Sunday, Day 1 London to Hampton Court Palace
Meet a crew member at the Stafford Hotel in London at 3pm for afternoon English Cream Tea, before being transferred at 4pm to the Magna Carta. There will be a Sorting hat that will choose which house you belong to and the hostesses will take you to your chosen dorms. Once unpacked we will have a Champagne reception and official welcome, moored outside Hampton Court, former Tudor Palace of Henry VIII, where we remain overnight. The magical dinner will be served aboard.
Monday, Day 2 Hampton Court Palace to Runnymede
This morning you have ample time to really explore Hampton Court Palace, the most fabulous Tudor home of Henry VIII! Though used as a Royal home until Victorian times. You will walk through Henry’s great hall and haunted gallery and see his chapel, still used for worship today and with the finest Tudor ceiling in existence. There is much more to see including the stunning privy gardens, the world’s oldest growing grape vine and the famous maze! After lunch we will enjoy our first cruise, up through Molesey Lock and following the meandering path of the river through Sunbury, Chertsey, and Shepperton to the overnight mooring on Bell Weir Lock at Runnymede. Dinner will be served aboard.
Tuesday, Day 3 Runnymede to Windsor
After breakfast and before cruising to Windsor we will drive to Virginia Water, where in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, Harry first encounters Buckbeak at the beautiful lake. The location later takes on a more sinister tone, when Harry tries to protect Sirius from the dementors. In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, Hermione tries to tell Harry that Hagrid is looking for him here. It is also the location for the lakeside scene, following the second task, with Barty Crouch Sr.
On return we will cruise to Windsor before enjoying lunch on board. The river journey takes us through Runnymede where King John faced the barons in 1215 and was forced to put his seal on the Magna Carta, the document which was the very first Bill of Rights and from which our vessel takes its name. From the boat you see the Magna Carta memorial and Magna Carta Island where the sealing took place. The afternoon excursion is to Windsor Castle. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and lived in for over 900 years by the Royal Family. This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. You explore the State Apartments, see Queen Mary’s Dolls House and St George’s Chapel and enjoy the far-reaching views from its elevated fortress position. Magna Carta will stay in Windsor overnight. We will have another enchanted Dinner aboard.
Wednesday, Day 4 Windsor to Cliveden
The tour of Dorney Court is on the program this morning for you. This very special home has been owned by the Palmer family for more than 450 years passing from father to son through 13 generations. King Henry VIII has stayed here and the manor is regularly used for filming including “Poirot” and more recently “The other Boleyn girl”. You are lucky to enjoy a private tour of the house. After the tour of Dorney Court there is a 20 minute drive to 12 Picket Post Close, Martin’s Heron in Bracknell, Berkshire. Picket Post Close was the real-life location for the filming of 4 Privet Drive in the first Harry Potter film. 12 Picket Post Close is the house number of the residence Warner Brothers used for filming the Dursley’s house. Warner Brothers had to pay the residents of Picket Post Close a large fee for using their neighbourhood in the film, as well as for the inconvenience of all the filming equipment. When it came time to shoot the second film, it was decided it was easier and cheaper to shoot at Warner Brothers Studios where an actual ‘Privet Drive’ set was built, as the residents continued to demand further payments. Picket Post Close was used in the first and fifth films.
On return we will cruise through Boveney lock, past the fabulous waterside homes of Bray and Maidenhead, Boulters lock (made famous in Victorian times) and into the spectacular Cliveden reach where we have special permission to moor at the house itself. Cliveden House was once owned by the Astor family, though the original house dates back to 1666. The gardens are simply amazing and include a Parterre, Chinese water garden and topiary. We discuss the political intrigue and scandal for which Cliveden is famous! Dinner aboard.
Thursday, Day 5 Cliveden to Hurley
After breakfast you are driven to the Warner Brothers Studios to take part in the amazing Harry Potter tour. Warner Brothers Studios and the surroundings were Harry Potter’s home for more than ten years. As the books were still being released while the films were being made, the production crew saved many of the iconic sets, props and costumes that were created especially for the films – just in case they were ever needed later on in the series. Once filming wrapped on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” in 2010, the production crew were left with a treasure trove of thousands of intricate and beautifully made artefacts, many of which wouldn’t have been saved on a typical production. The team behind Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter wanted to preserve and showcase these iconic props, costumes and sets so that Harry Potter fans could experience the magic of filmmaking first-hand. Many of the original cast and crew returned to reassemble the sets and record their memories from filming, and on 31st March 2012, the Studio Tour opened its doors. Set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made, the Studio Tour offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore two soundstages and a back lot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and breath-taking special effects.
A late lunch will be served aboard on your return and you will cruise through Bourne End and Marlow to Hurley. Dinner aboard.
Friday, Day 6 Hurley to Henley-on-Thames and Oxford
This morning we will cruise through fabulous countryside to our final mooring situated along the famous Henley Regatta Rowing Course. An earlier lunch will be served on board followed by a 40 minute drive to Oxford. A fascinating tour of Christ Church College, Oxford’s grandest college, founded twice, once by Cardinal Wolsey and then by King Henry VIII. The magnificent surroundings were where Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. The Great Hall at Hogwarts was modelled on the Great Hall at Christchurch College. Christchurch College’s grand 16th century stone staircase, which leads to its Great Hall, was used in several scenes in both “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. The first years’ arrival and greeting by Professor McGonagall in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. Harry and Ron encountering Filch on the staircase when they arrive at Hogwarts in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. When Harry enters Tom Riddle’s diary in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, he first encounters Tom Riddle and the younger Dumbledore on this staircase.
You will also visit the Bodleian Library. The Divinity School was used as the Hogwarts hospital wing in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. It was also used in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” in the scene where Professor McGonagall is teaching the Gryffindor students to dance in preparation for the Yule Ball.
Duke Humfrey’s Library in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, Harry sneaks into the restricted section under his invisibility cloak. Later in the movie, Hermione reads about the Sorcerer’s Stone to Harry and Ron.
Optional: An additional tour of the Cloister at New College, another College of Oxford University. It was used in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” as the Hogwarts quad where Harry warns Cedric about the dragons and Malfoy is turned into a ferret.
For your final night you enjoy a mesmerising Captains’ Farewell Dinner aboard.
Saturday, Day 7 Henley to London
Following breakfast, disembark at 9.30am and return to London or Heathrow Airport.
On alternate weeks the cruise will be in the reverse direction. This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.