I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
I can't say enough good things about going to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. I was expecting a few sets, some Butterbeer, and that was it. However, the experience completely blew away my expectations. Everything was there. Everything. From the large exterior of Privet Drive, to the smallest details like the vial of Felix Felicius in the Potions Classroom. Brian and I spent three hours there, and the only reason we left was because it was closing. If you are a Harry Potter fan in any capacity, make sure you allow yourself ample time to soak in all of the costumes, props, and sets on this incredible tour.
Visitors first enter the world of Harry through the Great Hall. After a short video about the production of the films, the curtains are raised to reveal the exterior of the set doors. Inside the infamous house tables are pushed aside and ready to magically receive their next meal from the house elves in the kitchens below. Behind the tables, various costumes are on display, and organized by each house. This is the one room on the tour that you are rushed through, so that each new cycle of visitors has the opportunity to be surprised by the grandeur of an empty Great Hall. These are a few of the images I was able to take before I was kindly asked to move on.
After you exit the Great Hall, you pass through doors on the left into what seems like a giant warehouse. The tour twists and tuns through various sets, each decorated with the costumes and props that the actors actually wore. The first stop was this magnificent ice sculpture from the Yule Ball scene in The Goblet of Fire.
Along the way, there are sections dedicated to the incredible
crew of the films. In some cases there were demonstrations (the gentleman above was showing off a pair of werewolf teeth), while in others there were monitors that played very well done videos of the cast and crew talking about their experiences.
Seeing the Gryffindor Common Room was one of my favorite parts! I have often daydreamed about curling up next to the fire to read a good book (HP of course!).
"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends." - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Wands galore! I want this entire display in my house!!!
Defense Against the Dark Arts props.
"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Dumblore's office is another highlight. There were so many details!
"It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I was very tempted to jump inside the Potions classroom to play around with all of the bottles and specimens. I loved that they paid homage to both Snape and Slughorn.
The Chamber of Secrets has been opened.
Enemies of the heir... beware!
These Muggles sure do love using their cell phone devices.
Inside The Burrow. Doesn't it just make you want to pull up a chair and have some pumpkin pasties for breakfast?
The Horocruxes! OoooOOOOoooo
"I will not tell lies."
Tip: Skip the long line at the actual King's Cross station Platform 9 3/4 if you plan on visiting the studio. It isn't between platforms 9 and 10 anyway, but is just in a random spot in the station sandwiched between stores in the terminal. They recreated it for the studio tour and there's a good chance that it's not as chaotic (we didn't have to wait in line).
There is a cafeteria about 3/4 the way through the studio. They have snacks, sandwiches, and other refreshments. Of course we made the obligatory stop for Butterbeer. It was delicious!
Outside the cafeteria lie some of the larger, exterior sets and props. They made for some photo taking fun.
The tour continues back inside where visitors can take a look at the creature shop. It was very cool to see how many of the fantastic beasts of the films were brought to life.
If only I could go back to school shopping here instead of Target.
The last room featured a "miniature" of Hogwarts Castle. The details were impressive and fun to explore!
Of course the tour ends in a giant gift shop. Brian and I wanted to buy everything, but it didn't make sense to pay the extra cost in pounds (especially when many items are available online in the U.S.). We did splurge on a special edition of the Philosopher's Stone, some chocolate flies, and a Gryffindor Quidditch t-shirt. I wish I was able to take a quick picture of the store interior, but in the mad rush to make it to the last bus before it left, I forgot.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter was definitely a trip highlight for me. I am looking forward to the theme park opening here in Southern California next year, and taking Brian out to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando. Until then...