Special Feature: Animal actors return to Potter tour

Mythical creatures, magic and Malfoy – the Harry Potter books had them all. What was one of the most successful children’s books series quickly became one of the most successful film franchises of all time, and for the past two years the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has offered the chance to explore the making of J.K Rowling’s world. There may be no new books or films in the pipeline, but Warner Bros. have hung onto their superstar wizard, offering visitors a behind-the-scenes experience full of authentic sets and magic opportunities. There’s plenty to see and do, and this February also sees the return of non-human movie favourites Mrs. Norris, Trevor, Crookshanks and Fang. Here’s our tour guide.

Explore Hogwarts
Visitors to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London can wander onto the renowned cobbled stones that line the passage of the Harry Potter films’ famous Diagon Alley. The shop fronts of Ollivanders wand shop, the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Flourish and Blotts and Eeylops Owl Emporium all line the alley with gag gifts and floating broomsticks in abundance. You can also inspect the dinner table settings as you walk along the original stone flooring of the iconic Hogwarts Great Hall or explore Dumbledore’s magnificent office, festooned with bookshelves and Hogwarts portraits, alongside never-before-seen treasures displayed along the way.

Model marvels
The main highlight of the tour comes in the form of a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Visitors are treated to a 360-degree view of the remarkable model that was used for the exterior shots of the castle in the first six films. Other memorable sets include Hagrid’s hut, the Gryffindor common room, Potion’s classroom and Professor Umbridge’s office at the Ministry of Magic.

Magical effects
Showcasing the talent behind the phenomenal special effects and behind-the-scenes magic, the studios offer secrets to Potter fans, with animatronic creatures waiting to be encountered and displays of artistry on show. An array of costumes and props as well as sets are displayed at the studios, allowing visitors to get a backstage view of the magic behind the films and what brought them to life. Green screen effects and life-sized models can help you learn how creatures were brought to life whilst Harry’s Nimbus 2000, Hermione’s cloak and Hagrid’s motorcycle sit on display.

Live like a wizard
As well as all the other magical marvels available, the studios give Potter fans the ability to pose on a broomstick in the green screen room, where pictures can be taken home as a souvenir. The gift shop is full of memorabilia including wands and even a replica of Dumbledore’s robe. But the perfect way to finish your Harry Potter tour would be with a pint of your very own butterbeer.

For more info about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and returning animal actors, please visit wbstudiotour.co.uk.