England has provided some of the world’s most interesting and most popular characters in modern literature and television. Harry Potter, written by JK Rowling and adapted to the big screen by four different directors, Doctor Who, the longest running television show in the world, and Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s most iconic character, are three of the most popular characters and stories brought into the world by British writers.
Early in our time at Harlaxton, my friends and I decided that we would like to see the places connected most with each of these important literary figures while we were going to be in England. The first place we knew we wanted to visit was The Warner Brothers Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter outside of London. When we finally set the date, also hoping to see The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales that same weekend, we sat back and waited for the weekend to come.
The weekend my friends and I dubbed “Fan Girl Weekend” started with us arriving in London a little late having to run between Kings Cross and Euston Station. When we made it to Watford Junction, the little village that the Harry Potter studio is located, we walked in the direction that we believed the studio to be. After taking five or six wrong turns and finally following the buses that shuttle people to the park, we reached the studio with an air of relief realizing we walked eight miles by foot.
The Studio has parts that aren’t allowed to be talked about out of the park which makes the studio a place that every Harry Potter fan should go. The props, sets and costumes available to be seen were breathtaking. My favorite was seeing the Great Hall and the costume that my favorite character’s actor wore in the third film.
The next morning, Cardiff was our next goal, our train left early for the two and a half hour train ride to the Bay. This time finding the Experience wasn’t as hard as finding the Harry Potter studio, with the really weird shaped blue building serving as the home of The Doctor Who Experience.
As a fan of the show, Cardiff is a big must see when visiting England due to being the location of The Doctor Who Experience and the BBC Wales, where Doctor Who and BBC’s Sherlock are filmed, are both located within meters of each other. The Experience, although like at the Harry Potter Studio the best part is something I can’t talk about, wasn’t as great as it could have been. The costumes and sets were amazing, seeing David Tennant’s costume and TARDIS is something someone can’t do every day in person but to someone who doesn’t watch more of the modern, Matt Smith version of the Doctor, the Experience isn’t as exciting as it could be.
After realizing that we didn’t have the time the Sherlock Holmes part of “Fan Girl Weekend” was pushed to a later date. When we finally made it down to London for Sherlock, the series taping of the show, BBC Sherlock is starting to tape its third series starting on the 18th, made our urgency to see the places that we saw on the show and in the movies more real and the places we visited helped make me feel more connected to the show and the character I love from English literature, including the Museum and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital where Sherlock jumped to his “death” in the television show.
Through my time at Harlaxton I was given a chance to visit all the places that I find important to me through my favorite characters and helped me grow as a fan of these literary heroes. Just like the Ninth Doctor says my experiences with these places have been “fantastic” and now “The game’s afoot!”