Friday, 8 June 2012

Harry Potter Studios - Our Day of Wonder, Wizadry & Wands!

Being a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I nearly wet myself when my friend told me about the studio tours that were opening in Hertford!  This is where they filmed most of the films with the original sets and props still in place.  This was a perfect opportunity to take me, Dean, Jacob and two of our best friends to bring out the wizards in us!
Arriving :

The journey took 35 minutes for us by car, without traffic and we found it easily as it was well sign posted.  The excitement when we got to the car park was beyond us and we had not even got inside yet!

Luckily we chose a day where it was not so busy as Jacob had a lucky day off of school so it did not take long to queue up and get out tickets scanned.  Upon arrival, Jacob received a 'passport' which included answering questions around the exhibits and looking out for 15 snitches that were hidden around the tour.

I think I was more excited than Jacob as we queued up for about ten minutes before entering a room with a tour guide. He explained how the tour would pan out beginning with a short programme about how Harry Potter went from book to screen.  We then went into a cinema room where we watched a ten minute montage from the cast of the movies and what we would be expecting on the rest of the tour.  After this, it really was exciting!  We were led through a door to find ourselves standing in front of two huge doors which led into the Great Hall!

OMG I nearly wet myself when I walked in!  We were in the real Hogwarts!  Which provoked me to 'checking in' at Hogwarts on Facebook!  Oh dear! 
We were not able to sit on the benches as these were sealed off, but we had a good look round whilst a tour guide talked us through certain things like props and costumes.

Slytherin Costumes

The hall was how I imagined it would be, really huge and magnificent and no ceiling which of course was so the CGI could be put in place for the movies.  Walking towards the end of the room, we saw the table where all the teachers sit and their costumes including Dumbledore and Hagrid.

Me and Jacob in the Great Hall

After we left here, we were left to our own devices to look around in our own time. I was let loose!  So, as well as looking at every prop, set and item, we had not forgotten the task of looking for the Snitches which Jacob enjoyed doing as well as my friend, Kate, who was surprisingly good at finding them!

Floating Candles used in the Great Hall

Chocolate Feast from The Goblet of Fire

Jacob outside the gates of Hogwarts

It seemed like we were in a massive warehouse where everything was laid out for us to see including most of the sets.

The Gryffindor Bedroom, Ron and Harrys Beds.

Dumbledores Office

The Weasleys' Home included full interaction of chopping carrots and ironing!

And here are some of my favourite props:

My ultimate dream, a huge pile of books!

The swinging pendulum which as still swinging when we saw it!

Sirius Black prison number

Rita Skeeters' Notebook and pen

There was still so much to look at and I was scared of missing something!  We ventured into the Potions classroom, (which was too dark for my photos to come out!) and here we saw the layout, Professor Snapes' costumer and cauldrons that had wooden spoons stirring in them, like magic!
There were many objects that moved by the touch of a button as well as familiar props that Harry Potter fans will recognise.

The Chamber of Secrets Doorway

A Moving Staircase

Professor Lupins' Magical suitcase that packed itself right in front of my eyes!

We moved on to the Ministry of Magic and Death Eater items.
Entrance to the Ministry of Magic

Death Eaters costumes including Bellatrix Lestrange

Professor Umbridges' very pink and full of cats office!

This part of the tour took us about an hour or so and we soon ventured outside for some excellent photo opportunities and more excitement!

We just had to have our photo taken in the car that was seen in The Chamber of Secrets!

And then Jacob and Kate had to have their picture taken in Hagrid's motorcar!

In the Knight Bus from one of my favourite scenes in the Prisoner of Azkaban, I was so excited to be in  here!

It was lovely and warm outside and we enjoyed taking part in all the sets.  Behind the vehicles was the famous house where Harry Potter lived with his Aunt and Uncle on Privet Drive.

Jacob couldn't resist knocking on the door to see if anyone was in!  Unfortunately, no one answered!

It was so warm that Jacob was not able to wear his Harry Potter costume all day but we wanted to get a picture of him dressed up so here he is outside Godrics' Hollow.

The famous Hogwarts bridge which we did not have access too but we still got very close to it.

After being outside for about half an hour, there was the last part of the tour which was back inside and involved a lot about prosthetics, make up, and costumes.

Aragon the Spider which was swinging above our heads!

Dobby the Elf

And now to my favourtie part of the whole day, entering Diagon Alley!  I have always wanted to be here and although we did not have access to the actual shops, we were able to take pictures outside and walk down the whole alley.

As you can see, a walkway was built on top of the cobbles for visitors to walk on

Gringotts bank

Me outside Ollivanders' Wand Shop

Flourish & Blott's

The Weasley's Sweet Shop

I really felt like I was there and did not want to leave!  But just round the corner was another surprise!

This was a 360 degree model of the actual Hogwarts they used in the film and created CGI on and around it.  It was lit up in a dark room so my pictures are quite dark, except for the last one which I managed to create using Instagram!  We were able to walk around the whole model and see how detailed it was.

After three hours, we were finished and after spending a fortune in the gift shop it was time to go home!  I have to say that the experience was definetely worth the extortionate price we had to pay but having taken part in the tour I can see why my son cost £21 to get in!  He was not bored once and even without the passport he would have had plenty to see and do.
I really would recommend going and even non Harry Potter fans would be impressed!
The only downside was how expensive everything was in the gift shop, which of course is to be expected but even a packet of sweets was £8!

Our goodies included Harry Potter's wand, £24.99 and a guide book, £9.99!

Plus I came home with about 200 photos so I can't complain really!
I leave you with the rest of the best of our day out!


Ollivanders Wand Shop

Entrance to Dumbledore's Office

Harry's cupboard under the stairs

The Weasley's Clock

Professor Umbridge's Costumes

Some of the props designed especially for the movies

One of the chess pieces from The Philosophers Stone

Warner Bros Studio xxx

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