Tickets can be bought here, and I’d recommend booking them in advance, especially if you’re going during the holiday season or when there’s a special event on!
This is a must-visit for any fan, it’s really that simple. Everything you ever wanted to know about the movies and cast, every behind-the-scenes detail, all the production and design stuff.. it’s an absolute dream. Mum and I had lots of tears in our eyes, and I had a solid cry at the end of it. It’s funny, because one of my friends had visited and had said that it changed her impression of the movies, understanding that the green screens behind it and seeing the models and animatronics, but for me it somehow made it all the more real. I mean, Harry Potter really does exist for me, and I can’t begin to talk about how and why it’s so important (that’s a whole blog post on it’s own), but walking into that last room and seeing Hogwarts. My god, I bawled. There was nothing disappointing about this experience. They were incredibly accommodating as well, especially as I turned up in my wheelchair and had only informed them of it literally an hour before.
Make sure you try the Butterbeer ice cream, I enjoyed it a lot more than the drink! And don’t forget to pick up some chocolate frogs and sugar quills in the gift shop at the end.
The Royal Academy of Arts, London, has hosted a summer exhibition for the last 247 years. Pretty phenomenal. I’m very big on art galleries, and as this was my first summer as a London resident, I was keen to do as much as possible. My interest in the Summer Exhibition, in particular, was sparked by a documentary on iPlayer that followed the build up to the event by spotlighting several artists who’d submitted work (the exhibition, unlike many, is open to submissions from anyone — artists and non-artists alike) and the curators of the exhibition, too.
Artist Michael Craig-Martin (mentor once to none other than Damien Hirst) co-ordinated this year’s showcase — which gave me yet more reason to pay it a visit, as I was (a little ironically) interested in him and his work. My first trip to the Tate Modern, I must’ve been about 10, was incredibly memorable: an artist had collected junk for three months and then built it into a mound; someone had put tyres all over the floor; and, the most bizarre, was a half full glass of water on a glass shelf, entitled the Oak Tree. I discovered, through the iPlayer documentary, that Craig-Martin was the artist behind it. I had to see what he’s come up with for this exhibition — if that man could imagine a great tree from a bathroom shelf, I was certain the exhibition he curated would be just as wild. I was not disappointed. Continue reading
For Valentine’s Day (yes, yes it is March now, thank you), my favorite man and I had a cute gallivant about Bath before heading down to his home town for a week.
As soon as we arrived we decided we were hungry, and conveniently right outside the station is the grill to end all grills. Or, at least, all British grills pretending to be proper grills. This place does the trick. Not only aesthetically pleasing with it’s corrugated archways (sorry, ‘vaults’), it just has that solid atmosphere: the atmosphere that says “yeah, yeah I like it here” and you smoosh yourself into the seat and decide to stay for dessert before you’ve actually looked at the menu.
Grillstock. We missed the lunchtime rush (a queue formed about 20 minutes after we’d sat down), and it’s obviously quite the go-to place. There were couples, families, some of the elderly blatantly disregarding their doctors. I was impressed price wise, which says a lot because I can’t normally stomach sit-down restaurant prices. Cheaper than TGIF, American style portion sizes, and far less fast-food-y than Five Guys. It’s a perfect combination of counter ordering and quick service, specialised food, and the restaurant experience. I ordered a smokestack burger with a side of mac and cheese and good lord was it worth it. If you’re feeling extra brave and empty inside, you can go for the ‘Grand Champion’, a six kilo gastronomic nightmare, destined to turn your insides into meaty mush. A marine-type was giving it a go a couple of tables away from us; I may or may not have made up excuses to walk past a couple times to track his progress. He got through half the rack, two burgers and one hot dog before calling it quits. Weak effort, my friend!
Plus the bathrooms yo. Any bathroom with its own speakers is an instant up-vote for me. See below to get a taste of those portion sizes!
And after stuffing ourselves senseless..
Bath is incredibly picturesque. Seeped in history, lots of white stone and cobbled lanes, with the odd grassy square. And tourists. Oh, lots and lots of tourists. Actually worse than Oxford, I found – particularly as it was a) a Saturday and b) the first properly lovely day we’ve had this year. I actually took my jacket off at one point! A small miracle worthy of that exclamation mark.
We beelined for the Royal Crescent, mostly so I could relive Persuasion and look out for Captain Wentworth. If you’re keen for a visit yourself, the Bath tourist website actually offers a fantastically put together map with popular film locations on it – it would be wonderfully easy to make up your own walking tour.
And as it was Valentine’s Day, I bullied the poor Hugo into taking some rather soppy photos with me!