britain – week four cultural visits // 09

Hello hello!

Who’s ready for the weekend?! I actually have classes on Fridays this quarter so it’s a little rough, but it’s only an hour in the morning so I think I’ll be okay. Today, I wanted to go over possibly my favorite event from my trip – the Harry Potter Studio Tour! I had been looking forward to this trip ever since I applied to the program. Y’all, it was a dream come true.

I think a lot of people expected the studio to be part amusement-park as well like the Universal Studios in LA and Orlando, but it’s not. It’s basically a Harry Potter museum that displays actual sets and props that they used while filming. We were led to an auditorium to watch a short video about the studio tour itself, and they opened the doors to the Great Hall. The Great Hall led into the main studio – they had things like the costumes of the characters, wigs, and makeup. Literally anything you could think of was there. My favorite costume that was there was probably Hermione Granger’s Yule Ball gown. It was gorgeous in person! I also remember seeing a lot of the paintings that were used in the films; all the paintings were painted specifically for the movie, which blows my mind.

I wasn’t expecting to see the Forbidden Forest set but there was fog and a mobile Buckbeak figure. There was a lever you could pull so that the spiders and Aragog could drop down from the ceiling – freaky, right?

Another favorite set of mine was the Gryffindor Common Room; it was so cozy, warm, and mind-blowing to see it in-person. Following that, I was able to walk to “Platform 9 ¾”, where the Hogwarts Express sits. Each compartment held the set for each movie in chronological order, which was incredibly fascinating. We couldn’t sit in the compartments though.

After that, I tried Butterbeer for the first time! It’s a very sweet, non-alcoholic drink that I paid way too much for – but definitely worth trying. That was the halfway point of the tour, and after that was mostly Diagon Alley and a lot of architectural displays of the set design process. My favorite room was the model of the entire Hogwarts Castle. The lights were dimmed and jewel-toned, giving it an incredibly magical atmosphere. I’m not even going to lie – I got pretty emotional and teared up a bit, it was just so stunning!

The last stop was of course, the giftshop. I left the studio with some Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and a Chocolate Frog, and then some gifts for friends and family. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was so detailed and the breadth of what they showed was almost shocking. It’s definitely a full-day activity for true Harry Potter fans. Next stop – the Harry Potter world in Universal!

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