WARNER BROS. THE MAKING OF HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR NOW OPEN
At Expedia.ie we love to experience new places whether they're next door or the other side of the world. This time around we stayed a little closer to home.
To celebrate the launch of the Warner Bros. Making of Harry Potter Studio tour, we were invited by Golden Tours to a pre-opening tour of the studio. We sent our very own Harry Potter fanatic, Carolyn Blake to discover the magic. Here are her thoughts from the day:
The Warner Bros. studios in Leavesden have been the home of the Harry Potter films since it first began in 2001. Now 10 years on the makers have put together a self guided walking tour for all Harry Potter fans to enjoy. As you can imagine they have quite a collection of sets and props after a long 10 years of filming so there is definitely enough to keep you occupied for a good few hours. Everything from costumes, cutlery, paintings, wigs and of course wands are on show for you to feast your eyes on.
The walking tour starts with a short video introduction hosted by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. This lasts a few minutes and adds to the anticipation and excitement of the experience. After the video ended we were lead into the great hall which was extremely impressive and filled with a range of props and costumes – the only thing missing was the ceiling which is computer generated for each individual scene.
From here the tour was completely self guided and took us through a range of sets and glass cased props. Some of the sets included the Griffindor common room, the Griffindor boys dorm (which was smaller than I had imagined) and Professor Umbridge’s office. One of the most impressive sets was Dumbledore’s office which had hundreds of ‘spell books’ on the shelves (spoiler alert: leather bound yellow pages), 900 memory vials - all individually hand labeled and two sets of ex-headmasters paintings, one for the day and one for the night scenes.
Dotted around each of the exhibits are paper embossing stations. They look a little like industrial sized hole punchers, with a gap in between two metal plates and a handle which you pull down once you have the paper in place - each has its own individual design and will emboss the paper with a sigil relating to the exhibit – this is a great idea for kids (and adults) to collect and keep throughout the tour.
Of course I can’t forget to mention the broomstick experience – every Harry Potter fan's dream of flying on a broomstick through the streets of London can become reality with this section of the tour. True HP fans won’t be able to resist the opportunity to dress in costume and ride on a broomstick - I couldn’t say no! After this fun but slightly embarrassing activity you are given the chance to buy a selection of photographs of you flying through London.
Throughout the tour there were plenty of friendly and knowledgeable staff to ask questions – in fact we were encouraged to test them on their Potter knowledge - I obliged and received a quick and correct response. The staff also knew a huge amount about the making of the films and I was interested to find out that the newspapers throughout the films were all individually designed and printed; even flyers from each Quidditch match were specifically designed for each individual match.
After seeing all the sets and props inside, the tour took us outside - this area was used to exhibit the larger props including the Weasley’s car, the triple decker bus and the enormous chess pieces from the first film. I was shocked and excited to see that Privet Drive was a complete house and not just filmed in little corners of a half built studio.
The next part of the tour focused on make-up and prosthetics. Filled with goblin heads and house elf figurines, this room showed how the many creatures came to life. I was amazed by the attention to detail and skill used to create these characters - no two are the same. This then led us to the incredible Diagon Alley! I was extremely excited to see this impressive magical shopping district bought to life and complete with Gringotts, Ollivanders and even the cobbled floor. The only thing missing was the goblins and wizards!
By far the most impressive thing there was the model of Hogwarts Castle, which was built for the first film and was used to shoot all exterior scenes throughout the series of films. The model was incredible and took makers months to complete. It really bought the whole experience to life and really showed how much effort and workmanship had gone into the making of these incredible films.
Lastly we came to the ‘tribute room’ and what would have been the inside of Ollivander’s wand shop. This room was filled wall to wall with wand boxes which were all hand labeled with names – each one was a tribute to a person who helped create the films over the 10 years. More than 3,000 boxes filled the shelves and everyone from Daniel Radcliffe to the studio caretaker had their own box.
Tickets for the studio tour can be purchased at Expedia.co.uk. Book tickets now. Tickets include return transport from central London to Leavesden Studios, Watford. Tours departure 3 times a day (8am, 11am and 3pm) All tickets must be pre booked. Tickets CANNOT be purchased on the door.
Ticket prices including transport:
Adult (16 & over): €66,50
Youth (5 to 15): €60,48
Child (3 to 4): €18,14
Infants (0 to 2) Free
For more information click here.
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