After a week tour to Barcelona for more shows of Swan Lake, we were given a couple of days off from work. I've written about the cool things I do while I'm in other countries, but we are also so fortunate to live in the wonderful city of London! Oftentimes we are too busy or tired to see the things "in our own backyard". So, my boyfriend and I decided to make the most of having a weekday off, and check out the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden!
We were super geeked out because we'd read the books and watched the movies growing up, so we knew we would be able to fully appreciate spending hours doing the tour--we ended up being there for about 4! It's best to book your tickets ahead of time, because they do get busy. Even on the random Tuesday in September that we went on.
Right away we were impressed! The studios look massive from the outside... and they were. The first thing you get to see is the Great Hall, which is truly impressive. Interestingly, they chose to use actual stone for the flooring because they knew the abuse it would need to take over the next eight movies.
You're then moved out of the Hall and into a giant studio where you can see bits of the sets. Straight away, you start seeing the costumes they used for the movies and recognising props and masks. Perfect photo opportunities!
It was special to see all of this up close. One thing that I noticed straight away was how a lot of the sets are much smaller than you would be led to believe in the movies. The Gryffindor boys room was a good example of this. They said that the room and beds were made to fit the actors in the first movie when the boys were obviously much smaller, and in the later movies, they had to angle it all so that you wouldn't see their legs dangling off the beds!
I won't spoil it all for anyone who may want to visit some day... But, we visited Dumbledore's office, saw some of the green screen "magic", hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express, and even visited Diagon Alley. We also got a good look at what the concept artists had come up with to inspire the films.
(Tip: Don't get too stuck in any one place. There is a lot to see. Also, the Platform 9 3/4 gift shop has souvenirs that do not show up again in the main shop. So, if you want anything, buy it then!)
And of course, we had a mug of butterbeer!
(Tip: The butterbeer is pretty sweet, so it's probably worth it to buy one souvenir mug and share, than try and give everyone their own disposable cups.)
This was such a great way to spend a weekday off, and I'm glad we finally did it! The overall experience can get a bit pricey since it's obviously an attraction, and anyone who goes is probably enough of a fan that they'll want a few souvenirs. Another tip may be to sneak in some snacks like we did. ;-)
Now, it's time for a Harry Potter movie marathon...