Most people go to London seeking fish and chips, laughter from the Queen’s guards or unrequited love from the Prince. But I’m not like most people. What was I most looking forward to in London? Experiencing everything Harry Potter. I bought tickets for my sister and me to visit the Warner Brothers Studio where actual filming took place, but our time slot wasn’t until our last day in London. In the meantime, we visited Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station where I got to fulfill my dream of acting like I was a Gryffindor (which I totally am, by the way).
Sorry for being so cute. This was after a 10-hour direct flight from Houston to London and a two-hour car ride to the hotel, where we were informed that we couldn’t check-in to our rooms yet, so all we could do was freshen up in the public hotel bathroom. This was all that could be done.
There was a person there whose job was to flip the scarf so it looks like you’re moving into the wall. My initial thought, “dream job.” My secondary thought, “that has to be freaking boring.” Regardless, I love how it turned out.
There was also a little store in Kings Cross Station where you could purchase the professional picture that someone takes of you at the platform. There’s also a bunch of other goodies. I just bought two postcards for my collection.
Fast forward to two days later when all of my Harry Potter dreams really came true. Touring the Harry Potter Studio in London should be every HP lover’s dream. Visiting the actual sets where scenes were filmed, touching the actual props that were used in the movies, learning all of the secrets behind filming. There’s so much more that went into those movies than I could have imagined, and now all I want to do is have a Harry Potter movie marathon and annoyingly point out all of the things I learned on set.
It took us one taxi ride, two tube changes, and a bus to get there. London is pretty dang huge. The bus we took was a double-decker Harry Potter bus. While we were the last ones to get to the bus stop, we were the first ones to get on the bus because the bus pulled up to the end of the line. Sorry we weren’t sorry. We got prime seating – top floor, front seat. It was awesome.
As soon as we pulled up, my stomach was in knots with excitement. The studio looked huge from the outside, plus there were these three huge chess pieces in the front. Pieces from the actual set when Ron won the ultimate game of wizard’s chess in The Sorcerer’s Stone.
I could go into detail about every little thing we saw on our 3 1/2 hour tour, but that would turn into the longest blog post ever, so I’ll just let the photos do the talking. Apologizing for my quality of photos from here on out. The lighting was weird in there, and my camera takes awful pictures in the dark, even with flash. I took a few pics with my phone too, but iPhones can only do so much.
The entrance and waiting in line:
|Harry’s room under the stairs|
When it was finally our turn to enter, a number of us were shuffled into a large room where we watched a short intro video with the famous trio then the screen went up, and we entered into the front doors of Hogwarts.
|Gryffindor uniforms. Look at little Harry’s hat!|
|Ron’s dress robes. How tragic.|
|The Leaky Cauldron.|
|Gryffindor boys’ dormitory|
|Gryffindor common room|
|Pendulum from the clock tower|
|A few of the horcruxes|
|Entrance to Dumbledore’s office|
|The sorting hat|
|Dumbledore’s office – one of my favorite sets to visit. There were just so many interesting things to see. Too bad the lighting was quite horrible, and I couldn’t get any decent pictures.|
|Entrance to the Chamber of Secrets|
|Very important textbook from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince|
|Umbridge’s office. So pink and full of cats. A girl walked by and said that this is what her dream bedroom would look like. I almost threw up. It’s so creepy.|
|A lot of the props were hand-drawn and hand-painted. There were so many neat things on display, and it’s crazy to think that all of these things took so much time to design, make and decorate and they’re barely seen in the movie.|
|Taking a ride on the knight bus|
|Tom Riddle’s grave|
|Visiting Harry’s first home on Privet Drive|
We ate lunch about mid-tour when we took a Butterbeer break. Butterbeer is not my favorite. It has this strange caramel-y taste with marshmallow foam. It’s just not my cup of tea, but at least I can say that I’ve had it! There are only two places in the world where you can get it – at the Studio Tour in London and at the theme park in Orlando. It’s so ironic to me that I live in the US and haven’t been to the theme park, but I somehow managed to go to the tour in London.
|In London, if you order a burger or a hotdog, instead of asking if you want ketchup or mustard, they ask if you want sauteed onions. My answer was always ‘yes.’|
Here are more pictures from our post-lunch continuation of the tour.
|This textbook was just lying there when I went to take a picture, and then it jumped out and scared the crap out of me.|
|Diagon Alley! Or as Harry says,” Diagonilly.”|
|If I could dream up the perfect dollhouse, it would look like this.|
|Daniel Radcliffe and I have the same size hands.|
|I already want to go back! Sorry about my squinty eyes.|
If you ever find yourself in London, you have to visit the studio. It’s totally worth the money, and you can spend as much time as you want there.
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Have you ever visited the London studios?