I was so young when the first Harry Potter books came out that my Dad was still reading to my sister. I would curl up in bed and listen, fascinated, to the stories of this young boy who didn’t know he was a wizard. I was hooked ever since, devouring each book as soon as it came out, staying up all night with a torch under my bed covers until it was finished. My equally addicted friend got us tickets to see the premier of the first film in our local cinema and I thought it was brilliant. I still watch the first few films every Christmas!
I’ve wanted to go to the Warner Bros tour of the Harry Potter film set basically ever since it opened, but when I heard they’d set it up this December as ‘Hogwarts at Christmas’, I knew I had to go. It was sold out, but my amazing boyfriend managed to get us tickets somehow, and I excitedly boarded a bus at Baker Street and hopped off…to wonderland!
They really have made a massive effort to make everything feel ultra-festive.
We had to wait a bit to go in so we grabbed a cup of hot chocolate in the little café before heading into the tour.
I didn’t want to look around the shop until the very end!
I don’t want to ruin the whole tour for you, but firstly you see a little video which explains what you’re about to see…and then the doors open.
First up, the Great Hall, decked out with Christmas trees and festive foods to make it extra magical!
You then wander through to a room full of film sets, including the boys’ dorms, the Gryffindor common room, several of the classrooms…
I was sent to see the head master…
And Ian got a bit too into the character of Snape in the Potions room!
One thing I would say is that some people got a bit aggressive about taking photos. Obviously everyone wants a few pictures, but one girl in particular was shouting at her boyfriend for not getting good enough shots of her – and it was quite annoying for everyone else having to wait to look at something because she was leaping about in front of it! I would just say there are places where it’s really easy to take photos, wait for those, and try not to drive everybody else mad!
After you’ve had your fill of the sets – which took me forever, because I didn’t want to miss anything – you get a chance to live the dream…and ride your own broomstick.
I have always thought I’d be a great Quidditch player!
Oh, and don’t forget the flying car!
Photographs cost £12 each but there are deals if you buy more than one – it’s pricy, but not extortionate.
The tour then took us outside – where it was snowing, and we bought cups of butter beer whilst we took a look at the Knight Bus and Privet Drive itself.
Having a butter beer by the statue where You-Know-Who rose from the dead doesn’t seem quite right, somehow!
Afterwards it’s back inside, through a maze of familiar costumes and models and drawings...
Onto Diagon Alley, which was incredible - it really felt like you were there!
Afterwards you come to the spectacular Hogwarts building used to create the panoramic views.
It really was quite breathtaking, and I loved the snow.
The final room, full of wands (which Ian inexplicably thought were cigars) ended with this poignant quote, and left me feeling quite emotional…
We had to cheer ourselves up by playing around in the fantastic (but expensive) shop.
The books and films were such a big part of my childhood, and the studios have done a really good job of capturing the magic. I think it would be enjoyable for any Potter fan, young or old, and if you can get there whilst Christmas is still going, so much the better!