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DAY OUT RECOMMENDATION

The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire

By Emma McNamee – 18th December 2020
What I loved about Warner Bros. Studio Tour

As ‘museums’ go, it doesn’t get much better than this.  You can’t help but become truly immersed in the magic and world of Harry Potter.   There is so much to see from the stage sets to the costumes, the characters to the wizardry and it’s incredible to learn how so much of it was filmed from the quidditch matches to the enchanted flying car.

 

Length of Experience:

3-4 hours, but you could easily spend the whole day!

 

Location

20 miles north-west of London, between St. Albans & Watford

 

Cost:

Tickets must be purchased in advance and currently start at £38/child and £46/adult

Setting the scene:

We are so lucky here in Hertfordshire to be surrounded by TV & film studios, from Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, birthplace of Star Wars, to Leavesden Studios where the whole Harry Potter series was filmed.

In March 2012, less than a year after the last Harry Potter movie was released (Deathly Hallows, Part 2) Warner Bros opened their studio tour experience to witness for yourself the making of Harry Potter.

Being 10 minutes up the road from where I live, I’ve been lucky enough to visit on several occasions – it’s where every overseas visitor we have wants to go, and they’ll get no complaints from me!  The highlight of my visits without a doubt, was the year my place of work hired it out for the evening to host our annual winter work party.  We dined in the Great Hall and danced the night away surrounded by Harry Potter memorabilia.  A truly magical and memorable evening.

However, one-of-a-kind party venue aside, the studio tour experience really is quite remarkable for Harry Potter fans young and old.   And to be honest, even if you’re not a Harry Potter afficionado, you cannot help but get drawn in to the wonder of it all.

You really do get amazing insight in to how the films were made and the passion shared by all those involved to bring the characters, sets and story to life.

The detail that goes in to creating every set, prop, and costume.  The amazing work by the make-up artists. The ways in which certain scenes were filmed, from flying on broomsticks to clandestine trips with the invisibility cloak.  The incredible creature effects from the basilisk to Buckbeak the Hippogriff.  And the special and visual effects that all contributed to making these films impressive and magical works of art.  It really is quite something to see how it all came together and the number of specialists involved, truly creative people, that contributed to the incredible success of the films.

The tour also offers many interactive experiences – you can board the train on Platform 9¾, have a stroll down Diagon Alley and brave the Forbidden Forest.   You also get the opportunity to fly on a broomstick, sit in the flying Ford Anglia, or try your hand at some wizardry wand spells.

One part of the tour takes you outside to Privet Drive and a courtyard where you can buy a butterbear, hang off the end of the purple Knight Bus, or walk across a section of Hogwart’s Bridge.

There is so much to take in, even with several visits, you can never get bored and you’ll notice different things each time.  They also change it up seasonally.  My favourite time to visit is December and early January when “Hogwarts in the Snow” takes hold and you get to experience Christmas in the wizarding world with many of the sets given a winter transformation with snow and decorations.

I’ve also been really impressed over the years at how they have continually taken the tour to another level, adding new features and sets.   My last visit took me through the new studio set of Gringotts Bank, with its impressive chandeliers, massive marble columns and goblin bankers.

The tour finishes in a large warehouse style room, the centre-piece of which is the model of Hogwart’s Castle, created for the first film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, referred to by their Art Department as the “Jewel in the Crown”.  It took 86 crew members and artists to build it, and it was then filmed with digital enhancement effects to create some rather impressive and realistic views of Hogwarts School.

All around you on this studio tour, you get a real insight to the incredible talent that was involved in the Making of Harry Potter, above and beyond the actors and actresses themselves.  From potions to puking pastilles, this magical studio tour really has it all!

 

For more information visit:

https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

 

Enjoy!

Emma xoxo

RECOMMENDATION

This is a Girl About recommendation. This means that it was not gifted in return for a review but paid in full by our writer and the venue had no idea that I was there. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

Emma McNamee
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