For Piper's birthday we bought Harry Potter Studio tickets, she has been a huge fan of Harry Potter since she first read the books at the age of 7. She has always been a fantastic reader, she is also a big fan of the films, as we all are! Cordelia has also read all the books, I have only managed the first one though and the boys haven't read any of them. Still, we were all very excited as I'd heard so many good things about the tour. We arrived a full hour early as the motorway was quiet and we'd given ourselves plenty of time just in case (We really don't do being late!). The hour gave us time to take some photo's outside and have a look around the giftshop before picking up our tickets. The gift shop was mega! But it was quite expensive, I'm not surprised really as it all goes with the ambience of the studios. Piper did have birthday money but there was nothing she wanted to buy. By the time we had finished it was time for us to get in the queue. As we waited in the queue we had a look at the cupboard under the stairs where Harry lives when with his nasty uncle and aunty. It was very small! Then we all went into a big room full of the advert posters before proceeding into a large cinema style room where we watched a film about the making of Harry Potter. At the end the screen rolled up and there were the doors to the Great Hall!! We thought it was just scenery until they opened up and we walked through them into the Great Hall. A big bonus for us was that it was decorated for Christmas, with the 8 original Christmas trees and all the Christmas puddings and desserts. Its such a big room and there was lots of time to look around and see the actors costumes, Piper took lots of photo's on her phone and was speechless throughout most of it to be honest.
The next room we went through to contained lots of scenery and different rooms from the films including the floating candles, Hogwarts gates, Griffindor common room and bedroom, Dumbledore's office, the potion room, Hagred's hut, Yule ball food table and the chocolate feast table (Piper asked for that to be re-created for her birthday next year so watch this space!) the Weasley's kitchen, too many props to mention, Ministry of Magic, Delores Umbridge's office (I know she was a meanie but I liked her costumes so I took a photo of them too!) It was all quite a lot to take in to be honest. Hubby spent a lot of time asking which film certain bits were from as he hasn't watched the last three films as yet but we were all so enchanted by the magic of the place.
And just when you think you've seen it all we stepped outside to see the purple night bus, 4 Privet Drive, Potter's Cottage, the flying car, we even walked over the bridge from Hogwart's! And of course had a sip of butter bear (only two places you can officially buy it!) and I took the children's photo's with the chess pieces (which were huge!).
Then we went through to all the animatronics and prosthetics studios, its amazing when you see the moulds of the faces how you recognize the actors immediately. the hours and hours of labour and hard work that go into everything is truly amazing, the attention to detail is just fascinating and awe inspiring. Piper freaked out a bit with the giant spider but to be fair it was rather big! Hagred is so big when you stand next to him and Dobby is so very sweet!
The next part to walk through is Diagon Alley, I really can't tell you how exciting that part was, even I felt like a child again! It was so cool, there was even the footsteps in the snow from when Harry walked there in the invisibility cloak! It felt like walking on to a film set which I suppose is exactly what we were doing!( I think that was my favourite part to be honest) Piper loved all of it, every minute. As you walk through the last part there is a huge model of Hogwarts-it has to be seen to be really appreciated as its so intricate and detailed and so very big! Bailey is thinking of building something similar for his Warhammer Army..... We spent quite a while in the last bit just taking in the sheer size of Hogwarts.
It was a truly amazing day and I can't recommend it highly enough if anyone is thinking of visiting, I think the money was extremely well spent and I actually wouldn't mind visiting again in the future....