As the only American here at Amazing PR, I fill most of my free time with touristy things and bring back loads of stories and pictures to share with everyone in the office. One of my favorite adventures (and yes, I definitely call my touristy sightseeing excursions ‘adventures’) was not seeing Big Ben or the London Eye, as amazing as they both are, but rather to The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers Studios. For any Harry Potter fan, big or small, this is definitely a must-see. But plan ahead. This is not a quick-stop-by-and-check-off-your-list sort of activity. I would recommend making a day out of it for a few reasons. The first reason being that the studios require a bit of traveling as the studio is located in Watford Junction - it took me about an hour to get there by train from central London.
The second reason to plan to spend an entire day there is simply that there is just so much to see. The tour is not guided; guests are admitted in increments and allowed to explore the two studios and outdoor area that contain all of the props and sets. Once you leave an area you cannot go back, so take your time and soak up every potion you can. One cast member told me that the tour generally takes a minimum of three hours, but some people have taken up to eight hours. Literally almost every prop that wasn’t destroyed in filming is there on display! Everything from the letters announcing young Harry’s acceptance into Hogwarts and the sweets sold in the Weasley twins’ shop to Diagon Alley and the floating candles from the Great Hall. Costumes, masks, architectural models, initial character sketches, the statue from the Ministry of Magic - you name it, it’s there. Not to mention the information boards and videos from the cast, makeup artists, costume designers, directors and producers along the way describing how everything was designed, the technology behind favorite characters like Hagrid and Dobby, how the green screen was used for flying… Speaking of which, don’t forget to take the time for flying lessons!
Not only do you get to try your hand at flying a broomstick, but you can fly the Weasley car, too! Lastly, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the Butterbeer. That may have been one of my favorite parts of the tour. I confess, I am now a butterbeer-aholic. I thought it was simply amazing – I had two glasses and could have easily had more if I had more time!
Whether or not you would consider yourself a wizardry expert like Harry, there is something exciting and interesting for everyone. But beware: secrets will be revealed at the Warner Brothers Studios, and you will never think of quidditch the same way again. But I will let you see the rest for yourself. Until then, mischief managed.