Like many people all over the world, my daughters are huge fans of Harry Potter and everything that surrounds the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. So for my youngest daughter’s birthday this year, she decided she wanted to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden, Watford and experience the Making of Harry Potter.
We booked our tour for 9:30 on Saturday morning and arrived 20 minutes earlier, so we had enough time to go through security. Once our bags were checked and we were cleared for entry without any mishaps, we joined the steadily growing queue, eager to go through the doors and begin the greatly anticipated tour.
The tour began with a talk from a member of staff about what we could expect from our visit, followed by a short film by the three main Harry Potter actors, introducing us to behind-the-scenes footage of the movies. Once the short introductory film had finished, the curtains went up to reveal huge wooden doors and our entrance through to the magical world of Harry Potter.
Once through the doors, we found ourselves in the magnificent Great Hall and I have to say I was completely bowled over. I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan myself, but standing in this enormous hall was pretty something and my girls absolutely loved it. You really could imagine all the cast sat at the long dining tables, filming certain scenes and the costumes, which lined the hall, were incredible. It was amazing to think they were all worn by the characters and we were stood in such an iconic room. After we had taken in the splendour of the Great Hall, we moved on through another doorway to continue our tour.
From start to finish there was something different to see around every corner and unique experiences to be involved with.
I particularly enjoyed discovering the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of the iconic platform 9 3/4. We climbed aboard the gleaming, red train and walked through the middle, passing the individual carriages, where certain scenes had been filmed.
Our girls loved Directing Dobby, an interactive motion capture experience. Consisting of three screens, it shows Dobby in different stages of development and it was fun seeing the character reflecting our own movements, as we moved in front of the screen.
Another fun discovery was Diagon Alley, the wizarding shopping street, where you can explore all the magical shop windows. As we strolled down the street, we discovered a sinister Death Eater, lurking in the shadows and found the puking pastilles girl in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (not easy to say) sweet shop, very amusing.
Next we went in search of Privet Drive and the house where it all began. There wasn’t a great deal to see in the house, but we did enjoy the living room with the flying letters. The purple triple-decker Knight Bus was also parked outside the house, so we all hopped on board to have a peek in. Can you spot a certain somebody in the window of number 4?
Finally, when we had explored everything we possible could explore, we ended our tour with a visit to the obligatory gift shop. This, I think, was possibly the best bit for my girls. So money in hand, off they went in search of that magical piece of merchandise to take home with them.
The tour lasted for around 3 hours from start to finish, which I thought was a good amount of time. It was a fantastic day out and my daughters absolutely loved the whole Harry Potter experience, they even got a passport each, which they could stamp as they went round and tick off certain things as they went along.
I would definitely recommend doing this studio tour, even if you’re not a huge, huge Potter fan like me. It was packed with fun things to see and explore and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful or friendlier. And what I was impressed most about, was that the majority of the props, costumes, scenery and sets were all original, hardly a replica in sight.
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