by a living author. Items on show will include previously unseen materials from JK Rowling and Bloomsbury, as well as magical treasures from the British Library's own collection of wizarding books.

A phoenix rising from the ashes in a 13th-century bestiary

Pictured: A phoenix rising from the ashes in a 13th century bestiary at the British Library. (Photo credit: British Library).

Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire

During the ten years of filming the Harry Potter movies, more than 25,000 items of clothing were created. And from 21st July until 4th September, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour will unveil many of these magical costumes with its new Wizarding Wardrobes display.

Go on a journey through the intricate process that saw robes, gowns and fantastical disguises go from initial sketch to finished costume, and spot highlights such as a patterned leather suit that mirrors the scales of dragons used in the Tri-Wizard tournament. Group rates for parties of ten or more are available.

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland

Alnwick Castle played the part of Hogwarts in two of the Harry Potter films and the castle now hosts broomstick lessons for all. Believe it or not, the Quidditch season kicked off in March and runs through to 29th October.

Alnwick Castle with lion

Pictured: Alnwick Castle. (Photo credit: www.visitnorthumberland.com).

Visitors can join Alnwick's resident wizarding professors on the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. 20 minute sessions are free with admission. Group bookings at Alnwick Castle are available.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, London

Seek a further injection of Harry Potter fun by booking tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play running at the Palace Theatre in London. Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, the play offers fans fresh storylines and new characters in a story set years after the end of the last book.

The Malfoys,  l-r Scorpius Malfoy (Samuel Blenkin), Draco Malfoy (James Howard),

Pictured: The Malfoys in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: (L-R) Scorpius Malfoy (Samuel Blenkin), Draco Malfoy (James Howard). (Photo credit: Charlie Gray).

The play is presented in two parts, intended to be seen in order on the same day or on two consecutive evenings. GTOs should note that the play has proven exceedingly popular, and the next release of tickets will come out this autumn.

Various venues, Oxford

Groups might also like to consider a self-guided walking tour of Oxford, which saw much activity during the filming of the Harry Potter franchise. You can see the Tudor dining hall at Christ Church College that inspired the Hogwarts Great Hall, as well as the staircase that was used several times during the films.

New College Cloisters at Oxford, where Harry Potter was filmed

Pictured: New College Cloisters at Oxford.. (Photo credit: VisitEngland/Experience Oxfordshire).

Visitors to Oxford can also see the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library, which features as the Hogwarts infirmary, and wander around the cloisters at New College, which featured in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, including the scene where Mad-Eye Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret.

These ideas are courtesy of VisitEngland; group travel organisers can discover more literary-themed trip ideas by visiting www.visitengland.com/literaryheroes.

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