Harry Potter Tours in Oxford

It has been almost 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in the UK (16th November 2001 to be precise). I was not a Tour Guide at that time, but I know that the popularity of visiting Oxford increased tenfold since the release. The vast impact of these movies continues and visitors flock from all corners of the globe to visit Oxford and the movie locations of ‘Harry Potter’.

Due to the large numbers now wanting to visit Oxford, some of the movie locations have become extremly busy and entry fees have increased.

Walking Tours of Oxford is delighted to offer ‘Harry Potter’ tours in Oxford. If you would like to book a tour with one of our qualified guides then there are a few things to consider: –

Filming Locations and Costs

There are 4 locations within Oxford and these are: –

Duke Humpfrey’s Library
This can only be visited as part of a Bodleian Library Tour Bodleian Library. No children under 11 years of age. This tour will focus on the history of the library and although your guide may mention ‘Harry’, this is likely to be in passing only as this is not a Harry Potter tour. This would need to be booked direct with the library and Walking Tours of Oxford have no affiliation.

The Divinity School
This is located below The Duke Humphrey’s library and is visited as part of the library tour. Alternatively, Walking Tours of Oxford Guides can take you in (subject to opening hours / closures). The charge is £2 per person and can be booked in advance for a large group.

New College
Not new at all – 1379! During the winter months, the college is only open in the afternoons. From March-October, opening hours are from 10.30-5pm. Please see website for further details New College visitors information. Entry charge £7 per person. The college will close for events and can do so at the last minute. Large groups will need to be booked in on-line via their booking portal.

Christ Church
This is a magnificent college to visit and even with Harry Potter aside! However, the entry fee is now £15 per person and you should always book on-line for entry Christ Church visitors information. If you do not pre-book then, during the busy season, you could be faced with queues an hour long! As of 2020, you now receive an audio guide as part of the ticket price so it is advisable to visit this college independently. Please note that the dining hall closes over the lunch period (approx. 11.30-2.15)

All prices correct as of Feb 2020 but subject to change, please check websites.

In Summary
Our Harry Potter tours, which are 1 hours and 45 mins in length usually visit two locations – New College + The Divinity School and we recommend booking Christ Church before or after your walking tour with us to complement our tour. The best time for a Harry Potter tour is around 2pm and we would meet at The Weston Library on Broad Street, visit The Divinity School + New College and then end the tour at Christ Church for 3.45pm and suggest booking Christ Church for entry at 4pm.

Disclaimer
Our Harry Potter tours also cover ‘Classic Oxford’ and ‘Other Film sites’. We cannot guarantee entry to any locations as Oxford is a working university and can close at a moment’s notice. The tour is in no way associated or endorsed by JK Rowling or Warner Bros Inc. This is not an ‘official’ tour.

What is a Green Badge Guide?

What is a ‘Green Badge Guide’?

Throughout my website you will find mentions of ‘Green Badge Guide’ but what exactly does that mean?

In theory, anyone can become a guide in Oxford as here in the UK, unlike other countries, Tourist Guides are not regulated.

This means that you could be taking pot luck when you book a tour, with out a regulating body or any official qualifications required.

The governing body for Tour Guides here in the UK is The Institute of Tourist Guiding (https://www.itg.org.uk).

To become a member of The Institute of Tourist Guiding (or ITG for short), there is an admission process to register for one of the course that they offer.  All candidates are interviewed and then selected for various capabilities displayed at that interview.  They would be looking for clarity of speech, presentation skills, calm and customer focussed skilled … to name a few.

Each course is usually run by The Tourist information centre and accredited by the ITG.

There are three levels awarded which are:-

White Badge –

For those thinking of taking up paid or voluntary employment guiding visitors around an attraction such as a stately home, cathedral, museum or theme park, or even a business or industrial estate.

Green Badge –

For those interested in working full or part-time guiding visitors at sites of interest and on walking tours in an area such as a town or city centre or specified countryside area.

Blue Badge –

For those who would like full or part-time work guiding visitors around a region or metropolitan area on walking tours, at sites of interest, and using various methods of transport.

I opted for the Green Badge and this involved an 8 month training programme.  I attended lectures, talk and walks conducted by professional such as academics at The University or other Green / Blue Badge guides. Each week we would have a practice walk where we could demonstrate our knowledge (and marked accordingly).

At the end of the training period, we undertook 4 exams (two walking and three written) and it was only on achieving a high grade at all these examinations that we passed.  Then we were awarded our ‘Green Badge’ in our presentation held at The Town Hall in Oxford and by The Lord Major (patron of The Guild of Oxford Tour Guides).

Guiding is not just about knowledge.  It is also about being able to project your voice but to also know when to lower the volume (when inside a college for example and the students are studying).  It is also about group management and ensuring the safety of the entire group.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to be accepted on to the training course and, although there were many times of stress, I look back on it now as a rewarding time.

Training does not simply stop with the presentation of our badges.  It goes on.  Each year, The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides, runs a Winter training programmed to broaden and enhance our knowledge.

Over the 6 years that I have been guiding, I have met many wonderful people from all over the world.  I love my job and and I wear my badge with pride. #choosequalified

Dictionary result for qualified

adjective
  1. 1.
    officially recognised as being trained to perform a particular job; certified.