We spent most of our honeymoon in a Marriott near London. My Handsome Man did some charity work in Albania and wants to show me round in the summer. We planned a small honeymoon now and hopefully a longer one later on. To break up our journey home, we booked tickets to Warner Brothers Studio, London.
I am a big fan of Harry Potter. I loved the books. I am less excited about the films but the magical world has some pretty cool elements. I was looking forward to walking through Diagon Alley, sampling the delights of butter beer, seeing real life sets, sitting in the sidecar of a motorbike (we asked a young teenage boy to take the photo. I think he did a pretty decent job!) and just generally having wizarding fun. The experience did not disappoint!
We absolutely loved the afternoon we spent there.
We didn’t know that we had booked at both school holiday time and during the one year anniversary, so it was super busy. However once you get inside you don’t feel cramped or like there’s too many people. The exhibit is large enough to swallow the crowd.
We purchased one normal priced ticket and one with the digital guide and souvenir book. We wanted to save money and figured we could share the digital guide. The digital guides are basically iPods with tons of videos and extra information. The videos had subtitles so one of you could listen on headphones and the other could read along. It also means that the digital guides are fully available to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The guide started out really cool and we picked up some really interesting facts that weren’t on the placards around Warner Brothers Studio. However each point had multiple videos and watching them all just got kind of annoying after a while. One small snippet I found interesting was people tried to persuade Chris Columbus to make Hermione an American actress. They felt the need to appeal to American audiences. People also suggested adding cheerleaders to the quidditch matches. Columbus said no, the books were quintessentially British and that needed to be reflected in the movies.
If you purchase the souvenir guide in advance online then you get the digital guide free rather than having to pay the £5 for it. I start really interested in the digital guide and then my concentration starts to go and I find them annoying pretty much everywhere I use one.
N.B. you can’t steal the digital guides – not that we were trying to, My Handsome Man got too close to the exit for their liking, trying to look at a sign on the wall and the iPod turned in to this little alarm warning all workers in a nearby radius that some muggle was trying to steal their magical devices.
I am at the awkward stage where I am classed as disabled but my disabled badge hasn’t come through. There was plenty of parking within a close distance so this wasn’t a problem. However when we started to queue up, we were in the queue for over an hour. There were no places to sit as you queued and by the time we got in I was ready to sleep and collapse, not look around the studio.
Thankfully once inside you sit in a cinema for a short amount of time. Inside the studio there were plenty of places to sit and take a break. Looking back on the situation I am sure that if I had mentioned it to staff special allowances would have been made. I felt super awkward about doing so because my disability is hidden or invisible. I had no evidence and it was the first time that I found myself in such a situation. We have concluded that getting a wheelchair for when I’m bad and shaky on my legs might be helpful.
We didn’t eat at the cafe, but we did buy butterbeer, My Handsome Man paid so I don’t remember how much it was. I seem to remember it being reasonable. It is super sweet and I couldn’t finish the whole glass. The creamy froth on the top wasn’t something you could sip off, as you tried to finish the froth the liquids seemed to react and create more. I liked the butter beer, it didn’t have the warming quality that it mentions in the book which would have been incredibly handy because it was really cold outside.
The shop was expensive. If taking children, there’s nothing in the pocket money range. I think the cheaper items like ‘chocolate frogs’ and ‘every flavour beans’ were about the £8-£10 mark. Wands were £25 and there were replica robes from the movie ranging from £240-£560 (if I remember correctly). It’s a collectors shop. We purchased a marauders map for £30. It looked super cool in the shop but when we got it home and opened it, nothing seemed to match up and it was really confusing to look at. We’re still trying to work it out!
In terms of ticket prices, the last exhibit alone was worth the money.
Within the Warner Brothers studio they have green screens, you can ride a broomstick and fly in the ford Anglia, experiencing what the actors would have done during filming. This was really cool. They don’t allow photography at that point but you can buy photos of you on a broomstick over Hogwarts or playing quidditch.
The staff were friendly and chatty and we had a great day to end our honeymoon.
Would we go again? Yes I think so, but we might want to save up a bit of spending money before hand so we have the same luxury we had this last time. I don’t think we’d get the digital guide again.
A great day out, slightly pricey and not really suitable for younger children. The displays were amazing and the staff were really helpful and enthusiastic. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and promptly came home and crashed for several days.