Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
An Enchanting Christmas Experience
You might think after visiting the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour twice before that I had well and truly been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. Technically all those things are true - in fact, I have bought multiple t-shirts - but that does not mean there was nothing left to see. The tour, which is located at Leavesden Studio in Watford, is always adding new things, changing props about, and hosting themed events. That means, no matter how many times you go, there will always be more to see.
Flaming Christmas Pudding
For my third day trip, there were three new experiences I was hoping to immerse myself in, and I was not disappointed. The first of which, as you have probably guessed by the title, is Hogwarts in the Snow. This is an annual event that is held between mid-November to late January and celebrates all the Christmassy wonder seen on screen.
Yule Ball Costumes
Out of all the Harry Potter films, the one that arguably provides the most Christmas spirit is Goblet of Fire, which is why the tour's main focus is on the magnificent Yule Ball. On display, you can see many of the costumes worn by the cast for filming, along with an array of delicious-looking desserts, a giant gramophone, and splendidly seasonal sets, such as the Great Hall, Gryffindor Common Room, and the Burrow.
Most spectacular of all is the model of Hogwarts Castle covered in fake snow. Once you have finished gazing in awe, you can then dip your hands into a tactile experience, where you can touch all the different forms of fake snow used to create wintery scenes in the films.
Hufflepuff Baubles, Anyone?
Christmas does not end with the tour but continues into the gift shop. The shop is like the maze in the second task of the Trip-Wizard Tournament (but without the Blast-Ended Skrewts); it is a huge shop each sectioned off into different themed areas, and each of these themes has Christmas tree decorations, stockings, etc. Do you want your tree to look like the Yule Ball; maybe you'd prefer a pine-covered Honeydukes sweets; do you want to show off your house pride or imagine how the Death Eaters would celebrate the festive holiday?
Harry Potter Lego
Of course, once you are done with the decorations, you will then have an almost unending choice of presents to put under the tree, Amongst which include magical beast plushies, Lego sets, and a good old traditional Weasely Jumper.
Behind the Seams
The second new experience I went to see is called 'Behind the Seams'. This is something you have to prebook when you buy your tickets and provides you with a more in-depth look at the costumes used in filming. You will be taken to a room where two members of staff guide you through the costume-making process, starting from mood boards and sketches to the final product. Many of the costumes have never been displayed in the tour itself, and here you get an even closer glimpse at them. As well as learning a lot of interesting facts, there is a fun dress-up session at the end, where you get to put on school robes that were used for filming.
Last but not least, is the latest addition to the Studio Tour. Earlier this year, Gringotts Bank arrived. It is a massive new area where you get to learn all about the design process of the Goblins and how the marvellous marble stone bank was made. When I stepped through onto that set, my jaw dropped, it was so breathtaking. Not only do you get to walk through the hall of the bank, but you then delve deeper into the tunnels of vaults where a dangerous dragon lurks in waiting.
Despite being to the Harry Potter Studio Tour twice before, I spent 7 hours exploring. It is a day trip that will truly last the whole day and will create memories that will last a lifetime.