There are times when you know you are about to score massive wife brownie points, for me, it was when we were offered tickets to the Warner Brothers Studios for The Making of Harry Potter Tour. My husband is an absolutely massive Harry Potter super fan and whilst I really like it, he takes it to a new level.
Last Sunday, after staying in Hemel Hempstead after a day in London, we made the short drive to the studios and we were about to be blown away.
For the start, we didn’t have to pay for parking which at big attractions such as this is unheard of so big tick there. We arrived around 10.45am and it was really easy to park and we made our way to the ticket collection area where we picked up our tickets and headed inside. After a quick bag search, we entered into the foyer area. You can hire an audio tour to accompany you around but as we had Charlie with us, we decided against it as not to be anti social.
A member of staff advised us that is was very quiet which we were happy about as we had a short queue before going into a holding room where a guide chatted us through the tour. We were also treated to a brief overview which helped jogged Charlie’s mind as he has only watched a couple of films and snippets of the books. We were then led into a larger cinema area where the cast chatted on the screen and there it really sank in that this was the *actual* place where it was filmed, not just a museum!
After a short film, we got to walk through the doors into the Great Hall and the tour was underway.
We were advised the tour takes around three hours which I was a bit shocked about. Honestly when I knew we were going, I thought there would be a few big exhibitions and lots of smaller things to look at – how wrong was I!
I don’t think you can ever appreciate the amount of intrinsic detail that goes into the making of any production, let alone eight. I also was blown away by the extreme high quality of the tour. As I said before, usually things like that has a couple of really big attractions that pull in the crowds and then a few lower quality things to look at. This was completely different. Every single part you walked into was crammed full of attention to details filled with information, actual props and interactive aspects such as videos, touch screens or live demos.
Charlie and the husband had a go at riding on a broomstick and had their photo taken in a flying car which they both said was their favourite and we even bought the print which is unheard of for us!
My personal favourite part of the tour was seeing Hogwarts. We watched the info tablets and saw it being built over 40 days and it was really quite a sight to behold. The detailing and work was mind-boggling and it was so beautiful to see up close.
Charlie’s second favourite moment when I asked him was going into number 4 Privet Drive – I think he was expecting to really see Harry in there!
We stopped off for a quick bite to eat and was impressed to see a healthier option of food. Our chicken gougons came with a salad opposed to the usual bog standard chips. I would say there wasn’t a massive choice and it was quite expensive but it was tasty.
You can’t go and not try the famous butter beer. It is incredibly sweet but rather addictive. We even managed to get Charlie to try some!
I would say to be aware there will be a lot of utter fanatics there and it definitely seemed more adult populated than kids, but I think that is the nature of how Harry Potter evolved. There are also a lot of adults dressed up which was a tad bizarre as some really did look like the characters!
There are a few photo opportunities where you can buy the prints, including riding a broomstick and in the car, also a ride on the train and also pushing the trolley through the wall on platform 9 3/4’s. I liked that we weren’t pressured into buying any of these and as soon as it started getting a bit busy by the broomstick, they opened more booths to allow the queue to speed up.
The gift shop at the end is absolutely huge and we ended up buying a rather grand Griffindor tankard mug that my husband has warned is never allowed to be used. As we came out, the tour had taken us three hours so the guides definitely know what they’re on about! The queue by then had tripled since we came in, so an earlier morning slot is definitely worth it.
With no tickets available until the end of August, I can’t say I’m surprised. It really was a brilliant tour so if you go to look and see the price – £35 for an adult you may think it’s a bit steep. I am a bit of a cheapskate as we all know but I genuinely would have absolutely zero qualms paying that now knowing what I do having visited. It is a fantastic day out and perfect for any film fan but an absolute essential for any Potter fans; I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Disclaimed – we were given complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All words, opinions and photographs are my own