You guys know how much I love Harry Potter and as promised I’m bringing you an updated Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour! There have been a number of new additions made since I first visited back in 2012 and I want to share those with you here.
If you didn’t know, the Harry Potter films were partly filmed on sound stages in London and they have been opened to the public so that we can see some of the magical sets, props and behind the scenes extras that were used during the making. There are also some fun extras like flying on a broom and riding the Hogwarts Express using green screen technology.
Hopefully, you’ve already seen my original Studio Tour post and the Christmas overlay ‘Hogwarts in the Snow‘ post, as they cover a lot of the tour already. If you haven’t, go ahead and check them out first as this post will mainly be focusing on everything new and improved. Also, if you want to see a lot of the graphic design from the films, take a look at my post on MinaLima, the company that created everything from that perspective.
I will try not to repeat anything too much, although I did get a bit snap happy again….oops!
Also, I realised there were things that I didn’t photograph properly (like the Golden Snitch) or at all (like the Monster Book of Monsters) before, and so although they’re not new additions, I may add a few of these in too! I may also use some of my new photos to update some of the ones from the original post too.
SETS & PROPS
After the Great Hall at the start of the tour, the soundstage is filled with props and sets from all of the films. I love taking photographs in here as there is just so much to see. Do you recognise any of the bits below?
These were couple of pieces of paper memorabilia that I hadn’t noticed in shop before, including a list of signatures from everybody who joined Dumbledore’s Army.
DEATH EATERS & DARK MAGIC
The Death Eaters and dark magic section has most definitely changed since I last visited, and now features this grizzly scene where Voldemort is torturing a Hogwarts professor, Charity Burbage, above a table surrounded by Death Eaters. It’s a pretty gruesome scene but a memorable one, and one that completely represents dark magic in the world of Harry Potter.
There are also some other bits and pieces from the dark side of magic or that were used for dark deeds, including this magical item; the Vanishing Cabinet. This is one of a pair that was either located in Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley or in Hogwarts School. It was used by Draco Malfoy in ‘The Half Blood Prince’ to enable Death Eaters to pass from one to the other and enter Hogwarts.
THE FORBIDDEN FOREST
The Forbidden Forest set is a recent addition from last year and it showcases the incredible trees that were made as a backdrop to some of the forest shots in the film. Not everything is CGI you know!
And you might recognise a familiar face as you walk into the forest.
It’s Buckbeak you guys!
Unfortunately the animatronic wasn’t working when we visited so we couldn’t experience the bowing exchange, but it was incredible to see it close up amidst the forest.
If you don’t like spiders, then there is an option to bypass this section, but if you do then you can meet Aragog and all his not-so-little friends. They drop down from the ceiling to surround you amidst flashes of lightning which is a pretty surreal experience. Definitely not one for arachnophobes!
HOGWARTS EXPRESS & PLATFORM 9 3/4
The Hogwarts Express has been a part of the tour for a while now, but it wasn’t an original section to the tour. But now she’s here looking all grand and polished and you can even take a look at one of the carriages used as you walk along inside the train and peep into a few different compartments.
Obviously there’s the classic photo op with the trolley disappearing into the wall. This never gets old! You can also do this at Kings Cross Station for free if you can’t make it to the studios.
At the end of the platform there’s a green screen experience to make you feel as if you were riding in the Hogwarts Express, filled with jumping toads and dementors! It’s good fun as you get to act along with the story for the cameras, as if you were in a real film.
BUTTERBEER & INSIDE PRIVET DRIVE
You would have seen in my original post that Privet Drive was always there in the outside courtyard between sound stages, but you weren’t allowed inside. Now, however you can take a peek inside the Dursley’s house and see the famous scene where all the letters come flying in down the chimney and fill the living room. It’s pretty spectacular!
Plus there’s a chance to grab a Butterbeer in the cafe and to have some fun photo ops with a few of the vehicles and sets. There’s the Hogwarts bridge, the knight bus, Hagrid’s motorcycle, and of course the flying Ford Anglia car. We couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun in this part!
Plus, I finally got to see the Potter’s house from Godric’s Hollow in person. This is the house where Lily and James were killed by Voldemort and the place where Harry got his famous lighting bolt scar.
SPECIAL EFFECTS & DIAGON ALLEY
This section of the tour is incredible. I can’t get over how much detail there is in each item and the insane craftsmanship that it takes to make each piece a reality.
This is the head from one of the merpeople. Not really The Little Mermaid is it!? These guys are a little scary when they open their mouths and with that ‘hair’ they have complete Medusa vibes, which is also a little frightening!
Be excited though as there is more to come….
It’s the Monster Book of Monsters! How amazing are they?! I can’t say I’d want a real one on my bookshelf, but they are an awesome sight to behold.
After you’ve finished being in awe of all the incredible special effects, it’s time to visit one of the most anticipated sets of the whole tour. That’s right, you get to walk down Diagon Alley! This isn’t a new addition, but I always find it to be one of my favourite parts to see and I’m sure there were details that I must have bypassed before or not remembered!
I’m now super excited as I’m off to see Diagon Alley in full size at the Wizarding World at Universal Studios next week and I cannot wait. Eeeeek!
And that’s it! Aside from some insane cardboard and wooden miniature mock ups of some of the constructions and the incredible Hogwarts finale, which you can see here and here, that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed seeing a little update of some of the new sections that have been added over the last few years between visits and that you get a chance to visit yourselves.
So, on that note, I shall leave you here with the great architect of Hogwarts and a couple of the house mascots. Do you know which houses they belong to?
See you soon!