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I recently took a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and London, England. My trip lasted nine days with four days in Edinburgh, three in London, and two were spent traveling. It was honestly the best trip I have ever been on and I would definitely go back.
The first half of the trip was in Edinburgh, Scotland and it was beyond gorgeous! I loved every minute I was there. The first stop we made was at Alnwick Castle, which was in Alnwick, not Edinburgh, but it was the first place we visited on my first day in Edinburgh.
Alnwick Castle was a stop due to the purpose of my study abroad trip. The trip followed a class I took in college, which was centered on the Harry Potter books. This castle was where they filmed Harry’s first flying lesson and it was definitely a surreal experience to know that we stood where they once stood. My group even got to partake in a flying lesson on the castle grounds. The castle was also used for various episodes of Downton Abbey which was also very exciting.
The town of Edinburgh was extremely gorgeous within itself. Edinburgh is split into two parts: Old Town and New Town.
Old Town was my favorite. It had so many beautiful buildings and landmarks such as the John Knox House. It also had beautiful cobblestone streets, such as The Royal Mile. All of the buildings were old as well, hince “Old Town”.
New Town had more of a modern take with stores such as “Apple” and “TK Max” (yes, I meant to type TK Max). It had the business buildings and the shopping centers, where Old Town had more restaurants and souvenir shops.
My favorite castle that we visited was Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle was definitely my favorite castle due to all of the historical significance with Mary Queen of Scots. She is by far my favorite person in history; right next to Queen Elizabeth II. This castle is where Mary reigned when she held the Scottish throne. It was so cool getting to see her living quarters!
The Elephant House was where JK Rowling wrote a lot of the Harry Potter books. This was one of the many stops we made during our Harry Potter themed tour of Edinburgh. The bathroom of The Elephant House was the best part of this tour. This is not to say that the tour was boring, this is to say that their bathroom was truly AMAZING! Every inch of the walls, floor, ceiling, mirrors, light fixtures, toilet bowls, and all was covered in letters and notes people have written to JK Rowling. This included “thank you’s” as well as quotes from the books and witty book terms such as “this way to the ministry” being written directly over a toilet bowl. I had seen pictures online before going, but they truly did not do it justice. No words or pictures could grasp the sense of breathtaking awe I had as I entered the small room.
If you ever visit Edinburgh, definitely be sure to explore and shop. Some of the souvenir shops actually have some pretty cool things. Exploring was where I got some of the best memories of the trip. Edinburgh is definitely the place to explore. There were so many gorgeous alleys and back streets.
London made up the second half of my trip and was my favorite part. I had always dreamed of going to London ever since I watched What A Girl Wants when I was around seven or eight. Seeing Big Ben for the first time was absolutely amazing and I will never forget walking up on it as it chimed directly on cue. It was so perfectly timed; it was truly magical.
Buckingham Palace was another magical stop. As I mentioned earlier, Elizabeth II is my second favorite person in history, so this stop was definitely among my favorites. Walking up on the enormous gates was surreal and made me feel so inferior to the immense architecture and artistic beauty of the entire structure.
The Tube was by far my favorite way to travel while studying abroad. I loved the rush of the whole thing. The buzz of all of the people getting off and on the trains and the quickness of getting on and off before the doors closed. I also loved being able to arrive at my destination in a matter of minutes. It was just overall a very exciting and convenient way of traveling.
The Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour was yet another amazing stop while I was abroad. It was truly a magical experience to get to see all of the original costumes, sets, and props. I actually recall crying at least twice; once when the curtain rolled up and I saw the Great Hall doors and again when I walked into a room with a huge model of Hogwarts. Both times were completely unexpected and truly took my breath away.
While in London, we also got to see “Romeo and Juliet” in the Globe Theater. It was a modern take on the play and definitely took us all off guard as dancers came out and twerked as the prologue was read. It was a little unexpected, but it kept our interest for sure.
The Millenium Bridge was a stop that I had also been dreaming about ever since I watched What A Girl Wants. I couldn’t wait to walk where Amanda Bynes walked, and also to walk along the bridge that was horribly destroyed by the death eaters in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.
This trip was truly amazing and I wouldn’t trade the memories for the world. I would definitely recommend both of these places and every single one of these amenities to everyone, especially for my fellow Harry Potter fans.
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