Hogwarts in the Snow

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© Joseph Conway

The decorations that were originally used on set are brought out again for Christmas

© Joseph Conway

Resin food from the first film is used for the feasts in the great hall

© Joseph Conway

Slytherin House Christmas crackers

© Joseph Conway

Dinner prepares itself at the Weasley’s

© Joseph Conway

The Gryffindor common room has a festive makeover

© Joseph Conway

Dumbledore’s office

© Katy Dillon

Photographer Joe gets his Movember messy

© Joseph Conway

Writer Katy enjoys a butterbeer in the Backlot

© Joseph Conway

Number four Privet Drive is recreated (Rupert Grint kept part of the original set as a souvenir)

© Joseph Conway

A mini snow drift in the corner of Diagon Alley

© Joseph Conway

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

© Joseph Conway

A miniature Hogsmeade model

© Joseph Conway

The Hogwarts scale model covered in snow

© Joseph Conway

The centrepieces from the Yule Ball, based on the Brighton Pavilion

© Joseph Conway

The miniature Hogwarts Bridge

© Joseph Conway

The final room is lined with wand boxes, one for each of the 4,000 people who worked on the eight films

© Joseph Conway

The Knight bus is made from three London double deckers

© Joseph Conway

Harry, Dumbledore and Katy Bell body doubles

Turns out the magic is real. Exploring the Warner Bros Studio Tour it soon became clear that the 4,000-strong team behind the Harry Potter films always preferred to create the sets, spells, characters, costumes, creatures and wizardry, and only turned to CGI when that proved impossible. Even a muggle would be impressed by the attention to detail. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be bowed to by Buckbeak (and only felt slightly betrayed when I spotted the ginger wig labeled ‘Ron Weasley’).

The sets have undergone a festive makeover. During filming, snow was created by covering shredded plastic in dendritic salt for that realistic underfoot crunch; the temporary snowdrift currently covering part of Diagon Alley is deep enough to stop TFL running buses. The Great Hall is lined with Christmas trees topped by ‘malevolent fairies’, and its long tables bear giant plum puddings and crackers in house colours. The Gryffindor common room and dormitories have been festooned with tinsel. Meanwhile, at the Burrow, the Weasley’s Christmas dinner appears to be preparing itself, knives, irons and scrubbing brushes working away unassisted.

Out in the backlot, where the exterior sets are housed, I tried butter beer, a fizzy butterscotch mix topped with thick foam, and had a sit down in Mr Weasley’s enchanted Ford Anglia.

A 12-year-old girl excitedly dragging her brother into the last room prepared me for the finale of the experience; a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts covered in snow. The not-so-miniature castle, filled with tiny twinkling lights, was used for the sweeping shots of the school’s exterior. The magic continued right out into the car park where snowflakes began to fall. Merry Christmas Potter; mischief managed. Katy Dillon

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joanne mcneill

Harry potter world is amazing from the moment you arrive. No detail is left unplanned. Can't wait to return xx


I visited the Warner Bros. Studio Tour twice in the space of two months, once for the non-festive version in early November, and once for the festive version two days ago. It was interesting to compare the two. I admit that I was expecting a little more festive magic out of the Christmas tour with the way it had been hyped up via posters and online, but reading some reviews of the experience, I realise that I missed some of the seasonal additions like Harry's invisibility cloak, which is a great shame. The snow-blanketed Hogwarts model was spectacular, and I enjoyed the snow-covered Diagon Alley as well, although I was disappointed at the removal of my favourite aspect from last time, the Death Eaters who patrolled in front of the shops and would pretend to duel with you if you pointed a wand at them. The problem was that my friend and I could only obtain tickets for a late slot, starting at 6pm, and so we had to make our way through the exhibits quite efficiently to avoid missing the last bus home. If you're thinking about booking tickets for this (if they're not already sold out by now), definitely aim for an earlier slot so that you can explore every aspect to your heart's content. The other dampener on our visit was the fact that it was pouring with rain, so we couldn't really get close to the outdoor exhibits. A few degrees colder and we would have had an utterly magical snowfall to complete the experience - typical England...

lisa swan

I have read all the Harry Potter Books and seen all films several times over I have visited anwick castle and after ready this article would love to visit 5 star rating