This is a question we are often asked and the great news is there is a tour we found that visits.
Please see below.
The most common confusion for people wanting to visit is; what are they looking for and where is it?
Well the answer is Hogwarts is actually Alnwick Castle in the beautiful Northumberland area of North East England.
Hogwarts – Alnwick Castle
This is some way from London and the easiest way to tour there is from Edinburgh, which is very comfortably reached by train from London and well worth an overnight visit.
Here is some more reliable information from official tourism and local government sites
A day spent in the Borderlands of Scotland and England. Our tour follows the ancient Roman Dere Street that connected Scottish Caledonia with Roman Britannia through the Scottish Borders
Stopping at Melrose, home to the remains of the Cistercian Abbey and the burial place of the heart of Scottish King Robert the Bruce who lived and fought in the area that we are travelling through today Continuing South we cross the border and travel onto imposing Alnwick Castle, one of the great castles of Northumberland that has stood for nearly a millenium
Originally built to protect the north of England from Scottish border reivers and invaders, more recently Alnwick Castle and its perfectly manicured gardens have found fame as one of the settings for the fictional Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter movie series After almost 3 hours to explore Alnwick Castle we head towards the ancient gateway town of Berwick upon Tweed, a strategic walled town at the estuary of the River Tweed, that has swung between Scottish and English control over many centuries There is time to explore the city walls or visit the Georgian army barracks before returning to Edinburgh along the rugged coast of Berwickshire and East Lothian
Adult Prices from £35 to £40
Discount Prices £32 to- £37
Filming at Alnwick
Your day includes time in Melrose to visit the historic Cistercian Abbey, burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart brought back from the crusades in Moorish Spain and the best of the Scottish Borders and Northumberlan
Cross the border at Coldstream and enjoy lunch and the afternoon at Alnwick Castle and Gardens, scene of Hogwarts Castle in Harry Potter’s first 2 movies, before returning to Edinburgh along the dramatic east coast of Berwickshire and East Lothian, stopping at the ancient walled town of Berwick upon Tweed
We found this and many thanks to them, at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
An absolute must if you get the opportunity is a visit inside Buckingham Palace to see the magnificent State Rooms.
Buckingham Palace State Dinning Room
However, you need to plan your visit for a time when they are open to the public.
Buckingham Palace is all but full time working palace, hosting many state functions, plus week days for much of the year, it is home to the Queen.
Here are the 2013 Dates and Prices
The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
27 July -31 August 2013
Open daily 09:30-19:00
(last admission 16:45)
1-29 September 2013
Open daily 09:30-18:30
(last admission 15:45)
A typical visit lasts between 2 and 2½ hours
The State Rooms, Buckingham Palace
Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £17.50
Under 17 £10.85
Under 5 Free
Family £50.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
For further information see the Official Buckingham Palace Website
Are there organised tours?
The sad fact is there are hardly any, however we have had a good look around and did manage to find this excellent tour that visits Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle in the same day.
Looks good value against going separately.
Windsor Castle Over 900 years of royal history are waiting for you in Windsor Castle, which is perched high above the River Thames just outside of London. From William the Conqueror all the way through to our current Queen, successive monarchs have lived here and left their mark on what is now the largest continuously occupied castle in the world.
Amazing Windsor Castle
We shall be amongst the first people to enter Windsor Castle, so you can see for yourself the splendour of St. Georges chapel and the sumptuous state apartments. Windsor itself is a pretty town full of traditional shops and historic pubs. Shakespeare is said to have written his play The Merry Wives of Windsor in one of them! After our visit to Windsor, we drive through Runnymede, where King John signed the Magna Carta.
After lunch we head to Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, which serves as both her home and office. Visitors to the State Rooms can see many of the magnificent rooms which form the heart of the working palace and are used regularly by the Royal Family for official entertainment, ceremonies and State functions.
The Palace guides are on hand to point out the numerous works of priceless art in the lavishly furnished rooms. Afterwards, you can enjoy a walk along the south side of the Royal Garden and look out across the picturesque lake constructed in the 19th century. The tour ends in the Palace allowing you free time to explore at your leisure.
We found this and many thanks to them at, www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
This is a question we are often asked and the answer is a big yes!
Aside from the services included of an expert guide and the fact the whole day is organised for you – you will save a fortune by taking a regular tour v making your own way.
Beautiful Leeds castle in Kent
These are the entry costs if you go alone:
Leeds Castle £19.75
Canterbury Cathedral £9.50
Dover Castle £16.50
Total = £100.45
We have used this example as price comparison, in reality with the time it takes on bus and train it would not be possible to fit into a day.
We found a great value tour that includes all this at only £74, plus also has a Free River Cruise and London Walking Tour, worth £30.
Private Visit to Leeds Castle Described as ‘the loveliest castle in the world’ by Lord Conway, Leeds Castle sits in 500 acres of landscaped parkland across two idyllic islands, deep in the heart of the magnificent Kent countryside.
Exclusive to BestValueTours at Leeds Castle we have the ultimate Tudor treat for you! Upon arrival at Leeds Castle you will be greeted by your guide. Discover the history of this magical castle and sample a glass of mead as Henry VIII would have! (During the summer months, the Mead is unavailable on Saturdays).
Magnificent Canterbury Cathedral
Visit Canterbury Cathedral Centre of English Christianity and home to a succession of 104 Archbishops since Augustine, Canterbury is a magnificent medieval city that’s a must for any history buff. Discover the scene of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s gruesome murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Learn the intriguing history behind this captivating masterpiece of medieval architecture. Marvel at the cathedral’s spectacular stained glass windows, many of which have survived from the late 12th and early 13th centuries.
White Cliffs of Dover Visit the gateway to England and admire the famous the White Cliffs of Dover, a stunning stretch of coastline that faces continental Europe. You’ll also see Dover Castle, a commanding medieval fortress rising over the English Channel and a key film location in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’.
Greenwich Overlooking the River Thames, Greenwich is a stunning World Heritage site bustling with fine maritime landmarks. See the Old Royal Naval College designed by Sir Christopher Wren, as well as the Royal Observatory and world-famous Cutty Sark, a fascinating 19th-century clipper ship.
Thames River Boat Ride Get a fresh perspective on London’s attractions with our River Thames boat ride from Greenwich to Embankment Pier, passing Tower Bridge and stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral along the route. This tour will finish at Embankment Pier in London at around 6.30pm.
Free Walking Tour – Special bonus Why not follow in the footsteps of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge or take in the places where the Fab Four worked and played in London. The walking tour you decide to go on will surely captivate you, with it being an experience to truly remember.
We found this and thanks to them, at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
We get asked this question every year and always say as soon as possible or you will miss out, but every year the same thing happens, people wait until the very last minute when they arrive in London and are amazed everything is fully booked.
To enjoy these great tours over Easter, book now.
Eater is early this year so dont get caught out – its just 10 weeks away!
Here are the dates:
Good Friday 29th March 2013
Easter Sunday 31st march 2013
Easter Monday 1st April 2013
Visiting London at Easter
You will find valuable ‘Official Tourist Information’ at Visit London
Are there any new tours for Easter 2013?
Yes – at last launching from Easter 2013 is a brand new tour that includes Highclere Castle home of Downton Abbey and Christchurch Oxford, home of Harry Potters Hogwart’s Great Hall.
Filming Downton Abbey
Longstanding friend of the Carnarvon family, Julian Fellowes had Highclere Castle in mind as he wrote Downton Abbey. He often commented he wanted a house which spectacularly testified to the confidence and soaring optimism of the Edwardian period.
Magnificent Highclere Castle
The success of Downton Abbey took everyone by surprise from the first nervous apprehension whether anyone would like the first episode or stay with it for the second or third… the series has become a phenomenon with appreciative viewers all around the world.
Thanks for this to Highclere Castle and for more reading see:
Some History of Highclere
Highclere Castle was once the home of the 5th Earl of Carnavon, famous for his excavations in the Valley of the Kings with Howard Carter in 1922. Many Egyptian artefacts are housed in a permanent exhibition in the basement; however the interiors and furnishings of Highclere Castle reflect the influence of successive generations of the family since the early 18th century.
Thanks for this from basingstoke.gov and for further reading see:
And here is the brand new Easter 2013 tour we have found and well done to them for launching this at last
Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, boasts one of the world’s greatest – and oldest – universities, as well as some of the finest architecture in Europe
The colleges themselves, which make up the university, are amongst the architectural highlights, their ivy-clad stone walls protecting beautiful chapels, halls and libraries. We enjoy a unique tour which journeys through the heart of this ancient building before we head to the college’s spectacular dining hall, chosen as a key location in the Harry Potter films
Harry Potter Great Hall
Our tour allows us to access parts of the hall usually out of bounds to the public. We will also linger by the open fire as your guide reveals anecdotes about the movie and the remarkable links of Christchurch with the Alice in Wonderland stories
After the tour of Christchurch, there is time to wander through the ancient streets of Oxford with your tour guide. Why not try out a pub lunch at one of the many famous inn’s of Oxford
Our trip to Oxford promises an unforgettable experience for young and old alike
After lunch we head for Highclere Castle made famous by the Downton Abbey TV series
Built by Sir Charles Berry who also built the houses of Parliament, this is the countryseat of the Earls of Carnarvon. The tour of the Castle’s public rooms includes the magnificent public main hall, the library and sitting rooms in addition to other rooms featured in Downton Abbey
Why not spend some time enjoying the enjoying the parklands created by Lancelot “Capability” Brown who also designed the grounds of Blenheim Palace or indulge yourself with tea and cake at one of the tea rooms once you have finished touring the Castle
Departing Highclere Castle we head back to London and arrive back at approximately 6.30pm
We found this and thanks to them, at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
Thinking all London tours are much the same, is a common mistake, as is the belief that some of the cheaper tours are better value.
The reality is that there is a huge difference between what is and what is not included and this is worth looking closely at when booking.
An Open Top bus is a great way to Tour London
The more expensive all inclusive tours generally offer the best value and are far cheaper than trying to go alone and paying separately at each location.
Here are some individual entrances cost:
That’s a total of £122.25 before other attractions are included, a tour guide and transport.
If you look around it is possible to find a tour that includes all the above for half that price.
For further London information, here is the ‘Official Tourism Site for London:
Price is not the only difference on London tours; some include unique extras that are well worth doing.
Part 1 – Vintage Double Decker Bus Take your seat on board the Harrods Vintage double decker bus. The former 1960’s routemaster has been beautifully restored and is the perfect way to experience London. If the weather is good we will use our classic open top bus.
Part 2 – See all the sights of London Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge and the Tower of London, all brought to life by our professional guide.
Part 3 – Cruise on the River Thames Join us for a cruise on the River Thames, onboard our luxury air conditioned catamarran. The cruise is a great way to see some of London’s hidden treasures including Sheakespeare’s Globe, the Golden Hinde Boat and Cleopatra’s Needle, as well as the wonderful bridges that span the river. Have your camera’s at the ready for the perfect photo of the London Eye.
Part 4 – Watch the inspection of the Guard Next we head to Horseguards Parade to watch the world famous Guard Inspection ceremony. Horsegaurds is the gateway to the Royal Household including Buckingham Palace and everyday at 4pm the mounted cavalry appear, dressed in their famous uniforms, while they are being inspected.
Champagne Afternoon Tea at Harrods
Part 5 – Champagne tea in the Georgian Restaurant, Harrods To end the day we head to Harrods for a Champagne tea in the classical Georgian restaurant. Relax and enjoy the music from the live pianist while the waiters serve us delicious homemade scones served with strawberry Jam and clotted cream, a pot of Georgian blend tea and a glass of Champagne.
We found this and many thanks to them, at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
If it’s a really good fun event you are looking for, you would have to go a long way to beat the St Patrick’s day celebrations in Dublin.
Here’s some more information for you:
Dublin 14-18th March 2013
As part of ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ for the first time ever, St. Patrick’s Festival are inviting up to 8,000 people around the world to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin on 17 March 2013 – The People’s Parade is a once in a lifetime opportunity and applications are now open!
Join the Party!
As a participant in The People’s Parade you will march in procession through the streets of Dublin, passing many historic landmarks along the way including the GPO, Trinity College, Dublin Castle and City Hall. You will soak up the vibrant atmosphere; feel the energy, wave to the audience along the 2.5 km route and best of all once you have finished you can marvel at the spectacular performance section of the parade that follows.
Build lifelong memories, display your Irish pride, celebrate all that is good about Ireland and being Irish (even if you are just an honorary Irish person for one day!) and savour your unique journey through the heart of Dublin City- the journey of a lifetime!
St. Patrick’s Festival 2013 takes place from Thursday 14th to Monday 18th March, we hope to see you there!
For further reading see the official Government website:
We found this great fun packed tour for you:
Day 1-London to Dublin
Check in at St. Christopher’s Hostel, Shephard’s Bush, London @ 5.30am and get excited. Today you get on a coach and board a ferry, arriving into Dublin by sea! There’s no better way to start your journey. You’ll arrive into Dublin at 5pm and once you’re checked in to your Dublin hostel, it’s time to join us for a few welcome drinks and some proper Irish hospitality!
Day 2 – Dublin The Fair City
Take a trip around the Guinness Storehouse and discover all there is to know about the black stuff. After our walking tour through the sights and streets of Dublin there’s the chance to enjoy the music and dancing at all the festival events.
Day 3 – 17th March 2013 St Patrick’s Day
Join the Party!
Today is the day you’ve been waiting for, St. Patrick’s Day! Grab your spot early as the streets of Dublin fill fast. Get ready to have your senses bombarded with colour, music and scenes you will not forget. This is St. Patrick’s Day done by the Irish on their native soil… expect a wild one! Join us for the St. Pat’s Party
Day 4 – Dublin to London
After an incredible time celebrating St Pat’s, say goodbye to the Emerald Isle until the next time. We board the ferry and make the journey back to London. You can leave Ireland but it will never leave you! You will arrive into London at approximately 6pm.
We found this tour and thanks to them at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
Well a great start to the day will be a visit to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. However whilst the Palace will be there is all its glory, there is no Guard change on the 1st January.
Are there any alternatives is a question we are often asked today?
The Queen’s Life Guard leave Hyde Park Barracks at 10.28am weekdays (9.28am Sundays) and ride to Horse Guards Parade via Hyde Park Corner, Constitution Hill and The Mall. The ceremony of changing the Life Guard then takes place on Horse Guards Parade at 11am weekdays (10am Sundays).
The mounted sentries outside the Whitehall entrance to Horse Guards (who change every hour) are on duty each day from 10am until 4pm, at which time there is a dismounted parade of the Guard. There are two dismounted sentries on duty until the gates are shut at 8pm, when only one sentry is left on guard until 7am when the second sentry returns on duty. No one, who is not in possession of the password, can gain admission to Horse Guards after the gates have been closed.
Spectacular Changing of the Queens Life Guard
When The Queen is in London, the Guard consists of 1 Officer, 1 Corporal Major (who carries the Standard), 2 Non-Commissioned Officers, 1 Trumpeter and 10 Troopers. This is known as a Long Guard.
When Her Majesty is not resident in London, the Guard is reduced to 2 Non-Commissioned Officers and 10 Troopers. This is known as a Short Guard. In early times the Guard was as much as 100 strong and provided Escorts to accompany the Sovereign if he or she travelled by road.
At the time of Guard Changing, the Old Guard forms up on the north side of the enclosure on Horse Guards Parade and the New Guard on the south side. As the New Guard arrives each Guard carries their Standard and the trumpeters of both Old and New Guards sound a Royal Salute on the arrival of the New Guard and on the departure of the Old Guard. When both Guards have formed up in the enclosure, the Corporal Major, Senior NCO and the sentries of the first relief of the New Guard leave for the Guard Room which is then handed over. The sentries of the Old Guard, after being relieved, rejoin the remainder of the Old Guard on the north side of the enclosure. The Standard and trumpeters only parade with a Long Guard.
For further reading visit – Changing The Queens Life Guards
A few more pointers for you:
The life guards rotate each day and the duties are shared between the The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals.
There are many different regular and guest regiments who guard at Buckingham Palace.
In January these will be shared between the:
Click on each regiment to see further information about them
We have also found for you a great New Years Day Tour:
This looks good value including, London Tour, Entrance to London Eye. a River Cruise and lunch!
London Panoramic Tour and Tower of London
A whistle stop tour of London’s famous monuments, have your cameras at the ready for our photo stop at the spectacular Tower of London.
Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
A mass of red tunics, bearskins and Buckingham Palace – an unforgettable experience! (Subject to weather conditions and timetable changes).
St Paul’s Cathedral and City of London
Uncover the history of our capital city, from the Great Fire in 1666 to the Blitz of 1940-1, as our tour takes you to the key locations where it all began.
Take in the Bank of England as well as the residence of the Lord Mayor at Mansion House in the financial district. Visit the iconic London landmark of St. Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1708 and witness Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece.
River Thames Boat Ride
Take to the water on a River Thames boat ride and travel along London’s array of attractions.
Tour includes London Eye Experience
End your day in style! Take to the skies on a London Eye experience and enjoy breathtaking views of London in the luxury of your glass capsule. If you are tired you can use your tickets on another day (within 30 days). Your tour will finish at the London Eye.
We found this and thanks to them at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
Staying in London for the New Year’s Celebrations – Looking for New Year’s Day Lunch ideas with a Difference?
How about a Traditional British Lunch with all the trimmings, a great festive atmosphere with like-minded company in a beautiful rural pub.
Every year we get asked the question, what alternatives do we have to give us a Christmas Dinner with a difference.
Well there are a number of tours that leave London for the day to glorious locations and include a lunch stop at a traditional English Country pub, who serve a fabulous lunch with the back drop of a roaring open fire.
Warwick Castle at New Year
One such location we recommend is Stratford-upon-Avon:
For further reading we recommend the official local government tourist site:
Local History of Stratford written by Tim Lambert
Stratford upon Avon was founded by the Saxons when they invaded what is now Warwickshire in the 7th century AD. The name Stratford is made up of Celtic and Saxon words. It was the straet ford that is the ford by the Roman road. Avon is a Celtic word meaning river or water.
At first Stratford Upon Avon was a typical village but in the late 12th century it was transformed into a town. (At that time trade and commerce were growing rapidly and many new towns were founded). In the year 1196 King Richard I granted Stratford the right to hold weekly markets. (In the Middle Ages there were few shops so if you wished to buy or sell anything you had to go to a market).
Soon the town of Stratford Upon Avon was up and running and there were many craftsmen there such as blacksmiths, carpenters, shoemakers, brewers and bakers. Stratford was also known for its malting industry. (Processing barley for brewing).
Medieval Stratford Upon Avon would seem tiny to us. It probably only had a population of between 1,000 and 1,500. However towns were very small in those days. However by the 13th century Stratford had a small grammar school.
Furthermore in the Middle Ages people formed religious communities called guilds. The Guild of the Holy Cross was formed in Stratford in 1269. The guild had its own chapel which still stands.
To continue reading Tim Lamberts excellent work,
You can further helpful information on this lovely area at the official local government site for the Cotswolds:
Follow in the footsteps of Oxford’s famous students, from C.S. Lewis to Bill Clinton, as you stroll the captivating college courtyards and cobbled lanes of this historic university town. Take in the famous ‘dreaming spires’ and see the the Bodleian Library – one of the oldest libraries in Europe – on your travels. You’ll be captivated by the unspoilt narrow alleys and ancient squares of this naturally beautiful town.
Beautiful Cotswold Village – Castle Coombe
A treat for moviegoers of all ages, Christ Church is instantly recognisable as one of the major locations for the Harry Potter films! Marvel at the magical grandeur of the Great Hall, used as the setting for Hogwarts. The Cotswolds
Enjoy views of breathtaking countryside, sleepy villages, and bustling market towns as we drive through the charming scenery of one of England’s most beautiful regions. Shakespeare’s Stratford-Upon-Avon – Shakespeare’s Birthplace
A market town with a difference, Stratford-upon-Avon is the famous home of arguably the world’s greatest writer, William Shakespeare. Visit the picturesque half-timbered house where the legendary Bard was born to gain fascinating insights into his childhood.
Be part of Britain’s Greatest Medieval Experience! Deep in the heart of Warwick Castle, the Great Hall becomes a hive of activity! Immerse yourself in battle preparations and feel the weight of a medieval sword. Become a soldier – try on a battle helmet for size! Visit the spectacular State Rooms and feast your eyes on Victorian party preparations.
We found this tour and thanks to them; at www.bestvaluetours.co.uk
New Year’s Eve 2012 Fireworks
Celebrate the end of a year like no other and welcome 2013 with a bang, watching the Mayor’s spectacular, free New Year’s Eve fireworks in London.
I heard a rummer 2012 maybe better than last year – is that possible?
The night skies will come alive in a blaze of light and colour on Monday 31 December 2012 with a display of stunning pyrotechnics by the London Eye on the South Bank.
Courtesy of London.Gov and for further information see their link:
Here is another idea, we found this river cruise New Years Eve Party – the best view must be from the river?
You will be welcomed aboard with a drinks reception.
Our staff will then take you to your reserved table, where a luxuriant 4-course dinner will be served as you cruise on the River Thames, through central London down to Greenwich and back.
You will marvel at London’s iconic sights, all with beautiful night-time illumination.
After dinner, the evening will continue with a live DJ and dancing amidst beautiful festive decorations.
Spend the remainder of the cruise dancing to an array of classic party tunes, or head out on deck to take in the breathtaking sites of London, all ready to meet the New Year, 2013.
At midnight you can toast the arrival of 2013 with a complimentary glass of Champagne whilst listening to Big Ben ringing in the New Year and admiring fantastic London fireworks.
Dancing will continue until the early hours.
We found this at and thanks to them: www.bestvaluetours.co.uk