For anyone that knows me, I’m a complete and total Harry Potter nut. Growing up on the books is an understatement. I’ve accredited my childhood to a woman who pushed me to be a better person, who instilled a love of reading and who made me want to be brave in the face of adversity. J.K. Rowling is not only a role model but she has shaped my life, and I’m sure many others just like me. My mom started reading them to me when they were first published and we, as well as my sister, read them fervently, taking in every word and joining Harry through his years at Hogwarts.
Not only did it bring us closer together as family, but it gave us something to look forward to and was a constant source of happiness for us all.
Last summer while in London, my mom and I knew that Leavesden Studios was opening it’s doors to guests and we literally couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Opened in Spring of 2012, we were one of the first groups to take in the magic of the set.
It’s set up in the most strategic way possible, you purchase a time that your tour officially starts and you’re shuttled into a movie theatre that documents the series as a whole and how it’s affected the world and culture as we know it and I’m 99% sure that everyone in the room was crying.
Then the screen splits in two and the Great Hall appears behind it. It’s one of those moments where you almost seem to be frozen in awe. So many scenes and so many memories that hold a special place in your heart are right in front of you, tangible and breathable. It’s unreal.
The guide tells you a brief history of the room and shows you around a bit then tells you that it is a self-guided tour and that you’re free to take as long as you want to. AHH. This property is huge and every known artifact used in the making of the movies is there, we had arrived mid-morning and didn’t leave until sundown.
The sets are arranged so you see the different compartments that go into making such a huge production. The sets are still in place, the rafters and lights are still exactly where they stood during filming and costumes are strategically placed throughout.
It winds and curves and is a delight for all senses. Literally.
There’s an outside set where the Knight Bus and the larger than life chess pieces are with a backdrop of the houses you’re so accustomed to seeing. They even sell butterbeer to sip while you’re walking along. If you weren’t all that interested in Harry Potter, it would easily take you at least 2 hours to go through it all but for those who love it, expect to be there all day on cloud nine.
I don’t know if I can even properly put in words what it’s like to be there and to be surrounded by the things you’ve only witnessed on screen. It’s definitely a day I won’t soon forget.