Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour

Monday, 24 December 2012

My Auntie and I went to visit the Harry Potter studio tour in London (although it's actually a bit outside of London)
The studio tour as a whole really was something pretty spectacular, which would make sense as it came to £35 per person, and we booked in early August for a slot on December the 22nd so to say that we expected something special was an understatement.
The whole tour begins by waiting in a dark room to go into the cinema room with some exceptionally comfortable seats I must say, although you're only sat there for about 10 minutes while they give you a little intro into a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the makings of all the Harry Potters. Once that has come to an end you are whisked straight into 'the' Great Hall, and it truly does not dissapoint, even better it was specially decorated for Christmas. Nothing looked half done or as though it was a bit of a 'sham', it really looked as incredible as it did in the films, it really is as big, and there's all the costumes of the teachers stood behind the lecturn. The only downside is that they whisk you out after about 5 minutes which is not nearly enough time to appreciate and take photos of every thing. They do tell you that you can come back once the next tour group are inside the Great Hall as I suppose the Great Hall is the first room you see, so they want it to be empty to give the greatest impact to the group, therefore coming back actually involves gatecrashing another groups 'special five minutes' which doesn't seem all that fair.
Leading on from the Great Hall is a huge, huuuuuge room that has every set that you can imagine that will take your breath away.


Some people compare it to a museum as there has been complaints that it is not interactive enough. I think it is too much to expect every person to be able to walk into the sets as the sets would get ruined and pulled to pieces by little children picking up bits off the set, and accidental knocks. I'd much prefer there to be more detail that you can see from behind barrier than being able to walk onto and 'interact' with a set that probably had to have allt he props stuck down or removed to avoid accident or theft.

There are also plaques to read next to every set and video screens that show information that really is quite interesting, but maybe not for small children. So many sets are special and spectacular, the ones in this part of the tour that stick out in my mind are the Weasleys house, which had the knitting, washing up and chopping being done by 'magic'. It really did look so wonderfully cosy!

Also, Dumbledoors office was absolutely amazing, with all the stairs and different layers and magical bottles of little ingredients.

And finally, Umbridge's office which is a hideous pink paradise of tat but I still wanted to go and sit down in the pink plush-ness!

In the middle of the room was every prop imaginable that didn't specifically fit with a certain set including the harp from the first Harry Potter film, the quidditch cup, and a whole host of other things.

What I have described here really is a fraction of what is in that room, when we nipped back through the room to go back tot the Great Hall, it literally took five minutes, yet somehow we'd spent 2 and a half hours looking around.

After the first section there's then an outside part with Privet Drive, Harry's house, the Knight Bus and the Hogwarts walkthough bridge thing which all made for some great photo oppertunities.

The other downside here is the food options, they really could have made a lot more of the dining options. The choice really is: Sandwiches, soup or a hotdog which are available from what looks like a temporary burger van or shack of soemthing, and you eat outside (although it is sheltered over). The food is a fair price but they could charge a lot more for something that is more of a dining experience, which sort of lets it down. Perhaps the limited options and uninviting dining is to ensure that no one lingers for too long and we all keep on moving onto the next part of the tour.

The next part of the tour contained the more technical parts including the electronics for those hideous creatures that are pulled out of plant pots, along with more makeup and wigs aswell as concept art and some incredibly detailed scale models of buildings.

Then you move onto perhaps the gem in the crown which is Diagon Alley. The cobbles on the floor are real, the shop fronts look real, there's magical music and it's not too crowded so that you really can enjor every moment of it and not feel rushed, we maybe spent 15/20 minutes just on that part, it it just how you expect it to be.

Another part that sticks out in my mind is the really spectacular Hogwarts castle scale model. It is absolutely huge and looked compeltely different from every angle and is so detailed down to the last cobble and step.

It'll come of no surprise that you end up in the gift shop which also took my breath away but for all the wrong reasons, to give you an idea.. a little box of jelly beans is £9 but the Hogwarts hoodies are actaully pretty reasonably priced at £40.

And then the experience is all over and you want to run back in but you can't!

Whew, that was a long ol' ramble. If you've lost sight on what on Earth I am going on about here is a little sum up:
Harry Potter studio tour:


-The sets really are incredible

-You can spend the whole day there if you want to

-Unlimited photo oppertunities


-You're ushered out of the Great hall

-The food experience isn't an experience at all

-The gift shop is somewhat extortionate


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