When I was invited to attend a preview event at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, I could barely contain my excitement. I have adored the Harry Potter series of books since I discovered them with my daughter 12 years ago and now my 11 year old is discovering the brilliance of the series.
When each and every Harry Potter film was released, I was always one of the first to see them at the cinema and whilst I bemoaned the fact the film missed certain pieces from the books out, you could not deny their brilliance and you were guaranteed to be transported to the magical world of Hogwarts and beyond.
As with any day out with children, we packed the essentials, loaded them into the car and set off. The directions were easy – Junction 19 off the M25. In fact you can’t miss it if you try as it is signposted very well!
There is plenty of parking too, which is well laid out with good sized parking spaces. We also spotted two buses emblazoned with Harry Potter images which will transport visitors to and from the station if you choose to travel by train.
In front of the buildings we were greeted by three of the chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, giving us the first photo opportunity of the day, after which we ventured inside.
The lobby was huge and surrounded by huge pictures of the stars of the films as well as some props, which really added to the excitement. To the left was a good sized cafe, Starbucks and the toilets and to the right was a good sized information desk and somewhere to leave your coats! Genius idea!
All tickets MUST be pre-booked by visiting http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/ or through an approved tour operator as no tickets will be available to buy at the attraction. Visitors are booked into 30 minute time slots throughout the day to ensure the flow of people is regulated, meaning a more enjoyable visit for all. This is a wonderful idea – we queued for around 10 minutes before our tour started, but were treated to hand impressions of the main stars, and a view of the cupboard under the stairs in Privet Drive where Harry spent much of his early life. The boys were also given a passport, containing fun facts, a find the Golden Snitch challenge and stamps to collect.
Once we were ushered into the first room, we were given a brief run down of the tour by one of the guides and shown a short film about how the books were discovered. Next we went into a cinema room and got to see a show reel of some of the best moments from the films, with interviews from Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I am not going to spoil it by telling you what happens next, only to say it was one of the highlights of our day!
The first port of call was the Great Hall. We were told some fascinating facts by the tour guide and then left to explore and take photographs. There really is just so much to see! Beyond the hall we were able to explore at our own pace, with lots of interactive stations, TV screens and staff dotted about the place to answer any questions.
There is also a chance to “fly” in the Weasley’s Ford Anglia and on a broomstick, using green screen technology. You get to see yourself flying over countryside, through London and over Hogwarts. Sadly you cannot buy the video, but you can buy photographs of your adventure. One photograph costs £12, but if there is a number of you (or you want every photo) the price is staggered up to £20 for 4 photo’s.
|So this is what they get up to when mum isn’t around!|
After the flying experience, we proceeded through the ministry of magic to a partially covered outside area. There is a refreshment van, serving tea, coffee, snacks and Butterbeer!! (The only place outside America that you can buy Butterbeer). Beware of giving too much to the kids though as it’s full of sugar but utterly delicious! There is also a chance to take your own photographs aboard the Night Bus, the Weasley’s Ford Anglia, Hagrids Bike and outside Harry’s house in Privet Drive.
The next stage of the tour is the special make up effects. Beware of some very scary looking creatures, which I thought may upset the little ones, but they were completely unfazed by it all. There is a lovely film featuring Warwick Davies who talks you through the make up process too.
Just around the next corner is Diagon Alley – another highlight and a great picture opportunity! The attention to detail is astonishing and we all got a little bit excited to see Gringots and Olivanders.
|The poster is too big to scan in full – but here is the pic!|