Platform 9 and 3/4 in London, England

Welcome to Travel Tuesday! We are a family of three generations that love Harry Potter.  It began with my younger sister who started after the second book came out and my parents got hooked as they read them too. Feeling left out of dinner conversations I got roped into reading them and then wondered why I was the last to join the family book club.  I married my husband and got him into it and my kids as they were born. In fact Ronan was 'baby Harry' for one book release party and a howler for the one Maddox went as a baby Mandrake plant.  So being able to take my mum, sister, husband, and boys to get our photo taken at platform 9 and 3/4 this summer was mandatory while we were in London.  This was my second time here (see picture left) and they have since updated the wall and have added a gift shop. My thoughts on that near the end of this post. 

Like Harry Potter too? I wrote about What I Have Learned from Harry Potter

My Review of Platform 9 and 3/4:
When we we came before it was just the cart in the wall. In fact there was no partial suitcase or owl cage.  We were able to just walk right up and take as many photos as we wanted. So we took sweet and silly ones. Of course with having kids (as cute as they are) they may not always be in the mood to join in and my oldest was having one of those moments. So returning to do family photos for the Christmas card was on our todo list this summer.  Boy was I surprised to see how much it had changed!   I am taking a note that this could be different if we come again when it is not summer time but then again who knows.  There is a gift store right it and the portable queue markers likes you would find at Disneyland. There was quite a group of people waiting and I will say that everyone who was  there was very nice. In fact they did not mind that almost everyone in my party wanted to get their photo taken twice and then do a huge group shot.  I love the new editions to the the cart and I actually kinda like that they had scarves you could wear and helped flick it for movement for you.

 If I was not a photographer this next bit would not have bothered me so much.  I am sure many people come every day and never have this view point...or I just love Harry Potter way too much and my expectations got shattered.  I usually always have my 50mm on my DSLR because it is a great portrait lens and I was getting nice portraits of my mum and sister with my family while they were visiting.  However due to the close proximity of the queue of other HP fans and where the staff members were located there was no way to get a 'perfect' shot. I had to shoot off from the side and I could not get back as far as I needed too. For the portraits I took it ended up being okay but for my portraits the family member that took my photo cropped out important parts of Platform 9 and 3/4.  Not to mention the lens did not work for our family shot when we had to all look sideways.

The answer for that would be okay I will rely on the photographers they have to take our portraits. They are armed with nice DSLRs and flashes and look all professional with their HP staff badges. Everyone gets their photo taken in time with the guy who fluffs the scarf in the air. You can view your photo at the gift shop and purchase it to take home.  So I thought...sure maybe we can get the family one from the store. The gift shop was not the place to be if you do not like small cramped spaces as it does not do well with crowds of people.  Then when I finally saw our photo my heart sank. I maybe would have taken it if it was free but I certainly was not going to pay money for that shot. It was horrible.

Here is my thought on purchasing the photos.  Right above where platform 9 and 3/4 is located they have huge wonderful skylights. So unless it is nighttime or extremely stormy out you are going to have wonderful natural lighting coming down like you were in a fabulous photo studio.  Yet the staff taking photo use their flash for every one. I cannot comment whether they change their settings during their shift but after seeing our photo I would have definitely changed the exposure and better yet taken it without the flash.  It was the one time I got really frustrated. It really is hard when you know so much about a something that it kinda ruins the experience when it is out of your control. So we did not buy that photograph and we walked away with photos that despite the weird angle are far better exposed.

My husband reminded me that they also say to you in the queue something to the tune of 'You can take your own photos but they will not be as good as ours.'

I love Harry Potter and I hope to go again and maybe beat the crowd control during a quieter time.  Also cannot wait to go to the Harry Potter tour in London too! Have you been?


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  1. Love these photos! Never been to Platform 9 and 3/4 but it's on my to-do list!

  2. So much fun!!! The next time I'm in London I'm putting seeing Platform 9 and 3/4 on the top of my must-see list! :)

  3. Oh...just thought. Maybe we can schedule something in 2014 and take our kids, that would be fun! I'm so looking forward to hopefully getting to the London blogger meet up next month!

  4. Def go when you can, it was such a fun experience. Then sad because my sister and realised we never got our letter to Hogwarts ;)

  5. Yes...and maybe I can meet up with you and go again. Such a fun place! x

  6. I am a Potter-head! My eldest turned 5 this year and he has become a fan already. We are going to do the Harry Potter tour next year with him. I can't wait! It is my ritual to watch the Harry Potter films up to Christmas at this time of year and now Alfie is sharing this with me - we watched The Philosopher's Stone on Sunday. The Chamber of Secrets this Sunday with cake and hot chocolate. Annoying about the photos because you would have done a better job given the chance, but they're still good! : ) x

  7. I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter and I wish to do this someday! Thanks for the tips. I love your photos! And it's so cool that you have 3 generations of HP fans.

  8. I've been to london loads and still haven't been to this! We are trying to plan a trip to Harry Potter world soon but its a three hour drive. Maybe that's why this attraction has become so big with the opening of the studio tour. It still looks like you had some fun though!

  9. This is awesome! The amount of times I have been to London and I still haven't done this, going to put it on the agenda for Christmas!

  10. Oh my God, these photos are so so awesome! I think you picked a great angle considering how tight your space was. Shame about the official "professional" photography shots.
    I haven't done any Harry Potter tour. I think its something fun to do next time in Lonfon. Can't wait to see your post of the next HP tour.

  11. Hi Bonnie! I have an award waiting for you over at! Also entered one of my past travel entries on your linkup! Wish I could visit this place too!


  12. I can't believe all the Harry Potter attractions open after we left England! They will definitely be on my 'to do'list when we go back for a visit

  13. Aww man, it's so disheartening that they've made it so commercial and touristy! I haven't been but it's been high on my 'must visit' list for a long time now... I'm absolutely in love with Harry Potter. Still, you guys got some adorable shots... I love the scarf flying in the background :) Your photos make me want to visit even more!

  14. I am a huge huge huge HP Nerd and am dying to go to Platform 9 3/4!!! I am sad that the pictures having to be taken at weird angles but I would be thrilled just to be there!

  15. I have visited the platform twice but still have no shot of me with it (first time I was alone and no one else even paid any attention it it and second time the line was taking forever). I have been to the studio and IT IS TOTALLY WORTH THE HIGH ADMISSION if you love Harry Potter. I felt like a kid in candy land while I was there and posted over 140 pictures on my blog about it. Love loved loved it!!

  16. When I visited in early April, there was no one around. I even walked right by it and didn't even know it was there. I saw the store before the Platform sign and then figured it had to be nearby. The Harry Potter Studio Tour is awesome! Expensive but awesome! I highly recommend it if you love HP!

  17. I'm visiting London around Christmas, maybe on Christmas so I'm excited for anything about London!

  18. I'm sorry that you had kind of a disappointing experience as far as the photography part went--and it's got to be hard to see the people who's job it is not doing the best job!

  19. this is so awesome! even if it has changed over time, the basic concept is so cool and such a fun thing for kids to be a part of!

  20. I have always wanted to go to platform 9 3/4 since reading the first Harry Potter book years ago. Please let us know if the crowds are less the next time you go. I read that they relocated the display during the station remodel. Can you have access to the area at anytime? Universal Studios has announced that they will be building a Harry Potter World at their LA park (5 hour drive for me) but I also hope to get to Orlando sooner or later to see the Hogwarts there. I look forward to reading about your trip to the London studios.

  21. Just hopping over from Girl Meets Globe and joining in the link up fun!

    I haven't been to Platform 9 3/4 yet, so this is a little disappointing! I'll have to take all this into account when we go!

  22. What an amazing post! I love these pictures of your family at such an awesome place. I think the best one is your your "flying sister" :D

  23. Oh wow looks like you all had an amazing family fun time, love the photos as always :)

    Laura x

  24. I am such a Harry Potter fan. I recently did the studio tour at Warner Bros. in London and it was AMAZING. It was ten times better then I thought it would be!


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