Wednesday, June 6, 2012

London Family Trip, Part 1: Making of Harry Potter Review

This past year, like many families in this recession, my family have been living in two different countries. I’ve been over to visit my sisters a few times this year (See insert Cambridge post) but the weekend after my birthday my Mum organized a whole family holiday. We planned any number of different exciting activities for the trip, including the rugby match, a trip to the Making of Harry Potter studio tour and I went to a cupcake master class with the brilliant Eric Lanlard, but that's so wonderful it gets it's own post!

The weekend began with my brother making fun of me as always. He loves me really, but a family holiday is not a family holiday if myself and himself are not exchanging insults. We all headed to my sisters house and were met with one of her specialty welcomes. My sister is always trying to think of little ways to make other people happy and is always ready for a chat and cup of tea even if you arrive at 1am, which I love about her. We settled down for the night. The next day we went into the city. We met my other sister in her adorable apartment which she has made her own with Irish-ism on the wall and stacks of tea cups and tea accessories.


We spent the night in London, in various locations. I spent time with my good friend Nelly (nickname). We took in a Hitchcock movie in a church, while dressed as flapper girls, and then went out to drink Pims in a darling little pub that had lamps straight from the 30s/40s, which seemed appropriate. The movie (39 steps) was atrocious but the company was excellent and I had a truly marvelous evening. (please note my attempts to describe this evening in suitable vernacular!)

The next morning we assembled as a family again and after some minor delays (my family have tardiness in our genes, although many of them would argue me on that) we managed to have lunch and then head out to Leavesden Studios for the making of Harry Potter Tour.
I'm not gonna lie at the time that I took this photo I was as excited as an 11 year old running towards the entrance to platform 9 3/4 for my first trip to Hogwarts. My family can attest to the fact that I was almost spinning on the spot. We then entered into a magical world of Harry Potter for about 2 hours and it was absolutely amazing!

The only criticism I have of the tour is the American angle that it takes at parts, like for example all the staff wear khaki pants and a WB t-shirt and have a cheery, cheery attitude. That said however the majority of the tour is self-guided so this doesn't affect the experience much. The most unbelievable aspect of the whole thing and the idea I struggled with throughout the tour lay in the fact that I was looking at the actual sets and the actual costumes used in the movies. It's not every day that you are faced with the Gryffindor common room, Mrs Weasley's kitchen or Hagrid's cottage.



The tour involves an interactive audio system where actors, director's, artists and other specialists from the movie speak about what you are looking at. I had mixed feelings on this. If I'm honest I sometimes felt that actor's were talking where I'd have preferred to hear from a producers or creative director but I guess that is geared towards the younger fans.


The highlights of the tour for me included; Diagon Alley, the great hall, the knight bus, Butter beer, and the scale model of Hogwarts Castle. The whole experience ends in a huge Harry Potter shop where you can buy everything from robes and wands to house scarves magical sweets. You can even buy a broomstick. I bought myself a scarf, as I have wanted one ever since I saw the very first HP movie and got my bf a hoodie, which he has subsequently had numerous offers for. By which I mean to say, don't be stingy in the shop, you will not regret it later. Overall I would recommend this tour to anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter movies at all. The tour can be as short or as long as you want. I would suggest that you try to stick together as a group as the studio is enormous and there is so much to see that it can help to have people to point out aspects you may have missed. I'd go again in a heartbeat =)


No recipe today but look out on Friday for cuteness.


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