Ever wonder what it would be like to walk through Hogwarts’ Great Hall, visit Hagrid’s home or see how Dobby moves? Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls let me introduce you to The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, located just 20 miles northwest of London, England. Here you will be immersed in the magic that went into bringing the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling to life on the big screen.
This studio is where all eight Harry Potter films were made, and today houses every prop, costume, and set imaginable. A treat for fans big and small! If you want to make your day extra magical, take the train in, get off at Watford Junction and get picked up by a Harry Potter bus, which is where the magic begins.
Your experience opens with a few videos about the history and making of Harry Potter, and you begin to realise Leavesden was home for a decade to not only Harry, Hermione and Ron but for the hundreds of cast and crew members, and anyone who worked on the films over the years.
Be sure to pick up your free Passport where you can find the different stamps to collect throughout the tour like Gryffindor, Platform 9 ¾ & The Hogwarts Express, and Gringotts Bank.
When the doors to The Great Hall open, you can hear wow’s echo throughout, from both adults and children alike. Originally built for Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone in 2000, The Great Hall features costumes from students of each Hogwarts house, two large tables set for dinner and the teacher’s table where all the Hogwarts professors sat.
Platform 9 ¾ was one of my favourite sets to visit featuring the Hogwarts Express locomotive where you can go inside and see all the props used and where all the children sat during your favourite scenes.
Don’t forget to have your picture taken going through the platform wall.
And who could forget about Diagon Alley, where you could walk the street that’s home to Gringotts Bank, Flourish and Blotts, Mr Mulpepper’s Apothecary and even Ollivanders Wand Shop, home to more than 17,000 individually labelled wand boxes used during filming.
The new addition for 2017 is The Forbidden Forest, where you can walk through the gates filled with nineteen trees each standing at over twelve feet tall featuring some familiar faces.
Other sets you and your family can explore include the student’s bedroom, Dumbledore’s Office, the Potions Classroom and more.
The props featured inside the studio are as stunning and real as they are watching them on a screen. The Potions Classroom is lined with over 950 potion jars, the memory wall holding 900 memory vials and labels, and Professor’s Umbridge’s Office.
Take your time to appreciate the intricate details in all the costumes featured, including Quidditch, 19 years later and the Yule Ball.
Other elements of the film you’ll experience are the special and visual effects and how green screens were used, how creatures were brought to life on film and learning how your favourite sets were created using scale models and drawings.
The Hogwarts Castle model is absolutely spectacular! A team of 86 artists and crewmembers built the very first Hogwarts for Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone, making and rebuilding realistic miniature versions of the courtyard and installing over 2500 fibre-optic lights simulating lanterns and torches giving the illusion of the children passing through the hallways. If you were to add up all the man-hours that went into building and rebuilding this model, the time would amount to over 74 years!!!
What trip to The Making of Harry Potter Studio’s would be complete without trying some Butterbeer and of course, taking a little magic home with you from the gift shop.
I don’t want to give away all the secrets that these two soundstages and backlot offer, and it won’t matter what kind of Harry Potter fan you are or which Hogwarts School you support. Getting up close and personal with your favourite wizards, witches and muggles is an experience the whole family will never forget.