Now I know some of you who read this will have already visited the Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, Herts. But for those of you who haven’t yet had the chance or who haven’t been at Christmas, read on!
Between now and 29th January, the studio tour is given the festive treatment to create Hogwarts in the Snow. All the usual features, props and sets are there, but with a Christmas twist. The Great Hall is decked out with wreaths, Christmas trees and magically lighting plum puddings, Christmas cards (some made by the cast themselves during filming) decorate the Gryffindor common room, and a special display demonstrates how snow and ice is created for the film, making for a fascinating chemistry lesson. Everything is given a light dusting of snow, including the outside where we got covered in
soap suds a flurry of snow as we stood outside the Knight Bus.
There is very little different from last year with the exception of a few costumes from the new film Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them. But I have to say, if you want to visit Harry Potter Studios, this is the time of year to go: the Victorian-era costumes and buildings of Hogwarts fit the festive theme well. The attention to detail that is so characteristic of the film production is extra fun when spotting festive props (I loved the snowmen Christmas cakes in the Great Hall). We also loved seeing how they made foot-prints appear in the snow for when Harry wore his invisibility cloak (in Diagon Alley).
Seeing the Hogwarts Express red steam train waiting on the tracks of Platform 9 3/4s is a sight to behold in itself, and even though I saw it last year, it is just as breathtaking seeing it again.
If you think this is just for kids, don’t be mistaken. As I’ve said in previous posts about this tour, it is a fascinating example of what happens when you appoint the most skilled, brilliant people for each and every part of the film. As I was invited to attend the opening night with some guests, I took my 9 year old godson and his mum. My godson had been once before with cubs, but his mum hadn’t. She was possibly more excited than him and came away blown away by the tour. I think she particularly loved the broomstick simulator!
I asked my godson to write his own review of the tour. He’s given a very honest and detailed review!
“The bit of my trip that I liked the most was the green screen. The green screen is for when they want to make it look like they’re on a broom stick, it’s open to visitors and I recommend it! We got a picture of us on a “Wanted: Have you seen these wizards” poster, I thought it was amazing.
My other favourite bit was seeing professor Dumbledore’s office witch had different vials in, and in the film they contained different memories.
The funniest thing was making a green screen video when my mum was flying around Hogwarts Castle and in the city on a broomstick, she was really good!
The most interesting part was when they showed us how they made fake snow. They got some powder and added a bit of water then instantly it puffed up into snowy coffee-looking grains.
The biggest thing was a massive, giant, humongous model of Hogwarts castle. It was jaw-droppingly big! I stood on the walk way looking at every bit of it.
Other people may find this bit amazing but found it a bit creepy: the room with goblin stuff in. I didn’t see much I saw a bionic Hagrid head in there. I think other people should go especially Harry Potter fans. It makes you understand a lot more about how the films were made.”
So there you go!
A word of warning: if you want photos of you or your loved ones flying on broomsticks or the like, it’ll set you back £14 each (including access to the digital image). And the shop is full of every kind of HP memorabilia than you could ever think anyone would want or buy, at eye-wateringly high prices, so go prepared with your steeliest “You can spend xx and that’s it!”
Talking of money, a ticket for a family of 2 adults, 2 children will cost you £118. Not cheap, but if you compare it with a night out to the theatre in London, its cheaper.
If you’re keen to go, you’ll need to book asap as its fast selling out. Click here to book tickets.
This post was written after being given 4 free tickets to the preview opening.