For those of you that don't know I am a Huge Harry Potter fan! I was part of the generation that came to the Harry Potter books around book 3. After that it was the absolute excitement and glee of counting down the weeks to the next book. I can remember a couple of times when my dad went out early and bought me a copy so I had it when I woke up. I could barely put them down. I've always been a reader and the power of a gripping book can be life changing and enriching. J K Rowling packs each book with so many little details and nuances that they are just a joy to read. The Harry Potter series was a big part of me growing up and I adore them.
Then the films came and I loved those too. Even now at 28 I regularly watch the films. While I studied for my degree I used to have it on in the background, I'd seen them so much I could dip in and out and while it was nice to not sit in silence they didn't distract me.
I've wanted to go to the Harry Potter Studio tour for ages!!! I finally booked to go back in June..... Then broke my foot! I was really struggling on the crutches and with pain in other joints magnified etc so it just wouldn't have been so enjoyable. The guys at the studio were so brilliant and sent me a gift voucher to rebook our visit. My friend Pippa and I decided to book for last weekend when the whole place was Christmassfied! I'll warn you now, this will be a photo heavy post!
One of the new limited time attractions that had been added was the Hogwarts Express. We had our photos done pretending to run through the wall to platform 9 3/4. There was also a chance to go on the train itself but there was a huge queue and my back and joints are really not dealing well with standing for long periods so we gave that a miss.
The thing I enjoyed most was seeing how much work and detail had been put in by so many artists, designers, special effects, and about a million other departments behind the scenes. They obviously had such a lot of love for the story and films to put in so much effort creating every tiny little piece of scenery, prop, and costume. I particularly loved the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products, all the hand printed and written newspapers and posters, the Hogwarts letters. Not ultimately memorable but the films just wouldn't have been the same without them.
There was a special section on the creatures and animatronics made for the films too with a video walk through by Warren Davis, definitely worth waiting to watch from the beginning as it was really fascinating and interactive.
Probably my 2nd favourite, and what I'd been looking forward to most was Diagon Alley.....because it's DIAGON ALLEY!!! I'll try to add the quick video I took here but safe to say it ends with me just whispering 'oh my god it's soooo coool!'. Diagon Alley is the first proper look into the magical world that we get so it's probably for me the most iconic set.
The White models (pretty sure not the technical name...) that were used to plan out the sets and scenes were also brilliant. I love seeing stuff that goes on behind the scenes so this was right up my street.
Hands down the favourite part of the tour was Hogwarts itself. This is going to sound dead cheesy but I'm doing it anyway. I loved the HP books, and loved seeing them made into films. But it was during the films being released that I got really sick, I genuinely used to think in my head 'will I still be here to watch the next one?' That seems so stupid but you have to remember that they take a long while to produce and be released so a year or two years on was just time I didn't have. It was startling and sad to realise. So going on the tour meant a real lot to me and seeing Hogwarts was really emotional! I was in awe. I also took about 100 photos of it!
All in all it was a fantastic day, I would love to visit again! I've heard that they do days with the animal actors which would be amazing to see. I was absolutely exhausted for a good few days after and pain was aggravated but it was worth it. Special mention for the gift shop, I'll be honest, by then I was overwhelmed and just bought gifts for my nephews, nothing for myself but there were tonnes of gifts for any HP fan! Including Honeydukes sweets....