Friday, 2 November 2012

A Magical Birthday: The Harry Potter Studio Tour


When I first read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone I was eleven years old, the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione - I sometimes wonder whether this is why the world of Hogwarts pulled me in head first the way it did, it was difficult not to feel a kinship with three eleven year olds experiencing a new and exciting place - I was in my first year of grammar school doing the very same. Minus the magical experiences of choosing an owl, boarding the Hogwarts Express, and letting a wand choose me!  We carried on that way for a while Harry, Ron, Hermione and I - all the same age until the books began to fall out of sync with my academic years and waiting for each one to be published felt like an eternity, though they were always worth the wait and I would gorge myself on reading the moment I got my hands on the latest book, unable to tear myself away until I'd reached the end. Speed reading complete I'd then go back to the beginning and savour the second read, rationing myself to a couple of chapters per day and relishing every word, every new detail of the magical world. 

Rumours flew about the books being adapted into films and once the Harry Potter section of the Warner Bros website popped up prior to the first film my little sister Verity and I would load the page just to see the Hogwarts Express billowing steam. I'll never forget my parents bundling us into the car with vague promises of a day out only to find we were actually pitching up to the cinema the day the first film hit the screens. Amazing. It was all the better for having a sister 5 years my junior who was even more excited than I was to see Hagrid and his flying motorbike, Dumbledore and his Put-Outer, the Sorting Ceremony. 

The eighteenth of October rolled around and after present opening in bed (complete with handmade wizards hat and a birthday card with a secret message only revealed by heat - I love my man) we were off to see the wizards (and witches) at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden. Cue car trouble of fairly epic proportions resulting in limping to the nearest town and hiring a car to be sure we'd arrive in time for our tour slot. Once we'd parked and picked up the tickets I was suddenly struck by the sheer scale of the place, it is gigantic from the outside and I know that seems like an obvious thing to say but I hadn't banked on the hugeness! As for the tour itself I won't reveal too many details or ruin any surprises in case you are a fellow Potter fan and plan to visit yourself but suffice to say it exceeded my expectations in almost every way. There were so many sets and props I had been looking forward to seeing up close but I was blown away the attention to detail. One of my favourite settings in both the books and the films has to be The Burrow, home of the Weasley family and a house oozing with warmth and magic. The glimpse inside was incredible, just standing in front of the Weasley dining table I felt at home and would have loved to curl up in an armchair there. The Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore's Office, The Great Hall, Diagon Alley, The Potions Dungeon, Hagrid's Hut and the stunning graphic design cabinets were some of the many highlights for me. Spotting Luna Lovegood's roaring lion hat made my day and my first sip of Butterbeer was a pleasant surprise after reading mixed reviews, I drank the whole cup and seriously considered ordering a second! 

Experiencing the magical world created by Jo Rowling brought to life was an absolute treat and I'd heartily recommend a visit to any Potter fan!

 



51 comments:

  1. Oh my I am so very envious Jem!! I bet you had a hard time writing this post, because there are no words to describe exactly how amazing that tour must have been!! It's so nice that you were allowed to take pictures too! I always thought they might treat it somewhat like a museum! Glad you had a lovely, magical birthday xxx

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  2. it sounds great i want to go now :) hope you had a good birthday xxx

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  3. I have wanted to go on the Harry Potter tour for a while now and you have re-ignited my desire to go! It looks fab. What a magical birthday :)

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  4. Looks amazing! Really want to pay a visit :) I have been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and it was AMAZING!! ahhhh
    Hope you had a lovely birthday!
    xo

    iamlaurenpotts.blogspot.co.uk

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  5. Agree with you....I even remember buying Harry potter goodies, like wand and pretending to be a wizard myself .....aaa such happiness it gave...reading the book was much more magical than the movie though....this is a must see place in my to do list...

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  6. Agree with you....I even remember buying Harry potter goodies, like wand and pretending to be a wizard myself .....aaa such happiness it gave...reading the book was much more magical than the movie though....this is a must see place in my to do list...

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  7. What a perfect place to spend a birthday, you took some lovely photos that brought back memories of our visit back in August. It really is amazing isn't it, all of the props and sets are just mindblowing! xo

    Rosie // A Rosie Outlook

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    1. I'm going in March, so excited I might burst!!!

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  8. Great pictures! You're birthday card sounds amazing by the way!
    I soo want to go visit this but most of my fellow Harry Potter fan friends have already gone and I leave the country the beginning of December! But your post has made me determined to go :D
    Glad you had an amazing time.
    Kerry x

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  9. Really great pictures, I kind of missed Harry Potter (it's not my generation, I was too young when it first came out). and now I don't get to share the excitement that all you bloggers have for this magical fantasy world. it looks as if you had a great day! Happy birthday!x
    www.12cupsoftea.blogspot.co.uk

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  10. It looks amazing, I've been wanting to go for so long. I was 11 when I first read The philosopher's stone too! :)
    Daniella x

    http://daniella-r.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. This post evokes so many memories for me. I grew up with Potter too and am dying to give the studio tour a go! One of my favourite elements of the books is the creatures - I spent my childhood desperate to hitch a ride on a Hippogryph or ride a broomstick excitedly away from a dragon. It's so great that other people share the same passion for Potter :)

    http://wildatheart-weirdontop.blogspot.co.uk/

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  12. So glad you had a memorable and romantic day to celebrate your birthday.
    The attention to detail looks incredible in the pictures of the props. I wonder who would be good at working with props for a living? Any ideas, Jem?!

    Lucy x

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  13. I think this looks so much more amazing than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Very jealous of your birthday!
    http://tornowandbing.wordpress.com

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  14. Your pictures are great! I can't wait to go at the end of this month.x

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  15. Jealous doesn't even cover it!

    www.poptartsndsexx.blogspot.co.uk

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  16. Happy birthday you young thing! I totally share your harry potter enthusiasm, though i'm an old thing. This place HAS to go on my list of places to go on my next visit home to england x

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  17. Love love love this post your photos are brilliant and give a proper taster without giving the game away completely! really like the one of madam malkins!! x

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  18. This looks absolutely amazing! happy birthday xxx

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  19. I can't wait to go (it's round the corner from the village we were supposed to move to - sob). I just need to wait until Boy1 has seen all the films. He's read all the books now but has only seen the first 3 films. Need to rewatch and decide if they're suitable for a 7 year old. It does look absolutely incredible.

    xx

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  20. Oh gosh how absolutely perfect. I'm so happy that you had such a wonderful time <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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  21. A very happy belated birthday to you! I am lemming to cross the mighty pond for the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden :) I'm so happy you wrote a post on Harry Potter ;) I think my favourite would be the Weasley's Burrow, I love that family and their home is so, so cosy. I also love Ron (mainly Rupert Grint, but Ron was a fave character!) I can't wait until Zayn is old enough to read the books... I wish the magic would still be 'alive' for him :( He's only 2... quite a ways to go! xx

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  22. Happy Birthday! What an amazing post!

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  23. Oh I went yesterday and I agree, totally amazing! I loved spotting Luna's hat too - that area was actually one of my favourites from the tour :)
    Your photos are incredible, much better than mine! Glad you enjoyed yourself too xoxo

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  24. If I ever get to go to England I most definitely will be visiting this place! Looks amazing! ^^ Thanks for sharing xx

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  25. OMG. I would LOVE this tour! How magical! Definitely, definitely going to visit. Thanks for sharing these awesome photographs, you can check out my blog if you want.

    www.addressbookblog.com

    xx

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  26. I love Harry Potter! i always wanted to go for the tour, almost did when last year a friend of mind from indonesia came to london and asked me to accompany her but we didnt have time as she suddenly had to leave early and went to Bath instead for the tour, those photos you took are sooo wonderful, it makes me want to go soon! thanks for sharing the magic of harry potter.

    x susan

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  27. Looks like you had an amazing time! I would love to do that tour one day.

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  28. it sounds amazing, I definitely definitely need to go at some point! I think I was also 11 or 12 when I read the first book, way before all the hype and any films.. it all seems so long ago now. I've not even reread any of the books, but maybe I will reread some of them before booking the tour :) xx

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  29. I went on my birthday too - it's such an amazing place! Glad you had a good time :) x

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  30. Isn't it fabulous! Having just returned from Florida where I visited the Harry Potter "land" at Universal Studios it isn't a patch on the UK tour!

    Victoria xx

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  31. This looks amazing! Great post, thanks Jem

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  32. It looks amazing! I can't wait to go xx


    www.satinandsouffles.com
    www.satinandsouffles.com

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  33. Oh wow! This would be an amazing birthday present. I would love to visit the HP stuidos!
    Daisy Dayz
    Cross-Jones-Photography

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  36. Arrgh so jealous it looks amazing! Can't wait to go to this :)
    xx

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  37. What a truly magical experience and written on such a unique slant. I can’t say I ever got into Harry Potter as child, I’ve only ever seen snippets of the films but of course I can appreciate the greatness and magic of JK Rowling's world. I am so glad you had a wonderful day and more so that you fulfilled one of your burning passions xxx

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  38. I went to see that too! It was amazing! The model of Hogwarts was so incredible!


    Black and Vanilla
    xx

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  39. Ahhhh i am going tomorrow I am so excited!!! :) x

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  40. So glad you went and loved it.As you know;I'm just the same about the Harry Potter books and films.Loved seeing your pictures because you've captured some details I missed such as Luna's lion hat!(she's always been my favourite)We tried the butter beer too and dare I say it was too sweet for me.Belated Birthday wishes too Jem :)Cassandra xx

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  41. Wow, you so lucky. I want to take my boyfriend!! It looks great. You have amazing photography :)
    LaceyLoves

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  42. omg! I'm so jealous! Your bf sounds awesome!

    -liv
    http://chocolivlovelaugh.blogspot.kr

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  43. I'm dying to go here! Your blog is so lovely btw, new reader :) xo

    http://www.vipxo.co.uk

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  44. Sounds like a great place to visit - the photographs are great too x


    www.ofbeautyandnothingness.blogspot.co.uk

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  45. wow this looks amazing! i really want to go! i love the photographs you've taken x

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  46. Oh, it all looks so magical! I can't wait ti visit when I move back to the UK next year!

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  47. I can't wait till the day I can tour it. Great post. I just recently started reading the book series (I know, I'm a bit late lol), and I'm completely falling under the spell of the books. They're amazing!

    Have a great New year! and keep up the blog, it's great :)

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  48. Thanks for the lovely comment Jem, I really found the great hall and castle so overwhelming. One of the best days out I've had in ages x

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