Chris Hwa could not believe his luck when he logged on to buy tickets for the Harry Potter amusement park. “I thought it was my lucky day – there were so many tickets. Then I understood what was happening, he said.
Hwa, who had flown from his home in Los Angeles to visit his sister in St John’s Wood, north of London, became one of thousands of tourists caught in the biggest railway strikes in three decades.
With the trip to the attraction near Watford abandoned, Hwa went to Madame Tussauds with her sister Christine Schelander instead. ‘We were going to see the shift change [at Buckingham Palace] but it’s too far to go really. “
Outside the celebrity waxworks attraction in central London, a large queue of confused tourists formed. Ben and Tam Green, and their daughters Harper and Bella, were on a long journey from Australia with their family, living in Ledbury, Herefordshire. They had planned to arrive on Tuesday, but came down on Monday instead due to the strikes, squeezing in a trip to Buckingham Palace inspired by the anniversary celebration.
Ben said: “Now we have bought hop-on, hop-off bus tickets instead of taking the subway. The bus was very busy. ” They planned to take the bus back to Ledbury, an hour longer than the train journey.
Sara Varela and her father, Carlos, had hoped to visit the Tower of London, but encountered a walk from their hotel on Baker Street. “We do not know what to do now,” Sara said. ‘It’s more than an hour’s walk. Maybe we can take the bus. “Their flight from Gatwick leaves on Wednesday.” We really hope that all this will be finished by then, “she added.
At a nearby bus stop, confused tourists asked the driver about the destination while a crowd waited to get on.
Around the corner, in Baker Street, Mihai Noaptes, his wife, Ionela, daughter Adina and son Theodor were about to enter the Sherlock Holmes Museum. They had to walk for 40 minutes from Camden in the heat, but were more worried about the flight home to Romania. “We’re leaving tomorrow afternoon for Luton from Camden. We do not know how to get there if there are still disturbances. We need to find information about what is happening. “
A few doors down was a group of 41 students from La Mola High School in Alicante, Spain, visiting the London Beatles Store after walking across the city from Russell Square. They did not know about the strike action. “We are going to walk 25 kilometers today, we are a bit exhausted,” said student Magda Caceres.