So today was the day. Harry Potter day. It’s all the girls have been talking about for months, so needless to say when we woke up this morning they had both completely forgotten we were going.
We had tickets booked for the 11:30am tour and it was so so easy to get to. A tube to Euston, the overground to Watford Junction and then the shuttle bus to Warner Bros. It couldn’t have been easier, the girls were super, and we were there before we knew it.
The only boring bit of the day really was the queue to get in. It was long and we waited for about 20 minutes before they let us through, which is fine really, but #2 was already moaning about being bored so I was braced for a long day.
But once we were in…well there aren’t really words to describe it in all honesty, it was mind-blowing. After a couple of introductory films we were shown into the Great Hall which was laid out as if filming was just about to commence. It is coming up to 15 years since The Philosophers Stone was released in cinemas (yes I feel old too) so they’ve brought back loads of quirky props to celebrate, the letterbox firing machine being one of them so we even got to see actual Harry Potter letters coming through the door of Privet Drive, it was awesome!
The girls were totally in awe, and once we had wandered around the Great Hall we were left to our own devices. It opened up into a massive space, with rooms and displays and costumes, and wigs, and everything that has ever been a part of any Harry Potter film. There was a life size Hagrid, and the actual prosthetic faces of all the trolls and creatures from every film.
We rode broomsticks and got to practice our wand choreography and walked through the actual Hogwarts Express, and that was all before lunch. The place is absolutely amazing.
A definite highlight was Diagon Alley, it was breathtaking. #1 was picked to demonstrate a spell and now thinks she’s a witch, of course her wand doesn’t work in front of me because I’m a muggle, but she possesses as much power as she does attitude so her life is made. One amazing fact we took away from today; in Ollivanders (the shop where you buy your wands from in the books/films) there are 17000 wands on display. And each of those wands were hand inscribed and boxed before production even started. The attention to detail within every single piece of equipment is just outstanding.
The model of the castle was also just mesmerising, I’ve never seen a anything like it.Another HP fact; until the last film there was no bridge at the front of Hogwarts. The writers realised there was no way the castle could be attacked from the front so they invented a bridge for the 8th film. Cool huh.
So Harry Potter was a definite hit. Which it was always going to be. The gift shop was just as incredible and I now need a new mortgage on my house, but my child is head to toe in Slytherin gear (she’s bucking the trend against Gryffindor) and they are asleep next to me jus now with their cloaks on, clutching their wands. Days don’t get much better than this if you’re a Harry Potter fan.
So Harry Potter is done. And so now is Tower Bridge and Hamleys, although they weren’t quite as exciting I’m afraid. After walking 7 miles and surviving the tube at both morning and evening rush hours we were back in the hotel by 7:30pm. Worn out but elated none the less.
All that is left to do in London is the small matter of Project Awesome. Tomorrow, 6:30am. Regents Park. It’s going to be pretty special…