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Harry Potter Tours
No children's book series has caught the imagination quite like Harry Potter. The stories have launched an industry in merchandise, games and movies. Fans like to see where the films were shot and several Harry Potter Tours organise guided visits to locations where memorable scenes from the books were brought to the screen. Many famous British landmarks and institutions have played a part in the filming. The challenge for the filmmakers was to find the right location to stand in for the fictitious places of the wizard world. The British Tours Company runs various tours, offering different durations and permutations. The Oxford and Gloucester Tour takes in some splendid sights and is an interesting history lesson. The prestigious Oxford University was used for many scenes at Hogwarts School, its magnificent architecture of cloisters and archways being perfect for the job. Staircases in the University were featured along with the Great Hall, which was the inspiration for Hogwart's Dining Room. The University Library served as Hogwart's Hospital Infirmary.

The Gloucester part of the Harry Potter Tour includes the wonderful Norman Cathedral, which was used in scenes involving ghosts and talking portraits in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first in the series. The Moaning Myrtle scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and scenes from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were also shot in Gloucester Cathedral.

London can also be added to the itinerary, which gives the opportunity of standing on the very platform at Kings Cross railway station that represented Platform 9 3/4 in the movies. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Westminster Tube Station is the location for the Ministry of Magic. The Harry Potter Tour also goes to the Victorian built Leadenhall Market, where Harry and Hagrid made their way to the Leaky Cauldron pub. The itinerary also includes London Zoo, where Harry had his encounter with the snake in the first film. There is an alternative trip to the British Museum to see the Lewis Chessman display. This was the chess set that was copied for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Other London tourist attractions can be added, such as Piccadilly Circus, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, St.Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament.

The London Taxi Tours are a comfortable way of exploring the capital with different themes. The driver guides give informative tours for James Bond, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Monopoly Board Game, and Harry Potter Tours. There is a separate tour for Lacock village and Abbey, the location for scenes in the first two films. The beautiful Abbey dates from 1232 and the medieval cloisters, monastic rooms, classrooms and grassed courtyard can all be seen on screen. The village is 16th century and is the location for Privet Drive, home of the Dursley family. The village is also used for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and for Professor Slughorn's house. London and Oxford can be added to this Harry Potter Tour.

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