I like Harry Potter. However I am not a HP super fan and there is certainly a lot that I don’t know about the films. I may not have actually seen all the movies! I lost count. But I do love the magic that Harry Potter brings to millions, and wish alongside thousands, that I could go to Hogwarts and be a wizard. While I am still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter, I decided to head to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour, in North London. Joining me on my magical tour of the Harry Potter movies was my Australian friend in town for a few weeks, Chloe. Who is an HP super fan.
We went on a Sunday, so I expected it to be pretty busy, and it was! We booked the 12:30 tour and it cost us 35 quid. Note to anyone thinking about going, the afternoon tour, which I believe was about 2:30pm, was notably quieter.
Arriving at the Warner Bros studio we waited for our turn to enter with anticipation. We were herded through with a group of about 40 people, into a room with some screens. Our guide told us what to expect and how long the tour would take – she said around 3 hours. Visitors can walk around at their own pace, so you can take as long as you like – until closing time! We watched a short video in this room and then were ushered into the next room, which was a small theatre.
Whoever our guide in this area was, he was hilarious and actually one of the highlights from the day! Because the guide was so funny, I have actually forgotten what we even watched now! But I believe it was more information on the making of Harry Potter, with Harry, Ron and Hermione.
We made our way into the Great Hall, laid out almost exactly as it is in the movies. The ceiling is different, obviously! Instead of the sky, there is lighting and studio related apparatus. Dotted around were props and costumes, from all your favourite characters. Another guide explained the filming process and the props. This was also where the sorting hat was displayed!
Once we were through the great hall, we were released into the main exhibition room. This is where you get to see the Harry Potter props, close up and personal. Rooms were laid out, as they would have been seen in the movies. It is here that you can try your hand at riding a broom! They put you in front of a green screen on a broom and play footage to make it look like you are flying around the streets of London, or chasing the Hogwarts train. Some of the other exhibits are interactive as well; you can learn how to fight with a wand or practice your washing up skills by controlling a magical pan scrubber.
My favourite part in here was seeing the framed artwork that is all over Hogwarts, in the movie. Fun fact, most of the portraits were of employees that worked on set, which I thought was really cool.
Moving on to the next room, we entered an almost mock station. They have a platform 9 3/4 where you can get your classic Harry Potter photo, that you can also get at Kings Cross. There is a full scale train, well a couple of carriages, which you can also go into. Another interactive, and one of my favourite parts, is a set of four carriages, opened up that you can sit in. You and your mates can sit in the carriage and pretend to be filming on set, in front of a green screen in the window of the train. The narrator asks you to do different acting situations and takes pictures, which you can then buy after your scene ends. Following on from this room is the cafe where you can grab some food.
Moving outside, there is some really cool life-size buildings and automobiles, where you can get photographs. This was a top part of the tour for me, as you may know I love a good photo opportunity! There is the bus, the Weasley’s car, Hagrid’s motorbike, 4 Privet Drive, Harry’s Cottage and Hogwarts bridge. Needless to say we spent quite a bit of time here getting ourselves some cool photos!
Into the last building and you are treated to a real scale Diagon Alley. This was really cool, I actually felt like I was in Diagon Alley off to buy myself a wand! Once we had ogled at all the shops, we moved on to the next room. Waiting for us here was a huge model of Hogwarts, it was really awesome when the lights went down and small lights glittered from the building. Then we were treated to some artwork from the movies and finally we went into a room, that was like a wand shop. Boxes of different wands lined the walls.
The tour ended of course with the gift shop, conveniently on your way out of the exhibition. You can get all your Harry Potter march here, I got a couple of chocolate frogs as presents!
It was a great day and a really cool tour. If you love Harry Potter movies, then definitely get over to Watford and check it out. Being able to see all the props and how everything is put together really gives you a ‘behind the scenes’ view.