Exploring England #39
It’s been 20 years since we first met the boy wizard Harry Potter and his magical friends in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. Six more novels completed the series and eight films brought Harry’s adventures to the big screen.
At Warner Bros. Studios at Leavesden, just outside London, Harry Potter fans can relive all their favourite cinematic moments. The studio where all the films were made has been preserved at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. This fabulous walking tour takes visitors, at their own pace, through the original sets filled with costumes, props and displays showcasing the films’ amazing special effects.
The tour begins at the grand entrance to the Great Hall, where the sense of anticipation is infectious.
Inside, two long refectory tables are set for dinner and, at the front of the room, the teachers’ table, Professor Dumbledore’s lectern and the mind-reading Sorting Hat are ready for another school year.
Elaborately detailed sets come to life in the two purpose-built sound stages, including Dumbledore’s mysterious office, the Weasley family home and the tiny cupboard under the stairs where Harry’s story begins.
Gryffindor colours feature prominently in their common room and dormitory and bubbling concoctions are brewing in the potions classroom.
On Platform 9¾ the Hogwarts Express, steam billowing from its funnel, is waiting to transport students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Diagon Alley is lined on both sides by all the familiar shops, their windows full of enchanted wands, wise owls and flying broomsticks. It’s tempting to write a shopping list!
Outside in the backlot, the magical Knight Bus is parked near Number Four Privet Drive, home of the dreadful Dursleys.
The final section of the tour displays the production team’s own technical wizardry. White card models and detailed drawings of sets and locations are evidence of the hundreds of hours of work which went into each film before production began.
The best is left to last – a magnificent scale model of Hogwarts Castle, complete with miniature gardens, turrets and towers.
Of course, the tour ends in the souvenir shop where all that wizarding regalia for sale in Diagon Alley can be purchased. Is anyone in need of a magic wand?
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