Harry Potter Goblet of Fire at WB Studio Tour

The Warner Bros Studio Tour recently invited us along to witness the new additional special feature to the Making of Harry Potter. The tour has launched behind the scenes secrets to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the special feature is dedicated entirely to the fourth instalment of the film.

The Goblet of Fire has not been in the Great Hall since 2010, when the filming of the magical film finished, it has now returned to it rightful place and will be there for everyone to witness from now until Sunday 23rd September 2018.

Harry Potter has always been a huge thing for me, reading all the books and then watching the films. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to read the books to my first-born 15 years ago and hopefully share the excitement and love I had for the characters. Harry potter is one of those books that you can read again and again. Both my eldest and middle boy have read all of the books and, along with me, have been drawn into the exciting world Of Harry Potter.

As you first arrive into Warner Brothers tour you will see the Triwizard Cup on display, just as you are queuing up to enter.


When you first buy your ticket to the tour you can choose the time to enter. Everyone gathers around the entrance and you are all taken into a room with tvs mounted on the walls all around you. Here you get to watch short clips of how Pottermania began and the history of the making of the films. An interactor – a member of staff who knows a hell of a lot about Harry Potter- gives a short talk about what to expect to see throughout the tour, they also get you all into the mood by asking what house everyone belongs to. Everyone cheers when your house is called. Once this is over, you are all moved along into a cinema screening room where you watch another short clip where the actors share some of their memories of making the films. Once this is finished the screen is pulled up and behind it a big curtain is drawn open and the lights go on to reveal a huge impressive door. People whose birthday it is are shared to open the great big door. As soon as that door opens, everyone’s mouths are agape as this is the start of something special. You enter into the Great Hall, and Great it is! It is amazing and such a dramatic entrance. You quickly realise what magical, truly magnificence you are about to see.

The Great Hall was where the students and teachers dine and congregate is was also the place where the announcement of the Triwizard tournament took place.

Standing at the end of this impressive room was the Goblet of Fire, along with the age line and the twins on the floor.

Here we got see a live Special Effects demonstration on how the Triwizard Champions’ parchments were expelled from the Goblet. We watched as the Goblet spat out Harry’s name on a piece of burning parchment as the fourth champion in the triwizard tournament.

We was all told to stand around the age line drawn on the floor, obviously there is always one person who tries their luck. Just like the Weasley twins, my Oliver attempted to cross the line but I caught him just in time.

You are in the Great Hall for a short time but this is where you can head of on your own and go at your own speed throughout the rest of the tour. As you leave the Great Hall and head on into the first backlot you can grab a souvenir parchment to keep for yourself.

The first backlot is full of props and costumes from the set. Here we got to see the sculpture from the Yule Ball

along with the iconic taps from the Prefect Bathroom. On the advice from Cedric Diggory, Harry took a trip here in order to complete the first challenge. These taps have 53 spouts, cast in real bronze for strength and durability, they expel a rainbow of coloured water just as they did in the film.

They really are mesmerizing, we stood for a while just watching the water spurt out of the taps.

Every part of this tour is breath-taking, from the golden eggs to the costumes and props from the films.

It’s hard to know what was new for the tour and what was there previously. There are so many things to look at that I am sure we missed so many items. By the time the production of Harry Potter had finished in 2011, five warehouses had been filled with thousands of props that had been used by the actors and as set decoration. Thousands of props were either made specifically for the films or bought in from speciality shops, including 5000 pieces of furniture, 12000 books and 40000 Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products. Most of these can be seen in the tour.

The sets in the tour feel so real, It’s like you have been transported into the film yourself.

Tom Riddles grave is now in the studio tour just before the Forbidden Forest entrance in order for everyone to get a 360 tour of it. The sculpture was created before the details of Voldemort’s lineage were known meaning the dates had to be changed in post production.

One of my favourite places to see was Dumbledores office. Here we got to see Dumbledores fascination with the universe and the skies, tucked away in the upper chamber is his largest telescope.

We also got to see the Memory cabinet and the pensieve in action. Because it carries powerful and complex enchantments only the most advanced wizards can use it. obviously, that includes us!

Before we headed on into the Forbidden Forest we thought it would be best if the boys received some basic wand training. They were taken through step by step by a video of Paul Harris, the choreographer of the battle scenes in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

They were now ready to face any mystical creature that we come across in the Dark Forest. As we headed through the towering trees we came across Buckbeak and Aragog

I am pleased to announce that we made it through the forest unscathed and ready to jump on to the Hogwarts Express

We had so much fun here. Most of the scenes that took place on Platform 9 3/4 were actually shot on location at Kings Cross Station in London.

We boarded the train and took our seat in one of the carriages ready to embark on a journey

During the making of the films, the windows of the carriages were replaced with moving backdrops and special effects like hopping frogs and flying dementors.

When the glass goes all icy you just know what is going to happen next.

Oh dear! My poor little wizard was very scared!

After all that excitement it was time for a spot of refreshments next to the Backlot. After eating our food the boys were treated to a Butterbear

I must admit this wasn’t very nice. I know many people who have enjoyed this beverage but we found it way too sweet for our taste buds.

The next part of the tour took us past the Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge and any other buildings and items that were used in the outside scenes of the films.

Only one section of the Hogwarts Bridge was very built; using computer generated effects the rest of the bridge was created.

As we exited the Backlot and entered another studio this is where we came learnt all about the magical creatures, special effects, make up and prosthetics. It was lovely to see how Dobby was created and you even get to control him by moving your own limbs.

Pass through special effects area and you enter Diagon Alley.

The original design of the street was inspired from the streets described in the works of Charles Dickens. Diagon Alley constantly changed throughout the films, moving shops fronts and walls in order to create the perfect setting and was even redressed for use in the village of Hogsmeade.

We even spotted a dementor hiding down one of the alleys ready to jump out on us, lucky for us we had our wands with us and sent them packing.

We were nearing the end of our tour and didn’t think our smiles could get any bigger but as we entered the last room we were completely in awe at the majestic model of Hogwarts Castle. The intricately detailed model was built for the first film, every part of the model was filmed and then enhanced with digital effects to create the realistic views of the school.

This place is amazing! I could just sit and stare all day long at this model, it is a magnificent piece of art work. Detail is second to none, which is what we thought throughout the tour on every singe item we saw.

The castle has a new addition just for the Goblet of Fire exhibit; a scale version of the Beauxbatons carriage complete with winged horses poised to land on the Hogwarts grounds for the first time ahead of the Triwizard championship.

There are interactive screens around that give you more information on the building of the model.

Exiting the Hogwarts Castle you enter the wand room and gift shop. This is where we saw the triwizard cup.

We had an awesome time and could go back again and again as I do believe there are so many more incredible things to look at. We definitely did pursue an adventure.

We were invited along to a special preview of the Goblet of Fire exhibit. We were provided with tickets, food and had a photo opportunity. No payment has been received.


Dover Castle come alive!

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning ready for our trip down to the south coast to visit Dover Castle. Joseph dressed up in his very own futuristic outfit, wearing a Power Rangers body armour, a knights shield and his sword he was ready to defend the Castle if they were to be invaded whilst we was there.

King Henry ll built the Castle in the 1800s and over the next 800 years its building and defences were adapted to meet the changing demands of weapons and warfare.

We live in London, an hour and 15 minutes away from Dover, we had a smooth drive down, with no traffic and found the Castle easily. We arrived just in time for opening time which is 10.00am, we was directed to the car park by an attendant, we parked up and i went in to show our English Heritage Pass to the cashier, there is a different queue for members but i think they were a little short staffed as i had to wait a while at the members desk to be seen. We was all given our stickers to wear for entry and now we was ready to go and explore the Castle and it’s grounds.

The first place we went to visit on the grounds were the Secret Wartime Tunnels, they are guided staff and the tour takes about 50 minutes. There are 26 miles of chalk-cut tunnels beneath the castle which also house a hospital. During World War ll the tunnels crucially became Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay’s bomb proof naval headquarters, where a handful of men and women planned there defence of the Royal Navy ships whose task it was to keep the enemy out of the straits of Dover. On May 26th, 1940 ‘Operation Dynamo’ commenced, the British Army and its allies were trapped at Dunkirk. On entering the tunnels you can immerse yourself into the drama of the daring evacuation that followed and relive the rescue. To bring the experience to life, the tunnels have light and sound effects, film presentations and radio messages played through out the tunnels and bunkers below.


Next we took a walk up to the top of the hill where the Great Tower is, on the way up we looked around us and took in the amazing views of the Town below, it was a beautiful clear and sunny day so we could see for miles. The views are beautiful and very relaxing. On the way we passed the Roman Pharos which is a part of Dovers earlier history, built over 2000 years ago.

As we walked up a hill we walked through a tower and as Joseph was going through a Knight in his medieval clothes approached him, Joseph came running back to me, I told him that he was friendly and to go and talk to him, Knight to Knight. Joseph couldn’t believe his eyes, they talked about Joseph’s shield and he showed the Knight his Sword to which The Knight got out his sword and showed it to Joseph, they posed together for a photograph and then Joseph was asked if he wanted to train to become a knight, obviously the answer was yes, so we was told to meet in the courtyard at 12pm for a briefing from the King!


Every weekend in July the Castle comes alive, when you visit the Great Tower you get to meet members of King Henry ll’s royal court, you get to experience medieval court life and interact with a host of characters including the King himself!



In the court yard just next to the entrance into the Great Tower there stood a blacksmith who served the King, he was demonstrating to everyone what it was like to wear the chainmail armour, which consisted of hundreds of riveted metal rings. Under the metal armour a medieval knight wore a padded garment. The Knight would defend himself with a shield and a helmet. Joseph stood and listened to the blacksmith with much interest, he even placed his own shield against the Great Towers wall amongst the others.



We took a self guided tour around the Great Tower, exploring the six recreated rooms, the King’s Hall, the Royal Chapel, Guests Bedchamber, Guest Hall, the Kitchen and Armoury. Once you climb up the winding stone staircase of the Great Tower you will be astounded by the panoramic views over the castle and down to the Harbour below.


dover castle collage


The favourite part of our day out had to be when Joseph met the King and bowed to him (top right above), he was starstruck and really believed that he was the real King, he was slightly worried when the King threatened to cut off peoples arms if they did not get measured up in armour to become a knight for him, he kept saying “He doesn’t mean it really, does he?” Joseph also got to sit down on the *Ahem* Royal Throne and The King himself addressed Joseph thanking him for turning up to the castle dressed ready for action.

We all had an amazing time and have come away with some lovely special memories of our day, Joseph has come away with some new stories to pass on to his classmates, he hasn’t stopped talking about the King and how he that he has to return to help the King fight. Visiting the Castle has made us look at visiting other English Heritage sites more often, we have our Handbook and are all ready planning our next visit to another Heritage site nearby.

Prices into the castle include the secret wartime tunnel tour:

Adult £14.00  Concession £15.30  Child £10.20  Family £44.20

The Castle opening times are:

29 Mar-31 Jul 10am-6pm

1-31 Aug 9.30am-6pm

1-30 Sept 10am-6pm

For all over information please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

I was provided with a English Heritage Media Pass in order to review the Castle and one more event. NMEH2013