The Making of Harry Potter Tour – A Magical Experience

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If you have been lucky enough to get your hands on tickets for The Making of Harry Potter studio tour in Leavesden, you will have experienced the world of Harry Potter first hand. If not, and you are a Harry Potter fan, some of the highlights are covered here. None of the magic of the books and movies is lost by going behind the scenes. If anything, it is enhanced with every step.

The tour

For the most part the tour is self-guided, but to begin with a guide takes you through the entrance to Hogwarts and into the Great Hall. There the tour begins with an introduction to the hall that reveals much about the way the movies were made without destroying the illusion. Visitors are told about the costumes, asked questions to test their knowledge of the films and given one or two secrets about their production.

The doors to the Grand Hall and the start of the tour
The doors to the Grand Hall and the start of the tour

Interlinking studios

The tour is set out over several interlinking studios. Each studio offers something from every movie, including sets, costumes and props. Quotes from JK Rowling’s novels accompany some of the sets on display to shows how the set designers kept to the author’s original vision. Visitors can get up close to the every display and are free to take as many pictures as they wish, so you can experience first-hand the detailing that went into the movie productions.

Digital audio guide

The digital audio guide adds a lot to the experience. At 32 points on the tour, visitors can listen to an audio commentary provided by by Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy. The information on the sets, costumes and props you are looking at, draws you attention to objects you may otherwise miss, like Dumbledore's telescope in his office, and provides secrets from the movie productions. There are even videos available on the guide's screen, including Daniel Radcliffe's audition for the role of Harry Potter.

Attention to detail

This is the only place to see some of the detailed work that went into the production of the movies. Details like the Hogwarts emblem in the fireplace of the Great Hall were not even visible in the movies because a fire was always roaring in front of it. Other details, like the famous cobbles of Diagon Alley complete with the shop fronts for Ollivanders wand shop, amongst others, are experienced as if you are taking part in a Harry Potter movie. There are no signs of wood and plaster keeping the facades upright and details like the puking pastilles stand in the doorway of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes gives the sense that you really are on Diagon Alley.

The Grand Hall at Hogwarts
The Grand Hall at Hogwarts
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes at Diagon Alley
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes at Diagon Alley

Backlot

The backlot is about halfway through the tour. Here Hagred’s motorcycle and sidecar, the Ford Anglia first seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the knight bus from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and even number 4 Privet Drive are located. Visitors can pose on the motorcycle, sit in the car or stand on the back of the night bus. Hogwarts Bridge is visible, but can’t be stepped onto and the giant chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone guard the entrance to the next attraction.

Animatronics

The animatronics that went into the movies was an important part of the fantasy, so this section of the tour offers a little insight into the production. Hagred’s animatronic head is a highlight here, as is the Monster Book of Monsters that gnashes its teeth at you at the press of a button.

Hogwarts Castle

Once you have experienced the Great Hall, looked inside Dumbledore’s office and walked the cobbles of Diagon Alley, what else is there to experience but Hogwarts itself? For the first six movies, a scale model was used to capture all outside shots. On the tour, this model forms the last and perhaps the most breath-taking part of the experience. Here you wind down steps that surround the model so you can experience it from all angles. As with the rest of the sets and props on the tour, the attention to details is exquisite.

Even the most muggle amongst us wouldn’t fail to appreciate this sight and the lasting memory it makes of an incredible experience for fans of Harry Potter.

The Hogwarts Castle model that concludes the tour
The Hogwarts Castle model that concludes the tour

The Tour in Pictures

The cupboard under the stairs. Harry's room in the Dursley household, at 4 Privet Drive and an attraction on the tour
The cupboard under the stairs. Harry's room in the Dursley household, at 4 Privet Drive and an attraction on the tour
Albus Dumbledore's study
Albus Dumbledore's study
Hagrid's Hut
Hagrid's Hut
The Burrow, the family home of the Weasley family
The Burrow, the family home of the Weasley family
The Knight Bus in the back lot. Privet Drive and the covered bridge at Hogwarts can be seen in the background
The Knight Bus in the back lot. Privet Drive and the covered bridge at Hogwarts can be seen in the background
Diagon Alley
Diagon Alley

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