Today is the day if you are a huge Harry Potter fan, and let’s face it, who isn’t it? The actual real life Hogwarts Express steam train arrives at platform 9 3/4 of the Warner Bros Studio Tour just outside Watford. Ellie and I were lucky enough to have a sneak peek last week on our umpteenth visit.
Every time I come I am still blown away by the attention to detail on all of the sets
Not just a table in the potions classroom but one that was marked to make it look old and worn. And all those bottles with labels attached. I could stand and stare at it for hours.
Tucked just behind the first sound stage where the green screen broomstick experience is situated the tour now opens out into a whole new area. It truly is breathtaking. Not only is there the train, complete with tracks, but luggage trollies disappearing into the wall. You can even be photographed with them. It is brilliantly done.
You can climb aboard the train, or even buy souvenirs in the new station gift shop on the platform. As Warner Bros themselves say on their website:
We’ll be unveiling a 20,000ft² expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give you the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.
Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.
You’ll be able to:
- Pose with a luggage trolley on Platform 9 ¾ as it disappears through the station’s yellow brick wall and walk along the Hogwarts Express’ adjoining carriage
- Explore the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack)
- See a selection of prop luggage and find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more)
- Browse a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, theHogwarts Express in a train-themed souvenir shop which will be open on the platform
Another improvement is a huge new under cover cafe with tables and chairs just before you exit onto Privet Drive. And a great improvement and one that will really make this a great place to go for a day out as you can time your visit to include lunch, and no longer have to bring your own.
As you know, we have long been huge fans of this place and this new addition has reinforced just why we love it. It is constantly adding new ideas, either as temporary attractions for half term or the Easter holiday, or with new permanent exhibits such as the Hogwarts Express or the Dark Arts area.
If you get the chance over the Easter Holidays, do go. You won’t be disappointed