Sunday, 5 July 2015

Last week, I unleashed my inner geek on a bigger scale than usual.

I took my daddy-o to the Warner Bros studios at Leavesden (which it transpires is ridiculously close to my family home, I didn't even realise!) for the Harry Potter studio tour.

It was so busy when we arrived, with visitors from what sounded like all over the globe, eager to see the real magic behind the making of Harry Potter.

I'm not a massive Harry Potter geek (at least, I didn't rush to buy a novelty wand or Every Flavour Beans from the shop!) but I really enjoyed the books and the films, so I was really looking forward to seeing how the ideas of JK Rowling came to life on the big screen.

The set up of the Warner Bros studios are essentially a collective of 'warehouses' which are home to all of the original sets and props used in the movies. From the Great Hall, to Dumbledores office, to Hagrids Cabin, the Potions classroom, the Dursleys home in Privet Drive, to the Hogwards Express itself (a recent addition to the tour, I believe) the tour has it all.

You can even buy Butter Beer halfway round the tour, although if Cream Soda isn't your thing, I'd give it a miss!

Without further ado, here are some of the many, many pictures I took on the day!

Dead Dobby!! *sad face*

What is really striking is the sheer volume of detail and effort that goes in to making every single prop and set, and that is before the camera is even rolling. From sketches, to oil paintings, to cardboard models of sets, to individual hand written labels for potion bottles, costumes...the list really is endless. As a really nice touch, the tour finishes with a room full of wands marked with the names of every single member of the crew who worked on the movies.

The real highlight for me is the model of Hogwarts that was used when filming all of the panoramic views of the castle in the movie. It was so detailed and really just blew us away.

Young or old, the Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter is a really amazing way to spend a couple of hours. The tour itself is very relaxed - you book a time slot but the tours go in every ten minutes so it doesn't matter if you are early. Once you're in, you do the tour at your own pace. It isn't guided, but there is information everywhere so you always know what it is you're looking at - even the most diehard of Harry Potter fans will probably learn something new from the tour!

I highly, highly recommend this. Details for the tour can be found here.

Would you like to visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour?


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

One day last week, my parents and I took a drive to the seaside town of Brighton. Exploring new (to me, at least!) parts of the UK is something that I'm really keen to do when I move back to England this year, so I was really happy when my mum suggested that we spend the day in Brighton.

What better way to start the day than with breakfast on the seafront?!

We took a tour around the Royal Pavilion, an exotic seaside palace, formerly home to George IV. Steeped in history and beautifully restored, it was so interesting to walk through the bedrooms, kitchen, ballroom and music room that were once home to British royalty, as well as being used as a military hospital during the first World War.

Full of newfound historical knowledge, we explored the Lanes, tiny narrow streets lined with tiny independent shops largely selling jewellery. We also discovered an excellent sweet shop selling delicious homemade fudge - the salted caramel fudge was amazing!

We took up residence on deck chairs on the beach to enjoy the last of the afternoon sun (for my parents anyway, I was absolutely freezing as I had yet to acclimatise!) but before we knew it the sun had gone behind the clouds and refused to return, so we retreated to the car for a much anticipated fish and chip tea before heading home after a lovely day at the coast.

Have you visited Brighton?