Hogwarts, witches & wizards (both good & bad), muggles, broomsticks and of course Harry Potter himself, are all part of a magical world that if we’re all honest, we dream we could be part of. Swept away first by JK Rowling’s books, the movies only served to extend the enjoyment gleaned from these books and just as we thought that this magical world was all relegated to a distant memory, Warner Brothers flung open their studio doors and invited us in.
I’ve been once before but I’m a true Harry Potter nerd so there’s no limit to the number of times I can visit this place! Many moons ago, my sister and I were the only non-child-bearing adults present at the release of the Goblet of Fire and I’m also the president of the Harry Potter fan club (Admittedly 80% of the members of this club are under the age of 13. Now. They were 10 when we made up the club). 2015 brings us the launch of the Hogwarts Express and that was a clear sign that it was time to return to Harry Pottersville.
Without sounding like too much of a geek (too late, right?) it’s hard to truly describe my glee at being let loose in this kingdom of magic.
Harry, Ron and Hermione give you a little bit of an introduction to their world and the number of years they spent filming here and a bit of an insight into the hundreds of people who worked on every little detail that made the films so magical and then you’re let loose! First stop: The Great Hall.
After that, it’s one giant smorgasbord of everything this world has to offer. You’ll see original sets, costumes, props, creatures and models. You can check out the green room, discover the secrets and tricks they used in filming and all that movie magic.
You can board the Hogwarts Express and check out the carriages where Harry and his friends sat and munched on chocolate while the train transported them to Hogwarts..
There’s a conveniently located café where you can try out a Butterbeer and grab a snack before walking along the Haunted Bridge and seeing Privet Drive in all its original glory before moving on to more prop magic, Diagon Alley and best of all, a full scale model of Hogwarts used in the movie. Mesmerising, you can easily spend ½ an hour just gazing at the intricate detail.
By the time I’ve exhausted all the scenery, I’m positively fizzing with excitement which is just the right sort of time to catch me in the gift store but rather heroically I resist as it’s time to get back to the world of muggles. But I’m already planning a return trip, perhaps the other members of the Harry Potter Fan club will pay me a visit all the way from Canada for a club outing.
Where is it?
Leavesden studios are located in Watford Junction, north of London.
How do I get there?
We took the fast train from London Euston to Watford Junction and then there’s a shuttle bus you can find very easily at Watford station which will take you there. Keep some spare change for the shuttle bus.
How long does it take?
Since I’ve been before, I didn’t read every single sign and notice and it still took me over 3 hours. If you’re fond of the detail, plan in close to 4 hours or so.
Who shall I go with?
Only go with a true fan or if your children are true fans. I went with a group of like-minded folk with whom I wasn’t afraid of letting my geekery shine through.