So Potter fever has been pretty rife in our house for the past six months. I’d been recommending the books to Picasso for some time, but he took a look at the first few pages and wasn’t really interested. The dense language and slower pace of the first few chapters makes Harry a bit harder for kids who aren’t voracious readers to become immersed in. So in January I read the first chapter to both Picasso and Little Miss, and they were hooked – particularly Picasso. We barely saw him as he proceeded to read all seven books and watch all eight movies in quick succession! And Little Miss is not far behind, as she is now reading book four. With all children firmly Harry Potter fans (and their parents too), a trip to the Warner Bros studios about an hour outside of London was not to be missed.
I had originally planned just to go ourselves (you can get there by public transport and but tickets at the gate) but unfortunately left it too late, and all the tour companies had bought up the tickets on the day we wanted to go. The benefit of going yourself is that you’re not pressed for time – with the tour bus we had about three and a half hours to wander about the studio – and I’d read reviews that said you need longer. Probably an extra half an hour or so would have been nice, but I felt as though we saw and did everything we wanted to. Anyway, we LOVED this tour. This was one of the absolute highlights of our time in London, and I think our trips anywhere. It was amazing and magical and so much fun. Here’s what we loved:
The Great Hall and the studio rooms
When the first films were made, J.K Rowling had not finished writing the series. So that meant the producers (and probably Rowling herself) did now know which props and sets would need to be used again in the later films. Consequently, everything was kept – thousands of props and costumes and sets which on any other film set would have been destroyed – and it’s all set up in a giant room at the studio. It just feels so amazing to walk through it all and see the incredible detail, and the countless hours of work that goes into a film like this. Here are some pictures:
The Studio Backlot, Cafe and Outdoor Sets
This is where you can make your way through Platform 9 and three quarters, jump aboard Hogwarts, buy Butterbeer and see Privet Drive – just amazing!
Behind the Scenes Peek
One of the most interesting parts of the tour was seeing how all the special and visual effects for the magic and the magical creatures worked, as well as getting a glimpse into how sets are put together – from concept drawings, to models, to the final product.
The Diagon Alley set was truly magical. Walking down the cobbled street you could really imagine being a witch or wizard!
The 24:1 Hogwart’s model
While many location shots were filmed at Alnwick Castle, a 24:1 model was built for wide sweeping shots of Hogwarts. This model was my favourite part of the tour. It was just beautiful.
The Gift Shop
And of course, last not not least, there is the Gift Shop! We spent an hour in here and went a bit crazy 🙂
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you simply can’t miss this tour! And if you’re not – become one! It really was one of the best days we’ve had.