British Tours Ltd Braced for New Wave of Harry Potter Fans

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Harry Potter visitors to Britain set to increase with the new film and final Harry Potter book in the series.

In preparation for July's release of the new Harry Potter movie 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' and the release of the final book in the series 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows', London-based tour operator British Tours Ltd is training additional tour guides to fulfill increased demand for tours of the Harry Potter locations.

The Harry Potter movies have been filmed entirely in Britain and have created a phenomenon in UK tourism since 2001 when the first Harry Potter film was released.

"Several of Britain's most historic sights provided the film's stunning backdrops and all have seen an increase in visitor numbers as a result. They include Christ Church, Oxford, which provided the setting for Hogwarts' staircase and the model for the School of Wizardry's dining room," said British Tours Ltd guide Henrietta. Other sights in Oxford doubled as Hogwarts' Library and Hospital, whilst Gloucester Cathedral's ancient cloisters were used for several scenes in the 'Sorcerer's Stone' and 'Chamber of Secrets' including the ghost scenes and overflowing bathroom scenes. See Quicktime tour of Gloucester Cathedral and Quicktime tour of Christ Church Oxford .

The London locations include Australia House on the Strand (Gringott's Bank in the first film), London Zoo (where Harry communicates with the snake), King's Cross Station (Platform 9 and 3/4) as well as Borough Market and Leadenhall Market. In the North of England, Alnwick Castle and Durham Cathedral also provided interior and exterior shots for Hogwarts. Ghoatland Railway Station in North Yorkshire doubled as the film's Hogsmeade Station. The flying car sequences were shot at Fort William's Glenfinnan Viaduct.

All the sights have received an increase in visitor numbers, with Christ Church, reporting a 40pc increase in visitor numbers after just the first movie. Even King's Cross Station has become a busy attraction on the Harry Potter trail, with fans eager to get a photo of the 'Platform 9 and 3/4' sign and the installation art beneath - a trolley 'vanishing' into the wall.

New locations used in the latest film include Westminster Underground Station which was closed all day for the filming and magnificent Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The trailer for the 'Order of the Phoenix' shows Harry and other wizards flying at night along the River Thames' landmarks such as Canary Wharf and a floodlit Houses of Parliament.

British Tours Ltd has specialised in personal tours of London, England, Scotland and Wales since 1958 with expert tour guides. The company received their first Harry Potter inquiry in October 2000 before the first film had been released and their locations tour is one of their most popular special interest tours. Over 300 tours of the locations were carried out in 2006. Typical costs are 70 GBP per person based on 6 people for an Oxford day tour from London.

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