A group of us woke up extra early to catch a bus to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. The bus ride was a bit lengthy – over an hour and a half long, but it was so worth it! The tour started with a quick video about the history of the Harry Potter phenomenon. The film concluded with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint standing in front of the front door to Hogwarts inviting us on the tour and then suddenly the screen lifted revealing the actual door! The group was ushered through the door which opened to the Great Hall.
Ghost of Ravenclaw’s dress
Two house tables were set up and the side walls were lined with costumes from the film. My favorite was the Grey Lady’s gown, the ghost of Ravenclaw. The front of the Great Hall had Albus Dumbledore’s costume and on either side were the other professors’ costumes including McGonagall and Snape. After we made our way through the Great Hall I slowly strolled through room after room of sets, costumes and props from the eight films. (Once I get home I will post a slide show of the beautiful costumes – the WiFi connection is too slow here.) The Potions classroom was an incredible set. I learned that each jar, bottle and flask was hand labeled and filled with an assortment of creatures and bones.
Dumbledore’s office looked exactly like the one in the queue (line) at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios. Some of my favorite things were Luna Lovegood’s radish earrings, Ron’s Yule Ball costume, Bellatrix Lestrange’s wig and costume, each of the seven horcruxes and Umbridge’s pink costumes and office – kitten porcelain and all.
Butterbeer and cheese sandwich
Next we walked through the outdoor exhibit which had the Knight Bus, the Weasley’s flying car, Sirius’s motorcycle, the Hogwarts Bridge, and Number 4 Privite Drive. I also got to have a glass of delicious Butterbeer. Butterbeer is only sold at two places in the world (the second place is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida), and now I’ve had it at both locations. For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to try Butterbeer, it’s a bit like an extra foamy cream soda. It is incredibly rich and sweet. One cup is more than enough, even for someone with my sweet tooth.
The next area was indoors and was home to the Harry Potter Creatures Shop. I saw Buckbeak the hippogriff, numerous Goblin masks, Dobby, and an audio animatronic Hagrid. Many of the creatures, such as the mermaids and the thestrals, were both terrifying and beautiful. It’s amazing to think that artists designed each creature and someone had to make them by hand!
Flourish & Blotts
The next room was Diagon Alley! This is exactly like an indoor version of this iconic street at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The street was complete with everything from Olivanders’ Wand Shop to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. I loved walking down the street and peering into the shop windows. The attention to detail was simply extraordinary.
Next door were wall-to-wall blueprints of the Hogwarts Castle and just through the next room was a giant scale model of Hogwarts. At the very end of the tour (before the gift shop of course) was a room filled from floor to ceiling with wand boxes, each with the name of a person who worked on the films.
It was such a nice way to give the many Harry Potter contributors the credit that they deserve. I browsed through the gift shop for a while, but I didn’t end up making a purchase. I was already wearing my Griffendor scarf from Universal Studios and feeling nice and full from the butterbeer so I was content.
After the bus ride back to the hotel, Liz and I quickly went to the Museum of London to see the original Peter Pan costume from the 1911 production. I also got the chance to photograph some beautiful clothes from the 1700s to the 1970s. Even though we rushed to get to the museum before it closed, we ended up having plenty of time to enjoy the clothes.
Peter Pan costume, 1911
Near the museum was St. Paul’s Cathedral so we walked around simply gazing at the amazing architecture. Unfortunately the cathedral was closed for the night so we couldn’t go inside, but we enjoyed just looking at it from the outside. On our way back we grabbed some dinner at an Indian restaurant near our hotel. It was such a lovely day!