“Why don’t you…?”
Another great idea from Arty Lady. We bounced with excitement at the very thought.
We negotiated with Nana and Grandad, and booked. We counted down the days, and packed a DVD.
It was well sign posted, this industrial looking spot in the middle of nowhere. ‘Warner Bros Studio Tour’ doesn’t really sound that exciting, unless you realise that’s where the magic happens, where the Harry Potter series of films was made over a 10 year period.
Film makers tell stories, suspend our disbelief, and create other worlds. All of that is captured on the tour. We were agog before we even started- actual chessmen, the actual space under the stairs. Like a top museum or gallery, without the history. I love our local museum, but this had the added awesome of the British Museum or the Musée d’Orsay.
Nana and Grandad only knew the film we’d packed, the first of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. They were hugely impressed by the visit. One does not need to be young, or a Potter nerd, to appreciate the tour.
There is theatre here, and drama, and the telling of a few secrets. We all got to experience flying on broomsticks, and two of us had lessons in correct wand use. There are drawings and models and props. Dumbledore’s office had a church vibe- altar, font, tabernacle- while the Ministry of Magic props from later films nodded to Nazi propaganda.
There was the train, animatronic characters, the Knight bus, Privet Drive, classrooms, a dorm and common room, and the jaw dropping Diagon Alley. There were films about the technical side of things, people to talk to about costumes, golden snitches galore for teeny people to find.
Stay away from the shop, people. You’ll want everything. We came home with wands, t shirts and a cushion. I know how sad that sounds, but I’d lost my mind to
commercialism Hogwarts. Sadly, we couldn’t persuade the girls to want Ravenclaw hairbands which would go really well with their school uniform. Children can be such spoil sports.
On a practical note, there are loads of seats, café space, there are plenty of helpful staff. One realised I was about to have a crisis when I remembered I’d left a bag behind; she stepped in, radioed the area I’d left the bag in, and got it moved to the information desk for me to pick up on the way out. Potential anxiety meltdown spotted and nipped in the bud promptly, without fuss, allowing me to enjoy the rest of the tour. Excellent.
Go. Book your tickets now. You’ll need about 4 hours (though you’ll want to go back for more), and most of the next day to recover (that could just be me…).
No, I was not asked to write this. Yes, I paid full price for everything. Yes, this is my own opinion.