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No true Harry Pot­ter fan should leave London with­out vis­it­ing the Warner Bros. Stu­dio Tour London – The Mak­ing of Harry Pot­ter. Ac­ces­si­ble by pub­lic trans­port and a shut­tle bus, it is well worth the trip. New this year is the Forbidden For­est. En­ter­ing through gi­gan­tic steel Hog­warts gates, you can walk among the en­twined roots of 19 gi­gan­tic trees, where you will en­counter Ar­a­gog, the fear­some gi­ant spi­der with a leg-span of 18ft, and Buck­beak, the noble Hip­pogriff. Marvel at the at­ten­tion to de­tail which meant that ev­ery hair on the spi­der’s body, and feather on the Hip­pogriff, were pain­stak­ingly in­serted by hand.

Even be­fore this im­pres­sive new ad­di­tion, the tour was spec­tac­u­lar. You start off in the Great Hall of Hog­warts, with the cos­tumes of ev­ery ma­jor char­ac­ter mounted on a dais, be­fore en­ter­ing a vast space con­tain­ing sev­eral whole sets: there’s Gryffindor Boy’s Dor­mi­tory, Dum­ble­dore’s of­fice, the Po­tios class­room and the Mal­foy Manor draw­ing room. But in a way, it’s the small de­tails that im­press most: the crafts­man­ship in the Golden Snitch, as fab­u­lous as any jew­ellery; and the fact that ev­ery wand was hand­made, with dif­fer­ent styles to match each char­ac­ter. Af­ter that, you’ll find a 20,000 sq ft recre­ation of Plat­form 9¾, with an ac­tual steam train just like the one that took Harry to Hog­warts; the Crea­ture Ef­fects Work­shop, full of an­i­ma­tronic beasts and la­tex heads; and a full-scale replica of Di­agon Al­ley. The tour cli­maxes with a vast 1:24 scale model of the whole of Hog­warts.


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