My Trip to Hogwarts, Part One

Posted 12 March, 2014 by Rinn in Recap / 21 Comments

Warning: this will be an image heavy post!

All through January and half of February, you may have seen me getting a little bit excited about visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour on 19th February. Me and my best friend had been meaning to go for a while (well pretty much since they announced it, although we have been prepared for this since the age of nine or ten…), so I said I’d take her as a birthday present. After a LOT of trying to work out when we could both go (we work totally different hours), we finally settled on a date and booked it. Only to realise that it was half term week, arrgh! Meaning that the tour would be full of annoying little kids… And then the other problem – getting to Watford Junction without breaking the bank. Although we live only an hour and a half from central London by train, the prices were suddenly incredibly steep, not to mention the getting from London Paddington to Watford Junction itself. Thank goodness for the National Express, is all I can say.

Giant chess pieces outside the main entrance!

When the day came I had some fears – I thought the tour might be ruined by all the little kids running around, as we’d inadvertently booked during the school holidays, and just the thought of taking THREE coaches to get there left me feeling tired. But luckily, the tour was full of people from all age groups, which was really nice. People like us who’d obviously grown up with the series, younger fans and small children, older fans, families. Basically, everyone there was a huge nerd for the series and it felt like one big Harry Potter fan party, which was pretty awesome.

But now, onto the tour itself!

The main lobby is pretty cool – loads of photos of various characters around the walls, the shop entrance which is SO enticing, and the Ford Anglia! And a Starbucks, which seemed kind of… surreal. We got there a bit early for our slot so were tempted to go into the shop first, but one of the staff members advised us to line up first as we’d end up in the shop anyway – of course. And it was good advice, as the line moved pretty quickly.

The entrance lobby, featuring character photos and the Ford Anglia.

After queuing up, you enter a small room which features posters of the films from all over the world – it was fun trying to spot the different languages and countries. There, one of the guides explains the tour to you (and the rules – no touching of the exhibits, boo!), and then you go on to a little cinema where you watch a film about the creation of the studio tour. Which is in stages J and K, funnily enough! And then… into the Great Hall. I could’ve spent HOURS in that bit alone, but unfortunately that’s the only part where your time is limited. Here are some snaps I took of the Great Hall and various props and costumes within:

Hufflepuff uniforms; the Slytherin table; Slytherin uniforms; Gryffindor uniforms; Hagrid, Fang and Filch; Dumbledore and his owl lectern; wider shot of the Great Hall.

I barely heard what the tour guide was saying when I was in there, I was feeling pretty emotional and just soaking everything in. I’ve quite literally grown up with the Harry Potter series: I read the first book not too long after it came out, when I was eight or nine, and fell in love. The first film came out when I was eleven, meaning that I was the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione with each film. It’s always been a series that I’ve absolutely loved and followed, the excitement of each book and then film was almost too much every time! So you can imagine how it felt, to be in this place that was so familiar from my childhood – to actually be there. Unfortunately, our time in the Great Hall came to an end, and we were moved on to the main area, which you can walk through at your leisure. Here are some of my favourite bits from the main hall:

The ice sculpture from the Yule Ball, from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Dumbledore’s office; tapestry from the Gryffindor common room.

The Potions classroom.

The Burrow, home of the Weasley family.

SAMSUNG CSC
Amazingly detailed Death Eater mask; the fountain from the Ministry of Magic.

All the Umbridges; AWESOME CASE OF THINGS THAT I WANT AND NEED IN MY LIFE.

Wizard money that you never actually see in the film but they made it anyway (how awesome is that?); book heaven.

I’M SO SORRY I CANNOT STOP WITH THE PHOTOS. It is really difficult narrowing down the things I want to show you all, I took almost 350 photos whilst we were there. I’ve decided to split this post into two parts, meaning I can show off MORE pictures and not have to worry quite as much about loading times. So this is it for now, next week I’ll post about the outside area onwards (which means Butterbeer!) Next week I’ll post the rest, and round up my feelings about the whole thing (SPOILER: IT WAS AMAZING.)

Have you been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour yourself, or would you like to go? What is your favourite thing about the series, or is there something you REALLY want to see from the films – be it a prop, costume or set?


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21 responses to “My Trip to Hogwarts, Part One

    • You didn’t?! =o There’s also the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, which is a theme park, but a little more expensive for me to get to… =(

  1. EEP! *SPAZZES* The exhibition did come over here but there wasn’t as much stuff although it was still pretty awesome πŸ˜€ Frankly just seeing anything from the HP series is enough to get me excited, I don’t really care what it is haha.

    Oh boy I would have loved to actually be inside the Great Hall and THE BURROW!! I wish JKR would actually write all the textbooks in the HP universe like she did with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Qudditch: Through the Ages but that probably wouldn’t be possible πŸ˜› The encyclopedia would be nice though sigh…

    Can’t wait for Part 2!

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
    • Ooh I didn’t realise they’d done exhibitions anywhere else! Yeah I can’t imagine it was as much as this – there is SO MUCH stuff. And I know, there were loads of things you never saw in the films because they were all background props but the fact that they were HARRY POTTER made them so exciting!

      You don’t actually get to go inside the Burrow sadly, but the Great Hall… I didn’t want to leave =( The best bit was how they introduced the Great Hall – we were sat in the little cinema, and at the end of the film Dan, Emma and Rupert were in front of the Great Hall doors on the screen, telling us what was to come… then the screen lifted and those very same doors were behind it!

      Oh god I want ALL the textbooks as well! Is she still working on the encyclopedia, I’m sure I heard there was one being made? There’s also the Movie Magic book which I really want, but it’s about Β£40 or something.

      • Yup! The exhibition is international which is pretty awesome for us international folks πŸ˜€

        Ahhhhh!! That sounds amazing :3 I would have gotten a little misty-eyed seeing them haha

        I think so or she’s substituting it with Pottermore but no one really uses Pottermore anymore so I hope she’s still working on it! Oh yeah I wanted that too but it was just too expensive πŸ™

        Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
        • I was so excited for Pottermore – I got my wand, my pet, got sorted (Gryffindor)… and got totally stuck in the first Potions lesson. I do EXACTLY as it says, but it blows up every time. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve tried it so many times and it never works, so I gave up in frustration =(

  2. SO GLAD YOU ARE SHARING THIS WITH US!!

    Isn’t it just amazing?

    I went close to Halloween so there were staff dressed in the proper Death Eater costumes just strolling around all over the place. It was so cool!!!

    Can’t wait for the next post and to see how well you controlled yourself in the shop πŸ˜›

    Natalie Crown recently posted: The Wolf’s Cry Book Tour – Day 2
    • Hehehe, that sounds amazing! It was Animal Actors week when we went, so they had various animals from the films (or animals that looked like them… I expect some of them are no longer alive =( …) So there were rats, little Crookshanks kittens and Fang puppies to gawk at!

      The shop was SHOCKING. But… more on that next week.

  3. This post is PERFECT to get though a mid-week workday! Your recap was lovely to read as were all the pictures! I wish I could go to England right now! And Florida too! I’m really looking forward to seeing just everything they have there in your next post, but I do love a gift shop, so I’m eager to know what they had there! (so I can budget for my trip) Did they have any replica wizard coins for sale?

    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy recently posted: The Fairy-tale Survey
    • Thank you Charlene =D Apparently they’re adding Diagon Alley to the theme park, which sounds so exciting! Not that everything else to do with it isn’t exciting…

      Yes, they had lots of replica coins! I didn’t look at the price of them, but judging by everything else it is probably extortionate =/ I’ll talk a bit more about the gift shop next week.

  4. This looks super cool! I especially love seeing all the props and costumes. It’s amazing the detail they put into the films, even if people couldn’t see the smaller details. Like those coins! *_*

    I would definitely want to go. I would want to go in costume, haha! As for something I really want to see? Hm… Maybe the broomsticks and props used for the Quidditch scenes? That would be so cool!

    Thank you for sharing! πŸ˜€

    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted: Talk To Me 11: Attention-grabbing Phrases
    • I know! I can’t think of a single scene where you actually see wizard money… and all those books, papers, sweet packets, tiny little items. It was just astounding. People spent hours and hours making those things, and they were barely noticed or seen.

      Oh, I also have a photo of myself riding a broomstick but it’s horrifically embarrassing and incredibly unflattering so it’s not being posted ;D You get to see the green scene bits and everything (and test them out!).

  5. Oh wow how fun! Yea I would LOVE to go visit this. I mean, I’d love to visit London so if I ever find my way traveling all the way over there, this is a MUST!

    • It’s not quite in London – on the outskirts really, but I think if you travel all the way to London anyway, this is worth the detour πŸ˜‰

  6. The studio is only half an hour away from me, and I still haven’t been. I AM SO JEALOUS RIGHT NOW. It’s going to be one of the first things I do when I get a car. The Great Hall is,well, GREAT. The owl lectern! HALP. I want some wizard money. They should have it in the gift shop!

    Amber @ Books of Amber recently posted: Hiatus: Amberica ’14
    • Oooh lucky! They should totally do a season pass so you can go back several times in a year, because there’s definitely enough stuff there for that <3

      They DO have wizard money in the gift shop actually =D It's just very expensive like everything else in there...

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