The Making of Harry Potter - Our Day out at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour


I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour as an early birthday present! Harry and I have been wanting to go for a long time but we haven't been able to afford it unfortunately, so we were quite excited when his parents offered to pay for us to go for my birthday. We booked in for the Friday before my birthday, just before our holiday to Wales, in the afternoon in hope that there wouldn't be too many school groups at this time of day - luckily this paid off as we were the first group of the day without one! We arrived over an hour early, so we ate our packed lunch outside the entrance on a bench by the giant chess pieces from the first film, picked up our interactive guides and browsed in the gift shop. In the entrance if you look up you can also see the blue Ford Anglia that Harry and Ron fly to Hogwarts in the second film!


The interactive guides (basically an iPod touch in a hard case) include photo galleries, a map of the tour and interesting facts that you can browse as you like. It also provides an audio tour so you can hear the charming voice of Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) narrating by selecting the number on the screen that matches the one next to the display you're looking at. I loved the audio tour and listened as I went along, I found it helped me to focus on what I was looking at, learn more information and also made me feel more in my own world. Harry on the other hand didn't bother with the audio and instead enjoyed the facts and videos that accompanied it. 

When our time slot finally arrived we were greeted by a member of staff (a fellow Hufflepuff who noticed me wearing my badge with pride!) and joined the queue to the cinema room situated next to 'The Cupboard Under the Stairs' that forms Harry Potter's bedroom in the first film. Next we were taken into a holding area where we watched a pre-film before we went into the cinema to watch the introduction to the tour. Finally it was time to walk through the doors into the Great Hall which was definitely one of the highlights of the day! 



Once in the hall our tour guide gave us an introduction and asked if there were any Hufflepuffs in the group, I whooped and to my embarrassment was the only one and he told everyone to look at me as Hufflepuffs are rare to find! Next was Ravenclaw to which Harry waved along with a couple of others, then predictably Slytherin and Gryfindor got the biggest cheers! From here we were allowed to make our way into the studio tour and explore on our own. I don't think I expected it to be quite so big! The first studio includes sets of the Gryfindor common room and the dorm room they slept in, Dumbledore's Office, the Potions Class, the Burrow, as well as the huge statue, fireplaces and offices of the Ministry of Magic along with costumes and props. Here you can also see the green screen used to film Hagrid's motorbike and the broomsticks and you can even have a photograph or video taken of yourself - although we opted not to. I loved that some of the set pieces were moving such as the pendulum of one of the towers, the Weasley's magical muggle objects and the self-stirring cauldrons in the potions class, it really made everything a little bit more magical. 


    

Between the two studio floors is an outside area where you can see the Knight Bus, Privet Drive and buy a butter beer. I have been craving a butter beer ever since I found out we were going on the tour having had a number of them during my last two trips to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! They are sickly sweet and oh so addictive! I can say that while the studio tour version satisfied my craving and looks almost identical to the Florida version, it just isn't quite as good...having said that if you haven't tried it you definitely should! 


The second studio features all the prosthetics and models used in the films including the Goblins heads, Dobby, Grawp, Aragog and the dragons. Again some of my favourite parts of this exhibit were those that moved including the Monster book and the life-size animatronic of Buckbeak. Following this we entered the amazing Diagon Alley which we walked down with all of the shops from the films, including the Weasley's joke shop with moving arms, on both sides. Diagon Alley, along with the Great Hall, is one of the only hot sets left at the studios that you are able to stand inside. For the final part of the tour we walked up a ramp surrounded by sketches and artwork from the films to reach the stunning model of Hogwarts. It really is magnificent and pretty darn massive too.  



Of course before we left we had to check out the gift shop! The shop is accessed as you leave the model of Hogwarts through the display of wand boxes from Ollivanders shop. There are a lot of complaints at how expensive the merchandise is but we expected this having already been to the shops at the WWOHP. Perhaps the sweets could be cheaper, but they aren't just any sweets they are branded as Honeydukes and feature the wonderful concoctions from the films. We came prepared and had a £100 budget as to what we could spend, already I had my eye on either a Deathly Hallows or Time Turner necklace, perhaps another wand for our collection (we already own Hermione's and Dumbledore's) and some other bits and pieces. The shop is well laid out although a bit cramped because of the crowds! There is a section just for sweets, another for wands, a corner for jewellery and expensive decorations and displays for each House (I was disappointed that the Hufflepuff section was so small in comparison to Gryfindor and Slytherin). By the time we left we had acquired a Time Turner necklace at about £40 (birthday present for myself!) a Ravenclaw t-shirt for Harry at about £25, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw crest Christmas tree ornaments at £15 each for our new flat and the souvenir guide book that was included with our ticket package. The shop is for dedicated fans and priced as such, it isn't cheap but the quality is mostly very good and everything looks authentic. 

Overall we had an amazing day, we spent two hours in the actual tour but could easily spend a lot more time if we had looked at everything in detail, read every description and listened and watched everything on our interactive guide. It was definitely worth the visit and be both said on the way home how much we would like to go again! 

See below for more images (I apologise for them not being in any order, they seem to have uploaded randomly) and if you have visited or are planning to visit leave a comment! 




















































































































































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