Earlier this week we were invited to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour to see the The Making of Harry Potter and the new Dark Arts section. I have wanted to go to the Warner Bros Studio Tour since it opened back in 2012 but I just haven’t found the right opportunity. To be invited to the official launch of the first new permanent feature in The Making of Harry Potter since it opened was a dream come true and to say I was excited about the event was an understatement.
The Warner Bros Studio Tour is based at Leavesden Studios near Watford just outside of London and took us just 50 minutes to drive there. There was a huge amount of onsite parking and I was glad to see it was free of charge – far too many tourist attractions charge for parking! The huge entrance lobby had a cloakroom, information desk, cafe, gift shop, toilets and even a Starbucks! It was really welcoming and we joined the queue and waited to start our experience – alongside Harry Potter’s room under the stairs!
When you are first let through you are put into a holding room until there are enough people to start the tour with you. This is a great feature as tours are staggered to make sure that there isn’t a huge amount of people trying to look at the same exhibit. In this room we had a Death Eater manning the door, smoke machines adding atmosphere and glasses of bubbly being handed out. It was nice to have a few minutes to take everything in and at this point I realised that it was going to be a star studded event with Mary Berry and her family standing next to us.
We went through into a cinema room and watched an intro to The Making of Harry Potter before being able to enter through the Hogwarts doors and into the Great Hall, surrounded by more Death Eaters and seeing costumes and memorabilia from the movies.
We then walked around so many familiar sets, seeing the Boy’s Dormitory, Dumbledore’s Study and the Potion Lab. Walking around the world of Harry Potter was so surreal, seeing characters and items from the movies that we had grown to know and love, seeing clothes they had worn, things they had held and places they had been. Very surreal but incredible! There is so much to see and you really need more than one visit to really appreciate it all.
We were treated to smoking cocktails and Halloween inspired canapes as we wandered around and loved having our photos taken in the Weasley’s Car and on Broomsticks. Even getting to wear cloaks! After this we got to see the new Malfoy Manor fireplace and dining room set, complete with Death Eater characters, snake and Charity Burbage suspended over the table. This new set added such a dark side to the exhibition and it was really great to see it unveiled.
We then went outside for butterbeer whilst looking at the Night Bus, the Weasley’s Car, No 4 Privet Drive and the Potters’ House. Seeing such large and lifelike sets was incredible! Back inside we saw more artifacts, a lot of the mechanics behind characters and one of the main features for me, real life Diagon Alley – the cobbled streets, the quirky shops and the atmosphere was amazing.
We then walked around a scale model of Hogwarts before exiting into the gift shop – I will one day own a Gryffindor jumper! The whole exhibition was awesome. I have never spent so long in awe of everything, the detail and amount of work that went into the whole of the Harry Potter series is just unimaginable and The Making of Harry Potter shows you just a glimpse of that.
I think Harry Potter fans and anyone with even just a remote interest in Harry Potter would love the Warner Bros Studio Tour, it is as much about filmmaking as it is about Harry Potter and I will be visiting again soon – I cannot wait to go back!
Disclosure: We were given complimentary access to The Making of Harry Potter however all opinions are my own.