I will admit that I’ve only read the first Harry Potter book and seen only two of the movies all the way through, and bits of pieces of the others throughout the years. When coming to London, the Harry Potter studio tour was not something I was planning on experiencing. Yet, when my parents came to come visit my mother, a Harry Potter fanatic, was determined to have that be a part of their trip. I was excited to see the props and sets, but mainly just happy my mom was going to enjoy the experience. What truly surprised me was how much I LOVED the tour.
The Great Hall
An iconic location in the movies, the Great Hall was set up with tables, props, and costumes from the movies, but what was the most special were the pumpkins. Since we were visiting toward the end of October, they had decorated the hall to have the floating jack-o-lanterns and were rigged to move up and down and look as real as possible. They decorate the hall to correlate with holidays, but even if you visit during a normal time of year it is still a magical experience.
Platform 9 ¾
While the King’s Cross 9 ¾ platform is the higher tourist spot, the studio had multiple carts set up, ready for those cute photo-ops. With no lines and no guilt for spending your time to get the perfect pose, my family enjoyed this 9 ¾ experience more than King’s Cross (yes, we did both). The best part of Platform 9 ¾ is that right next to it is the real Hogwarts Express.
Despite being a minimal Harry Potter fan, walking into the area with the Hogwarts Express made me giddy. The train has smoke coming out of the top and looked like it was ready to depart at any moment. The coolest part of the train is that you are able to walk through one of the sections and look at the little rooms inside the train. They even took the time to decorate and recreate certain scenes from the different movies in each of the little sections to walk you through the memories from the movies.
While Hogwarts Castle was based on a real castle in Scotland, I was not aware that most of the panoramic shots of the castle were shot using a model of the castle that fills up a large room. Along the walk around the castle there are interactive screens that you can find points in the castle you recognize and show how they overlaid the castle scenes and green screen to give the beautiful shots the movies show now.
Emma Ulrich is an Marketing Management and Business Communications student at the University of St. Thomas studying abroad in London for Fall 2019. Emma hopes to not only learn about London and the United Kingdom but explore other European cultures and learn more about the world than just little Minnesota. Keep checking back for more of Emma’s blogs here.