Hi all. We have tickets booked for the Harry Potter studio tour at 11:30 AM on Monday, May 12. We need to collect the tickets at the studio, and are advised to arrive 20 minutes prior to ticket time. We're staying at the Hotel Indigo London Kensington, by the Earl's Court Tube station.
So here's my plan:
-Walk from hotel to West Brompton station (Google Maps estimates this at 11 minutes).
-Take the 9:47 train from West Brompton to Watford Junction, arriving 10:21 AM.
-Take taxi from Watford Junction to studios.
-Have something to eat and possibly start looking in gift shop before tour starts.
-Take tour, have amazing time, spend too much money.
-Take taxi back to Watford Junction and catch next train back to London.
And here are my questions:
1. Google Maps estimates the walk from the hotel to West Brompton station at 11 minutes. When should we leave the hotel to allow adequate time to reach the station, pick up our tickets, and catch the 9:47 train? There seems to be no self-service ticket pickup machine at that station, so I'm assuming we'll need to go to a window. (Or am I wrong and we'd need to pick up our tickets at a different station before the journey?)
2. It appears to me that the train ticket I should buy from the Southern Railway website is an off-peak day return ticket, for 7.30 pounds, and that even if I enter specific train times when I buy the ticket, I can use it for any train to Watford Junction and back during off-peak hours, and I don't have to worry about any kind of reservation for a specific train. Is that correct?
3. I know that we don't need to take taxis between the train station and studios, and that there's a shuttle bus that would be much cheaper. My concern is that our vacation time is limited and valuable, and I'd rather just splurge and be able to take a cab right away, rather than risk sitting on a bus for up to 20 minutes before it departs (when I could be spending that 20 minutes having a snack or looking in the gift shop). Am I being ridiculous? Also, is there any kind of posting of when the bus will be making its next departure?
4. Are taxis readily available at Watford Junction station and at the studios?
5. Can anyone give me an idea of what kind of food is offered at the concession area inside the tour? Pretty much all I've been able to find is that it's less substantial than is offered outside the tour, and includes butterbeer and ice cream. Do they have snack stuff, like a bag of crisps for example?
6. A friend of mine will be meeting me and my boyfriend for the tour; I've booked three tickets. We're not sure yet when we'll be meeting up with her; we might be traveling separately from Watford Junction to the studios. I understand that to take the shuttle bus, you have to show your booking confirmation. Would it be a problem if I just send her a copy of the confirmation, and we each show the three-ticket confirmation on separate buses? Would they know on the bus that it's been used before, and have a problem with that?
Thanks so much for any help you can offer!