At the tail-end of our trip last month, we went to The Making of Harry Potter studio tour just outside of London. David and I had just finished reading the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and watched the first four movies. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s a studio tour and not an adventure park. It sounded kind of boring, the cost was no joke and commute was long (2 hours, both ways via train, subway, and bus!) But despite my reservations, I knew it’d be exciting for David – he put up with running around Berlin, watching my marathon so we could do this.
I thought it’d be fun to share our top 10 favourite things from the day since it is Halloween and all…
- The fans. They’re legit and come in all shapes and sizes. I will admit, seeing the kids *and big kids* freak out when the bus pulled up to the studio was…. dare I say… magical.
- The staircase. The very first thing you see is the room under the stairs – it’s where it all started. The tour begins with a guided introduction with what I think is the better story, J.K. Rowling’s imagination and her ability to dream up this magical world and then how even after the first book was written, it was a little girl that convinced her dad that the movie(s) would be worth making… Lesson: Listen to kids, they know what’s good! Once we were given this little bit of history, the curtains were drawn, and the doors to the Great Hall were revealed (yes, I got goosebumps!)
- The Great Hall and the Goblet of Fire. This is where the guided tour ends. I won’t tell you whose name flew out from the Goblet of Fire.
- The sets. Once you’re out of the Great Hall, it’s up to you how fast you want to go through the rest of the building. There are tons of props, sets, costumes, and details about the production of the movie. The cast is just a small part of it all. It’s huge and full of many gems so make sure you eat before the journey.
- The props. Oh, so many props! As an art student who majored in design, learning about the makers of props and sets was pretty cool, they deserve so much credit.
- Butterbeer. Not going to lie, I went for the butterbeer. What the heck does it taste like?!? David and Mike were not fans, it’s fricking sweet, but I endured, got the picture and checked the experience off the list.
- The wands. David wanted a wand. I wanted a wand. David got a wand, but I resisted the temptation. I was pretty excited however that he chose Hermione’s wand. Throughout the tour, there are a few fun experiences you can partake in (broom flying with a green screen, photo opts, broomstick spells, etc.) but a quick lesson on how to use a wand was pretty cool.
- The Hogwarts Express. You can walk inside and see the passenger rooms – one decorated for each movie.
- Diagon Alley. It really felt like you were winding your way through an alley and you see all of the familiar store signs.
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I can’t put into words how cool this was – a massive model of the castle that you can walk around – look down on, look up at, examine and see how they took it to the big screen. I am pretty sure if I was ten and seeing this, I’d want to be an architect. It was breathtaking.
If you are a big or little fan, I’d highly recommend the tour.
“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.k. Rowling