Like I said in my last post, I’ve been away for the past few days and to be honest, a lot of the activities I ended up doing were a bit bookish… I did a Jack the Ripper walk, stalking around Whitechapel ala Rory from the Shades of London series, I was all Phillipa Gregory by hanging out at the Tower of London, I read NW by Zadie Smith, I was in NW for some time, I did a couple of stops off at Baker Street… Also hung out by this old thing…
You get the idea. But honestly, the most bookish and arguably, best thing I did was the Harry Potter studio tour.
I know you guys have either been, so you don’t care what I have to say about it, or you want to go and don’t want to be reminded of the fact that you haven’t been yet, but I just really want to say how impressed I was by it. I was a little bit worried that it would be a bit… Well, lame. I had such high expectations and I was scared that it wouldn’t live up to them. I was wrong, it was like a bowl of amazeballs with added awesome sauce.
The tour itself is really well organised, you go through in groups at a time, with films to space the groups out so that there are never too many people in one bit at a time. They have left partial and entire sets from the film standing, when you go into the great hall, you are actually in the great hall, as in you push open the double doors, step onto the flag stone floor and are surrounded by the wooden tables. It’s surreal, overwhelming and incredible. Similarly, you get to walk down actual Diagon Alley, there are shops and a cobbled street… It’s one thing to visualise a place in one of your favourite books and to then see it immortalised on film, it’s quite another to then get to stand in that place and see it before your very eyes. I don’t really know how to describe it. Just know, that it’s something quite special.
Another awesome part of the tour is of course the chance to try butter beer. I had some this time last year at Leaky Con, their version of butter beer was cream soda with butter scotch syrup served chilled over ice. The Levesdon Studios version is a fizzy, frothy, smooth caramel affair which is just divine.
I have an insane sweet tooth so naturally, I thought it was the best thing ever. I am genuinely considering paying the admission price all over again just to be able to drink more and more butter beer. The great thing about where the butter beer stall is situated is that it is on the back lot so you get a wonderful view of Privet Drive, Godrick’s Hollow and various vehicles used in the films which is all kinds of awesome and as you can see, exciting.
The tour seriously has something for everyone, if you’re interested in the art, design and cinematography, there is an area dedicated to that, if you just want to step inside Gryffindor common room, there is an area for that, if you want to learn about animatronics or how they cast spells, you can do that too, it covers all the bases and is everything a trip to Hogwarts should be. It explains how various things happened without taking away the magic of the films, in essence, it is, in every sense of the word, brilliant.
The only real downside to the tour was the extortionate nature of the giftshop. I was expecting the HP merchandise to be on the pricey side and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to walk away with my full Slytherin uniform and wand but I wasn’t quite expecting chocolate frogs or Bertie Botts beans to also be out of my price range. So that was a shame, but you know, the tour itself is nothing short of perfect so it wasn’t a huge let down.
If you haven’t been yet, I sincerely hope you get the chance to visit and if you have been, please allow me to flail with you over its general awesomeness.
Also – while we’re on the subject of Harry Potter, have you guys seen the new covers? I actually really like them! What are your thoughts?