For all the Harry Potter fans across the world, the journey is not over quite yet. At one point, it may’ve appeared that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the pinnacle of wizard-mania, but now a new attraction has opened that takes you deeper than ever into J.K Rowling’s world of magic. Fans can now tour the London studios in which all eight of the Harry Potter films were created. The “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter” takes visitors behind the scenes of the highest-grossing film series of all time, where they will experience firsthand the sets, props, and costumes that brought the books to life.
The Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, are located about 18 miles northwest of central London in Hertfordshire country. Once the site of a Rolls-Royce factory, Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, is now one of the only places in the U.K. where large-scale films are produced. In addition to the blockbuster Harry Potter series, other notable films that have been produced here include Inception, Sherlock Holmes (2009), and The Dark Knight.
The mostly self-guided walking tour through the studios was designed by the Burbank-based Thinkwell Group – an experiential design firm that has also worked on the NatureQuest exhibit in Atlanta and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Approximately three-hours-long, the tour reveals many of the secrets that made some of the films’ most spectacular scenes possible. While some of the secrets revealed aren’t total shockers, you will certainly be surprised from time to time. For example, it’s no great revelation that the famous Quidditch scenes were created using a green scene; what is surprising is some of the incredibly realistic animatronic creatures one assumed were CGI creations. The editors over at Blooloop.com had the chance to take the tour during its soft opening and noted that the “creatures were incredibly life-like and in particular the bowing animatronic model of Buckbeak looked like it could get up and fly away.” Throughout the tour, exhibits detail how many of the films’ creatures were brought to life by combing green screen effects, animatronics, and real life models.
While the secrets that are revealed during the tour are fascinating, it is the artistry of the sets that will cause jaws to drop. Visitors will no doubt experience some serious déjà vu as they step onto some of the films’ most iconic sets: Diagon alley, the Gryffindor common room, the boy’s dormitory, Hagrid’s hut and Potion’s classroom to name just a few. The incredible detail in each of these sets is sure to leave visitors absolutely spellbound.
Of all the attractions on the tour, the most astonishing in regards to craftsmanship is the 50-foot-long model of Hogwart’s castle. This model, which was featured in aerial shots of the castle, is the result of over 650,000 hours of labor performed by a crew of 86 artists. The 1:24 scale castle is illuminated by 2,500 lights and completes a day-to-night cycle every four minutes.
Fans who want to experience the real magic behind the Harry Potter film series should seriously consider checking this tour out. While the Wizarding World of Harry Potter recreates many of the films’ thrilling moments, this tour places visitors in direct contact with the world that first captured their imagination.