Harry Potter World, or to give it its proper title “The Making of Harry Potter” is fast becoming one of my favourite places to visit. So in doing a week of posts about places to go and visit this had to feature! And it seems I am not alone in my love of the place. Just recently I saw that the tour had received its 10,000th “excellent” review on Tripadvisor, making it one of the most loved visitor attractions in Britain.
I was chuffed to bits then to be invited along recently to a press event to see the unveiling of the first new permanent exhibition to be opened there since the studios were opened. There have been lots of temporary events, such as Hogwarts at Christmas, and the Bludgers and Broomsticks but this one is different. It is called Dark Arts and features, well it features lots of exhibits from all of the Harry Potter films that relate to the Dark Arts of magic. Something that was lacking originally, though that didn’t really dawn on me until I saw this event.
The first parts of the tour are unchanged, and still make me take 500 photographs even though I think I have seen it all before (six times but who is counting?). I could almost recite the short film that is shown before, well I won’t spoil it if you haven’t been, but still the film gives me goosebumps. As does the rest of the tour, and this new exhibition just adds to the magic (yes yes no pun intended but how else can I put it?!)
In autumn 2014, we unveiled a new section devoted to the Dark Arts, encompassing Horcruxes and other sinister wizarding artefacts, in our first permanent addition since opening.
The Malfoy Manor fireplace has been expanded to showcase the full set which became the headquarters of Lord Voldemort’s followers, the Death Eaters, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. You can now to peer into the drawing room that features ornate chandeliers, an imposing fireplace and the long, grand table around which Bellatrix Lestrange, the Malfoy family, the Death Eaters and Voldemort sat and complete with a mannequin of captured Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage.
The new section includes a variety of never-before-seen artefacts and props from Borgin and Burkes, the Knockturn Alley shop Harry accidentally stumbles into in Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets. You’re now able to see these weird and wonderful props up close, including the mysterious Hand of Glory and the Vanishing Cabinet.
A section of Dolores Umbridge’s Ministry of Magic office, including her garish kitten plates, perfectly putrid pink costumes and desk, are also on display as well as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor Remus Lupin’s costumes, magical projector and gramophone
Though I am not sure it was the actual Dolores Umbridge we spotted on the night we went along:
Centre stage of the new exhibition though is the table in the drawing room with Bellatrix Lestrange, The Death Eaters, The Malfoy family and Lord Voldermort himself. On top of the table is a Nagini, Voldermort’s snake. It truly is stunning set.
And of course there are lots of smaller props that are really what capture my imagine. Items that might have been in the films for a few seconds in the background, but still they were painstakingly made, and kept. And it is these that keep me coming back as I see different things every time.
It is essential that you pre-book your tickets, which you can do here
And from 14th November the Hogwarts in the Snow feature starts until early February and is a must see. It is utterly breathtaking. I would really recommend you book tickets for this as soon possible as it gets very busy
Of course all your other favourite sets are still there and you can still try out Butter Beer in the back lot! If you want to take your own picnic you can eat it in the backlot too, though if doing that at this time of year I would make sure you have warm coats. There is a cafe at the entrance too if you would rather grab a cup of tea and a jacket potato and it is very reasonably priced, with lots of big tables.
The whole tour takes about three hours, though if you want to whizz through because time is short, you can, but you might miss so much!! And of course if you are like me you could spend all day there.
I received two free passes to a press event in the hope I would blog about #DarkArts. All words and pictures are my own.