I have to say, when it comes to Harry Potter I am definitely not the biggest fan. The films don't do much for me and because of that, I haven't really watched them…blasphemous, I know!
However at the weekend, myself and my family headed over to Watford to check out the Warner Bros Studio Tour, the world-famous home of Harry Potter and his group of wand-waving friends - and I have to admit…it was pretty magical!
We booked on to the midday tour, mainly so we didn't have to get up too early, but also because it gave us the afternoon to have a nice leisurely stroll around the studios. The tour took us around 3 hours, they told stories of someone that took 13 hours which seems a bit much, even with some of the Potterheads that were there!
When you enter, you’re sat in a huge cinema with possibly THE comfiest armchairs I have ever sat on, seriously I was hoping the tour was virtual because I was comfy as hell. After watching the actors and production team talk about the history of the studios, the screen lifts and you’re magically transported to Hogwarts - I was pretty impressed!
The grand doors open and you may your way inside the actual Great Hall that was featured in the films. It’s from this point that you’re officially on the tour - and it’s from this point you’ll probably try and touch everything to see if it’s actual bricks and wood…I can confirm it’s mostly plastic.
The level of detail is insane, you could genuinely be inside an old castle when you’re in the Great Hall, the sheer scale is breathtaking and the level of detail in the windows and walls right down to the solid oak tables is just epic, you really get a feel for how special it must have been to be a part of the filming process. You make your way round a one-way system and get to see all the wigs, costumes, sets and artwork as you make your way round, past the dormitories, through Dumbledore’s office, and past Hagrid’s cottage, the way you can get inside some of the sets and right up close with the set is really awesome, it really separates it from being a museum, although understandably you can't touch too many things because they want to keep it all preserved.
A new feature that has recently opened is the Hogwarts Express, the genuine original train has been brought in to the studios and sits on tracks with a full replica of the train station and Platform 9¾ - it’s seriously cool, you can get on the train and walk down it (even though it was absolutely rammed) and it really just adds to the magic of the tour, you feel like you’re inside an actual train station!
After this, you can buy some really mediocre food from the cafe that’s conveniently located half the way round, and you can treat yourself to some butter beer, although I was advised not too as it’s supposedly rank. You then head outside and see the replica of Privet Drive, it was snowing the day we went which added to the magic, they have a triple-decker bus which is apparently from the film (Potter fans are smashing their screens right now ) - we were pretty happy to get back inside as it was absolutely sodding freezing.
The final mind blowing couple of areas you go through include Diagon Alley which will blow you away with the scale, and finally you get to see the absolutely amazing model of Hogwarts, the epic music playing in the background makes it even more magical, unfortunately, they had scaffolding up around it as they were doing some works, but the majority of it was still on show.
Overall, as a non-Potter fan, I have to say it was pretty bloody cool, I love seeing how things are made and filmed so it was right up my street - I’d recommend going, even if you’re not into Harry Potter give it a whirl because I guarantee your mind will be blown. Check out their website for more details.