I’ve been to HOGWARTS!
I know I’m nearly 20 years old but I was so hugely excited and overjoyed to be at the Harry Potter experience. I bought my boyfriend the tickets as a 21st birthday present so at least we’re both big kids!
We arrived at the studios for our morning tour and dropped our bags off at the free(!) cloakroom which was super helpful. We had to come straight from the hotel with suitcases so I’m eternally grateful that we didn’t have to lug them around the experience with us. Side note, it will be a lot quicker to get through the security checks if you don’t have any bags since they do a full-on bag search at the entrance. So if possible, just take your phone, wallet and your ticket.
Anyway, afterwards you queue to go into the introductory room where they show you a little bit about how the films were made, how the Harry Potter world got so popular and explain basic rules/safety about the experience. Then you go through into a cinema room where they show a film with similar information about the behind-the-scenes which the main three actors narrate.
After the cinema room it’s on to the Great Hall! If it’s your birthday you get to open the doors to the hall (my boyfriend refused to go up and lost the opportunity to a little kid, amateur, I would’ve RACED to those doors, elbowing kids to the floor.) I felt like such an excited 11 year old witch, strolling past all the plates – sadly the enchanted ceiling was just a ceiling, no stars.
Dumbledore was there, though, looking fabulous even without a face.
After the Great Hall it’s a self-led tour so you can look around at your own pace, looking at costumes and fantastic sets and videos about the making of the films. I was in heaven, I swear. Especially when we got to the set of Molly Weasley’s kitchen and you could control things like the knitting needles! It’s absolutely ridiculous how excited I was by this.
Really confused as to why they displayed an empty mannequin… heh heh heh I’m a dork
I hope the photos I’ve included are of an okay quality – I took them on my phone and I was extremely excitable on the day so they might be a little … fuzzy?
“We’ll take the lot!” – you greedy bastard, Harry, now all the other kids will starve.
Enemies of the heir beware…
Diagon Alley was by far my favourite part of the whole tour. It was incredible to see the detail which had gone into each of the store-fronts and the intricate props within. I wish we could have gone inside the shops and buy working broomsticks and pygmy puffs. Also, I wouldn’t say no to leaving Gringotts with a sack of sickles.
I didn’t take any pictures of the new Forbidden Forest attraction because I was busy being in charge of the weather and screaming at Aragog. It was fabulous. It’s only a little portion of the tour, for some reason I was expecting a huge actual forest. Buckbeak is there, though, I had a nice moment with him (after bowing at him of course).
At the halfway point, there’s a cafe where you can buy some food and drinks. Sadly, neither of us tried the butterbeer or the butterbeer ice-cream they were repeatedly flogging. The food wasn’t too crazy expensive but I would suggest bringing lunch with you just to speed things up and keep the cost down. There’s very communal seating which is nice… but does mean you can’t really avoid being sat next to schoolchildren. Loud. Very loud.
Anyway, after a lunch break it’s off outside to Privet Drive and the Knight Bus.
JUST PICK UP ONE OF THE LETTERS FROM THE FLOOR YOU STUPID WIZARD BOY
This is my long-suffering boyfriend looking grumpy because I was forcing him to pose on the Knight Bus. He’s 6ft7, I just wanted to put the bus into perspective!
After the outside area you progress through rooms of models of the sets and finally alight at a large model of Hogwarts which genuinely took my breath away. I’m an overly emotional person as it is, but the lighting and the music and the nostalgia just really made me feel. I wont include a picture because the ones I took were very blue and very bad quality.
After the model it’s through the wand shop into the gift shop! Everything was wildly overpriced, for example I wanted one of those ‘H’ and ‘R’ jumpers that Molly makes for the boys that first Christmas – they were SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS. £75. SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS FOR A JUMPER. An itchy jumper at that! I was gutted. I did however buy a special edition of The Philosopher’s Stone which were being sold in the house colours to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter. Each book has a little history/information of the Hogwarts house before the story begins.
Bonus note, there’s a bus which will take you from Watford Junction station to the tour and back for £2.50 – or you can do what we did and take a one-way journey back for £2.
Sorry for the lengthy post, I really and unbelievably enjoyed myself. I know it was meant to be a birthday present for my boyfriend but it definitely ended up as a present for me too (he had a great time as well, don’t worry.)
I hope I’ve given you some helpful info about the tour! Bombarda Maxima! (That’s me hoping you have an explosively fun time at the tour, yah I’m aware I’m a dork dw.)