Dear Warner Brothers Studio Tour…

I have been meaning, for years now, to book and take the children to your Harry Potter Studio tour in Leavesden, but just never got round to it. Myself and my eldest son have read/watched all of the Harry Potter books/movies; including Fantastic Beast and where to find them. My 10-year-old started reading the books last November and after reading them all, back to back, he finished the last one only a couple of weeks ago.

With everyone in the family showing a keen interest in the mythical magical world of Harry Potter it seemed like it was the right time for us all to visit the tour. We booked back in January and have been looking forward to our visit ever since.

I must say, we were not disappointed!

After looking forward to something for so long, we had high expectations of the tour and were not let down, in fact it exceeded our expectations.

20180409_094224

Our tour began at 11.30, we had arrived early with plenty of time to rest and explore the shop before entering the tour. From the moment we entered through the main doors, we were surrounded by quotes, pictures and memorabilia from the films – and this was all just on the walk down the corridor to the main lobby.

20180409_153705 20180409_153632

My 10-year-old had decided to go dressed as his idol, Newt Scamander. It was an outfit that I had made him for World Book Day. There were many others who had come in character but none were of Fantastic Beasts. Many of your employees had noted my son and how he was dressed. This made him very happy with a sense of importance. They took time to talk to him about the film and who his favourite characters are and even told him about the time that Eddie Redmayne had visited the tour and surprised a fellow Newt Scamander (a fan dressed as him). This experience added to the excitement of the day and made it all the more memorable. 20180409_153817

There was so much to see and do, too much for us all to take in on one visit. The attention to detail in everything was awe-inspiring. We were so impressed by the amount of work that had gone into the props and setting for the films. Everywhere you looked was magnificent.

This was probably how my 10-year-old got lost. With so much going on around us; lots of breathtaking objects and scenes to look at, he wondered away from us in amazement. He must have forgotten in the moment, that he was with his family as we searched within the crowds for him. After 10 minutes we still hadn’t found him. I wasnt too worried as he had his phone with him and was wearing an I.D bracelet. Also, I knew that he would not leave the studios without us. Whilst trying to get through to him (again) on the phone I was approached by one of your employees asking if we had lost a member of our group. My son had done the right thing when he realised that he couldn’t find us and had told a member of your staff that he had lost his family. She left him in a safe place with another member of staff whilst she went to look for us, using the description that he had given her. I know that this is part of the job, but she really did make him feel safe and at ease. I would like to thank her for her professionalism and friendly approach to the matter.

Once all back together again,we went on with enjoying the tour: We rode broomsticks through London, appeared on a ‘Wanted’ poster, drank in the Hogshead, entered the forbidden forest where we met Aragog (the Acromantula) and Buckbeak (the Hippogriff), pushed our trolley through 9 3/4, jumped on the Hogwarts Express, tried the famous Butterbear, hopped on the Knight bus and visited the Dursleys at Privet Drive. Phew! and that was only half way through!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

At the beginning of the tour the children were given a passport book that they could take around with them and fill out as and when they saw something of interest. They could find  golden snitches that are hidden throughout the studio tour and also collect 6 stamps at certain parts, using the embossed stamper. As we had spent the first 10 minutes looking around for my son we did not manage to collect the first two. At the end of the tour, as we entered the gift shop, my youngest was talking about going back to get them. My feet could not take the trip all the way back through to the beginning, so a member of staff over heard us and told us to go to the reception desk as they may have a pre-stamped book
there for us. Unfortunately, they had given them all out. But, they did take us back through the staff entrance and in to the first studio where we could get the book stamped. This made my youngest sons day, he was so excited that he had collected all the stamps. The passport is a lovely little keepsake for the children, something that he will be putting into his treasure box at home.

FB_IMG_1523478560884

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, there is so much to see and do, that it is impossible to take it all in. We will definitely be back to see what we missed out on.

Thank you to your staff who were all very friendly and very informative.

With Thanks

The Three Musketeers and Mum

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Share

A London Harry Potter Tour #NewThings

The boys and I have been invited along with a selection of other bloggers to become New Things Ambassadors, a project run by CSMA. Over the next coming month we have been asked to help inspire other families in trying something new.

Read all about the NewThings project here This week the challenge is to visit a New Place.

This week we visited London. Ok, it’s not a new city for us to visit as we are up there at least once a month but it was the fact that we visited lots of new places in London that we have never been to before. London has a vast amount of hidden treasures that we may pass every day and not know they are there.

The boys and myself are huge Harry Potter fans, like many we have read the books and watched the films, we even have a few Harry potter toys lying around the house but we have never been to the Harry Potter studio tours, as It is slightly too expensive for us to go to as a family. So we took to the internet and found a perfect website to help us out with our OWN tour of London, visiting many of the locations that Harry Potter movies were filmed.

First up we caught the underground train to Leicester Square, we exited onto Charing Cross Road.

This is where the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed when the Death Eaters swoop down over Trafalgar Square, heading down Charing Cross Road leading a trail of destruction behind.

leicester square station

Next we made our way along Cranbourne Street, taking a right at the end onto St Martin’s Lane. Go left onto New Row and a little along the road we saw Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop

hardy sweet shop

Just like Honeyduke’s sweets shop in Harry Potter, Once inside this shop you are instantly surrounded by shelves that are stacked to the brim of all types of sweets. We bought a bag made up of Harry Potter themed sweets, costing £10 – not bad considering one of the packs cost 3.99 on its own! Inside is a long jelly basilisk, a chocolate wizard, a pack of liquorice wands, a pack of sherbet lemon sweets, a chocolate frog, a packet of popping candy and very famous every flavour beans.

will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?
will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?

Once stocked with some Harry Potter themed goodies, we headed on over to the other side of the road where we went right into Bedfordbury. Just along on the right hand side there is a passageway tucked away called Goodwins Court. This wasn’t in the Film but it has a magical feel to it with the lamps above the doorways. We must have passed this alleyway many times before but had no idea what was down it, until now!

DSC_0030
So Pretty!

At the end of Goodwins Court, cross over St Martins lane, veering left and head down Cecil Court. The court has such a magical, mysterious feel to it, not used in the HP Films but believed that Cecil Court was the influence of Diagon Alley. With curious antique and book shops, there is plenty to look at, most of the shops even have Harry Potter items on display for sale.

book store

Magic Money
Magic Money

IMG_20140827_223058

Next we headed on over to Leicester Square, where we walked towards Shaftesbury Avenue. This is where Ron, Hermione and Harry apparate to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and nearly get run over by a number 19 bus.

Number 19 bus
Number 19 bus

As you walk along Shaftesbury Avenue you are taking the exact route that Harry, Hermione and Ron took in the film when discussing the Theatres. A little along the road you will see an arcade with large globe lights over head

arcade

The same route that the young wizards took as they discuss about missing Harry’s birthday.

From here we made our way towards Nelson Column at Trafalgar Square, this is where the Death Eaters launch an attack on London from the air in the opening sequences of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. 

DSC_0047

 

Looking at Trafalgar Square in a different way and trying to remember clips of the film, made it feel quite real for us.

Next we headed on over to The Entrance of Ministry Of Magic which is actually on Great Scotland Yard and on the corner of Scotland Place.

DSC_0049 DSC_0050

In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr Weasley enter through the ‘visitors entrance’ which was in a red telephone box located to the left of the brown door. The telephone box was a prop that was lowered down onto set and removed once the filming had finished, there are many telephone boxes scattered around London we found some great ones on Parliament Street to have a photo taken in.

On the other corner of Scotland Place, it was used in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one , where the young wizards drink the polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry of Magic.

If you head along towards Horse Guards Parade towards Horse Guards Avenue, standing with your back towards the Spencer Comptons statue, you will notice that this is where the Staff entrance into the Ministry of Magic was. The entrance was in fact a ‘gentleman’s Toilet’ and was only a prop that was placed in the middle of the road.

DSC_0052

About to enter the Ministry of Magic
About to enter the Ministry of Magic

 

On the next part of the tour we headed to the Train Station to catch a train to Temple. Exiting the station we walked up the steps to the left and turned right. At the end of the road turn left into Milford Lane and walk up the steep flight of steps ahead along to Essex Street. At the top of the street you will find that you are on the Strand, turn left and ahead on the right hand side you will see Austraila House: Gringotts Bank. Look inside and see the magnificent crystal chandelier and the glorious marble floor. the boys said it really was Gringotts Bank!

We made our way back to Temple Station where we caught the underground train to Monument, here we headed up Fish Street Hill, crossing over Eastcheap and turning left along Gracechurch Street. Keep on walking along over Fenchurch Street and turning right into Bull’s Head Passage.

Here we found a blue optician doorway which was used in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the entrance into The leaky cauldron.

leaky couldronKeeping ahead and walking into the Victorian Leadenhall Market, this was used in the films for the exterior shots of Diagon Alley.

DSC_0074

On the last part of our NewPlaces tour was to head to Kings Cross Station, where we was going to see if we could enter through Platform 9 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts. We caught the Northern Line train from Bank to Kings Cross and headed to KIngs Cross St.Pancras. There was no way we could have missed where the Platform was as there was a queue of people waiting to photograph the famous Platform 9 3/4 sign. There is even a luggage cart placed against the wall, where you can pose for photo.

jak kingscross

joseph kingscross

oliver kingscross

 

Kings Cross station was in every Harry Potter Film as it was the location where young wizards caught the Hogwarts Express from to journey to Hogwarts.

We had a fabulous day in London visiting places that we never knew were there, London really is the City with hidden treasures. We saw London with open eyes and noticed how beautiful buildings were and how magical and mysterious the City really is. We had fun as a family and I enjoyed being with the children in such a wonderful City. If you’re looking for ideas on days out then why not take a look at CSMA 10 Cheap things to do with the kids.

We found all of the locations with the help of downloading the guide from www.the-magician.co.uk

We would like you to join in and share your experiences with us too, they don’t have to be the same as our challenge, they could be trying new clothes on, visiting a new country or playing a new sport for the first time, join in with the linky or just use the hashtag #NewThings

 photo 85eefdee-cb24-4faa-8a1c-963677a6ae9d.jpg


Share