We all have our own festive traditions (be that trimming the tree, popping to Winter Wonderland, shopping for baubles in Selfridges or sipping on a mulled wine in your local pub,) but one of my favourites is fast becoming my annual trip to Hogwarts In The Snow. As a huge Harry Potter fan, when this opened up a few years ago my sister and I were practically the first in line to check it out – and we certainly weren’t disappointed. From the moment you first catch a glimpse of the iconic Great Hall, to the closing breathtaking view of Hogwarts Castle, every moment is magical; so much so that I recently stopped by for the eighth time. (Is that a little excessive?) If you haven’t been before, then the Warner Bros Studio Tour is home to all the sets, props, costumes and creatures from all eight of the Harry Potter films; the self-guided experience is a must for any fans of the franchise, as you can completely immerse yourself in the wonder of the Wizarding World.
It’s the only place in the world you can see all of the amazing detail
that went into the films, and once a year it transforms into something
even more special with the launch of Hogwarts In The Snow. For a two
month period over Christmas (from late November until late January,) all
the sets are dressed for the holidays – including the Christmas feast
in the Great Hall, the slightly shabby looking tinsel in Harry and Ron’s
bedroom and even a sprinkling of snow all over the giant model used for
aerial shots of the castle. From the moment you step through those iconic wooden doors, here’s why you’ll have a permenant smile across your face and will leave feeling totally in the Christmas spirit…
THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW
I’ve been back to Hogwarts eight times now, and there’s always something new to see. The lot is constantly expanding and evolving, so no two visits are ever the same. Even in the last six months they’ve expanded one of the main rooms and have added flying quidditch players alongside new sets and experiences, so there’s always a reason to return. With Fantastic Beasts now starting a whole new franchise of its own, the experience is only going to get bigger.
THE GREAT HALL IS A FANTASTIC SPECTACLE
Possibly the most instantly recogniseable set of all time, the Great Hall is just as you imagine it to be – and right now it’s filled with Christmas trees, flaming puddings and food that looks a little too realistic. Could it get any better? There’s nowhere that can compete with how festive it feels.
SIP YOUR BUTTERBEER OUT IN THE COLD
Now I know this is a hotly contested issue (you either love or hate Butterbeer,) but this is the only place in the UK you can sip on a fluffy glass of the Wizard’s favourite drink. I personally much prefer the sweeter warming beverage you can taste in Universal Studios, but it’s all about getting in the spirit; take your cup outside and take in the scenery like you’re an extra in your favourite film…
IT ACTUALLY SNOWS!
Which takes me onto my next point: it actually snows! The clever people at Warner Bros have managed to install a snow machine that goes off every few minutes during this season to make it look like it’s snowing; the results are quite breathtaking. When you touch it it’s clear that it’s just foam bubbles, but when you’re standing there taking it in there’s nothing to compare it to.
SEE HOGWARTS CASTLE AT ITS BEST
How many times have we all wished we attended Hogwarts, rather than our dreary muggle secondary schools that held less magic than that magicians starter-kit you bought from Argos? The entire castle was actually constructed for ariel shots of the school, giving the films depth and a sprinkling of something special; the tour ends with an opportunity to walk around it 360 degrees while listening to the iconic music we’ve come to instantly recognise. You’ll leave with goosebumps (via the gift shop of course.) Have you paid the Warner Bros Studio Tour a visit? Is it still on your wishlist this year?
(PS: I didn’t want to ruin it if you’ve yet to visit, so the pictures below give you just a taster!)
Find out more and book your tickets via www.wbstudiotour.co.uk (Adult tickets are priced £35.00 each, but family and child prices are also available.)