There is a place in Watford, just a few minutes by train outside of London, where the Boy Who Lived still lives. This magical land, the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio, has been transformed from the filming location of everyone’s favorite movies to a full-on HP experience. After years of dreaming of this place, I finally experienced it for myself, and let me just say, it lives up to expectations.
Upon arriving at Watford Junction station, a giant bus with Harry Potter pictures on its side picked us up and took us to the studio. Once inside, we were huddled into a movie theater-like place where we watched a highlights reel of the 8 films and interviews with people who made it. At the end of the film, the screen was lifted up to reveal the (actual) entrance to Hogwarts! This was by far the best moment of the day because 1) it was like we were walking into the movie and 2) OMG THE ENTRANCE TO HOGWARTS! We walked through the double doors into the Great Hall, the location of so many iconic HP scenes, and then we were set free to wander through the self-guided tour.
I could make a detailed account of every aspect of the films we say — from the actor’s wigs, make-up and costumes to the sets for Hogwarts’ various offices and rooms — but it would take way too long and words just wouldn’t do it justice. Instead just imagine all the Harry Potter films threw up in one room, and that room is now filled with everything you could imagine from the movies. It was like that.
As we exited one studio to move on to the tour’s second half, we came across a butterbeer concession stand (which, by the way, tastes like toffee-flavored cream soda), 4 Private Drive, the Potter’s Cottage, the Kightbus, the flying car, the flying motorcycle and the Hogwarts bridge. Best. Courtyard. Ever.
The next room was filled with all the creatures in the wizarding world, including Aragog, the giant spider, which is the only thing I had to avert my eyes from. Then a quick walk through Diagon Alley (!!!) led to the end of tour and a massive model of the Hogwarts castle. MASSIVE. And then that led into an even more massive gift shop. I MEAN MASSIVE. It was absolute madness. I came very close to buying a wand, also known as a long piece of plastic, but alas, I resisted temptation. I did, however, purchase this gem of a photo for obvious reasons.
All I have to say is that the whole thing was wonderful. Try and soak up some of the awesomeness via these photos.
Also, the countdown begins! T-minus five days until I’m stateside!