The Harry Potter studios are based in Leavesden Studios, Watford. I live close and although I live close it still took my boyfriend and I about two whole years to visit them! You book well in advance because the amount of visitors they get is insane and is fairly pricey at about 30 pounds but it is sooooooooooooo worth it! Here are a few pictures (there's more than a few but not even half of what I took) of the best place in the world. If you are planning to go and want it to be a complete surprise then don't let me spoil it for you! But there is nothing like seeing it for yourself regardless of whether you've seen photos or not.
These are the chess pieces from the very first film and they are the first thing you see as you park up!
Stuff in the gift shop, which is an attraction in its own right.
Queuing alongside the bedroom under the stairs....
After a brief talk and a video the tour gets underway... If it's your birthday they let you open the doors to the Great Hall and I was only a week away from turning 20. Gutted.
You can't really appreciate how bloody small these mannequins are by a photo but they are TINY. Daniel Radcliffe used to be that small!! That was his uniform from the first film.
The set for the Great Hall is still in tact and was one of the largest sets that they had over the decade that they filmed the series.
It really amazed me how the interior design for Hogwarts was for the most part completely fabricated in the 21st century. This tapestry would not look out of place in a 15th century Medici collection.
Costumes and props for the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
This is the roof for the Great Hall and it's only like 7 ft wide, it's tiny. The set for the hall itself does not have a roof and every scene that you see the roof is the product of a clever CGI bloke whose superimposed it onto the hall.
The beds are also tiny, the film makers didn't account for the fact that the actors would grow and they supposedly hung off the end of the bed in the end.
Mirror of Erised: Best mirror selfie everrrrr
The Gryffindor Common Room
This bit here was largely responsible for destroying my childhood. It is official, the invisibility cloak is not real.
I love love love the portraits they have in Dumbledore's office!
This set has been used for a few different scenes but ultimately came to be the potion room.
Some more portraits. Apparently, the vast majority of them are of people who worked on the film. I got very excited because these portraits are clearly influenced by real portraits and paintings throughout the centuries! I couldn't tell you the names of most of them but I have definitely seen a lot of these images before, but without a producer or cameraman staring back at me, ha! This part of the tour was my favourite and just reminded me of how much work went into every detail - the likelyhood is you would have only ever got a glimpse of these on a wall somewhere. I want to say that the painting of a group of men at the top is a Francisco Goya piece, maybe... The caprichos series? I'm not sure.
Chamber of Secrets!
The Earl of Arundel by Daniel Mytens. It is IDENTICAL!!! but with a different face!
Another familiar one - can't put a name to it though! Italian 15th century maybe?? Piero della Francesca ish?
Hagrid's Hut - they made a small one so that Hagrid looked massive and a massive one with massive furniture to make Harry Ron and Hermione look tiny!
This is the door of Bellatrix Lestrange's Gringott's bank vault. It was used over and over again in a number of scenes for a number of different vaults. This is because it would have been too difficult to create another. Why? Because the lock function on the door ACTUALLY works - it's real! how clever
The Magic is Might Statue, placed by the death eaters when they took over the ministry. Definitely drawn upon a massacre of the innocents prototype!! love it.
Dolores Umbridge's office - with hundreds of cat plates haha. They supposedly held a cat photoshoot for these plates and everything.
Rossy and his butterbeer - not my thing but you really can't pass up the opportunity to drink it.
Thomas Riddle's grave.
For the first film Privet Drive was filmed on an actual street before they moved it to a set...
Where it all began...
It is amazing how much work went into this film. Look how intricately a stage designer has to work - it looks like genuine work for the design of an actual house, in real life.
And then there's all the beautiful paintings!
A statue of the Hogwart's architect.
My favourite painting. So pretty!!
It made me sad that hogwarts isn't a real castle however the model of it is still very impressive. It's not castle size obviously but it is fairly large and gives you goosebumps nevertheless..
The end. These are essentially the credits. Every single person involved with the franchise has their own wand box here.