Drawn by the latest attraction — the Forbidden Forest — our family booked yet another trip to London’s Warner Bros Studio Tour. Given that only one of us is a true believer, this seemed a big ask of the remaining three muggles but once again, this former film studio cast its spell. Amid those trees, we were served up shocks and surprises, atmospherically supported by dry-ice mist, hidden hippogriffs and some animatronic Acromantula (big scary spiders) that sprang to life at scream-inducing intervals.
The adults were in awe of intricate set designs and artwork. The vast model of Hogwarts is a spectacular showstopper, the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail impressive; even the kids lingered for more than a glance.
From the displays of costumes to the life-sized Great Hall and Diagon Alley, it’s easy to immerse yourself in this weird cultish world, with the chance to check out ingenious film props, learn how to make snow, and ride a VR broom. Like the souvenir photos of the latter experience, on-site food and drink is pricey, but as a captive audience, you won’t be able to leave without at least trying a sickly sweet butterbeer. Or exiting through the gift shop (we went for a £30 wand: the ‘cheap’ option. Triple that sum for Hogwarts robes).
The tour knows its audience — believers or not — adept at adding slick seasonal sideshows (Hogwarts in the Snow was truly beautiful), and innovative new experiences, such as the imminent Goblet of Fire special features. wbstudiotour.co.uk
Published in the March 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)