Monday 5 December 2016


Literary London: Hogwarts in the Snow

First I don't mention Harry Potter for ages and then I can't stop talking about it! This past month has been completely taken over by the Wizarding World as I attended the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiere (squee), saw both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in theatre (double squee), and I was recently invited to a special event at the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden to see the glorious festive additions to the Harry Potter sets for Hogwarts in the Snow. It was a truly magical experience. Do sit back as I take you on a Christmassy ride through Diagon Alley, the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Common Room, and more.


I have been to the Harry Potter Studios before but that was a few years ago and so I was thrilled to go back, not only to see all the seasonal wintery additions to the Studios, but also to see new sets and costumes that have been added since my last visit. This time around we were welcomed with mince pies (the best ones I've ever tasted!) and drinks as we ooh-ed and aah-ed over the massive Christmas tree in the entrance. And after a wonderful short documentary on the filming of the HP movies at the Leavesden Studios, the doors opened to reveal the magical Great Hall in Hogwarts, decked out in all its festive glory (spot the witches atop of the trees that were flying around!).


Once we were in the Great Hall I really didn't want to leave, as everything was just so beautiful and it really felt like stepping inside of the world of Harry Potter. However, because there is so much to see and do we eventually forced ourselves to go to the next part of the tour, which has lots of sets, including the Gryffindor boys bedroom & common room, Hagrid's Hut, Dumbledore's Office and the potions classroom at Hogwarts. Last time we visited there was also the Ministry of Magic but this had been replaced with the much more sinister Malfoy Manor, Umbridge's Office and Borgin & Burkes.


Another VERY exciting addition since our last visit was the one and only Hogwarts Express. Not only did we get to admire the steam train in all its glory, but we even got to go inside – wow! This was a really spectacular part of our visit and I think I may have had my mouth hanging open in awe as we turned the corner and the Hogwarts Express first came into view.


The Backlot comprises of vehicles and exterior design (such as Privet Drive) that doesn't fit inside and is really rather spectacular too. However, because we went at night this time around it was proper dark and so my photos didn't turn out that well. I did of course have to include one of The Knight Bus while it was snowing, even if the photo isn't that clear.


Creature effects is an incredibly fascinating section about the design and prosthetics that made all the different types of characters and creatures in the film. It's astonishing what the designers can do as even up close it all looked impeccable and so very real. This is a part of the Studios that will also especially appeal to film buffs that aren't a fan of Harry Potter (though in all fairness, who isn't?!).


Another one of those mouth-hanging-open-in-awe moments is when you turn the corner to Diagon Alley and you get to walk on the actual cobble-stoned steps alongside Ollivanders and Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes for yourself. Just wow. The only thing that could possibly make this better is if you could go inside the stores for a wand fitting or to stock up on Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, but it's still pretty great.


Last, but most certainly not least, is a huge model of the Hogwarts Castle and grounds, which for the season is covered in a dusting of snow. The final and biggest showstopper of the night that had us wander around it in awe for a good fifteen minutes to soak up all the detail. Can you spot the tiny snowman?

We had an amazing time seeing the Studios decked out in festive decorations for the special Hogwarts in the Snow season, and if you're planning a trip I definitely recommend going in wintertime when it's extra magical.

The Warner Bros Studios London is located in Leavesden, which is just a short train or car journey from Central London. For more information on opening hours and tickets visit the official website

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