Monday, 21 December 2015

Hogwarts in the Snow & The Hogwarts Express

A few weeks ago I took Midge with me to make the long journey to London with my mum. We stayed at The Jury Inn in Watford, a good place to stay as it's near the studios and near the town for dinner and shopping if you're there earlier. We met up with my sister and her boyfriend and went for dinner, then after a nice warm bath each we settled down for the night.

We all woke early for breakfast which although at £10 seems pricey it's all you can eat and I knew we wouldn't be eating at all during the day because the tour is as long as you like (long!) and cafe prices there are unsurprisingly high. Fully fuelled we headed to the Warnerbros Studio Tour. You can check in bags and coats, have something to eat and drink, use the loos, order Starbucks coffee and also dive straight into the shop (warning! this is definitely not budget friendly! Cheapest item is a postcard at 95p..I'm not sure I want to know the highest!) we did look around the shop however but didn't purchase anything at this point. We did marvel at the beautifully huge Christmas tree in the center of the waiting area and I measured my hands up to the 3 main stars prints, the one pictured is Daniel Radcliff's hand print.





We started queueing for our 12.30 tour, got our tickets checked and Midge got a passport to fill in, a great activity for the children (big and small!) the queue looks massive (because it is) but you get filed into a fairly large space so the line goes down very quick indeed. Make sure you don't miss the cupboard under the stairs and the 'flying' car!


I won't detail the next part, I know many have but it was the most magical part for me and I'd hate to tell you what happens before you enter the Great Hall. From this point on though it's spoilers all the way...

Midge with Aunty Issy

Beautiful wreath

Once inside the hall we were greeted with a huge feast which would've been in the films. The hall was decorated with trees, wreaths and looked amazing. The next section is full of props from the make up and dressing department, the portraits, Hogwarts gates, the Gryffindor common room, manikins dressed up in the actual clothes used in the films, dark arts props and so much more.

A huge spread

Chocolate table from the Yule Ball

The Philospher's Stone

Prison number from Azkaban

Fleur's hat and shoes 

Lord Voldemort and Harry's clothes at the start of the film on left// On right, the clothes by the end of filming

Gryffindor common room all festive
The newest installment is The Hogwarts Express. You can explore the carriages from the films (keep your eyes peeled on the carriage windows!) there is a shop specifically for the express with keyrings, mugs, jumpers and much more available here. There are luggage bags and of course, you can get a photo of yourself on platform 9 and 3/4:


Luna's trolly

Harry and Ron's first meeting

Me!
From there we saw more new props and then went on to outside. The Night Bus, Private Drive and Potters Cottage are all out here. There is also the bridge to Hogwarts and the famous East Anglia for you to snap a photo of or you can climb in for a selfie! Next you can see the special effects/mechanical props and more. There's plenty of amazing masks, animals and creatures to look at here. If you didn't appreciate the work that went into the amazing films before you certainly will over the last few sections.



Buckbeak is an amazing piece of art

The miniature dragons from the Goblet of Fire
Going into Diagon Ally is great fun! Look out for Gringots, Weaslys Joke Shop, Quiditch Supplies and more! As it was Hogwarts in the snow we got to see how they made the footprints on the snow (and earlier the different types of fake snow) that appear when Harry uses his cloak. Next stop is where you can view more truly amazing work. All the drawings and artwork and plans from the filming.






Once through the art and design you'll see many built up designs of the most well known houses such as Luna Lovegood's house, the Durmstrang ship and the Beauxbattons carriage plus much more. Brace yourself for around the corner though, the best bit is yet to come. No photo of Hogwarts castle could take away from the experience you will have at the Harry Potter studios; it's a piece of art in my opinion and can really only be seen in the flesh, so to speak. Below you can see the photos I took but believe me, they don't do it justice!



One you have dragged yourself away you can look for the names of all the cast, crew and actors/actresses on the thousands of wand boxes before heading into the shop where I bought a bunch of postcards and a chocolate wand for Little A. Midge had £10 pocket money which got her a chocolate frog and a couple of postcards.

It was such an amazing trip and I can't recommend it enough. Ticket entry is reasonably priced, the real cost is getting to and staying in London but Late Rooms was my handy tool for the latter! Now I've done the tour twice I feel happy, I don't need to go again (but if a friend needs accompanying I'm not going say no ha!)


Cupcake Mumma

2 comments:

  1. Looks like you all had great fun :)

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  2. I think we might be headed there this year! We've never been and the boys would love to go, online it says the tour is just half an hour which makes it really expensive sounding but is it worth it and longer than that?!!

    Stevie x

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