So this weekend I lived out a childhood dream of mine (not really, it was still a very much burning desire for me): I took a train to Hogwarts! So I didn’t get a letter by owl inviting me, whatever, I was proactive and took matters into my own hands!
The train ride unfortunately didn’t start from Kings Cross, but instead from Manchester Piccadilly. From there it was about an hour to York, and then a transfer and another 2 hours to Alnmouth in Northumberland (I LOVE saying that word. I feel so British. You can’t help but say the word in a British accent). When we got off at the station we planned to walk since the website said it’d take only about 15 minutes, but pretty quick we were at a fork in the road.
The poor kids who come from this town probably never hear the end of it once they head off to uni and tell others where they're from.
Anyways, we decided it’d just be easier to take a cab so we quickly tracked one down. It was pretty cheap split between the four of us, and ten minutes later we found ourselves at the gates of Alnwick castle (pronounced AH-nick), aka Hogwarts.
Part of the outer fortifications (I was having some overexposure problems with my camera so quite a few of my pictures are like this unfortunately)
After getting our tickets we caught the Harry Potter tour just as it was started. It was pretty interesting, our tour guide, dressed in robes and all, took us on a tour of the castle and pointed out where scenes from the Harry Potter movies were shot at the castle.
The Hogwarts grand entrance! So cool being here, but a little disappointing seeing how much of Hogwarts is CG.
The raised area is where Hagrid's hut was! And the forest behind is of course the entrance to the Forbidden Forest (apparently the rest of the forest is a mix of a couple of other forests)
Professor McGonagall's office window is in the recessed part of the tower.
After the tour it was around noon so we decided to go for lunch in the town.
The Hairy Lemon. The English have the most interesting pub names.
Potato and leek soup with a baguette
...and for dessert, Spotted Dick. I had to, since I don't think you can get this (or at least something called this) anywhere else but the UK. It was really quite nice, it's a cinnamon raisin cake covered in warm custard.
Next up was our flying lesson! Here's our instructor. He had us practice mounting our brooms, accelerating and decelerating, and even doing flying races. We were basically the oldest non-parental figures there, but that's alright.
This is when I commanded my broom into my hand by saying "up!"
LOOKITME!! Yep, that's me flying on my mini-Firebolt alright.
Next we toured the inside of the castle. No pictures allowed, but it was gorgeous. It's hard to believe but a family does live there during the majority of the year. (cry)
A picture of Alnwick from afar. We had the most gorgeous weather!
Beyond the castle were rollling hills and sheep. So picturesque.
We then went to the gardens, which were be-a-u-ti-ful.
While I was in the gardens my camera went particularly crazy, here's sadly my best pic.
While in the gardens we came across a pair of white doves - this one decided to stay still and pose for me.
We then headed to the Treehouse - so cute!
I made myself a magic wand while in the Treehouse. BEAT THIS HARRY! I felt so mature when the wand making supervisors let me use the glue gun all by myself, after I'd watched them glue all the little bits of things the twentysome 5 year olds before me in line wanted on their wands.
Next we went into the Poison Garden. Really interesting! The guide taught us about all sorts of plants that are poisonous and can kill. Did you know eating too many apple seeds could kill you?
After that it was time to head back to the train station and go home on another 3 hour train ride back. When we got back to Manchester Jess and I were starving and decided to try out a restaurant on the Curry Mile. I forget the name, but the chicken briyani was really good! It was actually spicy, unlike other restaurants I’ve tried who label their curries “medium” but never have any heat.
Sunday was spent in Liverpool, but I have enough photos for another post altogether! Will post on that next. Time to get started on my essays… (insert dying sound here).