Last weekend I turned 22. I celebrated in true adult style with lots of presents, a Harry Potter tour & a pizza party! It was actually one of the most fun birthdays I have had, I think there is always too much expectation put on them and this one I just wanted to do all of my favourite things, with my favourite people.
Me at 6am opening my presents yayy!! (they included Scrabble (my fave) and hotel chocolat mulled wine - the best thing ever.) After a christmas-like morning of playing with new things it was off for a cheeky chicken katsu at Wagamama's and the Warner Bros Studio Tour - aka harry potter world!
It was so amazing to see where it was filmed, and how much work had gone on behind the scenes - something I had never considered before, because the films are that good! Until now I had sort of been happy to assume they are vaguely real and filmed in a real Hogwarts somewhere far off in the land of imagination..
We had some butter beer (a little bit overrated when you are drinking it in the pouring rain and it isn't warming from the toes upwards as Rowling would have had you believe), rode a broomstick and a flying car, and just walked around like we were in a Harry Potter dream :)
I was quite outraged to learn that Dima HAS NOT READ/WATCHED ALL OF THE BOOKS/FILMS and so had to give him a lot of lessons as we went around about what Snape has been up to and what exactly Horcruxes are.
I also learned along the way that Hagrid was played by two people and his head (above) was actually put onto a 7ft rugby player whenever he was with other people. Alone, they had the real Hagrid actor, but in scenes with others they needed to show that he was a lot bigger so they made a lifelike head with motorized features controlled by a remote!
Remember him from the philosopher's stone?
A lot of objects, like this book were actually motorized so did move by themselves..
And even Buckbeak moves!
Diagon Alley was truly amazing to walk down, but so small in comparison with what you see in the films! However there was major attention to detail, and every shop, window and brick was designed with precision and looked exactly how it does in the films.
We then moved on to the amazing areas where you see how the actual set was designed and scaled - I didn't understand much of it but this is where Dima did!
I hear that this (not quite life scale but still pretty large) Hogwarts has been covered with snow for the Christmas season - it is a truly magical room and I wish we had seen it when it was all Christmassy!
We finally came to the end of the tour - it took about 2.5 hours to wander around, although we skipped a lot of the outside parts (Privet Drive anybody?) because it was raining and dark at 4pm, thanks England!
The shop was huge and filled with every Hogwarts memorabilia imaginable, but all were quite pricey unfortunately.
I didn't get this Hogwarts scarf, but I did get a chocolate frog and bertie botts every flavour beans (£8 each!!) I wasn't expecting much, but as we tucked in on the Harry Potter bus back to Watford Junction, Dima found he had eaten a vomit flavoured bean, which was amongst the rotten egg, dirt, bubblegum and banana flavours and I was very pleased to find that my chocolate frog was rock solid. Chocolate just isn't solid anymore - I really believe that easter egg's shouldn't be hollow! Anyway, it was a pleasantly difficult experience trying to chow down on this frog (and I got quite chocolate covered) and it did actually last me for about 5 days, which if you know me is a major achievement. It was also amazing - if you buy one thing buy the chocolate frog! (or a keyring, which I also got, and will probably get the most use out of)
All in all a truly amazing revisit to my childhood - I am a major Harry Potter fan and recently reread all of the books which took over my life for about a month. It was very touching to go back to that time - I think most people followed the books as they came out, I remember getting my very first book in pre-primary school and getting laughed at because I was going to wait until bedtime to read it. Fastforward ten years, and here we are anxiously waiting the debut of the last film in Cyprus...
definitely not dressed up as wizards with lightening scars drawn on our foreheads..
Definitely go to this tour if you get the chance, it's more than just a studio tour - it's nostalgic, interesting and truly amazing. You do have to book ages in advance though, and tickets are £30 so now that I have seen it I probably wouldn't go again, but it is definitely something to be seen at least once!
Harry potter 4 ever <3