A magical day out
Immerse yourself in the wizarding world at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. When the final Harry Potter movie wrapped, a magical trove of treasures was left behind and in 2016, the set opened as an attraction. Contained within two soundstages where, among original props and costumes, you can walk down Diagon Alley, visit Dumbledore’s office, see the original Hogwarts Express, and pose by Platform 9¾. Catch the train from London Euston to Watford Junction, then a shuttle bus, and you’ll be knocking at Hogwarts within 40 minutes.
Book here: wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
A thrilling race
Travel to Epsom, home to the world’s greatest flat horse race, the Epsom Derby, which takes place this year from the 1-2 June. They have had the privilege of welcoming Her Majesty The Queen to The Derby for nearly 70 years. It’s also where suffragette Emily Davison died after being knocked down by the King’s horse while raising awareness of women’s rights.
Book here: epsom.thejockeyclub.co.uk
A historic home
Catch the fast train from Kings Cross and you’re outside Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, in 20 minutes. The main building, the Old Palace, dates back to 1485, was owned by Henry VIII and was the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I, while the Jacobean-era Hatfield House was built in 1611. Take a tour, to include the very spot where Elizabeth I discovered she’d become Queen of England.
Visit website: hatfield-house.co.uk/your-visit/
A Royal retreat
Windsor Castle is the weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II, and the venue of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s upcoming nuptials. Tour the 11th-century castle and grounds, and admire the lavish State Apartments and Semi-State Rooms, carefully restored after the 1992 fire. Catch a 40-minute mainline train from Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central, and it’s a five-minute walk to the castle entrance.
Taking the water
Jump on a train at London’s Charing Cross and you can be in Royal Tunbridge Wells in just 50 minutes. This Kent spa town first found fame 400 years ago when the iron-rich Chalybeate Spring was discovered, and the gentry flocked to ‘cure’ ailments from infertility to hangovers. You can still taste the healing waters today –in the summer, the water is served by a traditional ‘dipper’ in Georgian costume.
Also within an hour of London:
- Visit a Go Ape outdoor adventure park for high rope courses, zip wires and Segway safaris.
- Enjoy a spot of tea in a stately home such as Strawberry Hill House, Capel Manor Gardens and Hughenden Manor.
- Visit the William Morris Gallery in northeast London, devoted to the life of the famous Arts and Crafts designer, craftsman and socialist.
- Richmond Park is the largest of the Royal Parks. It’s remained almost unchanged since the 1600s when King Charles I transformed it into a nature reserve and deer sanctuary.
- LEGOLAND re-opens for the season on 9th March. Feed your inner child with rides, shows and Miniland, cities and landmarks recreated with Lego bricks.
- Jump on a train and discover the stunning nature reserves and wetlands that ring London, including Surrey Hills, Epping Forest, Lee Valley Park and the Chilterns.
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