Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Event Recap: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London's Forbidden Forest Preview.

It's no secret that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I live it, I breathe it, I even have a job writing about the wizarding world! Since the first time I entered the Great Hall five years ago, I've considered Warner Bros Studio Tour London to be my favourite place anywhere. I'm yet to cover plenty of the globe, but there's something about walking within the walls of the studios, surrounded by Potter fans and the sets where everything was filmed that has always felt incredibly home-like for me. It had been three years since my third trip to the studios and I didn't think it'd be another while until my fourth... until Amber, queen of the blogosphere and my great friend, messaged me asking if I wanted to be her +1 to the preview event for the Forbidden Forest expansion. (Because who else could you possibly invite to something Harry Potter themed?!) Obvvviously I said yes, and a couple of weeks later, we were on a train from Euston to Watford, heading back to the mothership. 

Three times admittedly in the past had been a lot, especially when at the time it looked like nothing would be changing, but you can never have enough Potter and so to me, visiting in three consecutive summers felt like going home after a rough school year. But in the time between my third and fourth visits a lot had changed. Of course, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now in the world and not just in development and the sequel is being filmed within Leavesden; and the studio had expanded to feature Platform 9 3/4 and entry into 4 Privet Drive. Although we were there specifically to attend the preview of the Forbidden Forest, I was just as excited about going and seeing things that were newer additions. 

This is probably why when, as Amber probably expected and was totally camera-ready for, I started crying as soon as I turned a corner and locked eyes with the Hogwarts Express. I first went to the real Kings Cross and Platform 9 3/4 back in November (again with Amber, following the Fantastic Beasts premiere), and adore it there. Warner Bros Studio Tour's reconstruction of the station however felt even more surreal - probably down to the fact that obviously the train is there, but just everything felt so pure and beautiful and naturally I had a minor breakdown. 

We also got the opportunity to go into Privet Drive, which was a massive shock given that it's meant to be closed to the public right now. To go in there and know that those rooms were where so many crucial scenes, especially in the earlier films happened, and DHP1, was to say it in a cliche - magical. 

Okay, onto the Forbidden Forest, because that is the reason we got to go. Out of every set that you will stumble across whilst at Warner Bros Studio Tour, the Forbidden Forest is by far the most immersive one. Every set is stunning, but the Forbidden Forest is the only one where it is very hard to notice the construction work (unless you actively go looking for it,) and so the set feels like you truly are walking among the trees of the Forest. Additionally, this is probably the most interactive set as well: there are places where you can reach over the bars and touch the trees, and spots along the way where visitors have the opportunity to control the lighting and weather (yes, there's wind and storms), not to forget the spiders. Marketing promotes this as being the home of trees, Aragog, and Buckbeak, but there is so much more! I should probably keep the secrets, but one thing I will say is this: you will never look at a Patronus in the same way again. 

It's worth mentioning for anyone planning a visit that this isn't the best place for photo opportunities, which is great for adding to the dark, intense atmosphere of a dangerous forest. And don't worry if you're scared of spiders, there's a spider-free alternative route, which is an excellent afterthought to the set. Whether you love or hate spiders, like or dislike the Forbidden Forest within the Harry Potter films, this wonderful little addition to Warner Bros. Studio Tour is something you must see!

The day was amazing, but it was however tainted by the Westminster Terror Attack, which occurred whilst we were still in central London (although we didn't realise this until we arrived at the Studio Tour.) Regardless of how jarring those few hours were, as Amber said in her event recap, it didn't have its desired effect, and a few days later we were back at Parliament Square, protesting against Brexit (more on that soon.) 

Thank you so much to Amber for inviting me as her plus one, and to Warner Bros. for you know... inviting Amber so she could invite me. If you want more about the day, and my idiocy, then take a peek at Amber's vlog of the day!



  1. Reading this makes me want to go back again, it's been years since I've been there x

    Sophie's Spot

    1. Definitely worth another visit when you get the chance! x


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