Being a fan of the world of Harry Potter since the time when the books came out, it is not surprising I was very much looking forward in seeing the movies as well. Even though I (as well as probably any other who loved them) did not agree with everything the several directors did to the story, I enjoyed very much watching the world of this 11year old wizard come to life.
Fascinated by the tricks the inventors of the movies came up with, to show us the magical world of Harry, Ron and Hermione, I was delighted to find out that we were finally able to see some of the scenery, props and costumes up close. The Warner Bros. Studios in London, where most of the movies were shot, opened up their doors to the public on March the 31st 2012 with an exhibition called “The Making of Harry Potter”.
The Warner Bros. Studios are located outside of London. You either get there with one of the organized tour buses or by your own car. Make sure you book your ticket in advance online and if you are a big fan, try to get one of the morning slots, which will allow you a lot of time to get the most of the experience. Once you are in the exhibition you can stay as long as you wish until closing time. In the first part of the tour, you are welcomed by a cheerful guide, who brings you into the studio cinema, where you start off with a short video starred by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, before you enter Hogwarts’ great hall through the main gate. If you are lucky enough to be there on your birthday, you even are allowed to open the gate yourself. After that, you will be informed by the guide, that the rest of the tour is on your own tempo, that you are not allowed to touch things unless told otherwise and that it will take you at least about 3 hours, which sounds like plenty, but it can even take you longer.
The tour takes you through several warehouses and a courtyard with a café, where you can rest up, have a drink, a snack or a butterbeer in a souvenir cup, which you can take home with you. There is a lot to see while you are wandering around the different scenarios well recognizable from the screen: the Gryffindor’s common room, Professor Snape’s classroom, Dumbledore’s office, the Weasleys’ Burrow, over two parts of the Ministry of Magic and Malfoy’s Manor. When you are walking around, do not forget to look up, where even more things are to be seen.
Every part of the tour shows you more and more of the magic that happened in front and behind cameras. You are taken through rooms where you can learn about animatronics or make-up and costumes, scale models and even the architecture of the smallest things. There are interactive displays and lots of photo opportunities, including a green screen section in which you can fly a broomstick around London and Hogwarts, or getting coached in how to use a wand properly.
One of the my personal highlights is Diagon Alley, where you can take a stroll and look through the shops’ windows and where I really wanted to walk into Wesley’s Wizard Wheezes, but unfortunately you cannot. The other is the newest part of the tour and it includes the real Hogwarts Express, which was used on screen and is standing in its own little Kings Cross Station.
In the end it comes up to everyone themselves to find what the like the most, but the entrance fee of £33 per adult is absolutely worth it and will let you walk away with a lot of memories of a wonderful day spent with friends or family and maybe even a little bit of magic too.
Follow the white Rabbit and visit their site: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk