Back when I posted about my Super Summer aims last year I mentioned four crochet scarves I was working on; they were scarves in the Hogwarts' house colours for me and the girls to wear when we visited the Harry Potter Studios in August. I need to work out how to get the pictures of them off my actual camera (took them without a memory card in!) before I can blog the scarves, but in the meantime here are some pictures of the day. (I was obviously having a bad-photography spell as I managed to forget my camera battery on the actual day so these are sub-par phone photos unfortunately).
Taken at an odd angle to crop out the annoying Other People who were also visiting
I really can't recommend the tour enough for Potter fans - we enjoyed every moment of the six hours we spent there (we were way more excitable than any of the children) and we're all dying to go back as soon as possible. It was a bit more museum-y than I was perhaps expecting, not a lot of interactivity to keep younger kids interested, but brilliant for older kids and fans, and even anyone with an interest in set and costume design.
After an introductory video in which Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint reduced us to tears, the huge Hogwarts doors opened and we found ourselves in the Great Hall, where our guide gave a short talk and we could wander a short while and see lifesize replicas of some of the professors...
Professor Flitwick, Mad-Eye Moody, Professor Trelawney, Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore, Professor Snape, Hagrid and Filch.
... and students...
Neville and Harry; the Invisibility Cloak (with green lining for green screen work), Hermione and Ron; Ron's dress robes
From there we were free to continue the tour alone, at our own pace. There were helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides dotted about everywhere, always happy to take a picture even though they most take hundreds, of the same things, every day.
Dolores Umbridge's cat brooch
The costumes were definitely my favourite part, as a budding dressmaker, and I especially loved seeing my favourite character Luna Lovegood's eccentric pieces.
Luna's yellow dress from the Yule Ball; me modelling my radish earrings, with Butterbeer and sneak peek of my scarf (Knight Bus and Godric's Hollow in the background); Luna's accessories including original radish earrings.
The sets were also fantastic - but I wanted to go in and touch everything!
Potions classroom; Gryffindor Common Room; The Burrow (complete with self-washing pots, self-chopping knives and self-knitting needles! My fave set!)
Hagrid's hut (complete with Fang); Dumbledore's office (complete with Fawkes), Diagon Alley (complete with Other People, grr).
And SO. MANY. PROPS. Honestly, the level of detail in those films - it really was a labour of love for all involved. Some of the more famous ones:
Philosopher's Stone and Crystal Goblet from the Horcrux Cave; Tri-Wizard cup and Golden Egg; Horcruxes, including Tom Riddle's diary
Sadly, it was around this time that my phone battery started to really die (I was kicking myself all day for forgetting my camera battery but if I hadn't this would have been a far longer post so you've been lucky) so I couldn't get more pictures, but we then went out into an outdoor section with a cafe and Butterbeer stand, and a few of the outdoor sets: 4 Privet Drive, The Knight Bus, Godric's Hollow, the Hogwarts Bridge and the enchanted Ford Anglia which we were able to pose in for photos (after a short queue!).
From there we continued on to the second half of the tour which was a lot more focused on the little things that just made the films: row upon row of Goblin prosthetics, Luna's lion hat, a huge animatronic Buckbeak, hundreds of drawings of sets, Dobby, packaging from the twins' joke shop (U-No-Poo, Skiving Snackboxes and so on), the mermen from the Tri-Wizard Tournament and the frankly terrifying Inferi.... until we finally rounded a corner and found ourselves in a room with the tour's Piece de Resistance: the huge, perfect scale model of Hogwarts:
We really had a magical day, it must be what it must feel like to go to Disneyland after being a lifelong fan of the films (I've been to Euro Disney and got caught up in it all even though I've hardly seen any Disney films); and there was a palpable sense of disappointment upon leaving and becoming mere Muggles once more.