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One night in Watford for Harry Potter

Norwich, Connecticut
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One night in Watford for Harry Potter

My husband and I are traveling to England with my mom next May. I'd like to tack on an extra night at the end of our trip to see the Harry Potter Studio in London.

Our plan is to drive from Canterbury, drop my mom off at Heathrow in the morning and then go to Watford. I'm not sure if we should keep the rental car or turn it in and take public transportation over to Watford. If we turn in the rental car then we'll have to request an early check-in at our hotel, whereas if we keep the rental car we can drive straight to the studio for a tour before checking into our hotel.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how we should organize this? If we choose to go with public transport and can't check into our hotel until 2 pm (worst case scenario), would we still have enough time in the afternoon to take a thorough tour of the studio?

Watford
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1. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

Tours go on quite late into the evening so that side of things shouldn't be a problem. I presume also that mum is going home a day before you?!

I would definitely keep the car. Getting from car rental office to Central Bus Station for the hourly 724 bus to Watford Junction, finding your hotel and then walking back to the station to catch the shuttle bus to the studio is way too much hassle. That also limits you to the two hotels within walking distance of Watford Junction.

Take the car and stay somewhere nicer such as The Thistle St Albans (also known as the Noke) or the Hilton or, if on a tight budget, one of the three Premier Inn's located in and around Watford. All offer free parking and the journey back to Heathrow should take no longer than 30-40 minutes as long as you avoid the rush hour on the M25,

London
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2. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

I'd keep the car and drive on to Watford, you will be there in less than an hour.

Norwich, Connecticut
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3. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

Thank you for the recommendation. Yes, my mother will be going home a day early (she isn't interested in Harry Potter like I am!). So if we keep the rental car, you recommend staying in Albans instead? I was looking at other towns in the area but haven't done too much research on hotels outside of Watford

london
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4. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

totally agree about keeping the car to get to Watford ... but where to stay that night I would imagine could be affected by what time your flight is the next day ... if it's afternoon/evening then you can stay some distance away from Heathrow but if you've got a morning flight maybe you'd be better staying somewhere nearer to the airport

Norwich, Connecticut
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5. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

I didn't take into consideration the morning commute the next day on our way to the airport. We haven't booked our flights yet but the itinerary we're looking at now shows our departure from London Heathrow at 9:40 am. So we'd have to be at the airport by about 7:30 or 8 am. Perhaps you're right and we should stay closer to the airport, especially if the studio is less than an hour away

Watford
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6. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

If your flight is departing at 9,40 then you will need to be checking in around 6.45-7.00 (the airlines and the majority of us on this forum suggest three hours unless you have checked in online and printed off your boarding passes) which means getting the car back around 6.00-6.15.

The journey from Watford to airport won't take much more than 30 minutes at that time of the morning so not a lot more than if you stayed at an airport hotel. Most Watford hotels are located within a few minutes of the M25 and the Thistle St Albans is literally one roundabout away. It;s also a nicer option than the budget hotels in Watford.

London, United...
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7. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

I live less than half a mile from Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tours. Although we are only 4 miles from Watford Town Centre the bus links around North Watford are poor. If you keep the car, the nearest hotel is the North Watford Premier Inn, about 2 miles. It has a Harvester practically opposite, and a TGI Fridays and McDonalds next door. I hope you enjoy your stay in our lovely town.

Herts
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8. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

I made the same point ref public transport in the other HP thread

Travel from London to Leavesden Studios.

Scotland, Edinburgh
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9. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

Keeping the car might be a good idea but I guess it depends on your flights next day. If it is an early departure, I would stay drop off the car, stay close to the airport and then get the tube to the studios. We visited a couple of weeks ago (and loved it!) and the Harry Potter bus picks you up right outside Watford Junction. The bus takes about 15minutes from there.

Whatever you decide, have fun. I'm sure you will love it :)

UK
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10. Re: One night in Watford for Harry Potter

It's not necessary to check in to drop your luggage off so you aren't restricted to a 2pm or 3pm departure time from the Heathrow area, assuming you stay there overnight ( which I'd agree is the best plan)

All but the cheapest and most budget hotels will let you drop your bags off before you check in. So I would suggest you drop your luggage off, then your mother ( so you aren't leaving all your luggage in the car at Heathrow which is a theft risk) then drive to Watford, then back to hotel. That way you can be back at your hotel at a reasonable time.

If early enough you can drop the car off later that day (depends how long they are open) using the "dead time" in the evening, so you don't have any faffing about next morning and can go direct to Heathrow. This might cost a little more but it also means you won't be struggling on and off car rental shuttles with luggage.