The Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys
5/5: Top entertainment, great for camping enthusiasts
By a country mile, the top wizarding world summer holiday we ever saw in the books was… no, not dusting for Doxys at Grimmauld Place, but that time Harry got to actually leave the Dursleys and enjoy the delights of the Quidditch World Cup. This trip is ideal for any sport and camping enthusiasts, not to mention a chance to immerse yourselves in many different cultures and meet new people. Even if by ‘meet new people’, we mean a bloke called Archie who doesn’t like to wear trousers…
‘Just put them on, Archie, there’s a good chap, you can’t walk around like that, the Muggle on the gate’s already getting suspicious –’ ‘I bought this in a Muggle shop,’ said the old wizard stub- bornly. ‘Muggles wear them.’ ‘Muggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these,’ said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pin- striped trousers. ‘I’m not putting them on,’ said old Archie in indignation. ‘I like a healthy breeze round my privates, thanks.’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
You'll need: a roomy tent, and your guard up.
Shell Cottage with Bill and Fleur
4/5: Bit morbid, nice decorations
If it was serenity, scenery and a way to turn a blind eye to what was happening in the wizarding world you were looking for, you couldn’t do better than Shell Cottage, located on the coast in the small Cornish village of Tinworth. The weather might have been temperamental, but the wind was bracing, and there were plenty of long cliffside walks for the wizard who liked to stretch his legs (of course, Slughorn types could just Apparate to the most scenic spots). And the cottage itself, small and pretty and decorated all over with shells, was just the place to take long naps and ruminate on the collapse of society.
It’s no all-you-can eat resort in Spain, but Shell Cottage did seem to provide the one key important aspect of a holiday: isolation. The location also holds historical value. After the second wizarding war, you can’t go to Shell Cottage without paying homage to Dobby the house-elf’s grave.
You’ll need: a swimsuit, good walking shoes, tissues.
Bill and Fleur’s cottage stood alone on a cliff overlooking the sea, its walls embedded with shells and whitewashed. It was a lonely and beautiful place. Wherever Harry went inside the tiny cottage or its garden, he could hear the constant ebb and flow of the sea, like the breathing of some great, slumbering creature. He spent much of the next few days making excuses to escape the crowded cottage, craving the cliff-top view of open sky and wide, empty sea, and the feel of cold, salty wind on his face.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Diagon Alley with Harry
5/5: Great company, good for shopping
More typically a location for shopping and socialising, the third book of the series saw Harry spending a significant portion of his summer holidays strolling the streets of Diagon Alley, and we couldn’t help but want to replicate his stay. Sunny afternoons spent eating ice cream and browsing broomsticks, with a warm bed awaiting the weary when the day is done? Doesn’t sound half bad.
Think of this as the most magical city break you’ve ever been on – and even if it was restricted to a single street, that one alley contained some of the most captivating locations in the wizarding world: Ollivander’s, Gringotts and more. Sign us up for a six-night stay.
You’ll need: a pocketful of Galleons
Harry spent the long sunny days exploring the shops and eating under the brightly coloured umbrellas outside cafés, where his fellow diners were showing each other their purchases (‘it’s a lunascope, old boy – no more messing around with moon charts, see?’) or else discussing the case of Sirius Black (‘personally, I won’t let any of the children out alone until he’s back in Azkaban’). Harry didn’t have to do his homework under the blankets by torchlight any more; now he could sit in the bright sunshine outside Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, finishing all his essays with occasional help from Florean Fortescue himself, who, apart from knowing a great deal about medieval witch-burnings, gave Harry free sundaes every half hour.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Caving with Tom Riddle
1/5: Long-lasting psychological damage, good stories to tell if you survive
This one might seem like a bit of a stretch, but that’s just because it is. So, this is what we’ve ended up with: exploring some secluded cave with Lord Voldemort. Well, if you’re an outdoors-y type, maybe it’d be okay…? Alright, maybe not.
You’ll need: a good knowledge of dark magic and a head torch.
‘And then –’ Mrs Cole took another swig of gin, slopping a little over her chin this time, ‘on the summer outing – we take them out, you know, once a year, to the countryside or to the seaside – well, Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop were never quite right afterwards, and all we ever got out of them was that they’d gone into a cave with Tom Riddle. He swore they’d just gone exploring, but something happened in there, I’m sure of it.’
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince