Thursday, 14 November 2013

Magical meanderings, Harry Potter Studio Tour : A STONE'S THROW AWAY

I am a secret ( not so secret at all) Harry Potter mega fan and last weekend I finally pottered off to Watford Junction to do the Studio Tour! Pottered...y'get it?!

It was a bloody good day. Like super epic mega brillo awesome good. And to be honest, there were far more adults there than children! Although I did wear an extra special jumper which would have you questioning my age...

Jumper from Joy -
The girls and I gathered at Euston, well some of us gathered...Sophie decided to arrive on a broomstick galloping through the station forecourt and leaping for a homemade snitch that she promises she didn't use any 'work time' to make. I had a quick bit of quidditch practice on the platform.

 The Studio is so easy to get to, a fifteen minute train to Watford Junction, then a ten minute bus ride on the HP bus which plays the movie theme tune as you glide through the streets. When you arrive it really doesn't look like much, just a couple of huge warehouses painted a Brownies club yellow with a massive Harry Potter logo slapped on the front, but my oh my is it snazzy inside!

***Now, if you don't want to read any of the secrets stop here - SPOILER ALERT!! ***

I checked the Nimbus 2000 into the cloakroom after Sophie gifted it to me on the train and got myself a little Digital Guide - it's basically an iPhone with recordings, voiceovers, videos and pictures on that make your visit even more geekorific. Numbers are dotted around the tour that correspond to different sections in the guide. At £4.95 it's money very well spent and really does add to the day.

But first stop - The Great Hall! I don't want to brag too much about this but, because as it was my birthday, I got to open the door to The Great Hall!! I had to share a door handle with a six year old, but it was pretty cool all the same. 

As it was Halloween the hall was set up for an All Hallows Eve feast - pumpkins galore and ghoulish treats. Around the room you get your first glimpse of some of the most famous costumes from the films including Harry's first robes, Neville's cracking cardigan from the final movie, Dumbledore's famous get-up and Snape's billowing black gear.

Daniel's first set of Harry robes on the left, and Neville's cardigan second from the right

After this bit you're left to run wild! I couldn't help but stick to the audio guide route though, I didn't want to miss a thing. The pics are all rather self explanatory so I'll leave you to peruse the photographic tour of my fave bits!

The Griffindor boy's dorm - the beds were made when Daniel and Rupert were 11 so they were far too small for them by the end of filming hence why they're always snuggled up in the later movies!
The Griffindor common room - everything was so much smaller than I had imagined. It's hard to think they had any space for the cameras.

Lovely Lauren having a listen to the audio guide on the potions room - the detail in the stone work was incredible.
Hagrid's hut. All the furniture is super sized so that when the actors were on the set they seemed dwarfed. Oh filmatic trickery, you naughty little thing!

The tour ends with the most breathtaking surprise - you turn the corner to find yourself in front of the most fantastic model of Howarts! It's so realistic that all the doors are actually on hinges and the plants are real. The model was used to film all of the beautiful sweeping shots of the castle and there's some more lovely facts about this cracking bit of set here.

Then, one last brilliant bit... just before you exit the tour and are thrust into the madness of the gift shop you find yourself surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of wand box, each of which are adorned with the name of every single person involved in the making of the films. Such a lovely touch.

The Harry Potter Studio Tour really is fantastic and I'd recommend it to any fan, big or small. Not big or small as in Hagrid or Dobby, I'm talking more about your level of interest.

So, as I very chuffed Harry Potter fan Londoner I would suggest....

- Get yourself up to Watford. Adult tickets for the tour are £29 and can be bought here.  There are lots of concessions for kids, children under a certain age, family tickets, group ticket etc. so take a look. I've left a lot of bits out of this blog so really do believe me when I say this is just a tiny fraction of the brilliant things you'll see.

- Go before 6th January and it's Christmas themed! A sprinkling of snow and dash of carols. Lovely.