A tour of the Harry Potter sets at Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, opened to the general public on Saturday following a star-studded preview earlier in the week.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter takes visitors through key sets from the films, including the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Dumbledore’s Office and Hagrid’s Hut – to name just a few. Well-known locations from all eight of the Harry Potter films were filmed at Leavesden.
Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, was one of several stars to attend the tour preview earlier this week, he told ITN:
“There’s so much detail that you don’t see when you watch the films and it’s great they’ve kept all this stuff and not just thrown it away or put it into storage.”
Fans of the series will also see actual props from the films. Replicas of these can be bought in the large gift shop at the end of the tour.
One word: magic. Whatever your age group, this tour will appeal to anyone who holds a special place in their heart for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Having been on the Warners Bros. Studio Tour in Los Angeles, I can vouch for the fact that they are well-executed, exceedingly informative as well as incredibly immersive- you will be trying to cast the Patronus charm by the time you leave. Concerns about the cost have already plagued the internet. At £28 for over 16s and £21 for 5 to 15-year-olds, the tour is not cheap. Under 5s get in for free! However, the tour’s portfolio of studio sets is more extensive than standard studio tours- they’ve even kept the Knight Bus, the Weasleys’ Kitchen and Professor Umbridge’s Office. Furthermore, visitors gain an insight into the use of green screen technology and are given a tutorial on animatronic creature design in the Creature Effects Workshop. You can even meet Fawkes the Phoenix and Buckbeak the Hippogriff.
Let this be a disclaimer to whoever is coming with me: I am going nowhere near the life-size animatronic Aragog, the ill-tempered arachnid. To see the BBC’s Lizo Mzimba perusing a few of the sets with Rupert Grint, click here.