One of the things I enjoy doing most of all is tours on themes I am personally very enthusiastic about. In fact, when it comes to anything to do with music, TV, film or literary themes, I tend to only do ones focusing on people and works I personally enjoy. That is the only way I can bring what I believe is the necessary enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment to match what I know will be felt by the people who book such tours.
Harry Potter is a great example. Following the immense success of the books and films, tours of locations used in the films have been around for a few years, but really took off last year with the opening of the Warner Brothers Studio attraction. Since then I have done several multi-day Harry Potter tours, mainly for German speaking groups, and I’m about to head off for another one on Friday. It’s a totally different experience to most of the tours I do, as you become very immersed in the theme – not only visiting the locations, but playing the films and music on the coach, talking about Harry Potter books and films to the guests, organising quizzes for the children (inevitably these tours are very family-based) and generally entering fully into the spirit of the whole thing. Although I do not go so far as dressing up in a costume! Of course, doing these tours requires me to be familiar with the world of Harry Potter in both German and English, and to be able to recite chunks of dialogue from the German film versions, which I use to help bring the locations to life for the groups, which was a major challenge at first.
Overall, these tours are hugely enjoyable. The people who come on them are, almost without exception, enthusiastic and very open to the experiences that the tour offers. Even those who are not huge Harry Potter fans, but have come because their children or partners are, always have a great time. When all said and done, the tours include some great locations around the country, even without the Harry Potter links, and I always make sure I include other places and topics of interest to give the fullest possible experience. At the end of the day, I pride myself on making the tour both a magical (pun very much intended) journey for the die-hard Potterites and a quirky and unusual way of seeing some wonderful parts of England for everybody.
With tours already booked in for next year, it seems the Potter phenomenon is still going strong. Various friends and acquaintances keep telling me how great the tours sound, so who knows I might even look into organising an English language version from the Midlands in the future.