On September 1st we all jetted off to Hogwarts for the start of the new school year… Maybe, well not really, but we did go to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter! The last time we went was in Christmas 2013 for their ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ exhibition but this time round they had a special Goblet of Fire exhibition!
We ended up spending 5 hours walking round the studios so we’re either very slow walkers OR the studio tour is absolutely amazing! I think you can guess which is correct!
Oh, there’s a new ‘Undesirable No.1 on the loose too – do you know her?
This post will basically give you an insight into the tour themselves and the special exhibition as it is only around for the next couple of weeks before they have something new! Hope you enjoy!
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure. – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Start of the Tour:
It was very strange when we arrived at the tour as although we knew it had changed in the 5 years since we first yet, we didn’t quite know HOW much it had changed.
The entrance way has a whole series of the newspapers and wanted photographs which are shown in the film. The walk way between the entrance and the start of the tour is filled with quotes, just to build the excitement!
Once inside you can definitely tell that the special exhibition is related to the ‘Goblet of Fire’, a HUGE Triwizard Tournament Cup sits in the centre. How amazing is that? With Harry’s childhood bedroom right next to it too, you definitely cannot wait to get inside the tour! If all this isn’t enough, the surprise reveal of the doors to the Great Hall is simply magical. It is one of my favourite parts of the tour itself…
The Great Hall:
Everyone knows the Great Hall. It’s an iconic part of both the books and movies and this part of the set is what was used in the movies themselves. It is the largest set on site which stands as it were during filming. Tables are lined up and adorned with set plates as if a banquet is about to commence with the robes of the houses and characters lining the walls.
As the special exhibition was to do with the Goblet of Fire, naturally the goblet which selected the contestants takes centre stage at the back of the hall – in front of the teachers table. I did let out a giggle when I noticed Fred and George sprawled on the floor, their hairs grey from being kicked out for jumping the age line!
Look how beautiful it is! It’s easy to say but you genuinely feel like you’ve just stepped into the films! After a display showing how the goblet works, with it actually spitting out ‘Viktor Krum’s’ name, we progressed into the next part of the studio tour. I made sure I picked up a genuine replica slip of paper with Harry’s name on first though!
The Main Tour:
The next section of the tour is not alike the Great Hall. Obviously it would be pretty impossible for them to have the entirety of the film sets all set up. We’d be there for five days not five hours! You wander around and can have a look at all kinds of things, sets for the Yule Ball, costumes, the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office and many more!
I’ll give you a little insight into my favourite sections – obviously I can’t show you it all and I wouldn’t want to, in case you’re planning a trip yourself!
Complete with Eeylops Owl Emporium, Flourish & Blotts, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Diagon Alley was the place to be for young wizards and witches! Sadly, I never got to step foot properly here on route to Hogwarts as I was born between 1985-1998. That’s when Voldemort had all Ministry records of muggle-born wizards and witches wiped out.
The Gryffindor Common Room:
If you look closely you can spot Harry’s initials on the trunk under his bed, judging by the scarf hanging on the robes on the left, who do you think he slept next to?
If the fact that you feel like you walked straight into Dumbledore’s office wasn’t enough, you can spot the Godric Gryffindor sword which Harry used to destroy Horcruxes in the final two films. That is actually a real sword too! The production and props team bought it at auction and had it altered and engraved to achieve the look you see in the films and in the cabinet. How cool is that?
The Goblet of Fire Trials:
I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite aspects of the Goblet of Fire movie was the trials. They showed more magic and more creativity than any of the movies before in my opinion. I loved the idea that there were more than just one wizard school.
The effort put into the films, props wise, is amazing! Just look at the intricate details of the Egg used in the first trial!
The other two trials were the underwater one and the infamous maze trial, it’s actually slightly surprising only one person died! Sorry, if that’s a spoiler, maybe stop reading this post! Poor Fleur, she never did break free from those roots!
Platform 9 3/4 and The Hogwarts Express:
This was probably THE best surprise ever! Going to the tour after not having been for so many years, we knew that there was a lot that had been added. However, we all forgot that the platform and Hogwarts Express was in the studio and it’s AMAZING!
Tell a little secret, remember one of the key moments in the ‘Chamber of Secrets’ where Ron and Harry fly in the Weasley’s car under and over the Hogwarts train as it crosses the viaduct? Yes, that one – well, 7 years ago in 2011, I was fortunate enough to ride on that very train (The Jacobite), over the Glenfinnan viaduct in Scotland, sitting in the very carriage which Harry and Ron sat in the year previously.
That was probably one of THE best moments of my life! Enjoy these photographs of stylish 14 year old me aboard the train! If you’d like to find out more about the train then visit the Glenfinnan Station Museum site here.
How fab does the train look, both the one above and below? What made this moment even better, was that you could walk through the train and have a peek at the carriages, as they appeared in each of the films. The ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’ film had a hand print on the window! The final section was my favourite though, Harry and Ron enjoying all that the sweets trolley had to offer!
The Forbidden Forest:
Another new addition to the tour and a fabulous one at that, is the Forbidden Forest itself, complete with Aragog, Hagrid’s giant spider, Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Hagrid himself! As one of the staff said, you can take the long scary way or the short way, naturally we chose the scary which was full of mist, thunder, lightning and spiders – it did not disappoint! (If you don’t even like looking at giant spiders then look away!)
The Larger External Sets:
One of the final parts of the tour are the sets which are too large to fit into the buildings. The Knight Bus, Privet Drive, the Potter’s cottage in Godric’s Hollow, the Hogwarts Bridge, the flying car, Hagrid’s motorcycle. Plus, you can’t miss some more giant chess pieces.
I’m not sure what my favourite section is but the display of Hogwarts letters in the Dursley’s house is impressive. When I went before there was a display inside the main tour on its own. Before you could only knock on the door of Privet Drive but they’ve changed it for the better.
I do wish you were able to actually go into the Knight Bus, how cool would that be? Which is your favourite bit?
So that’s that, as Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs once said, ‘Mischief Managed!’. Pardon the pun but I had an absolutely magical experience at the Studio Tour, if you ever get the chance to go then run, leap and take it with open arms – you won’t regret it.
Of course, this post doesn’t show you every inch of the studio tour, it is full to the brim of costumes and props and other genuine items which featured in the films. You can see Dobby, the Basilisk, Umbridge’s ghastly notices banning every witch and wizard from doing pretty much anything. There are so many different avenues you can explore and you HAVE to try the Butterbeer!
As I mentioned at the beginning the ‘Goblet of Fire’ exhibition runs until 23rd September, the ‘Dark Arts’ exhibition runs from 28th September – 11th November and the ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ exhibition runs from 17th November to 27th January 2019.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and let me know if you end up going! For now, enjoy some more photographs from my experience down below!
All photography featured is my own, unless stated otherwise.
This post is NOT part of an advertisement, I simply enjoyed the experience and wanted to share it.