Becky from Team DC took herself off on a magical trip last weekend…
Nestled in the leafy Hertfordshire suburb of Leavesden is the strangest juxtaposition – residential homes, worthy of Privet Drive, next to the largest film studio facilities in Europe. Warner Brothers’ state-of-the-art Leavesden studios were home to one Harry Potter for the ten years the films were in production.
Now muggles can visit the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, London to see for ourselves the film magic that went into creating the wizarding world of Hogwarts and Harry Potter. It’s a short bus ride from Watford Junction station on a specially provided bus (sadly not the Knight Bus, but a little imagination goes a long way on a double decker through Watford!). Buses are also available from London Victoria.
The studio tour – which you make your way through at your own speed – takes you through sets used in the films, storyboards, props, costumes, even the wigs worn by the actors. It’s all very slickly presented as you’d imagine and full of the delighted gasps of Potter fans as you walk around the sound stage. There’s opportunity to fly on a broomstick and drink butter beer, a concoction which is as delicious as it is sickly sweet. And yes, I did have my photo taken outside Hogwarts’gates and on the bridge! There’s plenty of opportunity for photographs and the staff, aptly dressed in Hogwarts’ robes, are more than happy to oblige or answer any question you may have.
The sets are dressed as you see them in the films – everything from Dumbledore’s office, Diagon Alley, to the Weasley’s Burrow and the Gryffindor common room.
We took the digital audio tour which allowed for a more in-depth tour of the sets with interviews and insights from the cast and crew. It was ingeniously designed on an iPhone to look like the Marauder’s Map which I found easy to use, so kids should have no problem! What’s more the audio guide is available in a number of languages to accommodate international visitors.
And at the end of tour is the chance to buy chocolate frogs, any flavour beans and even wands and robes!
It’s a day out which is as much fun for the adults as for the children – and if you’re an adult who isn’t a Potter fan it’s an opportunity to revel in the mysteries of the art of filmmaking at its blockbusting best.