Take the family on a magical 10-day adventure around England's capital. It includes all the highlights, from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. And the thread that ties the whole journey together is an imaginative tale of a boy wizard. This trip includes many "Harry Potter"-themed activities, such as musical productions, soundstage tours, and visiting actual filming locations.

Highlights

  • See the most famous London sights on a double-decker tour bus
  • Visit Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard ceremony
  • Explore major landmarks like Windsor Castle and Stonehenge
  • Discover your inner wizard on multiple "Harry Potter"-themed tours

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in London & City Tour  London
Day 2 Hidden Gems Food Tour & Harry Potter at the West End London
Day 3 Kensington Palace & Football Stadium Taxi Tour London
Day 4 Buckingham Palace & Changing of the Guard, Rooftop Cinema London
Day 5 Day Trip to Windsor, Bath, & Stonehenge London
Day 6 The Imperial War Museum & High Tea at the Savoy Hotel London
Day 7 Harry Potter Studio Tour London
Day 8 London to Oxford, Bodleian Library, & Harry Potter Tour Oxford
Day 9 Oxford River Cruise & Picnic Oxford
Day 10 Transfer to Airport & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in London & City Tour 

See London's major sights, like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Welcome to London! Upon arrival, a driver will meet you at the airport to transfer you and your family to your hotel. Take some time to unpack and unwind after the flight. Then, you'll head out on a 2.5-hour tour of this great global city. 

Your means of transportation during this outing is a double-decker bus. Pick a seat on the open-air second level and snap photos of this city's most famous landmarks and buildings. You'll be able to hop off at any of the stops along the way. Then, after you've done some sightseeing on foot, hop back on the next passing bus. All these vehicles follow the same route, so another bus is never far away. 

As for the sights, all of London's highlights are included on the tour. You'll pass Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Abby, 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister's residence), Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Notting Hill, the Shard, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and much more. Alternatively, you can experience the city from a different perspective: on a boat cruise along the River Thames

Day 2: Hidden Gems Food Tour, Harry Potter at the West End

Experience the lively atmosphere of Borough Market

In the morning, you'll embark on a 3-hour Hidden Gems Food Tour, which is guaranteed to satisfy the appetite of even the most finicky eater in your family. That's because you'll get to try a wide variety of tasty cuisine. In between sampling the best street food in the city, your guide will entertain you and your family with tales about the area's history.

The tour starts near the Tower of London and continues through Southwark, a neighborhood in south London known for its galleries, theaters, and markets. Speaking of which, you'll finish the tour at the historic Borough Market, an enormous market hall featuring over 100 food vendors, restaurants, bars, and shops. These include fresh produce stalls, butchers, fishmongers, cheesemakers, bakers, coffee roasters, delis, wine bars, artisanal pastry shops, and scores of international food stands representing every corner of the world.

After filling yourself with history and fine food, it's off to the famous West End theater district, where in the evening you'll enjoy a show perfect for the whole family: "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." Based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, this exclusive new Harry Potter adventure, which takes place 19 years after Harry, Ron, and Hermione saved the wizarding world, premiered in 2016 and has racked up an impressive 22 awards in the UK alone. As the Hollywood Reporter put it, get ready for "thrilling theatricality and pulse-pounding storytelling."

Day 3: Kensington Palace, Football Stadium Taxi Tour

Kensington Palace Tickets
Visit Kensington Palace, home to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

You're in for a real treat when you visit one of the most famous residences in England: Kensington Palace. In the 17th century, this was a small villa called Nottingham House. However, over the years, Stuart and Georgian monarchs transformed the palace into a fashionable home for Britain's young royal families. It's also where Queen Victoria was born. More recently, Kensington has been home to famous royals like Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It's also the London home of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children. 

You'll walk in the footsteps of royalty on a 2-hour tour of the palace. It includes access to Queen Victoria's childhood rooms, the King's State Apartments, the King's Gallery, and the Queen's State Apartments—private rooms where Queen Mary II took her meals and entertained guests. You'll also tour the Palace Gardens, which feature box hedges, wildflower meadows, a boating lake, and the famous Sunken Garden, filled with ornamental flower beds and a statue honoring Princess Diana. 

After experiencing some of the refined royal heritage of London, you and the family will embark on a history lesson of a more sporting nature: a London Stadium Tour. This 4-hour taxi tour of the city's most prominent athletic sites is led by a true British football fan with enthusiasm to spare. You'll visit the Freemason's Tavern, where in 1863, the Football Association was formed, and the game's governing rules were established. You'll also visit two different London Football Club Stadiums of your choosing. It's a fun outing sure to please the sports fans in your family. 

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Day 4: Buckingham Palace & Changing of the Guard, Rooftop Cinema

Witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

It's finally arrived: that part of the trip when you visit Buckingham Palace. This is one of the most famous homes globally and has been the primary residence of England's royal family since the turn of the 18th century. On a 1.5-hour walking tour, you'll witness the extraordinary Changing of the Guard ceremony. It's a symbolic act, typically occurring every other day, in which the Queen's Guard hands over responsibility for protecting the palace to the New Guard.

Your guides will ensure you arrive at the right time to avoid the mass crowds that typically swarm the palace gates during the ceremony. But it's not all waiting around—you'll also witness the earlier stages of the ceremony, which includes a march by a detachment of the Old Guard and the New Guard accompanied by ceremonial bands. You'll even get to walk alongside the band, being careful not to get in the way of the marching guards dressed in their famous fur caps and red tunics.

Our tour guides have the experience and knowledge to ensure you're positioned at ideal vantage points to snap the best photos. They'll also provide fun anecdotes about the history of the proceedings and all the accompanying pomp and ceremony that's such an integral part of British tradition. Most importantly, they'll ensure that you and your family leave with lasting memories.

Please note this tour does not stop near the gates of Buckingham Palace, so you will not see the part of the ceremony that takes place in the overcrowded palace forecourt. We can, however, guarantee that your tour will be far more enjoyable, more informative, more interactive, and less stressful. 

Later in the day, give your legs a break with an evening at the cinema. Except with this experience, you'll enjoy a film from a truly unique perspective: on the roof of one of the city's buildings. This is another activity perfect for families. Your group will grab some deck chairs and wireless headphones and enjoy a fun film with drinks and food amid stunning 360° views of the London skyline. Recent films that have been shown include everything from "Grease" and "The Goonies" to "Forrest Gump" and "Mean Girls."

Day 5: Day Trip to Windsor, Bath, & Stonehenge

Small Group Tour to Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge
England's most famous prehistoric monument: Stonehenge

In the morning, you'll embark on a full-day, small-group tour to some of the most famous sights outside London. The itinerary includes three of the UK's top locations: Windsor Castle, the city of Bath, and iconic Stonehenge. With a maximum of 17 guests on the tour, this is a fun social experience yet one that remains relatively intimate. The smaller group size means you'll have personal attention from your guide.

The first stop will be Windsor Castle, the largest occupied royal residence in the world. This property is Queen Elizabeth II's favorite, and it was most recently the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding. On a tour, you'll get to see the exquisite St George's Chapel—where the two were married—as well as the burial site of the formidable Tudor King Henry VIII. You'll also visit the luxurious State Rooms and see the spectacular dolls house built for Queen Mary in 1921 as a gift from the nation.

Next, you'll travel west to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bath. This city is so named due to its famous Roman Baths, which date to the first century. Bath is also known for once being home to legendary author Jane Austen, as well as for its breathtaking Georgian architecture. One of the finest examples in all of England is the Circus, a ring of Georgian townhouses that opened in the year 1768. You and your family will visit such architectural marvels and then stop in at the historic Roman Baths. Afterward, you can sip natural spring water at the adjacent Grand Pump Room.

The last stop on tour is the 5,000-year-old Neolithic ruins of Stonehenge. Set on Salisbury Plain, this is one of the most mysterious locations in the world. How did these sarsen stones get here? What do they represent? See if you can piece together the mystery as you and your family stroll this archeological site assisted by headphones and audio commentary. Afterward, glean even more information at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre and see how your theories stack up against reality.

Day 6: The Imperial War Museum, High Tea at the Savoy Hotel

Fascinating WWI tour of the Imperial War Museum
Take a tour of the Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museums is a network of museums that have become a leading chronicler of war—one that gives voice to the experiences of ordinary people who lived in a world torn apart by such conflict. Originally established in 1917 to record the effort and sacrifice of Britain during WWI, it has since expanded to include five locations throughout England.

Today you and the family will visit one of the London branches and hear the stories behind its fascinating WWI exhibits and artifacts. On a guided tour, you'll learn the history of the war, how it was fought, why it lasted so long, and the legacy of loss and trauma it left in its wake. This short tour (approx. 40 minutes) uses headsets to ensure you can hear your guide clearly throughout the galleries.

Continue the day on a less somber note as you take high tea at London's famous Savoy Hotel. This is one of the city's most luxurious 5-star hotels, and they've been doing their famed Savoy Afternoon Tea since 1889. You and your family will enjoy this leisurely 2-hour experience in the hotel's Thames Foyer. Sit beneath a stunning glass-domed atrium that radiates natural light and enjoy being serenaded by a classical pianist as you sample a variety of teas, sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream. 

Day 7: Harry Potter Studio Tour 

See how the magic of "Harry Potter" was made

Get ready for a full day discovering the behind-the-scenes magic that went into making the most successful fantasy movies of all time. When author J.K. Rowling allowed her best-selling series of books to be adapted into films, her main stipulation was that they be shot entirely in England. After filming, they preserved many London sets, which is exactly what you'll see on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour of the "Harry Potter" films. It's the perfect outing for both the young and the young at heart.

On this tour, you and your family will visit a soundstage and walk among familiar sets—both life-size and miniature. You'll also see your favorite wizarding props, creature effects, models, and authentic costumes. The latter includes everything from wizard robes to Quidditch uniforms. Throughout it all, you'll witness the amazing talent, craftsmanship, and imagination that went into bringing this beloved world to life.

This foray into the Wizarding World starts where Harry's did, in the cupboard under the stairs. Then, after an introductory video featuring some of your favorite characters, you'll be welcomed into the Great Hall, where no detail has been spared—even the dining table is set for a feast. Here you can see the actual costumes and wigs worn by prominent cast members.

The tour continues to many more familiar sets with plenty of famous characters. You'll stop at the Forbidden Forest, see masked Death Eaters, visit Aragog's Lair, walk along iconic Platform 9¾, and step inside the Hogwarts Express. Another major highlight is a tour of Diagon Alley, home to dusty Ollivanders Wand Shop, where inside you'll find 17,000 individually labeled wand boxes.

Day 8: London to Oxford, Bodleian Library & Harry Potter Tour

Tour the grand Oxford University

Today you'll hop on a train for the scenic one-hour trip northwest from London to Oxford. Known for its prestigious (and eponymous) university, this medieval city in south-central England is lovely in its own right. Founded in the 12th century, Oxford University's Gothic spires still tower over the historic center. 

The first stop on this half-day tour is Bodleian Library, the main research library of Oxford University. This is a real treat, as the Bodleian is the second-largest library in England (it houses over 13 million books and printed items) and is one of the oldest in Europe. Here you'll visit the library's historic rooms including the 15th-century Divinity School, Convocation House, Chancellor's Court, medieval Duke Humfrey's Library (the oldest reading room in the building), and Radcliffe Camera, which houses the science library.

Then you're off to see the university grounds on a 1.5-hour, "Harry Potter"-themed tour. That's right—certain parts of Oxford served as shooting locations for the movies. These include New College and Christ Church—both constituent colleges of Oxford University. The tour includes entry to one such filming site, which is located in Bodleian Library's Divinity School. This is where they filmed the classroom, dance, and infirmary scenes.

The tour covers even more ground. As you stroll by Oxford's famous sights, your guide will reveal behind-the-scenes stories about the production, actors, and even J.K. Rowling (the author applied to the school but was famously rejected). During the walk, you'll also take a "Harry Potter" quiz to test your knowledge of the books and films and learn how Oxford's student life compares with Hogwarts.

Day 9: Oxford River Cruise & Picnic

Enjoy an afternoon punting on the River Cherwell

You'll enjoy a time-honored Oxford tradition in the afternoon: punting on the River Cherwell. This is a leisurely, two-hour boat tour that involves hopping in a punt (a narrow, flat-bottomed riverboat) and then punting (propelling the boat using a long stick to push on the riverbed) down the river. The experience is not unlike riding in a Venetian gondola, and just like those boats in Italy, you'll have your own expert chauffeur to whisk you and your family around the waterway. 

The relaxing trip begins as you set off at a gentle pace south from the boathouse. You'll pass a number of Oxford's iconic sights, such as the Botanic Garden, the playing fields of Magdalen College School, and Christ Church (where Lewis Carroll taught his students in the mid-19th century). Finally, you'll pass the fertile gardens of St Hilda's College before heading back to the boathouse.

However, if you're feeling adventurous, the chauffeur will continue south to where the Cherwell meets the Isis (Oxford's name for the River Thames). The river opens up at this point and is lined with even more stunning scenery and natural beauty. Regardless of whether you want to continue, you'll enjoy a picnic lunch right on the boat. 

In the evening you'll return to London, where you'll overnight. 

Day 10: Transfer to Airport, Depart

Farewell, wizards of England

Today you'll gather the family and meet your private driver outside the hotel. Then you'll transfer to the airport for your flight home. This concludes your magical adventure in England. Until next time!

More Great England Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to England? Check out these other England itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of Family Fun in England: Wizards & Castles - 10 Days
Map of Family Fun in England: Wizards & Castles - 10 Days