A magical day at the Warner Bros. ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ Studio Tour

Warning: May contain spoilers though I’ll try my hardest not to!


I’m trying to think of a word that really reflects our feelings of our recent trip to The Warner Bros. ‘The Making of Harry Potter’ Studio Tour, and can really only come up with……


To provide you with a brief history – I’ll be honest with you from the start; put my hand up in the air and admit that…..

I have actually NEVER read a Harry Potter book!


I remember the anticipation when JK Rowling alongside her publishers, Bloomsbury Publishing announced the launch dates of that very first book; and the sheer thrill and delight of children everywhere when it first went on sale back in 1997.

I remember working in Turkey (with my now husband) as he ran eagerly to the reception of our water sports center hotel to collect his mail delivery from the UK.

It was that very book.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone.

I remember as people gathered around him, one by one asking if they could be the next to read the book once he’d finished it.

Which he did in double quick time!

So from this – I was never really party to what all the hype was about each time a new book was released.

Then along came the films.

And from the moment I exited the cinema, I was hooked.

I was a Harry Potter fan!

(Of course, not to the extent of permanently wearing broken, rounded spectacles and a Gryffindor Scarf, with a tattoo of a lightning bolt etched permanently onto my forehead!)

A perfect Present

My Dad has always been a huge admirer too. He’s read all the books and seen all the films – which for him is quite something, as most things he just regards as trash!

So, last Christmas I racked my brain for ideas of a good present to buy for him, other than the standard pair of socks and a chocolate bar, when it hit me……..

……..Tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour.


And obviously it wouldn’t be very nice for him to take a day trip on his own – so naturally I bought tickets for my mum, Mr B and I as well!!


So off we trundled via the M25, over to the Leavesden filming studios in Watford to join Harry Potter and friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

We pulled into the car park and looked on in awe at the huge Harry Potter sign with vast photographs of the cast members lining the outer studio wall.

We were all so excited and eager to get in!

Photo – even the parking bollards are sorting hats!!


Inside The Studios

Entrance to the tour is all pre-ordered and booked online prior to your visit, so there was no need to head to a kiosk and queue for ages to get your tickets.

Allocated time slots of 30 minutes (with a maximum number of tickets sold per allocation) ensure an expedient flow of human traffic throughout the tour, which worked extremely well considering the amount of people catered for at the studios in any one day.

We certainly never felt it was overly busy or crowded.

We took our place quietly in the queue, as any good Muggle would, and waited.

After an initial ‘hello and welcome’ in the first of two rooms,from one of the many friendly and very helpful tour guides, we were ushered into a larger screening room, much the same as a cinema.

After a second hello with further introductions, the lights dimmed and Harry, Ron and Hermione welcomed us from the screen itself, taking us on a small journey back through time through each of the eight popular and hugely successful films.

Let the tour commence…

We all bustled hurriedly to the front of the auditorium in order to get through the main entrance door.

Wow again!!!


All around us were gasps of delight, and shrieks of wonderment as we were suddenly transported from reality into a and magical world of fantasy and adventure that we’d only ever seen on screen.

It was all very surreal.

I had walked through and was standing in The Great hall!!

Where they’d actually filmed the scenes!!

Where Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson had read and rehearsed their lines.


Sets and Special Effects

From the hall – it’s onwards into the sets and special effects area, where many of the famous interior sets are still housed and preserved in their astonishing entirety.

Such sets included the Weasley’s kitchen, The Gryffindor Boys Dormitory, Hagrid’s Hut, The Gryffindor Common Room and The Ministry of Magic to name but a few.

The room is vast, with countless artifacts, objects, props and scenes spanning the entire eight films

Short films and videos are also displayed, providing a glimpse into the secret special effects that go into making the films so enchanting and realistic.

In here you can also try your hand at flying on a broomstick, and star in your very own mini motion picture in the Green Screen rooms or how about a live lesson on how to handle a wand correctly.

harry info


As you walk through looking at each exhibit you are transported back into each film.

You can hear the enthusiastic hum of people excitedly saying to one another

‘ooh can you remember that bit,


ah ha – so that’s how they did it

There is so much to learn and appreciate that you almost need the whole day to absorb it all.

(Though the tour is given an approximate time length of 3 hours – they did divulge that the current record tour length to date is 12 hours!)

The Backlot

From the interiors room,  you enter the Backlot.

Basically, home to the exterior sets which are outside in the open air.

Here you could take a seat in the Weasley’s Ford Anglia or walk through the hickaldy-pickaldy Hogwarts Bridge.


This was also where you could grab a quick bite to eat from the refreshments stall and maybe even treat yourself to a butter beer or two!

Creature Effects and Art & Graphics Rooms

Numerous props and sets, from the small to the very large, are on display with videos describing the workings and processes behind each one, which really gives a fabulous insight as to what actually went on behind the scenes.




Here you will learn about the creature effects. You come face to face with the terrifying Aragog and the rather lovely Buckbeak; and recognize many, many other memorable characters along the way as you walk towards the final sets of the tour.

The final one being the enormous scale model of Hogwarts School itself.

A truly jaw dropping moment!



My experience of the tour

Throughout the tour it becomes wholly apparent that the attention to detail, the level of intricacy and the sheer extent of the dedicated time and effort of both cast and crew is astounding.

I absolutely believe that you really don’t have to be a potter fan to enjoy the tour. Instead you can visit, be intrigued and appreciate such work and be in awe of the journey taken from the initial penning to paper by JK Rowling, to the filming of the very last scene of the ever popular movies.

They also said that a film set should not physically be able to last this long – they are just that – film sets, where they are built and pulled down again as each scene differs and film changes.

I just hope they stay there for a few years yet to come, as I would dearly love for my own girls to grow up with Harry and immerse themselves in his enchanting and magical wizarding world.

To be engrossed in the battle of good conquering evil; to encounter the perfectly conceived mythical creatures; and to be captivated in a fictional world of pure enchantment.

I admire its appeal to such a wide audience.

That enthusiasts and dedicated followers span from the very young child, where their imagination takes them on a journey into a mythical realm; to much older generations, where the imagination takes you straight back to being a child again.

A plaque on the wall with a quote from JK Rowling herself, truly says it all…….


A fabulous day out for all.

Now I’m off the watch the box set all over again!

Do you like Harry Potter?

Which is your favorite film or character?


Harry Potter Studio Tour Hints and Tips

  • When filing into the very first room – keep to the left side if you can – this is because when you then enter the film room you will then be ushered  through to be seated in the front rows of the auditorium. This will be beneficial to you on entering the next stage!! Trust me (without wanting to give too much away!) Especially if you have kids – or are a little on the shorter side like me!
  • PS: Have your camera at the ready as you really will get the best shots!
  • Make sure you visit the main desk in the tour lobby to collect your complimentary ‘Activity Passport’ – especially again if you have children.
    This includes a  Golden Snitch treasure hunt along the route and stamps can be collected throughout at six stamping stations.
  • Take photos by all means, but be sure to read the information boards too – as the secrets they divulge are pretty amazing!
  • On entering the Sets & Special Effects room – and if you have children who wish to ride on the broomstick in the green room – I would suggest walking straight through to the other side and get first in line – this way you will not have to queue. Plus – you don’t miss anything as you just walk back to the beginning and take the tour at your own pace.
  • Audio – we didn’t actually do the audio tour for a couple of main reasons – firstly, we were in a group and wanted to talk to one another freely with out the fuss of headphones and secondly, I did ask about it but was advised it was more for foreign visitors. This said though – in hindsight I would probably give it a go – as then I would be able to take pictures at the same time as hearing all about things.
  • If you do choose the audio tour – this should be purchased at the front reception desk before filing through into the main queue if you didn’t include this as an extra in your original booking.
  • If you truly are Potter fans, or have children who are in love with the books and films – you will more than likely purchase something from the gift store – be warned – it has everything they could possibly want (and more) and it’s fairly pricy. But still – its fab – and I wanted everything!!!
  • Like it or loathe it – the butter beer is a must try.
  • There is a cloakroom to use if you have come with all your winter woolies on yet don’t want to overheat en route! Plus buggies and pushchairs may be left here also.
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout – just in case you want to add your fabulous photos to your social media updates along the way!!
Super Busy Mum

All Grown Up

                                   …… ish!!
Our little H has just started pre-school, which I’m sure is nothing too major on the whole grand scheme of things – but to us, and to H, it’s the exciting next chapter in her story.


As things go – I think we’ve been let off pretty lightly really, as our pre-school is attached to the very same nursery that H has been attending since she was only about a year old.

So the transition was a very smooth one indeed!

Her new room is just along the corridor from her previous room; the staff are the same recognizable faces from her previous terms; and she will still be sitting alongside her lovely little friends who she’s grown to be so fond of over the last years.

So for us as parents – this was pretty much our normal routine.

Nothing much has changed.

If however she were attending a new pre-school on a different site, I’m certain that the situation would have been an entirely different one, to both us as parents and to little H, as our growing girl.

All throughout our recent holiday she was saying how excited and eager she was that she was going and kept chanting…..

“I’m going to pre-school,
I’m going to pre-school”

……merrily, at the top of her voice whilst bobbing around in the swimming pool!


We thought this was very cute!

It wasn’t until that first time she put on her little red rugby top, complete with the pre-school emblem, when it dawned on us that this was rather a momentous occasion in our little household.

Our first child, our first daughter has grown from a tiny little bundle which we carefully and apprehensively cradled as we walked out of the hospital, to a happy and fun loving little girl; full of character, laughter and back-chat!!

It almost brought a tear to my eye.

I dread to think what I’ll be like in a years’ time when she starts school!!

I was very pleased also that I’d managed to get her a really cute little drawstring gym bag which had her name on it.

We were all ready to go!

As we’d only returned home from holiday a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately H was a teensy bit late to start, but so far she seems to have taken to it like a duck to water.

The only real difference being that she wears a rugby shirt and jumper as a sort of uniform.

Also, I was told by the staff that on her first day at lunchtime, whereas all the other little girls and boys had learnt to stand behind their chairs before being asked to sit down for lunch – H just ploughed on in there and was perched on her chair and practically tucking in to her food before the others had probably even had the time to visit the toilets to wash their hands!!


She must get that from Daddy!!

Though, the next day she had come to learn the new ‘pre-school’ ways and had settled in nicely.

It was also her turn to do ‘show and tell’ to the rest of the class.

This happens on a weekly basis to get them used to being able to interact, communicate and stand up and speak openly to a group of people, which I must admit I think are all great learning lessons and tools for later down the years.

The item she took in with her (probably persuaded by myself and Mr B as we thought it was easy to explain) was a brightly coloured ball – which expands and contracts when you throw it. It was one of the playthings we bought her whilst in Greece, so we also thought it’d be nice and fresh in her memory.


I heard from the staff that all had gone really well – as I also had concerns over her stammer (read here), so I was really very pleased and relieved to hear this feedback.

Though – since showing the ball – she absolutely swears blind that she never took the ball in and she certainly didn’t stand up and talk to her classmates about it!

As much as we’ve said to her that she did, and the teachers all said that she did – she is absolutely adamant that this did not happen!!

Flummoxed is not really the word!

Your guess is as good as mine!

Today she has taken in Pudsey – a treasured cuddly toy dog (thank you Ikea!!) – so fingers crossed she remembers it this time!!

And next time she says she wants to show her sister!!!

We’ll have to wait and see about that one!!!

Does anyone else have any funny ‘Show & Tell’ stories??
I’d love to hear back from you.

Being a mummy is …….. sometimes far from glamorous!!!

(Disclaimer: Not to be read by the faint hearted or easily offended)


That is of course unless you’re rich and famous or of royal or noble blood perhaps, and can easily afford the luxury of round the clock childcare, whilst you’re pampered and preened to perfection and to within an inch of your life.
[Please ignore me – that was the green eyed monster within me talking]
To my deep despair and disappointment, I’m certainly not that person!

Before becoming pregnant or being a ‘mummy’ – I was thin(ner)!

I was less flabby, less covered in cellulite, I had energy, less wrinkles and far fewer grey hairs!

Oh… And my brain worked!

I was far better off financially, was (reasonably) fashionable, had nice shoes and bags, wore heels, had matching underwear, a social life and everything was clean, tidy and in order.

Then it all changed!

We decided to start a family!


Which is just the baby-step beginnings of a very un-glamourous future of parenthood lying in store…….

So there we go, you’ve made that mammoth and life changing decision that you’re ready to start a family and want to get pregnant; and you can think of nothing other than the unimaginable beauty and sheer delight and joy of becoming a mummy to a beautiful little baby – (either that or you’ve been hounded and pestered into it on a daily basis by your mum, with comments like ‘Ooh your body clock’s ticking’, so all the fun, excitement and element of surprise are completely taken out of the process)

So now down to business….

Sex is no longer a romantic, spur of the moment, impulsive urge of pure passion!

Oh no!

Instead it’s timed according to books, online guidance and ovulation calendars.

You’re far too tired and exhausted to try anything new or experimental with your other half because you’ve been ‘AT IT ’ EVERY NIGHT for the last TWO WEEKS, each and every flipping month for the last 6, in desperate attempt to catch the correct day, time etc

Its almost as if the clocks have turned back to when you first met each other those very many years ago – although at least then it was fun!!

Sometimes it’s just a ‘quickie’ in the ad break or your favourite TV programme, or on other occasions, especially if its BBC1, it’s been known for some to actually just lie there and watch the entire episode of EastEnders while your both at it as there’s no ad breaks to take advantage of!

Other times, you look around the room and see what décor needs changing or notice how many cobwebs there are which need to be vacuumed up!

Then, you’re so bloody exhausted from all of the above, that you just want to get it over with as soon as possible so you can just roll over, check your social media for any updates and go to sleep!

An oh no – there’s no such thing as snuggling or cuddling afterwards either!

Instead, Hubbie springs into routine action by darting quickly off the bed, swinging your legs hurriedly around and hoisting you by your ankles to get your bum raised up and onto the pillows with your legs up against the wall behind the bed in order to get into optimum position, all in extra fast ‘Matrix’ style fashion just to improve your chances of conceiving!

Hubbie then gets in bed, sticks the tv on and there you are chatting to one another about how your days have been whilst you’re still led there naked, freezing cold and upside down!

Sexy huh!!!

Then eau month you excitedly, yet apprehensively pee on a stick, naturally weeing all over your hand in the process, just to find out if all the above effort has been rewarded!

Woohoo – you’re pregnant!


The major transformation is of course, that the woman’s body totally changes shape in order to grow and care for her little bundle of joy.

Every day for the past twenty or so years we’ve moaned and whined on to whoever will listen to us about the fact we need to diet and get rid of our oversized and wobbly bums, but we then willingly choose to embark on a journey where we knowingly become fat!

Firstly, hey – its natural! But secondly, because we gorge ourselves on anything and everything we can physically lay our hands on in the house.

Crisps, sandwiches, lumps of cheese, chocolate, everything in the kids ‘treats’ drawer, and even the slice of yummy birthday cake from your elder daughters party bag!!


Bad mummy!!!!

And obviously a shopping trip to the local supermarket is like heaven!!!


Unfortunately (for those of us not in this category) some women are just plain annoying and lucky and only develop the tiniest, cutesy, perfectly rounded bump known to man, which immediately just seems to vanish as soon as they’ve given birth, just like magic!

Piff, paff, poof and its gone!

Leaving those lucky ladies with a washboard stomach and abs a bodybuilder would die for.

This leaves the rest of us mere mortals (normal women!!) even more depressed when we give birth ourselves and with a huge gut hanging over the top of our trousers for the next three years! Let alone the extra fat deposits on the bingo wings, the saddlebags, the muffin top, the back fat, the third chin etc!

Then, in the desperate attempt to hide the aforementioned gut, saddlebags, flab etc we don those humungous and totally unflattering Bridget Jones pants for the next few years, (even through the height of summer – where we accept that we will no doubt be sweaty and clammy for the entire day), to flatten or at least spread out the fat across the body so we give the impression of appearing slimmer.

Though, if you’re anything like me, these then become added to my dangerous category (read ‘Being a Mummy is Dangeroushere), as you totally put your back out whilst trying to hoist them half way up your body in a rather snug toilet cubicle!

I think I nearly dislocated my shoulder in the process!


In addition to the ‘getting fat’ bit, you then just become a body.

Yep – this is where you’re dignity is well and truly tossed out of the window!

All airs, graces and modesty will be washed away as your body practically gets violated on a weekly basis.

It will become the norm to be manhandled by any tom, dick and harry in a white coat!

(Slight worry if you’re an over-trusting type of person as am I, ….heck – Joe Blogs could even walk in off the street and into your hospital cubicle for a quick check up!!)

Every week at your regular check up your pushed and prodded in all your girly areas, so much so you almost feel like a dairy cow who’s had a visit from the vet with the long gloves on or not amiss to a turkey getting stuffed at Christmas!!

On top of this you’ve got swollen ankles; and if you even glance in the direction of a drink or a running tap you need to go to the loo.

It’s too much faff to bend over (without weeing or farting) to shave your legs so your leg hair ends up merging into your lady bits above, which in turn have matured to resemble a wild and unkempt mess to rival any rainforest!

And Sod’s Law – your boobs inflate if you don’t want them to, whereas you’re thoroughly disappointed when they stay as flat as a pancake when this is THE moment you’ve been looking forward to your whole life, as you can’t afford plastic surgery!

Hubbie looks a little disappointed at this point too!

And the fact that some suggest you use a medicinal olive oil (pre-natural birth) to ‘ready yourself for the big day’ shall we say – well, that just seemed a step too far for me!!!


So, finally after nine months comes the moment we’ve all been waiting for!

The birth itself.

Well what can I say here that you don’t know already.

You’ve all seen the TV programmes or actually experienced it for yourselves already.

Your waters break, it feels like you’ve wet yourself, you’re regularly checked to see how much you’ve dilated and you end up pushing a melon through a hole somewhat smaller in size, which again of course is expected, but still seems pretty scary a thought!

And you sometimes even soil yourself in the process of pushing!

How delightful for us!

Add to this an enthusiastic crowd of young student doctors who’ve ‘spectated’ through the whole event and you have my very own personal experience.

Yep – there I was, led starkers on a cold slab of a bed, all ready (physically, not mentally!) for a C-section, completely unable to maneuver a leg slightly to make my legs appear just a little thinner, as you would do whilst sunbathing, (especially when the anesthetist was rather yummy eye candy for the procedure!)

And of course, if you haven’t managed to beforehand you will be shaved down below too.

Brililant huh!

And, just when we think its all over…… it’s mummy hood!

I obviously didn’t do enough of my pelvic floor excercises as bladder control is a distant memory to me – a thing of the past.

I literally had to fling myself forward, nearly headbutting the seat in front of me the other evening at the cinema in an attempt not to totally wet myself at a particularly funny scene from The Inbetweeners 2.

And I can tell you there have also been times where I’ve just had to sit down and cross my legs wherever I am – yep – pavements, random doorways, shop floors to name but a few just to prevent a hugely embarrassing accident!

You’ve got gorging boobs, full of milk with sore and cracked nipples from the endless feeding; not one piece of clothing has been spared from vomit, you’ve been sneezed on, wee’d on and to top it off, you’ve just knelt down into the soiled nappy!

You have dark dinner plates encircling your eyes, poo under your chipped nails and dry sore hands from all the changing.

You can be sat happily talking to your father in law over a friendly cuppa when all of a sudden you notice your breast pad’s slipped up out of your bra and is just poking out of the top of your t-shirt, leaving a very obvious wet patch where your milk has leaked.

You’re still wearing the BIG maternity pants to keep in the mummy tummy, flabby bum and cellulite.

You have a shower and end up having to pick out all the hair from the plug hole as your hair keeps falling out.

And then our beautiful babies turn into toddlers and the fun just seems to continue…..

You’ve got no money to afford beauty treatments; no nice clothes as all you can fit into is the maternity jeans two years down the line.

You’ve got no money to afford beauty treatments; no nice clothes as all you can fit into is the maternity jeans from two years ago and
you’re forever wiping bums, picking noses, holding your hand out when they no longer fancy chewing their lunch in a restaurant.

You have food and poo in your hair until a colleague points it out to you, you’re forever cleaning up sick, and slopping potty juice all over you on the way to the loo!

The list is endless and is ever changing as something new and equally and utterly disgusting appears on your radar each and every day!!

Ooh the excitement!! I can’t wait!


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