Tuesday 25 March 2014

Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Our Hogwarts letters (aka tickets)
Last month we finally, finally made it to Hogwarts!  Despite none of us being quite the right age, we were ushered through the imposing carved wooden doors into the Great Hall to take our places at Hogwarts.  (Okay, so it was actually The Harry Potter Studio Tour, but I'm allowed to pretend, okay?)

The opening of the doors was a tremendous bit of theatre and like everyone else, we 'ooohed' and 'aaahed' as they were revealed to us.  I'd very carefully not read much about the tour before we went, so this particular surprise was unspoiled for me.

Hogwarts newest pupils!
Walking into the Great Hall was a very special experience indeed.  The tables were laid for breakfast and we were able to get surprisingly close to everything which allowed us to spot all the little details.  Like the House Points counter which is only glimpsed a couple of times in the films.

Gryffindor wins!
Hogwarts crest plus the house crests on the fireplace in the Great Hall

Once we left the Great Hall we entered a veritable Aladdin's Cave of amazing sets and props.  Unsurprisingly, my eye was drawn straight away to the Chocolate Feast.  I'm amazed that the chocolate phoenix has survived for so long!

Unlike most people on the tour, I spent my time at the Gryffindor dormitory photographing Ron Weasley's bed rather than jockeying for that perfect shot of Harry's bed.  Not for any nefarious purposes, I hasten to add!  I'm just quite taken with the blanket on his bed.  Lucas was, too, and has asked if I could knit him one.  The Harry Potter films are stuffed full of wonderful knitted and crocheted objects!

Lucas stopped off for a bit of wand practice before we ventured into the Potions classrooms.  I think this was what turned him from mildly interested into a bit of a fan.  He devoured the first book within a few days after we did the tour!  (Reading with a wand in hand is seriously cute!)

My favourite part of the tour was seeing The Burrow.  The Weasleys have such a happy family life and I adore their cosy and eclectic kitchen with room for the whole family to gather and chat while dinner is cooking or to argue over the last piece of crackling. 

I am in love with the Welsh dresser, which has only served to fuel my need to have one!  I really wish this was my kitchen.

I wish I could show you a photo of everything, but with a thousand photographs between Dave and I, that would be an insanely long post!!  There were so many little details everywhere I looked; I spotted a Gnome Racing Championships cup in a prop cage.  How fabulous is that??

Talking of details, my mind was blown by the work that the graphics department had put into all the newspapers, textbooks and letters.  I stood and read the front page of The Daily Prophet and wished that I could turn the pages.  My eye was caught by this rather pink notepaper:

Halfway through the tour was the back lot where all the large props were kept, like Number 4, Privet Drive and the Knight Bus.  There was also Butterbeer!
Epic Butterbeer moustache!
Lucas and I knocked on the door of Number 4, Privet Drive, but no one was home.  I'm not sure what I'd have said if one of the Dursleys had opened the door!

When we ventured into the next hangar, we found lots of model making and animatronic displays, but they were totally eclipsed by Diagon Alley!!

Welcome to Diagon Alley!
We stepped onto the cobbled street and walked past Cauldrons, marvelling at the sheer variety and the teetering tower of cauldrons outside which must surely have been held up by magic!  There was such a big crowd outside Gringotts that I was worried that there was a run on the bank, but it turned out to be Crookshanks who was chasing a clockwork mouse to amuse the Muggles.

The last stop on our magical tour was the Hogwarts model.  This was huge!  Not full-size, but still absolutely stunning.  The lighting changed continually between day and night, when tiny lights twinkled in the windows.  The level of detail was breathtaking with perfect lines of grout between all the bricks of the castle walls and plants poking out of Professor Sprout's greenhouses!

And of course, no tour would be complete without seeing where the adventures began for Harry: the cupboard under the stairs.

The cupboard under the stairs

If you're a Harry Potter fan and haven't done the tour yet, then I would highly recommend that you go!  We spent over four hours there and all had a wonderful time; I would go back again in a heartbeat!

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  1. Can't believe you were there the same day as us. Such a shame we didn't bump into each other. You look like you had a lovely time.

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx

  2. Ah, it's such a magical day out. I'd go back in a heartbeat! I really liked all the papers too - I spent a lot of time at those cabinets! My favourite bit was definitely the Hogwarts model though - I felt quite overcome looking at it! It probably h ad a lot to do with the music playing, but I told my friends that they had to tell any future suitor that he has to propose there!

    Jane x

  3. I was soooo close to going to this, I was going to go for my birthday but we've ended up travelling in the opposite direction instead. I'm really glad I got to see your pictures though, I can live a little through you before I manage to make my own trip, haha!

    Nicola // pink-confetti.co.uk

  4. Looks amazing. I can't wait until my boy is old enough to enjoy things like this. Who am I kidding? He'd enjoy it now but he hasn't read all the books or seen the movies. Lucy x

  5. It totally looks like a Weasley's bed!
    And I'm dying here. This is so much better than the little Harry Potter part of Universal Studios in Orlando. So much better.

  6. I want to go there so, so bad, but it's a bit far away from the Netherlands. It's still on my bucketlist though, it looks amazing!

  7. Looks amazing, on our list! Stunning photos Ange.

  8. That place looks amazing and it looks like you had a great time.

  9. This is so cool - I need to go on the tour soon as I've heard so many good things about it! Love your blog.

  10. Oh wow, what great photos! I really want to go on the Harry Potter tour - it's been on my to-do list for ages now. Everybody has said such good things about it! Glad you had such a great day :) XX

  11. This looks nice and a must place to visit with kids. Thanks. #sitsblogging.

  12. I pretty much want to live at the tour! The Weasley's kitchen is so sweet and cosy, I definitely would love one like that one day! <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

  13. Looks like you had a fab time! Several people I know at work have been and all come back raving about it as well - I'd love to go, I did hint quite a lot last year before my birthday but Andrew didn't take the bait! :-) xx

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