Any other huge Harry Potter fans around?
I have had the Warner Brother’s studio tour in London on my wish list for a very long time. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books, I’ve watched the films and I was so excited to finally be going.
The boys have seen all of the films with me and are huge fans themselves. Si though has never watched a whole film and didn’t want to, so I did wonder how torturous it would be for him. I wondered for a little while and then still made him go anyway…
When you arrive it’s all set out really well. In the car park, they show you to your car parking space so there’s no driving around for ages trying to find a space. If you booked online, then there are windows to pop to, to pick up your actual tickets. Once you get inside, they search any bags you have with you and use a handheld metal detection device on you.
This I found a bit odd as surely they’d be more worried about people taking things out of the studio than in, but I suppose someone with sabotage in mind and a bag full of paint or the like could cause serious damage. It also makes you feel safe in the knowledge that no one has a concealed weapon, because that’s my first thought at any tourist attraction… erm.
We arrived a bit early for our tour so we had a good nose around the main shop whilst we were there. There was also a cafe before you went in, but we’d had a big breakfast at the Premier Inn we were staying at, so we didn’t worry about going in there. The shop was huge and almost as exciting as the tour.
Anything Harry Potter you could think of and they seemed to sell it. This included wands, sweets that looked identical to the ones you saw on screen – minus the magic. There were Hogwarts uniforms, jumpers, the Pops bobble head things that my children have a slight obsession with and so much more.
There are items there of all different prices from the very reasonable rubbers and other small bits for children, to the “oh my word who on earth would pay that?!” prices. Like I said though, luckily there are quite a lot of more affordable things to steer your children towards. This isn’t the only shop either, as there are smaller ones inside the tour.
The queue was pretty huge when we joined it to wait for our tour time and we did have to queue for 40 minutes. Partly I think as we managed to go on the same day as bus loads of school children.
I liked that they made you queue and only let a certain amount of people in at once. This meant that although it was a busy time of day for the tours, it didn’t feel too busy or at all cramped. When you first go through the doors in to the studio tour, they send you all in to a room for a mini talk and then into a room with the biggest screen I have ever seen in my life.
You watch a short film on there about the studios and then head in to the studio tour via the Hogwarts doors. Honestly I can not even describe how massively excited I was about going through THE doors. What was waiting for us on the other side of the doors was just magical to me and the boys.
Si mostly said what’s that for, who is that and looked confused.
Heading around the rest of the studio there was so much to see and even Si was impressed with the scale of work that had gone in to the props and settings for the films. Some things I was sure must have been done digitally, were there and full-scale.
Looking around it was just crazy to think of how much work had gone in to getting every little detail so perfect, although the tour does ruin quidditch a little for you be warned.
I think my favourite bit was actually seeing how they did some of the special effects and how they made some really unbelievable creatures believable and just so real looking. The people behind the scenes of a lot of films are just genius in my eyes.
There was so much to see that if you are a Harry Potter fan, then you could happily spend all day there just looking around at everything. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, I can’t see how you could not be wowed.
There are several places as you are going around, where you can have a photo taken or a video made using a green screen, but we avoided these. This is one thing I’m not a fan of at attractions, as it usually costs a lot to have the photos or videos afterwards and can lead to disappointed children. Warner Studios however impressed me, by not keeping all areas as green screen pay photo opportunities.
With platform 9 3/4 they actually have a few of the trolleys going in to the wall set up, one is to have a professional photo taken. You can however take your own photos at the other ones and I was pleased with that. I may otherwise have succumbed to the paying for photos option.
There is another cafe area as you go around the studio by the way, luckily it is big as it was full of school children when we went, we did however find a table pretty easily. We skipped the butter beer as neither of the boys fancied it, but they did enjoy eating a chocolate frog from the shop and cookies from the cafe instead.
There are some things outside at Warner Bros Studio, and it was so weird seeing full-scale buildings and the night bus in real life.
My inner not so well hidden geeky side spent a lot of the day going around getting all squeaky about things. The last thing you see before you leave is this….
Hogwarts! I am now planning to re-read all of the Harry Potter books and watch the films again asap. For me the day really was pretty much magical and I do recommend going if you’re a Harry Potter fan. If you aren’t a Harry Potter fan then my inner geek just rolled her eyes at you.
*We were allowed to visit the Warner Brother’s Studio tour for the purpose of this post, but only as I emailed them and asked nicely. All thoughts, opinions and random geek speak are my own and honest as always*