What a thrill it was for me and my fam to hit the magical world of the Harry Potter Studio Tour this past weekend. To spend an afternoon immersed in the wonder and artistry of the record-breaking British film series. With 5000 people enjoying the experience daily, odds are you’ll visit it yourself one day. And whether you’re deeply devoted to Harry in particular, or else fascinated by the filmmaking process in general, either way you’re going to love it.
Open to the public since the end of March this year, and sprawled across the purpose-built J and K Soundstages at Leavesden, where all eight of the films were made, it’s a movie museum unlike any other. A chance for fans of Jo Rowling’s saga to wander the actual sets and gaze upon the very props, vehicles, creatures and costumes used in the making of Harry’s blockbusting screen adventures.
From the splendour of The Great Hall and polished majesty of The Ministry of Magic to the mesmerising detail of the Potions Classroom and the simple, suburban stylings of No. 4 Privet Drive, it’s all on the tour for your perusing pleasure, so close you’ll feel a part of the movies yourself. Particularly thrilling is the opportunity to walk down Diagon Alley, past Ollivanders dusty wand shop towards Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes Shop.
You’ll see The Knight Bus too. Step on board. Take a picture. Enjoy a green screen flight on a broomstick, a bright, popular spot of true interactivity. Then tread warily through the Creature Workshop, home to Dobby and the terrifying Aragog, lair of the Mandrakes and the Hungarian Horntail. Everywhere you look, there’s something amazing. The detail is staggering. The scope immense.
Then just when you think you’ve seen everything, from the Sorting Hat and Monster Book of Monsters to the many, splendid portraits, statues and wands that you never expected to see for real and so close-up, you walk into a room that houses the Hogwarts Castle Model. A remarkable, tortuously hand-sculpted 1:24 scale model of the boy wizard’s beloved school that was originally built for the first film in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). Today it stands as the jewel in the crown of a rightly proud art department, and the final thrilling highlight of an unforgettable tour. Unless you count the gift shop!
Tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter are available via www.wbstudiotour.co.uk and must be pre-booked in advance.