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Harry Potter tour guide Monica Mello
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a Harry Potter tour guide

Danielle Goldstein

…according to Monica Mello, 38.

Harry Potter fans are different the world over

‘People on the tour groups I run react differently to everything. North Americans are more open – they dress up and get really excited – whereas Scandinavians are happy just looking. When I ask if they want pictures they always say, “No, that’s okay.” They’re quiet, but you know they’re enjoying themselves.’

Tour guides rack up about 5,000 extra steps a day

‘I wear a pedometer and I usually walk about 15,000 steps in a day. Thank God I don’t do it every day! I’m not an athlete, but I do have to walk a lot, especially during the summer when the tours are most popular.’

It’s not just the public who learn new things from tours

‘I can probably say hello in eight languages as a result of running tours. Whenever I meet someone of a different nationality I try to learn how to say hello, goodbye and thank you.’

It costs a shedload to hire out a tube station

‘In “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” there’s a scene in Westminster station. It’s about seven seconds long and it cost £250,000 to film! To close a tube station can cost anywhere between £2,000 and £500,000 per hour, depending on the station, the time and how many people are involved.’

The most magical bits of London weren’t even in the films

‘I like to take the group to two places that weren’t filming locations, but did inspire JK Rowling to create Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. These are Cecil Court and Goodwin’s Court, respectively: two hidden gems near Trafalgar Square. People always find them wonderful and characteristic of the films.’

Book a tour with Monica Mello via Evan Evans, or check out Time Out’s Harry Potter map.

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