For my birthday this year, my wonderful soul of a boyfriend Mark bought us tickets to go to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio tour at Leavesden Studios. I hadn’t been there since my 21st birthday two years ago, and since then there have been a lot of changes and new openings that I was desperate to get around to seeing!
Yes, my birthday was a few months ago now but I hadn’t got around to uploading all of the many photos I’d taken, so the post about the day is a bit delayed, opps!
Typically, the trains were a bit messed up on the day. This meant a journey that would have taken just under 3 hours took closer to 4 hours. Oh well, nothing could mess up my good mood and excitement for Harry Potter! We read a lot on the train journey, and grabbed a delicious bagel from London Bridge.
Finally, we got to the station and there we saw the Harry Potter studio tour official bus. I was so excited by this point! The last time I went my dad drove my family up, so I do rather feel like I missed out on the bus experience the first time around.
Once we all bundled on, the TV started up and the wonderful Jason Isaacs was discussing all things Leavesden/the tour and getting us even more excited for the day! Mark was getting excited by this point too – he’s not as much of a Harry Potter fan as me so he’d never visited the tour before but the atmosphere was definitely contagious, I mean check out the crazy eyes/grin in the photo above 😉
When we pulled up to the mammoth building that is Leavesden studios, inside which is the tour, I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. I literally ran to the ticket machines and a rather sheepish looking Mark had to walk pretty quickly to keep up, bless him!
We were fairly early for our tour at 3pm, so of course we had to grab a Starbucks and look around the gift shop. There was also an awesome Fantastic Beasts addition in the foyer with a lot of the original cast costumes on show! The Fantastic Beasts film was not out when I last went so this was really cool to see.
Whilst browsing the gift shop, I was making a mental note of all of the things I wanted to buy, and keeping a tally of them in my head. I have to say, originally I pretty much wanted to buy everything in the shop, but of course I had to cut it down to be realistic. *cries*
We then started to queue up. It wasn’t as busy as when I last went, but of course it was still pretty rammed so we were extremely pleased to get to the front of the queue!
Walking around the studio tour is just the best. To actually know that the cast and crew walked the same hall as you, and that so many iconic moments from my favourite movie series were filmed in the same place I’m standing always has me reeling and feeling pretty emotional!
The last time I had gone to the Studio Tour they didn’t have The Forbidden Forest, and Number 4 Privet Drive wasn’t yet open, so getting to experience these was pretty spectacular. The Forbidden Forest was a definite highlight, it’s so creepy in there! Really brings it to life what with huge tarantulas dangling from the ceiling. Such a great addition to the tour.
As always, I got emotional when I saw Hagrid’s Hut and The Burrow, and Mark was amazed by Dumbledore’s Office and especially the prosthetics and costume areas. We spent such a nice afternoon wandering around looking at absolutely everything! Just makes me fall in love with the series all over again.
I also got emotional (obviously) when I saw the Hogwarts Express (because who doesn’t want to jump on and head off to Hogwarts) and when I saw the model of Hogwarts (again it’s obvious why!)
There were also a lot of exclusive costumes at the tour around the time we went, which had never been shown before. This included Rita Skeeter’s hideous green number!
The love, care and attention to detail on all of the sets is outstanding. It’s such a peculiar thing to not only see a world you have read since a child come to life on the screen but also be granted the incredible opportunity to walk around this world that you cherish so much. If you can’t tell, the studio tour definitely blows my mind every time.
We had a late lunch at the Backlot Cafe, and I have to be honest I wish we hadn’t! I had a chicken burger that tasted okay at the time but made me throw up the next day unfortunately (eww!) 🙁
After finishing up the Studio Tour, and after Mark had his mind blown with the huge model of Hogwarts that they used for a lot of the exterior shots in the films, I headed back to the gift shop to purchase my list of magical items.
I came out with:
- Fawkes t-shirt
- Prophecy orb (the only collectible I bought)
- Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans
- Chocolate frog
- Luna Lovegood’s wand
- Replica ticket to Platform 93/4
- Dobby keyring
- Ravenclaw Notebook
- Souvenir Guide
As you can see, I was extremely restrained! I took my birthday money up with me and promised myself that I’d spend only that and try not to go over, which I’m proud to say I managed to do!
With bags full and a big grin on my face we headed back to the bus with all of the other excited Potter fans. There was lots of excited chatter on the bus with everyone discussing their favourite parts of the tour. We were pretty tired, and I sat in a sleepy but content state, riffling through my bag of goodies.
We stayed in a hotel near King’s Cross Station (how fitting!) that evening, so once we got back to the station we got the train straight there and wolfed down a Leon meal hungrily in the station before checking in. After our long day we were absolutely shattered, so I had a quick shower, got into my cosy pyjamas and watched some rubbish TV for about an hour whilst chatting to Mark about our wonderful day.
The next day we got up and had a leisurely stroll down to the station, via. Mcdonald’s for a quick breakfast. The train was pretty painless back to Worthing which makes a change. And, of course when we got home we started to watch Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone so we can start the whole magical journey all over again.
Thank you, Mark for making my birthday so special. x
Have you been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden? If so, what was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments below!