Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Back to witches and wizards and magical beasts

Previously: Sara and I went to Stonehenge and Bath, and had an incredibly nutritious lunch of scones and chips. 

Warning: this post is reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally photo-heavy. But it's worth it. Trust me.

The day after we went to Bath somehow turned into a nothing day. We both woke up late, and decided that we should finish watching North and South before we did anything else. Eventually, we figured that we should do SOMETHING besides sit on the sofa all day, so we drove into town and had a late lunch before wandering around the shops for a while. I'd been planning on getting a new between-seasons coat while I was in England, so technically we were on the look out for that. Me being me, I came home with a pair of raspberry patent heels. FAR more important than a stupid coat!
I mean, seriously. 
We headed home via the supermarket to procure pizza and cider, and had dinner in front of Doctor Who before spending the night watching Prisoner of Azkaban. It was low key and relaxing and fabulous to not be running around all over the place for a change.

The next morning, we were up bright and early and on the road before 10am. Frankly, I'd been excited about our final destination for this particular day since about JULY, and it didn't disappoint. We started off with a trip to Windsor, because if we were going to spend all that damned time on the M25, you can bet your arse we were going to break up the trip.

Parking was a monumental bitch, as you can imagine if you've ever been to Windsor, but finally we found a parking spot and headed into the castle. After parting with a small fortune, we headed inside. And honestly? The public areas were a lot smaller than I remembered them being when I was a kid. It didn't help that the chapel was closed because it was Sunday, but I remember there being far more to see and do than just the state rooms and Queen Mary's doll house. *shrugs*

I'd also forgotten about the almost-constant low flying planes en route to land at Heathrow, which must be nice and relaxing for the queen!!

Once we'd exhausted the possibilities at the castle and decided that we didn't need a stuffed toy corgi from the gift shop, we wandered back into town for a spot of lunch before stopping at a supermarket to procure some snacks. Then we hit the road and basically flailed our way up the M25 to our final destination: The Harry Potter studio tour.




I mean, I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven when I went to Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And sure, this didn't have awesome rides. But it WAS non-stop amazingness from basically the moment we walked in the door. The very first thing you see (besides giant photos of the cast, and half a Ford Anglia coming out of the wall) is the Cupboard Under the Stairs.

From there, they show you a short film, and then you head into the Great Hall. If you're planning on going, I'd highly recommend going on your birthday, because of reasons.

I could happily have stayed in the Great Hall for another 20 minutes or so because it's so amazingly detailed, but there was tons more to see.

The first half of the tour is smaller sets, like the Gryffindor Common Room and Dumbledore's office, lots of costumes, and a ton of fun props, like the Horcruxes, Hermione's Timeturner, quidditch supplies, and the Triwizard Cup.
DanRad is tiny. Seriously. 

It took us at least an hour to get through it all, and it was marvellous. It's astonishing how much detail was created for props that get a couple of seconds of screen time.

Then you head outside to some of the exterior sets - Number 4 Privet Drive, the bridge at Hogwarts, and the Potter's cottage from Godric's Hollow. There's also the Knight Bus, which is pretty fabulous, and some more of the big chess pieces.

You can also get butter beer, which is pretty delicious in small quantities but is quite likely to make you feel sick if you drink more than a few sips.

The second half of the tour is all about the animatronics and the models that they used, and it's pretty damned fascinating.

From there, you get to walk up Diagon Alley, which felt oddly like returning to Wizarding World of Harry Potter (even though when I was there, it was only Hogsmeade...):

And then it was onto the last major stop, which was my absolute favourite - the scale model of Hogwarts that they used for all the exterior shots. It's absolutely ENORMOUS.
See those people over there on the right? Yeah. ENORMOUS. 
I could happily have stood there staring at it all day, because it's utterly astonishing. The lighting slowly changes from day to night, and all the lights in the castle come on.

How could we not take a terrible selfie?! 
Eventually, we dragged ourselves away from the magnificence that is Hogwarts and headed towards the gift shop. The last room you pass through is filled with wand boxes. There are over two thousand of them, and they bear the names of all the cast and crew, which is pretty fabulous.

Hell, even the gift shop was magical. I spent rather more than I'd planned, but came out with a Ravenclaw t-shirt for myself, and a wand for Little Miss A (Totally worth it).

Eventually, our wallets rather lighter than planned, we headed back to the car and drove back to Portsmouth. We wandered down the road to the pub for dinner, and spent the rest of the night watching Goblet of Fire. Because really, what else would we do after such a Potter-tastic day?!

Next time, we acquire a couple of small children and head to the zoo. 

K xx


  1. Wow, I really really want to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and now you have made me want to go even more - it looks awesome!

    I went to uni near Windsor and never went in the castle. I feel like maybe I haven't missed out on much. I did get used to those planes though, in the end ;)

  2. Is the Harry Potter studio tour really that good?? I've been meaning to go, but I'm not such a fan of the film as the books. I can see a trip coming soon!
    Beth x

  3. The Harry Potter studio tour is just AMAAAAZING!!!! I actualyl cried in happiness when I went to the Hogwarts castle room. And the drafts of the scenes painted in watercolour before you go into that room are just - wow. I'm glad you had a really great time! I remember the feeling of accidentally spending more money than was probably wise. XD But at least I got a very warm and comfortable scarf out of it (which I wear in winter here in Australia) and I had an amazing time looking at it all. It's definitely helping me with my media studies as well. :)

  4. And..... now I'm wanting to cry again cause... HARRY POTTER AND I WANT TO GO AND I MISS THE WIZARDING WORLD AND YOU AND UGH.

    So many of my emotions come from books.

    And I need to go for my birthday. I can somehow save up money to go by July... right?

  5. So what you're saying is I definitely need to get my arse back to England (preferably around my birthday) to go to the HP studio tour? I'm okay with that. The photos look amazing and OMG I WANT TO GO TO THERE!

  6. Love the shoes!! And wow the studio tour looks awesome. I had a bit of a laugh at the 'acquire a couple of small children'... that sounds slightly ominous hahaha.

  7. Oh my goodness!! I loved every single photo in this post! :) So jealous you got to enjoy the studio tour! Sometime in my life I hope to enjoy it as well. London is a little far away but I do hope to make it one day. Thank you for such a great review of the studio.


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