London, Travel
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Harry Potter

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry. But why on earth should that mean it is not real?” – Professor Dumbledore (JK Rowling, of course)
I find this quote to be particularly poignant for me. I read the first Harry Potter book when I was 20 years old. I quickly devoured each book as it came out, and have reread each one numerous times. I don’t think a book or series ever made such an impact on me as this one did, I absolutely love it. I love the movies pretty well as much, each and every one. When the kiddos came along, I shared that Harry Potter love with both of them as well. So the quote — just because it’s in my head doesn’t mean it’s not real, right? Sometimes I still wish I’d gotten my letter on my 11th birthday. Turns out, I’m just a muggle.

harry potter studios!

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Still waiting for my owl…

cupboard under the stairs!

The cupboard under the stairs!

I was so excited to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, just outside of London. It was definitely a huge highlight of the trip for me. Seeing all the sets, props, and designs which are so real in my mind, was amazing. The incredible details with which these movies were produced is absolutely mindblowing. I can’t even really begin to describe it all, but I’ll impart a few bits and pieces that I learned along the tour in the photo captions. There was a short behind the scenes film before you enter the studio, and then you enter the Great Hall through the giant double doors. I admit it — a tear definitely came to my eye.

great hall tables

The Great Hall

gryffindor and neville's sweater

Harry’s robes, Neville’s unmistakeable cardigan…

teachers

The Professors

house points bead counters

House Points! Gryffindor wins ❤

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Looking back down the Great Hall. You can see the empty ceiling which was fitted with fabric panels to later project the enchanted ceiling which mimicked the night sky in the films.

kids at the table

I have a LOT of photos, but I have to admit I am disappointed with most of my pics. My camera battery died after less than a half hour (oops.) and so many of these are with my phone, which is normally great, but with the low light just doesn’t do the sets justice. However, I will share them because this is the journal of our trip, and photos (the good, the bad, and sometimes ugly) make the stories and memories come alive! I particularly loved all the costumes, how they were displayed with the sets. It was fun remembering the scenes when they were worn, or knowing whose clothes they were before reading the signs.

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Fleur Delacroix’s signature costume

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The Yule Ball! The Goblet of Fire is definitely one of my top favourites.

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Ron’s dress robes. Ha!

hufflepuff and cedric digger's maze costume

Cedric Diggory’s costume that he wore into the maze.

I’ve split our visit into two posts for ease of use. This first half covers the sets and most of the props. Mind blowing, I tell you! All so detailed, like the individually hand made and lettered labels (hundreds of them!) for potions bottles, countless book covers designed specifically for the movie, the maps, the paintings, the tiny bits and pieces — everything that makes these movies stand the test of time and so perfectly on point, exactly how you’d imagine the Wizarding World and Hogwarts to be…

the snitch

Harry’s first golden snitch.

dumbledore's office

Dumbledore’s office. Mind boggling details, each book hand covered, the sleeping headmasters’ portraits, and the magical instruments. Spot the Sorting Hat? Amazing!

the burrow

In the kitchen of the Burrow! There were little magical bewitched details that you could control with your hand, like making the iron press, knitting needles knit, and brushes scour the pots and pans.

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Molly Weasley’s awesome clock.

potions class

Potions Class, complete with stirring pots and hundreds of handmade labels.

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Gryffindor Common Room. I love Ron and Harry’s Christmas jumpers up top!

ministry of magic and harry/ron's disguises

The Ministry of Magic Flue network fireplaces, with Harry and Ron’s disguises.

dolores umbridge's office

Professor Umbridge’s cat-filled office!

umbrage's pink outfits

Did you know that Dolores Umbridge’s costumes became an increasingly darker shade of pink the more power she gained at the Ministry?

quidditch

Quidditch!

ravenclaw table and moaning myrtle

Ravenclaw and Moaning Myrtle’s robes.

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Mad-Eye Moody + McGonagall

slytherin costumes

Slytherin, including Draco Malfoy’s robes from 5th year (Inquisitorial Squad badge)

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