If you said Caput Draconis, we can be friends.
I did it again. I went back. I might as well have a direct debit and reserved parking at the damn place. Ugh, just take my money. What can I say, once a die hard Potterhead, always a die hard Potterhead.
Yes, I went back to the Warner Bros Studio Tour London: the Making of Harry Potter. I had to, you see. They opened the Forbidden Forest exhibition AND they had some of the Fantastic Beasts bits there too and I just had to fangirl, ok?! I’m not even the tiniest bit embarrassed or apologetic for my actions.
What was that? Visiting four times is starting to get a little excessive? You think it’s a bit sad? Well says you good sir, SAYS YOU. Muggles back off.
Now before we follow the spiders, please be aware that ahead lies SPOILERS for the studio tour. So if you’re planning on heading there any time soon, AVERT YOUR EYES! Unless you don’t care. Then read on my fellow magical folk.
For anyone who hasn’t been, the Harry Potter Studio Tour resides at Leavesden film studios in Watford, a working film studio where the Harry Potter series and Fantastic Beasts were filmed. Yep, if your maths is pretty good, you’ll realise that they were filming Fantastic Beasts as thousands of magical folk like me were wandering the cobbles of Diagon Alley, in the same place!
The tour is mainly comprised of three areas, or “lots” (I guess could also be described as retired studios/filming spaces.) The first ‘lot’ houses the majority of the sets including The Hogwarts Express, the Gryffindor Common Room, the Malfoy’s dining room and the Great Hall, amongst other things. The second ‘lot’ or the ‘Backlot’, which comes with it’s own cafe and Butterbeer stand, houses a few of the exterior sets and set pieces, such as Hagrid’s Motorbike and Number 4 Privet Drive. The final ‘lot’ showcases the props and special effects, focusing on the art and design work. Don’t worry, if you have been before, most of the pieces you know and love are still there and centre stage (the last room 😍.)
The forbidden forest exhibit comes just before platform 9 3/4 and seems to take up a chunk of what was the green screen experience, which has also changed (goodbye Ford Anglia, hello wanted posters.) In this change up they have also added a few more interactive pieces in the first and last lot, such as the chance to control you’re broom like our favourite first years do in their first flying lesson and the opportunity to operate Dobby and see the stages of motion capture animation.
Back to business; the Forbidden Forest. It’s short but sweet and they pack a lot of punch into a little bit of space and time. It’s an interactive experience for the most part, where you find yourself plunged into the surroundings of the creepy woods that line the edges of the castle. You might meet a few friendly creatures, be sure to keep an eye on the Hippogriff, and a few not so friendly ones. However, if you’re afraid of spiders, don’t follow the path into the woods (there is the option to skip the exhibit, don’t worry) or at least keep your eyes to the floor!
Honestly, if you’re a HP fan and able to go, take the Potterhead pilgrimage. It’s so worth it. Even if you’re just interested in any aspect of film making, they cover it all. Stunts, special effects, editing, set building, costume, make up, art and design, lighting, screenwriting, directing, adaptations, and so much more. I have an MUA friend who went, having never seen the films or read the books. She walked out with a box set of both. It is absolutely magical and so well done, there’s something packed into every corner and there’s no time limit. Once you’re past the first part, it’s entirely up to you how long you spend wandering through the halls of Hogwarts.
If you fancy a gander at a few more photos from the tour, the link to my last, incredibly picture heavy (because I was so overexcited) post is linked >>here<<. If you want to have a sneaky peek at the Christmas exhibit ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’, you can check out that post >>here<<.
Have a magical day!