I hate to admit this, but I'm a fairly new Harry Potter fan. Having purchased the box-set and marathon watching the films a year ago now, (but only just beginning to read the Philosopher's Stone), I can't quite fully pledge my love from the phenomenon just yet but trust me, it's there. I'm a proud Slytherin, often ambitious and achievement-oriented. So imagine the excitement I felt on my spontaneous decision to drive three hours from Bournemouth to Watford on Thursday afternoon, to attend the official launch of Hogwarts In The Snow* at the Warner Bros Studio Tours...yup, I was pretty ecstatic.
I arrived pretty flustered, half an hour early, repeating myself about my long ass drive to the array of team in front of me. They kindly gave me with a goodie bag and glass of mulled wine, and my anxieties of standing alone until Amy arrived quickly disappeared.
It's my second time visiting the tour and I was absolutely blown away with how beautiful it all looked. Based at the Leavesden film studios just outside London, home for ten years for the cast and crew creating the films, it's now an incredible opportunity for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the magic, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have to point out that even if you've been before (no matter how long you took to go round the place), you'll spot things you missed...because I certainly did!
From now until 29th January 2017, you can experience the tour like no other time of year. Being a huge Christmas lover (my tree was up November 6th..no shame), I couldn't miss the chance to see the Hogwarts festivities. Starting in The Great Hall, they've lined it with Christmas Trees, special-effects roaring fires, and the dining tables are dressed with seasonal feasts (including flaming Christmas Puddings!). The Gryffindor Common Room and Boys’ Dormitory are decorated with the original props, including handmade Christmas cards, some of which were made by the cast members during production.
It doesn't do justice in photos, but the Hogwarts model castle is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow, which took four days to transform. There's an opportunity to discover how artificial snow and ice is made, and of course, all the usual excitement like drinking butterbeer, flying a broom, riding the Knight Bus (where it was snowing in the lot!), discovering Diagon Alley, climbing on board the original Hogwarts Express (and getting a classic photo with your trolley at Platform 9 3/4) and exploring the gift shop. You honestly won't want to miss it.
Huge thanks to Warner Bros for having me, I can't wait to come back soon.
*Complimentary ticket, press launch invitation.