Discover Hogwarts

Mischief Managed…

If you’re anything like me, then you probably spent much of your childhood hoping that you’d wake up one day and discover that you had magic powers. My imagination ran wild, desperately hoping that I was a witch and was able to fly… and perhaps turn my siblings into a pet cat or dog.

Part of those dreams were influenced by books about magical schools, mythical creatures and wild adventures… So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be invited by Warner Bros Studios to Discover Hogwarts – their new feature, that focuses on the magic we see in the Philosopher’s Stone.

The Hogwarts Feast

As we were concerned about traffic, we managed to arrive super early and were both eagerly anticipating what delights awaited us. After grabbing a coffee and some cake to calm our nervous excitement, we were welcomed with a cute Hogwarts trunk, complete with Hogwarts Express ticket.

We were then ushered into a private area for drinks and canapes where we had an excellent view of everyone congregating. Whilst Mr P and I had gone for understated Hogwarts chic – OK, I was channelling Bellatrix, complete with snake earrings and choker – some people were in full school robes and the excitement level continued to build.

Eventually, we were summoned into the cinema… and to our surprise we were both slightly emotional watching the introductory film. As we saw the door into the Great Hall, I could feel all the worries of adulthood leaving me – it was time to unleash my inner child…

As the doors opened, everyone gasped. Hundreds of floating candles greeted us and it was just like we’d arrived at Hogwarts for the very first time. I was so busy looking around, I didn’t notice the centre table at first… but when I did, my mouth fell open.

There, on the table beneath the sparkling candles, was a true Hogwarts Feast.

Every possible delicacy and colourful creation you could imagine greeted us, from trifle and profiteroles, to life-sized edible candles, sorting hats and golden snitches. I’ve never been more pleasantly overwhelmed and for a while, adults and children alike were stunned into silence. And then, the hubbub began – cries of delight and pure joy escaped from everyone’s lips as they piled their plates high with magical edible wonders.

Discovering Hogwarts

After filling up on a lot of sugar, we made our way through to the rest of the tour (videos on TikTok), trying to take in the vast amount of information, colours and sights given to us. We drank magic potions in Snape’s classroom, learned how Hagrid was brought to life, rode brooms and got lost in the Forbidden Forest. Exploring all of the sets was mesmerising, and you can see Dumbledore’s office, the famous clock, several common rooms and more.

We also chose something off the trolley before climbing aboard the Hogwarts Express and jumping out of our skins when the dementors approached the carriage window… I highly recommend getting at least one of the souvenir photos as they’re a great memento of the day. Warner Bros Studios kindly gave us digital copies of all of our photos and videos, but the quality is fab and the staff put everyone at ease to get the best out of you throughout the filming. Yes, I did ride my broom with a cocktail in hand – nobody ever said Slytherins don’t have class!

Outside, we explored Privet Drive, including Harry’s bedroom (complete with Hedwig and Dobby), potted some mandrakes, smiled at the Burrow, rode the Knight Bus, and (of course) indulged in some butterbeer… our sugar levels were at an all-time high, but it’s definitely got to be done – plus the souvenir tankards are very cute.

The attention to detail in all of the sets was amazing, with little nods to actors and those who worked on the film everywhere. As an example, there’s a portrait of a young Maggie Smith in the Gryffindor common room and other secrets lurking if you take the time to look. We both agreed that we would need to rewatch the films again and point out all the things we now know about the filming.

Did you know that Kenneth Branagh was suggested as the director for Prisoner of Azkaban? Well, now you do!

My favourite part of the experience was Gringotts, which is truly incredible and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. The set is huge and the marble pillars are so realistic, I was swept away in the wealth and majesty. Naturally, I had to pose for a photo in Bellatrix’s vault and try to reach Helga Hufflepuff’s cup! There’s also an immersive experience with a dragon, which blew my tiny mind!

As we got to Diagon Alley we once again felt safe, as we perused the shops looking at books, owls and robes. When we got to Ollivander’s we were allowed to choose a wand each as a memento of our time at Discover Hogwarts and we went for Hermione and Harry (even Slytherins appreciate true English craftsmanship).

As Mr P studied film, he was particularly interested in the behind the scenes. The prosthetics we saw show the time and attention film making requires, but learning more about the costumes, props and animals really provides additional insight into how everything was made and how films work. Some of the tricks of the trades, especially around perspective were fascinating and I really wish I worked in the industry – there are so many incredible jobs available on set.

The final walkway past the scale model of Hogwarts is the perfect end to the experience and leaves you feeling emotional and happy. So so happy.

I can honestly say that the overall experience was outstanding. Every member of staff was friendly and knowledgeable, answering questions, sharing tidbits of information and genuinely making the experience extremely enjoyable. We both channelled our inner child and were giddy with excitement (and sugar) the entire way around.

Thanks to Warner Bros Studios for inviting us to join them in Discovering Hogwarts and giving us such a magical experience!

I was invited to attend the launch of Discover Hogwarts. Thank you for the experience and related PR products. Opinions my own.

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