Harry Potter | Studio tour review
Harry Potter may have come to an end, but the unveiling of Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, provides an up-close experience to the series’ legions of fans.
Offering a behind-the-scenes look at the sets where many of the eight films were made, this is undoubtedly the best closure for most of the devoted fans.
As soon as you enter, you are greeted by Hedwig’s Theme, and watched over by characters’ portraits and the Ford Anglia where Ron famously displayed his rare bouts of courage and intellect.
The tour began at the cupboard under the stairs. We were ushered by our friendly tour guide to see a short film featuring actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, where all three shared their experiences growing up on set.
On a regular tour, one would expect to be led through the doors to see the next exhibit. Instead, the cinema screen slowly moved up to the ceiling, revealing the door to the great hall, with all the intricate carving and stone work.
Inside, the ceiling is magnificent. Laid-out tables, gargoyles, and fireplaces with the Hogwarts and house emblems carved into its stone walls, and the first robes of Daniel Radcliffe and the York stone floor bring the film back to life.
Through the great hall, you make your way towards sets such as the boy’s dormitories, Gryffindor common room, and Dumbledore’s office.
Even the author has her mark stamped on the exhibits. The Sirius Black Family Tapestry (hung above the printed props) was designed by author J. K. Rowling, the room created to her specifications and ideas for the movie.
One of the many interactive activities is the green screen where you can zoom around Hogwarts, the streets of London and over the Thames on a broomstick. Before you enter the exhibit showcasing some of the animatronics used in the film, including faces of the elves, you will find yourself walking through the cobbled Diagon Alley.
From the ginger-haired mannequin above Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, to the clustered Ollivanders Wand Shop, if you look closely enough, you will spot owl cages and some mouthwatering ice creams at Florence Fortescues’s Ice Cream Parlour.
The highlight of the tour is the 50-ft long model of Hogwarts created using 650,000 man hours. Used for the exterior shots of the first six films, the castle completes a night-to-day cycle every four minutes. Like any other tourist attraction, no tour could be complete without a shop. Being the largest Harry Potter store in the UK, it will not be disappointing but will leave you seriously out of money.
Unless you are a diehard fan, three hours would be enough, including stopping for a small glass of butterscotch-flavoured butterbeer.
Is it reasonably priced at £28? When it comes to the sets, you don’t get to touch, only see. But the things you get to see in the price, and the time and effort put into making the magic come alive is commendable and testament to the team who created one of the most profitable franchises in the world.
For more information visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.