Event Reports,


Monday, April 02, 2012 Craig Grobler 0 Comments

The Making of Harry Potter Studio TourThis is part two of my list of  Top 12 things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour. The first part 1-6 can be found here! It has the same intro as part one before getting into my final 6 (7-12) things to do.

I'll start by saying that going along to The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour could possibly have only been bettered by an actual invite to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft And Wizardry & a ride on the Hogwarts’ Express from Platform 9¾.

The trip to Leavesden Studios where the Harry Potter films were actually made, 15 minutes outside of London even felt a bit like the Hogwarts trip as we took the train to Watford Junction and were picked up by one of the special Harry Potter Tour buses and driven to The Making of Harry Potter Tour over a small rise.

Writing about my visit to The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter was a bit of a challenge. Firstly I do not have the faculties to adequately describe just how wonderful the Harry Potter Tour is, or how to condense the scope of what can be seen and experienced without a book like thesis accompanied by a 1,000s of illustrative photos to do it justice (I ended up with 720 photos and a gig of video).

Video: The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London Trailer 

Watch live streaming video from wbstudiotour at livestream.com

I’m pretty sure that if most of you were to read the glowing and emotion inducing endorsement of The Making of Harry Potter Tour that I had originally planned you would be suspicious that such a cynicism free recommendation from me. So rather than an adjective rich and spoiler laden walk through of the Harry Potter Tour in which there are lots of surprises. I thought showing you some of the magic would be a better way to go and decided to collate a list of the Top 10 things to do on the Harry Potter Tour as chosen by myself, people who visited the Harry Potter Tour and the stars and team behind the Harry Potter films.

I can only imagine that the title The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter means a lot more to those with a broader overview but it doesn't really flow off the tongue easily so I refer to it as The Harry Potter Tour in this post.

Just to set the tone I have never read a Harry Potter book, I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with the films ranging from - wondering what on earth I was doing sitting in the cinema watching Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone through to the frustration of wishing that all the Harry Potter films had the same level of detail and care put into them as with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – which I absolutely loved. But I do not for one second not think of the legacy of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series as anything less than a British institution, part of popular culture and the actors we saw grow up on screen - National Treasures. 

The Harry Potter Tour is a fitting testament or rather celebration of not only of the actors of Harry Potter series but more so for the many unknown and unsung craftsmen working behind the camera & scenes to make the Harry Potter films as loved as they are. As with the last Harry Potter film the overriding sense that I got from the Harry Potter Tour is that is has been designed and put together by people that really cared about what they were doing. The amount of care and attention and though that has gone into the detail of designing The Harry Potter Tour is significant. It is a landmark destination for not only Harry Potter fans, families but anyone interested in the making of film and there is nothing like it in the UK or elsewhere.

We spent 4 genuinely magical hours exploring the Making of Harry Potter tour. The Harry Potter tour is split between 2 staggeringly giant sound studios (Studio J & Studio K - pure coincidence as mentioned to us on a number of occasions) and an outside area on the Leavesden lot. All of this comprised of 11 large sub areas; The Lobby (tickets, posters and some props - find the ),

The Studio Café (Snacks & refreshments), Cinema area (brief introduction), The Great Hall, Interior Sets, Quidditch Photo Experience (also flying car), Exterior Sets & outside refreshment area, Creature Shop, Diagon Alley, Model Room (& concept art) and finally the Studio Shop leading back to the Lobby.

Part museum housing an absolutely ASTONISHING collection of pieces from across the Harry Potter films including props, costumes, sets and concept art. Part interactive playground – complete with magically moving items and animatronics characters, green screen Quidditch & flying car photo or video opportunities or replicas of Hagrids bike, the flying Anglia or even the Knight Bus that can be sat in.

 All the time being guided by interactive installations or helpful tour guides I was encouraged to challenge their knowledge which wasn’t necessary as on two occasions they appeared out of nowhere to offer up some insight into the items of interest. The third time I needed help identifying an almost hidden golden centaur statue - it was from The Fountain of Magical Brethren. I did notice that the kids visiting the tour each received a passport that they could stamp at certain points during the tour so I presume that you are directed to all the good bits of the tour, but here is my second half of my 12 Top must do or see things at The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter.

7-12 of The Top 10 things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Tour
Bear in mind there is some grouping here a there is just too much to list or take in on a single visit. Also bear in mind that these are my 10 favourite things from the tour and I am a grown man but there are many, many other things to see and do

7. Find all of Voldemort's Horcruxes
At the crux of Voldemort's power are the 7 Horcruxes in which he hides bits of his soul.Harry Potter spends considerably more of his time searching for the Horcrxes than you'll have to.

I only found 4 of the 7 Horcruxes in the Interior Set area and another in The Creature Shop. The 2 I didn't see were Harry himself (might not be possible) and Nagini, but I'm pretty sure Nagini is in there somewhere.

A Horcrux is a powerful object in which a Dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality. Creating one Horcrux gives one the ability to resurrect oneself if the body is destroyed; the more Horcruxes one creates, the closer one is to true immortality. Creating multiple Horcruxes is suggested to be costly to the creator, by both diminishing their humanity and even physically disfiguring them. - From Harry Potter Wikia:

8. Try the Butterbeer and then have a photo taken in The flying Anglia, Hagrid’s Bike or the Knight bus
A little bit like less-sickly than butterscotch and costing about the Muggle equivalent of Two Sickles (£2.90) you can purchase a Butterbeer at the outside refreshment area. Very sweet and creamy like a darkly coloured mix of Iron Bru & Creme Soda topped off with cream. Butterbeer goes down a treat and as it's alcohol free you can immediately jump onto Hagrid's bike, the flying Anglia or the Knight Bus.

9. Head to the Creature Shop, find and tease the The Monster Book of Monsters and get just a little grossed out by Voldemort's mangled soul in Limbo
Their is much to see on The Making of Harry Potter Tour and The Creature Shop is full of bits from the films  and their are many great and incredibly life like pieces to see but The Monster Book of Monsters and Voldemort's mangled soul stand out.

10. Walk through Knockturn Alley into Diagon Alley all the way from Gringott’s Bank to the fish on a Goblin’s head fountain spotting all the Diagon Alley shops
Another absolutely spectacular set is Diagon Alley. Whilst in Central London in arcades I would often wonder if they served as inspiration for Diagon Alley but none of that is anything like walking onto the one & only real Diagon Alley used in the films. The lighting in the alley cycles through night and day so you get to experience the alley in the dark and light. it is absolutely spellbinding.

11. Find the Hogwarts Castle blueprints in Stuart Craig’s draughtsman’s studio, find the Architect of Hogwarts sculpture, visit the white cardboard model of Hogwarts Castle then find and spend some time in The Hogwarts Castle model room
My absolute favourite part of the Making of Harry Potter Tour, nothing quite prepare me for the grand spectacle of seeing the entire Hogwart's Castle and it's grounds. I had seen some completely awe inspiring pieces and sets after 4 hours we were ready to go home when we found the Model Room with the huge Hogwarts Castle.

This is the castle actually used for the shots of the castle from above and distance shots of the castle in the films. The lights alternate between night & day to give you a view of Hogwarts at night with all its lights on. Ifone person had built the castle it would have taken around 70 years.

Truly this was a magical experience. I'm unsure of how much time you will be able to spend in the model room but on our day there were people from various party's sitting in the room slightly emotional just sitting and absorbing the breathtaking scene in front of them.

The Establishing Shot: The Making of Harry Potter Tour - Model Room Hogwarts Castle Model at night Boathouse path & Boathouse by Craig Grobler

Video: Hogwarts castle model time-lapse at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

12. Find your favourite Harry Potter star’s  wand box in the tribute room
At the end of the tour is a little gem. The Tribute Room is a room filled with Wand boxes and each box immortalises a team member involved in the Harry Potter series. From Carpenters, Drivers, through to Doubles & voice artists, all the way to the stars of the films. With over 4,000 boxes everyone is remembered in the Tribute Room.

1-5 of my Top 10 Things to do on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour can be found here: http://www.theestablishingshot.com/2012/04/establishing-shot-top-12-1-6-things-to.html

Our full photo set from The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter Tour on Flickr is over here! Or you can view our slideshow below.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour slideshow

For more info on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter tour head ove to: http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/


Craig Grobler You want to get out of here? You talk to me!
Craig is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, tries to connect to nature whilst mentally storyboarding the greatest film ever made. He also  & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime.  A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 

  Follow The Establishing Shot on Twitter Visit The Establishing Shot on Facebook The Establishing Shot on Google Plus The Establishing Shot on Letterboxd Contact The Establishing Shot