Earlier this year a dream came true when Kostas (a Greek friend of mine who takes amazing instagrams) and I decided to go down to London for a weekend to do the Warner Bros Studio Tour, aka HARRY POTTER EVERYTHING ERMAGERD HELP IT’S TOO MUCH. He hadn’t been to London for a long time so we spent a day seeing the sights by taking the Tube around and popping up for cheeky selfies here and there. I’ve visited London quite a few times, but every time I go back it charms me a little more. A post of the what to see if you only have 24 hours in London coming on the blog soon-ish!
We opted to stay at the Covent Garden Travelodge Hotel, which came to about 30£ a night for the both of us, but gave us a bit more privacy than a hostel would have done. We booked our tickets to the studio tour through the Warner Bros website and our transport through Golden Tours well in advance and after getting on our bus on the day we were off!
After a pretty long bus tour that showed informational videos about Leavesden and the studio we arrived and walked towards the building. Seeing the big stone chess pieces outside and the Harry Potter Studio Tour sign made the butterflies spread throughout my stomach and for a minute I couldn’t believe I was there. For as long as I can remember I would watch the Behind-The-Scenes DVD bonus material and documentaries about how the films were made, desperately wanting to understand the magic. I had dreamed of going to see the sets and now the day was here and I couldn’t believe it.
The experience started as soon as we were queuing to get inside, as Harry’s cupboard under the stairs was there for us to view. It was a little cupboard tangible and detailed. It was THERE. Right there in front of me. I kept gawking at everything, wide eyed and starstruck. As we walked into a little cinema and got to see introduction videos and little behind the scenes clip the butterflies stayed. And when the screen made way for the entrance to the Great Hall I marveled at the craftsmanship of it all.
We walked through the Great Hall and came into the big studio itself. Information, interactivity and complete fangirling came together and I felt like a hopeful little 11 year old again. It had been years since I considered myself a hardcore fan (the fanfic writing kind), but Harry Potter is what made me fall in love with reading and what made me fall in love with England and during the tour I fell back in love with it. Harry may not have been as cute as I thought he was when I was 13, but the magic was still there and the feeling of nostalgia was strong.
It’s difficult to imagine the detail that actually went into the films, even the many details you never see, especially in Dumbledores office and the Weasley Burrow. So many little things make up a set and many of them never even make it on screen, but still had to be hand crafted. The scale models, the concept art, the green screen techniques and the animatronic creatures were all amazing pieces of work within their own fields. We got to wander through a scale model of Diagon Alley, complete with fully stocked shop windows and moving effects, which made my day, and then we got to the huge model of Hogwarts. Wow. I have no words and can only bow down to whoever created such a magnificent piece of art. Because there is no doubt that the Harry Potter films are art. People can argue “mindless entertainment” if they want, but they would be wrong. The stories J.K. created are beautifully complimented by artists within many many fields.
It was honestly one of the highlights of the year for me, but oh how I wish it was all real and that my letter from Hogwarts had arrived when it was promised. I bet I wasn’t the only heartbroken 11 year old who had to realise that she would forever be a muggle and realised it even more so when she found herself standing in front of 4 Privet Drive, wishing with all her might it was real and not imaginary.
I got a photo of myself in front of the Knight Bus and Privet Drive, got to walk through the wibbly-wobbly bridge from Deathly Hallows and drink Butterbeer, and even snagged a few goodies from the (arguably overpriced) gift shop. I did the whole tour, but I didn’t wanted to leave. I felt like I could have been there for hours upon hours, just wandering the sets and trying to keep my curious hands away from all the beautiful props.
We visited Leavesden before they had the Hogwarts Express set and they also have wonderful seasonal themes for the tours so I do think I have to go back sometime, but what an experience! Have you been to the WB Studio Tour? What was our favourite part? 🙂 Xxx