Tag Archives: Harry Potter

The Making of a Harry Potter Fan’s Holiday – Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Diagon Alley

My twelve-year-old placed the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio tour firmly at the top of her list of places to visit when we were in the UK.  Following our visit to the Dr. Who Experience her younger sisters were more cautious.  Friends who had visited previously, assured them that it was amazing and not a bit frightening but I’m not sure they were totally convinced. Of course, their friends were right, it wasn’t a bit scary.  You are taken on a journey to see how the film was created and  seeing the special effects behind the film alleviated all their fears, especially seeing how tiny the dementors are in real life.

dementors

Warner Bros Studio Tour is located North of London so we stayed nearby at North Hill Farm. As a family of five it can be difficult to find hotels and B&B’s that allow us to share one room.  The family room at North Hill Farm slept five and was perfect for all of us.

Excitement mounted as we drove into the car park and saw the signs and statues outside.  All visitors require advance booking with timed slots and this allows for a wonderful experience where you never feel overwhelmed by crowds and everything is easy to see without queues.

Hogwarts great hall

I have to admit to feeling a little emotional watching the introductory film and completely awestruck when the doors opened onto the great hall. Groups are led by a guide into these first two sections, while the rest of the tour is self guided.

audio tour warner bros studio tour

As a Harry Potter geek, my daughter listened to the audio tour.  I knew she would appreciate facts and figures but without it most exhibits have a guide or video screen telling you more about it.  My seven-year-old was enraptured by the talk at the wig stand and delighted in telling me stories about Malfoy’ wig.

There are plenty of exhibits young children can interact with from making magic to wand workshops and riding on a broom. The guides were so good at encouraging the kids as seen in this video clip.

Next stop Platform 9 3/4. Inside the Hogwarts Express, the carriages move through the movies in sequence , decorated with appropriate props.

Platform 9 3/4

This takes you to the outside lot where you can sample butterbeer or butterbeer ice cream. The detail in Privet Drive is wonderful, each certificate on the wall depicting Dudley’s pointless achievements.

 

The final lot features special effects, illustrated by a series of clever videos and the art of Harry Potter.  The tour ends with a surprise that truly takes your breath away, so I’m not going to offer any hints to spoil it.

Olivanders
Olivanders

 

There is so much to see at the Warner Bros. Studio tour. I would plan to stay at least three hours and allow extra time  for shopping. There is a lot of exclusive merchandise and entry to the shop is not permitted without a ticket for the tour.  We found some cool stuff although sadly I ruined my husband’s Slytherin Quidditch top with bleach after he had worn it once.  Looks like I have the perfect excuse to return some time. If you visit the café, the kids lunches come in this really cool knight bus box.

knight bus lunch box

There was never a complaint from any of the kids that they had seen enough, the whole experience was utterly engaging and we wouldn’t hesitate to return.  If you are looking for a full, well organised and good value experience I would put this top of your list. When I asked the girls what their favourite part of our trip was, the unanimous response was Harry Potter!  In case you need further confirmation, just look at these faces.

happy childrenimg_2125-2

Disclaimer: No payment or complimentary tickets were received for writing this post.

 

 

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Outdoor Play: Making Potions

 

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My eldest daughter has been an avid potion maker all her life.  We are always finding concoctions in her bathroom and when she was young she would leave them on the windowsill of her bedroom or on the side of the bath and if you knocked them off whilst having a relaxing bath the cold would give you the shock of your life.  She is now a huge Harry Potter fan, having read all of the series 4 times and her potions are taking on new meaning. Her younger sister is following in her footsteps. Now that the weather is nicer I set up a little potion station for them in the garden – they love it.

It is a great  sensory play activity and science experiment, they got their hands in, testing and smelling the potions and used all kinds of things from the garden. Best of all I love how the imaginary play scenarios evolved.  I suggested to my 9-year-old that she might like to make a book of potion recipes.

‘Yes’ she exclaimed excitedly, ‘ But we’ll need about 70 pages, the McClary recipe book’

 

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Lego Harry Potter 5-7 Years – A Review

My 7 Year old is steadily working her way through the Harry Potter books, so this game has arrived at an opportune moment.   Lego Harry Potter 5-7 years covers  the last 3 books of the series and as my daughter is currently reading the 6th book she was able to explain some of the characters to me (I only ever read to book 4).  We have a Star Wars  Lego game for the Nintendo DS which is a firm favourite so my expectations for this game were high.

My daughter played it alone and with a friend.  They took it in turns to complete and solve different problems, helping each other out along the way.  You can play the game with 2 controllers each player taking the part of a different character.  This feature works really well and stimulates lots of discussion. It also makes me realise how much better children are at these things than me.

It is a very long time since I spent any time playing video games.  This weekend I had a cold and decided to sit for 3 hours and play Harrry Potter 5-7 Years snuggled up in my quilt.  It was compelling and addictive and suitably challenging to keep me engaged.  I could have used my daughters help at some points as I wandered aimlessly in the dark trying to find a tap. We discovered the following day that she had turned the brightness down and it wasn’t supposed to be a night-time game at all!  I managed to complete the first level and played a little of the next level with my daughter the next day. I am suitably hooked.

The animations that tell the story in between each level are compelling and new characters appear as the game unfolds.  Each character has a special skill such as rebuilding blue Lego structures or using an invisibility cloak.

What was my 7 year olds opinion?

It is excellent because some characters can do some things which other characters can’t do and you can perform different spells just by pressing the spell-wheel button.

She has even drawn an image of how the controls work for the XBox 360 version.

The game lived up to my high expectations, my daughter is coming home from school and asking if she can switch it on and I am looking forward to playing it with her and on my own.  Good credit all round.

 

This review is based on the XBox 360 game, it is also available on other consoles.

A preview copy of the game was received for the purpose of the review.  No payment was received  for writing this review.