Harry Potter Studio Tour.
It was recently my birthday, so what better way to spend it than getting into the Christmas spirit at Hogwarts. I always end up doing something Christmassy for my birthday as it’s the end of November and usually that’s when the Christmas events will start. I have always heard about how stunning the Harry Potter Studios looked when they have the Christmas decorations and snow so wanted to see it for myself.
To start with, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I’ll be honest and say that I do love the books more, but that’s only because there is so much detail in the books and a few loved characters that aren’t in the films (Peeves as a main example). However if Warner Bros were to include all the details then the films would have been really long, so I think they’ve done an incredible job with how the films turned out. I love how even though I’ve lost count at how many times I’ve watched the films, you can watch them over again and still get that magical feeling you get when you watched the franchise for the first time.
My main facts regarding being a fan: I’m a Hufflepuff through and through, my favourite films are The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Order Of The Phoenix, my favourite characters would be Sirius and the Weasley twins, if I could have a pet to take to Hogwarts it would be a cat, I am actually loving the Fantastic Beasts series (obviously because Newt is a Hufflepuff too) and I didn’t enjoy the Cursed Child book (I haven’t seen the show yet).
If you’ve never been to the studio tour in London before, I would highly recommend it. Just seeing the props and sets in person is incredible and really brings the films to life. You start the tour by entering a cinema room which has a few small interviews on a screen talking to the cast. The screen then lifts to reveal the Hogwarts entrance. You then enter the doors to see the Grand Hall, it looks beautiful! As I was visiting during the Christmas theme, the tables had been set up with Christmas food, decorations and at the back of the Hall is the setup of the Yule Ball.
The next part of the tour will take an hour or two to take a proper look around. It is full of props, interviews on small screens, costumes, display sets, and interactive zones. You can see Hagrids Hut, Dumbledore’s Office, the boys dormitory and Gryffindors common room, the Burrow, the Ministry, and props like the Triwizard cup, the seven horcruxes, the gargoyle outside Dumbledore’s office and many more. This area is huge and has so much information and amazing areas to see, you really do need to take your time to digest it all.
This area also has the interactive area where you can ride brooms for quidditch and learn how to cast spells with your wand.
After this main area, you then enter the Forbidden Forrest. If you are afraid of spiders, I recommend you take the path on your right after you see Buckbeak. If you go to the path on the left, you will be met by large spiders falling above you and Aragog. There are interactive buttons that let you control the wind and lightning too which look amazing. You can also see a patronus that you can control with lighting up. There is a shop as you exit the Forrest too.
Now comes an area that made me really happy and excited, the Hogwarts Express! You can hear the sound of the train as you go around the corner and see the smoke. Have your photo taken on platform 9 3/4’s and visit the lovely shops on the platform too where you can pay to have a notebook personalised. You can also hop onboard the train and see what the carriages look like. After this area you will see the cafe which you can try butterbeer and food.
Finished the butterbeer and ready to go, it’s time to step outside to visit the Knightbus, Harry’s House in Privet Drive, see the famous bridge at Hogwarts and James and Lily’s house. There is also the car and motorbike you can hop on for a few pics. This area had snow in too and felt so Christmassy.
The next part of the tour is so interesting as it takes you through all the prosthetics and how they made the special effects. As a huge fan of makeup and art, I love seeing this part and how they made special features to bring the film to life. Afterwards, is one of my favourite parts, Gringotts. The goblins looked so realistic, and the size of the bank is amazing. There is also the Dragon burning fire.
After a trip to Gringotts, you’ll find yourself in Diagon Alley. You can see Ollivanders, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkins Robes and Quality Quidditch Supplies.
The last part of the tour takes you through all the film set designs models and paintings which is really interesting to see. There’s so much thought and process that goes into making films you don’t even think about, so seeing it all in real life and the design process is amazing. Finally, you are met by the real Hogwarts model they used in the film for the landscape shots. It was covered in snow due to the Christmas theme and looked beautiful.
You then walk through Ollivanders shop to be greeted by the amazing shops they have at the tour, including Honeydukes.
I am overwhelmed by how incredible this tour is, and how lucky we are in England to have access to go and visit. As a huge fan I love seeing the behind the scenes and it brings my Potter love to life. I hope they expand the tour in future to include the Fantastic Beasts sets too.
Have you been to the tour before? If you have, which part is your favourite?