London’s latest tourist attraction opened its doors to the public for the first time and Sebastian Lim was on-site to experience the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
Located north-west of London in Leavesden, Wartford Junction, lies the actual props, costumes, sets and many more artifacts used in the Harry Potter film series. A short shuttle bus ride from Wartford Junction took us to stages J and K, which housed the Making of Harry Potter.
Leavesden used to be the location of aircraft manufacturing factories and was converted to a film studios shortly after the war, today it’s used to showcase one of the prides of the British film industry. The studio tour consists of three areas – Stage J for indoor film sets, Stage K for the pride of the art department and an area for the outdoor sets.
Entering through Stage K, you are greeted with portraits of all the stars of the Harry Potter films. An audio guide narrated by Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy is highly recommend for usage throughout the tour.
While queuing to enter the tour, we get to see the tiny room under the staircase in which young Harry lived in his early years at the Dursleys.
After a short welcome cinematic by Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, we walk through the Great Hall and the feeling is impressive. The set designers have gone to great lengths to create a remarkable set. The gargoyles on the side walls, the solid granite flooring and the long tables including the tables for the staff of Hogworts can be seen.
Finishing the tour of the Great Hall, which is also the only guided part of the tour, we enter a gigantic warehouse type hall where many of the indoor Harry Potter sets are located.
The Gryffindor Boy’s Dormitory in Gryffindor Tower features five beds including beds for Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. The spiral staircase here leads to the Gryffindor Common Room. In the common room, we see the fireplace that was used by Sirius Black to contact Harry. On the wall, the most notable portrait hanging is the one of a young Professor Minerva McGonagall as the Head of Gryffindor House.
Professor Dumbledore’s office is another amazing set. It was evident that the set builders took into account the tiniest of details such as the vials of memories collected by Dumbledore to the less used but still impressive props such as Dumbledore’s telescope at the rear of his office. The Pensieve can also be clearly recognized.