Arriving early in July - Harry Potter?

We've booked the July 17th 2016 Castles & Kings tour with our (by that time) almost seven year old daughter. We'll be arriving on the 16th to allow for a bit of time for adjustment to the time change prior to the tour starting. We'd love to go visit the Harry Potter studio tour as we're all big fans.

Have others done or planned this? We're debating between planning it for the day we arrive with the hope that if we take the charter bus to and from London we'll have a bit of time for resting on the bus vs. trying to squeeze it in the following day once we're better rested before our Tauck tour starts at 3pm?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice!


  • As a very well travelled individual who has crossed the Atlantic more times than I can count, I will repeat myself again on this forum. I would not advise anyone to pre- plan such a tour on the day of arrival. Please remember that your 'overnight flight' in reality means that you will arrive equivalent of around 3am US east coast time. You then have the ride into central London. Even if you stay awake and do the tour, there is no guarantee you will be able fall asleep that night. It seems a shame to risk not be able to enjoy the Tauck tour when you have paid so much money for it and you are travelling with a seven year old. My recommendation would be to arrive about three days early. And see Harry Potter in that time frame, plus London is so huge and so rich in site seeing, you could spend the first day with gentle walking site seeing near the hotel, getting plenty of daylight that will help adjust the jet lag but near enough to bail out and go back to the hotel if you are tired. The next day I would site see again and the the next I would do Harry Potter.
  • With a 7 year old, I suspect you are a tad younger than British and many of us who frequent this forum. But, in many respects, I still have to agree with British about jet lag, etc. and the amount of time you'll have. Remember, unless your daughter has done and is used to international travel and flying, she will be very excited and not likely to get much sleep on the flight, even if you have flat-bed seats in business class.

    Also, a lot depends on what time your flight arrives in London (Heathrow?) on the 16th. Tauck will pick you up at the airport but it will take some time to collect your bags, clear the airport and, depending on traffic, it may take almost an hour to drive the 18 mi. to the Royal Horseguards (which is in a great location!). While you will be able to leave your bags with the bell captain, unless you make prior arrangements you may not be able to access your room until mid-afternoon. You'll certainly want to freshen up and possibly change clothes before heading to the Warner Bros. Studios.

    The studios are 21+ mi. northwest of your hotel, but will take a minimum of an hour to get there by car (likely about the same via taxi or dedicated tour bus) and even longer by public transportation (requires a mix of modes- you can check it out on Google maps Directions). All that could severely limit the amount of time you have to spend there. The same goes for the next day- you may find that you are rushed at the Studio so you can leave with enough time to ensure you are back in plenty of time for the 3:00 tour kickoff. Though pricey, it might be more convenient and less stressful to go by taxi or hire a car to take you to the Studios. But, back to what British says, you might want to consider arriving on the 15th and visiting the Studios on the 16th.

    The first three days of the tour in London are packed with activities- you'll hit a lot of the hot spots within a reasonable distance from the Horseguards, so don't get over-tired before the tour ever starts. Of course, if you make it to the Studios, just think of the bragging rights your daughter will have when she gets home! The itinerary sounds wonderful. We will need to keep it in mind when our granddaughter reaches a suitable age in a few years. At present, she is more into Star Wars than Harry Potter, however.
  • Just to follow up in case any others read this post and are considering the same plan... It actually worked out well to do the Harry Potter tour the day we arrived in London. We booked the Golden Tours coach trip so had over an hour bus ride to nap and/or watch the movie that they play on the bus. The tour itself was self-guided and low key so an easy one to do while tired. We ate dinner at the studio cafeteria so we all set to head straight to bed once we were back at the hotel.
  • edited July 2016
    Thanks for the follow-up! They are all too rare on this forum.

    We depart for The Best of Ireland tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Shannon the next day in late morning. We usually try to go 2 days early but decided on only one this time. After stopping at the hotel and having some lunch we will be off in the afternoon to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and staying for the Medieval banquet (first seating : ) ). Our tour starts the following day at 1300 so we can sleep in a bit.
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