I’m a huge Potter fan. I’ve read every book, cover to cover, (and over again with my daughter) and enjoyed all the films. In fact, this is one series where I think the films are almost as good as the books. Almost;) So you can imagine how thrilled I was to get my mitts on tickets around the Warner Bros Studio tour.
Just off junction 6 of the M1 and less than 10 miles outside St Albans, we found the UK studios at Leavesden, London surprisingly easy to get to. Ever since they opened in March, they have been fully booked, so pre-booked tickets are a must.
Right from the moment you pass through the gates you get a strong feeling of organisation: we were directed into a car parking space, staff welcomed us at the entrance handing passports out to the children requiring them to search for ‘stamps’ and snitches in each of the tour rooms, and indeed throughout the tour there are an abundance of well informed staff around in case you have any questions.
Stepping into the foyer, we were greeted by life size photographs of the characters hanging from the high ceiling sending sizzles of excitement through us. Your ticket gives you a half hour slot to join the tour. We queued at 6.30pm for only 2 minutes (there are props and scenes to view here too including Potter’s glasses and the cupboard under the stairs), then led into the introductory suite where they give you a brief background talk and video on how the story transformed from book to film. You then pass through into an auditorium where you watch a short film presented by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson where they talk about growing up on the set (they were all 9/10 years old when they started filming Philosopher’s Stone), what the experience meant to them and how the sets came to life. This over, the screen is raised and huge doors open to Hogwarts great hall – to wonderful gasps from children in the audience.