I'm in Melbourne often enough - so why not write a bit about some places I've seen :)
Published August 13th 2014
Welcome to Hogwarts!
For a whole generation and beyond, these are words that many of us have been dreaming of. A fictional world created by J.K Rowling was read by us on paper and came to life in our imagination. I speak refer to, of course, the Harry Potter book series. When I started reading the series when I was eleven years, my whole life changed and I was hooked until the very last word of the seventh book.
So when the film productions started for Harry Potter, it was literally like watching a world we had imagined inside our minds come to life. The scenery unfolded before our eyes, the Hogwarts Express was suddenly an actual train, Hogwarts stood before us on the screen. The characters we had envisaged and idolised or despised were talking to us on the screen. They were there. It was real.
I need not state at this point that yes, I am a massive Harry Potter fan. Hence, when planning a trip to London with my best friend from childhood, there were no questions asks that we would be going to the Warner Brothers Studios in London to finally enter Hogwarts.
The Warner Brothers Studios is located in Leavesden, a fair bit north of London itself. To get there takes about forty minutes on the train and there is a connecting bus (a Harry Potter bus!) that leaves from Watford Junction train station very regularly and only costs two pounds return.
Once there, if not already bursting with excitement and delight, then this will change drastically when you enter the building and see photographs of all the amazingly talented actors who bought the characters to life over the years. The tour on offer takes you behind the scenes of the filming and making-of the Harry Potter films. The tours change seasonally with what special effect and displays are on offer and the website has further details.
An adult tour is around 30 pounds, and the complete adult tour which includes a paperback souvenir guide and audio-digital guide is around 40 pounds, again the website has more details. For the true Harry Potter lover, the price tag is worth every cent. It is highly recommended to book into a tour in advance to avoid long queue waiting times and epic disappointment if they're sold out that day.
The tour commences with a short video about some of the magic behind the scenes of filming the Harry Potter and features the main stars of the film Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. From then on it is a self-guided stroll into the world of Hogwarts. The digital-audio is fantastic and provides further insight into the exhibitions and set designs on display. The narration by Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the films, is informative as well as passionate and comical.
There are many iconic features of the Harry Potter world on display here and the outdoor section gives you a chance to really immerse yourself in the sets. Walking across the Hogwarts bridge, driving the blue car and sitting on Hagrid's motorbike can only be described as bizarre experiences that really belong to a fictional idealism. Even the opportunity to sample butterbeer is like being transported to a scene in the book or movie that true fans will understand.
The tour not only gives Harry Potter fans to experience the closest thing to Hogwarts this world has to offer, but it really widens one's appreciation for the artwork, creativity and hard work that went into bringing this world to life. The complex set designs, the intricate costumes and the animatronics are truly astounding and remarkable achievements in the film industry. The tour really reiterates and highlights that the film crew, makeup artists, costume designs and actors had a true dedication to making the magical world of Hogwarts a reality for the lives of fans it touched so deeply.
I for one truly felt magical during this tour. It was an unforgettable experience and a pivotal stage in my Harry Potter fan-development.