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Wild about Harry

Kathy Werner
Posted 5/5/23

For my granddaughter Adeline’s ninth birthday in January, her parents (my daughter Liz and son-in-law Peter) gave her tickets for a tour of the Harry Potter Studios outside London.   And …

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Wild about Harry


For my granddaughter Adeline’s ninth birthday in January, her parents (my daughter Liz and son-in-law Peter) gave her tickets for a tour of the Harry Potter Studios outside London.  And now, on our UK trip, the time had arrived.

After our delightful stay in Brighton, we drove north to Leavesden, Watford, which is the Warner Brother Studios where the eight Potter movies were created and filmed. Based on the best-selling books by J.K. Rowling, the films tell the story of Harry Potter, the Boy Wizard, and his many adventures as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his friends Ron and Hermione.

The studios are immense, and visitors are told to plan at least 3-4 hours for their largely self-guided tour.  Adeline is a devout fan of all things Potter, so our trip may have been a bit longer than most as she carefully examined and thoroughly enjoyed every set we walked through.

With our timed entry tickets, we began with a video introduction in a large group and were soon swept into the enormous dining hall at Hogwarts, complete with special effects as Ron’s twin brothers rode their Quidditch brooms overhead. It was amazing.

After we exited the dining hall, we found ourselves wandering through many of the interior sets of the movies. We saw Hagrid’s hut, the Weasley kitchen, and Dumbledore’s office.  It was all incredibly detailed.

Then it was on to a Green Screen Experience, in which visitors climb aboard a Nimbus 2000 (the fastest Quidditch broom) and get filmed flying through many familiar Potter scenes. Adeline went first, but she wanted her grandmother to go as well, so yours truly hopped aboard and flew through London, over the Thames, through the Scottish countryside and over Hogwarts. My only mistake was wearing a bright green shirt that day, which made my middle invisible during the flight.

At any rate, we had taken our time going through the sets, so we knew we had to move on. Next was the Forbidden Forest where loads of big, ugly spiders descend on passersby. 

We then arrived at Platform 9 ¾ where all young witches and wizards push their trolleys through the wall to catch the train to Hogwarts. You get to walk through the train and there is another Green Screen Experience on the train, but we had to get a move on.

The Backlot featured a walk inside the house of Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia and their odious son Dudley. In the front room you could see the many Hogwarts letters that flew through the fireplace. In the dining room, Vernon’s sister Marge’s inflation is shown, the deserving victim of Harry’s magic.

In the Backlot we also got to see the Knight Bus as well as the Herbology Greenhouse, where visitors can pull out screaming Mandrakes.

But wait, there was more…We went back inside the soundstages to see Diagon Alley and Gringott’s Bank, complete with a goblin or two. Finally, we entered a huge room that had a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts that was used for exterior shots in the movies. Absolutely incredible.

I highly recommend this tour if you happen to be near London and are a Potter fan.  It does not disappoint.

Elated, exhausted, and ready to find our London hotel, we began our drive to Kensington. No Quidditch brooms for us!


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