You may have seen my post about my birthday last week and to celebrate, my boyfriend and I took some time off work and did some exploring! We headed to Leeds for a day of shopping (where I picked up these ZARA tee's) and then headed to Sam's home in Berkshire as a base for a day in London and at the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden! We have previously been to the studio tour because a, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and b, Sam is the best boyfriend in the world: as a non Potter-head he drives for an hour to get there, then spends the entire time taking pictures of me and listening to me geeking out. Hey, I don't call him the long suffering boyfriend for no reason! So we did know what to expect when we arrived but the Kings Cross area is new for us and improves the visit ten fold.
You can get the to the studios fairly easily from London and I know tonnes of travel companies do special day trips with a hotel thrown in for really reasonable prices. You can read more about getting there on the website (here). We did get stuck in hideous traffic on our way there so it's definitely worth pre planning your route. On arrival we looked around the foyer before being ushered into the cinema room where you see a clip about how successful the books have been... it's interesting but I imagine the more you go the less you want to hear the spiel. You do get to see Harry's cupboard under the stairs though as you queue which is a great touch. After the short film you're lead into the Great Hall and shown a few interesting features and pieces before you're left to explore!
I don't want to ruin the experience but I will say there is tonnes to do; there's a special effects department - check out my instagram for the creepiest video of Voldermort's soul (the Kings Cross scene it features in is actually my favourite ever HP scene- fun fact!) - which Sam as a bit of tech geek found fascinating and there's so many sets, including The Burrow, Dumbledores Office and Hagrids hut to look at, take pictures of and take pictures with. Although I know some people hate them i'd definitely say it's the kinda place to take a selfie stick - I really struggled to get a selfie of myself with Dumbledore in his office after Sam had wandered off and I was so upset. After a quick stop for food at the indoor cafe where we had hotdogs (very magical) and avoided the Butterbeer like the plague after trying and hating it last time we headed outside. The outside area has all your bigger props / sets including the Knight Bus, Hogwarts Bridge, Privet Drive and Godric's Hollow and they've recently added the Weasley's flying car and Hagrid's bike that you can actually get in / on to have a picture of - amazing! I loved pretending to be Ron in the car (and even uttered his 'Bloody Hell!' catch phrase completely accidentally much to the delight of some Americans who didn't know us English 'actually said that'.
After the outdoors part we headed to my new favourite part - Kings Cross! I really don't want to ruin this because it's honestly something you have to experience if possible but it's worth going to the tour just for this part. We got to go aboard the real Hogwarts express, see Harry and Ron surrounded by sweets and go on an amazing green-screen effect ride to Hogwarts (where the picture of me with the chocolate frog was taken!) which was phenomenal. After a walk up Diagon Alley we hung out at Hogwarts; more exactly, the replica that the Studio Tour that has it's own gigantic room with day / night changing lights. I adore this room; I love seeing the castle, constantly spotting new things (such as the details on the trees - wow!) and when the lights go from day to night the castle lights up in the most relaxing, beautiful way. You then walk through Ollivanders into the gift shop which is so expansive (and expensive!) it's basically another attraction in its self. We didn't buy anything bar a latte in the onsite Starbucks before heading home, me wishing I was the witch I know I was meant to be and Sam wishing I won't make him go back again for a third time!
Seriously though, we both really enjoyed the Tour and I definitely think it's the kind of place you can visit a few times - I noticed so many little details this time that I'd completely overlooked on my last visit. I deliberately walked around slower and appreciated the detail which I was far too excited to do on my first visit! If you ever get the chance as a non Potter fan, or want to go as a Potter head it's so worth it in my opinion.
Have you ever been to the Studio Tours? Did you love it as much as me?