Last september I took a nice short trip to London to visit the Warner Bro’s Studios, or as others call it ”Harry Potter World” – and it was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t be a die-hard Potter fan but I do appreciate the movies and how amazing they are. For the whole time it was such nostalgia because I was a huge fan as a kid so it brought me back to my childhood. Everything was exactly the way it was in the movie. All the props and sets were genuine and authentic which made it even more cool to experience.
Robert on the other hand is the biggest Harry Potter fan I’ve ever met, it’s actually a bit worrying. I booked it back in August last year and when I surprised him he almost jumped through the phone with excitement. It was very reasonable as well, despite missing our flight and having to pay €100 each for the next flight to a different airport and travelling from one end of London to another (only us), the whole thing was cheap enough. We stayed in a basic hotel in Elstree & Borehamwood which was about 10/15 minutes away from the studios and about 20 minutes on a train from Luton Airport which was great seeing as London is so huge and it takes hours to get anywhere.
If you are planning a trip to London JUST to see the studios then staying near the studios and airport is ideal. London city centre is ages away from where we stayed so stay somewhere more central if you’re adamant on seeing a lot of the city. It took us about 45 minutes to get into central London and all we really saw was London Bridge and a few other things.
Getting to the studios wasn’t a struggle once you have your tube map and a good sense of direction. Good thing I had Robert cause I’d of been still looking for the place if I was on my own, I’m brutal.
So, they literally have the real life Great Hall! The revelation of it is a surprise so I won’t spoil it if anyone is planning on going but it was fantastic. All the costumes, tables, wigs, props, lighting, and sets are all still there. Everything down to Harry’s glasses under the stairs are still there, the ones he actually wore during filming the movie.
They have so many interesting facts about how the sets and movies were made. There’s two different studios named ”J” and ”K” (apparently it was coincidental, as if). Draco Malfoy’s hair in the first two movies was actually bleached up and toned white, but during the third movie he was filming for another one at the same time and they kept having to dye his hair dark to light and back dark again so eventually it went green! What sort of hairdressers were they hiring lol. They eventually had to sew a wig onto his mallet head and send him on his way.
The candles were also trial and error! Eventually they were falling over the cast members so they had to CGI the candles in. Thank god they did, I’d be on edge trying to remember my lines while there were plastic tubes dropping on everyone.
The start of the tour is guided until after the Great Hall then your one leaves you to roam free around the studios yourself. I much prefer that and there are tonnes of little signs everywhere explaining every little detail of each prop so you don’t need anyone. Me though, I had Robert, he was basically my tour guide for everything. He explained anything that came sight to the eye in sheer detail, it was hilarious. Everything down to which scene in the movie the prop was in. Small bit worrying but I love him for it.
The BUTTERBEER! I honestly don’t know what I was expecting from this but I was uber excited to try it after hearing so much about it. We got the ice-cream and the beer. I tried one sup of the beer and it was literally like sweaty shitehole 😦 The icecream was delish though! We were starving from all the travelling and we didn’t get a chance to stop for food – they sell chips and burgers at the Butterbeer bar so we were fed and (not so much) watered hallway through the tour.
The coolest part of the whole tour for me was seeing the real Privet Drive house. From when I was a kid it was the one part of the movies I remembered. The house, his room under the stairs and Ron reefing the window off his bedroom with the floating car! It was almost breathtaking when I seen it because you see it so much on the big screen and when you actually see it in real life its one of those wow moments.
Diagon Alley was another one of my favourites. It didn’t look as magical or as big as it was in the movies but I’m sure it was all edited to fuck post-filming. And because there were people already walking up and down it felt like you were really in the movie which made it V magical. We were just waiting on Hagrid to stroll down to us and have the chats. One thing I would have loved to see was the Leaky Cauldron but it wasn’t there, but the Weasleys Puking Pastilles dude was and it was deadly.
My major childish moment was when we got to Platform 9¾ and were able to get on the Hogwarts Express and hilariously run your trolley through the wall! I remember as a kid I used to genuinely try to run through walls and pretend I was Harry Potter in general. I had every merchandise item down to the capes and the wands and I ran around on my Ma’s sweeping brush waiting for the moment I could fly off lol. Although the trolly was stuck to the wall it was still a cool moment so let me have it!
I don’t wanna give too much away so I’ll leave it at this final part of AMAZEMENT – the model of Hogwarts. This model was used for most of the filming of Hogwarts from the outside and it was CGI’d into making it look like it was life-sized. The fucking detail that went into this model is just fantastic and hats off to the designers and builders of it because it must have taken a lot of time and patience to get this perfect. Everything even down to the little lights and people around the grounds of the castle were made into the model. In the background the theme song from the movies was playing which ALWAYS gives me the chills anytime I hear it in a dramatic scenario. It’s really one of those moments you have to be there for.
So if you’re planning a trip to London soon this is a must. If you’re a Harry Potter fan and aren’t planning a trip to London/haven’t been to this yet.. You NEED to go!