Other than Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the London Eye. Here he looks forward to seeing the world of Harry Potter up close.
Elena is preparing the cloaks (strictly Grifon d’Oro) for Andrea and Franci. Martina checks that the phone is fully charged and the Polaroid camera ready to take great selfies (only later will she realize that it doesn’t work at all).
I, on the other hand, am planning the visit by public transport: only yesterday I discovered, to my disappointment, that all journeys from London Euston to Watford have been cancelled! O inauspicious fate! O cruel world… one might say. A little bad. The means, in these parts, work great!
The ticket shows 16:30 and it’s just 9. We spend the morning messing around in London, mostly to meet around 2 in St Pancreas. From here, in just under an hour, we reached Watford Junction with the replacement vehicles of National Rail.
The Harry Potter shuttle that would take us to the Studios was there, all themed and ready to welcome us.
You immediately enter the festive atmosphere.
Children can’t wait to reach the coveted goal of “The making of Harry Potter”.
We adults… more.
It can be reached in about 20 minutes from Watford Junction. Finally begins our day at Harry Potter!
At the entrance, wizard wands lead the way. Custom photo for Martina, Andrea and Francesca. The little ones play running and chasing each other while Elena tries, with many difficulties, to appease the euphoria of the little ones.
We queue at the counter for the delivery of bags and coats: we are finally lighter. The service is included for free in the entrance ticket and you can leave all your objects that you don’t need. Don’t leave your camera and phone: please!
In the large entrance hall, there are some of Warner characters. Francesca runs in the direction of Wonder Woman, her favorite heroine of hers, to get a nice selfie taken. Andrea imitates her with Batman. Meanwhile, screaming children try to empty the huge shopping store. Parents’ disappointment is evident for fear of emptying their wallets well in advance of plans. Nothing is really missing in the shop: toys, books, cuddly toys, brooms, talking hats, clothes… and everything Harry Potter does.
The waiting time is over – our tour begins. We show the 5 tickets on the phone and follow the line which very slowly begins to diminish. The first half hour passes in a rather boring way, between presentations, photos and videos. We all would like to start right away.
Then the curtain rises. The younger children (including our Francesca) approach the large door and… the magic begins. The Great Hall appears in all its splendour. Present in almost all the films, this sumptuous room has hosted some of the most evocative scenes of the whole saga: the Sorting Ceremony, the Yule Ball, the end of the Second Wizarding War, the Christmas and Halloween parties…
The tour continues among beautiful costumes and props. Albus Dumbledore’s office is beautiful, and the potions room. Subsequently, with the power of thought alone, you will be able to raise a magical broom.
Unicorns. Hippogriffs. Centaurs. Giant spiders. Agrib, holding his torch, invites you to enter the Forbidden Forest, one of my favorite sets, populated by tons of magical creatures. The most admired is Buckbeak, too real not to be true! If you should feel observed do not fear and look up: they are harmless giant spiders!
You arrive at platform 9 and 3/4. The original one, of course, is located in Kings Cross station, but the one you admire has been faithfully recreated. Hogwarts Express is the train that has always taken Muggles to Magic School. It was mainly used for the filming of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and today we are lucky enough to see it up close. Truly a show.
The area hosts a special shopping area.
The tour continues outside with some cult places and objects: the car, the Knight Bus and, above all, the greenhouse where the mandrakes are grown. Truly wonderful. You will be able to experience the thrill of lifting the mandrake from the soil and listening to the cry: be careful not to faint!
The next step is to be applauded: the Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and Lestrange’s Vault with Gryffindor Sword, Helga Hufflepuff cup and thousands of props .
Flourish& Blotts; Mulpepper’s Pharmacy; Ollivanders… here we are at Diagon Alley, an explosion of light, colors and effects.
Incredibly majestic, Hogwarts Castle is probably a fitting conclusion to this tour. Everything is treated in detail, including the lighting. You can admire the towers, the bridge, the windows, the ravines. A true wonder, which only partially compensates for the disappointment that the day at Harry Potter has now come to an end.
However, we leave the Studios deeply satisfied for having given us a day of pure magic that has literally transported us to a fantastic world. The smile of Martina, Andrea and Francesca is the sweet epilogue we were waiting for. And it couldn’t get any better!