we went to hogwarts!!


this past weekend, a long awaited day arrived. we booked tickets to tour harry potter studios just outside of london months ago and have been so looking forward to it. and on saturday morning we woke up real early, took the tube and a train and a bus, and then at last began our little trip to hogwarts!

now, we aren’t really potterphiles, the boy and i. i read all the books many years ago, and ian loved all the movies (and read the first four books). both of us appreciate the magic, but haven’t thought about the sorcerer’s stone or azkaban or hogsmede in several years. the weekend before our trip to the studio we watched the first movie, just to jog our memories. we certainly are forever endeared to hagrid and shudder a little at the mention of voldemort, but we’re also certainly not the hugest fans in the world.

but – we were totally hit with sheer excitement and fascination when we got off the bus at warner brothers studio, and the exhilaration didn’t stop stewing in our veins all morning long (and into the afternoon … we spent nearly five hours ooooing over all the neat stuff inside)! seeing all the sets, costumes and props, and learning about all the behind-the-scenes special effects wizardry was so cool! i don’t know if there was something in the butterbeer, or if we got worked up by all the adorable kids touring around while wearing quidditch robes, or if there’s just a real dose of magic in those stories and the process of bringing them to life … but we were seriously enamored, and had a really great time. it was a lot more awesome than i expected, and i couldn’t stop snapping photos (typical, i know…).

click through to see a bunch of the cool stuff we saw!

^^ a little excited? ^^
^^ the chocolate frogs didn’t actually hop … but the every-flavour beans were verrrrry authentic. ^^
^^ you can buy literally any character’s wand in the gift shop. or a copy of pretty much every little thing in the movies. the shop was one of our favourite bits of the tour! ^^
^^ nbd – just the actual cupboard under the stairs. ^^
^^ and the great hall! that ceiling is enchanted, you know. ^^IMG_0906
^^ the great hall was still decked out for christmas, which was fun. ^^
^^ boooooo slytherin! but those costumes were actually worn by draco and crew (yes, i know he is a fictional character played by an actor, i promise!) ^^
^^ yay gryffindor! the very robes that daniel radcliffe wore when very first playing eleven-year-old harry in the first film. ^^
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^^ we learned a lot about how they made hagrid so gigantic. pretty cool. and, dumbledore... he’s just the best. ^^ IMG_0924IMG_0932
^^ head peices in the hair and makeup section. ^^
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^^ us in the mirror of erised and a scale model used for the ceiling of the great hall. ^^
^^ gryffindor boy’s dormitory. ^^
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^^ this hallway is actually only a few feet long – we learned about all kinds of ways our eyes are tricked while watching the movies. but nothing compares to the magic of the invisibility cloak! ^^
^^ ^^ gryffindor common room. ^^ ^^
^^ ^^ dumbledore’s office. this was one of my favourite bits. ^^ ^^
^^ check out the golden snitch! ^^
^^ ^^ snape and the potions classroom. ^^ ^^
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^^ ^^ learning about the making of quidditch scenes was ah-mazing. so much creativity and hard work. ^^ ^^
^^ a peek inside hagrid’s hut. ^^
^^ just chilling on platform you-know-what with the hogwarts express! ^^
^^ remember when harry bought one of everything on the trolley?! ^^
^^ you have to take this picture. have to! ^^
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^^ i thought the butterbeer would be too sticky sweet. but it was totally delicious! check out that froth. ^^
^^ they had some fake snow going on privet drive, which was fun! ^^
^^ the boy, the crazy skewompus hogwarts bridge, and the knight bus! ^^
^^ luckily he didn’t crash into the whomping willow in that flying car… ^^
^^ oh hey, nearly headless nick! ^^
^^ the “creatures shop” was maybe the coolest part of the tour. each goblin had to have their makeup done for five hours. totally incredible what the geniuses behind the art direction for these films created. ^^
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^^ ^^ dobby, harry, and gigantic spider robots. seriously, the amount of brains and work that went into all this creation is mind-blowing. ^^ ^^
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^^ strolling diagon alley! ^^
^^ i thought this paper model of hogwarts was pretty neat. and then we went in the next room and saw….
^^ this!!! a 1:24 model of hogwarts castle, which was used for all the wide exterior shots. i know this is really corny, but seeing this gave me goosebumps. seriously -- magical. ^^
^^ trying to get a decent picture of us at hogwarts. difficult. ^^

we left the studios feeling hugely impressed by the ability of humans to create – from crazy creative ideas in jk rowling’s head to truly spectacular feature films – it’s pretty amazing. and maybe we are potterphiles after all – the studio tour converted us!



  1. I am so insanely jealous right now :) It looks like you guys had a total blast!!!

  2. And what did you see in the mirror?
    I've been to the Cathedral of Durham once where the courtyard was filmed.

  3. Omg omg!! I like Harry Potter and I really wish I can go here. ugh the place is awesome!


  4. Seriously, that was filmed in Durham cathedral? I knew I've seen this place before, when I watched the movie!

    I would love to go there. But I think I will wait until I read the book to my child and take her there, too :-)

    1. Some scences from the first film were filmed there. Not the inside, but the outside.

  5. We are hardcore Harry Potter fans and this looks like heaven to me! We hardly ever travel, but I'm thinking this needs to be the next trip we take. Thanks for sharing all these pictures, I didn't know this place existed!

  6. My daughter is hoping to do a semester abroad with BYU-I in Europe, and they plan to stop here. She is soooooooooooooo excited about this! She was almost hyperventilating looking at these pictures. :) My kids are HUGE Harry Potter fans. I love the message of friendship, love, loyalty, and courage.
    Thanks so much for sharing this. Lisa

  7. Wasn't it incredible? I'm so jealous you got to go when it was decorated for Christmas. Putting it on the list :)

  8. Go visit Oxford. They did some scenes there too. We had dinner in the dining hall they used. Oxford is just cool, so much creative genius happening there!

    1. hey heather! we went to oxford back in september. one of my favourite spots! i lived there when i was sixteen so i know the city quite well. the dining hall at christschurch is pretty great! i have to say though that i actually prefer cambridge...i didn't think i'd ever say that when i was at oxford :)
      can't wait for you guys to get over here to europe!