If I’m being completely honest, one of the main reasons we chose to go to England for our trip was because of Harry Potter. It’s taking everything I have to not write this entire post in all caps with exclamation marks every other word. We LOVE Harry Potter, and Hogwarts at Christmas is potentially the most magical thing ever created. Just walking around the streets of London, eating in decked out pubs, and buying Christmas Crackers felt so magical because in my mind it’s all connected to Harry Potter and the Wizarding World.
When the Harry Potter movies first started production, not all of the books had been written yet which meant the film crew didn’t know what props and sets would be needed in the future. As a result they kept many of the things they made for each film and now it’s all on display in a studio tour just outside of London so the Muggles can have a taste of the magic. I was really impressed with how much detail everything had, even if it was just a minor prop in the background and this tour ended up being one of my favorite things we did on our entire trip.
After a short train ride from London to Watford, we rode a double decker bus out to the studio, and after arriving a bit early for our scheduled time, decided to have afternoon tea in their cafe. Once it was time for us to go in we walked into a small theater room where they had an introductory video that talked a bit about the making of Harry Potter, then a screen raised up revealing the entrance to the Great Hall, which was decorated for Christmas!
There was a guy in the Great Hall giving some brief information about the hall and filming there, and then they moved us into the “museum” section with all the props and sets where we could wander freely as long as we liked. There were so many awesome things! I’m sorry you only get crappy phone photos of them, because though we did take the nicer camera, we forgot to charge the battery, so it died pretty quickly.
After the first museum part with props and sets you hit a little lunch area where we bought some butterbeer and butterbeer flavored ice cream. Neither of them were very good. Then you walk briefly through the outdoor area of Privit Drive where you can also see the Night Bus, and then go back indoors into the special effects section. Here you got a good look at the latex masks they made for creatures, animatronics, and a bunch of green screen special effects. They had a section where you could ride a broomstick in front of a green screen and they’d make it look like you were flying, but if you wanted a picture of that it was like $40.
It was nerd heaven and my soul loved every second.