It’s a tough job but someone has to do it! As part of opening the Steel Cauldron we have tasked ourselves to visit as many magical and particularly Harry Potter themed attractions and places as we can. Orlando here we come (eventually).
This week we went on a family trip down to…. London. During our trip we started off at the Warner Brother Studio tour in Leavesden, then stayed overnight at a great value youth hostel (Palmers Lodge at Swiss Cottage) before the next morning braving the tube into the big smoke. We walked down Oxford Street to the Primark store that has an excellent Harry Potter section before making our way to The House of Mina Lima and a walking tour of some of the locations / inspirations used in the Harry Potter films. I’m going to split this into 3 posts, so lets start with the biggest and best…
Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Wow! This is the second time we have visited and Nikki is now convinced she needs to go back again… on her own. We have now massively upscaled our plans for the Steel Cauldron and are looking for a life-size replica of a Ukranian Ironbelly! If anyone has one at the back of their garage, then please do get in touch.
The tour is split into two parts with a convenient food stop in the middle where we refreshed on butterbeer and ice cream. I can’t possibly describe or do justice to the tour in this post without it getting far too long and we can’t possibly do anything vaguely similar without winning the lottery four times! For Harry Potter fans this is the holy site of Potterism with thousands of film props and sets. The staff were all wonderful and due to the ticketed and timed entry system you never feel overcrowded although it is always busy. For a family of 4 it cost £150 which I acknowledge is quite pricey but then you do get what you pay for. The onsite shops have absolutely everything Harry Potter and you could easily spend your life savings on wands, clothing and other Potter essentials.
We went during the annual “Hogwarts in the snow” event so it was… snowy. Nice to see we are not the only ones to still have our Harry Potter Christmas decorations up. The sections include, The Great Hall, Hagrids Hut, The Gryffindor Common Room, The Potions Class, Dumbledore’s Office, The Burrow, Gringots, Diagon Alley, The Forbidden Forest, The Night Bus, Platform 9 ¾, Privet Drive and Godrigs Hollow. There was also lots of behind the scenes info on animatronics, makeup, model making, graphic design etc. We spent about 4 hours there but could have spent longer. 4 hours was about the max time for the kids (7 and 9).
All in all it was a wonderful afternoon (we got there at 2 and left at 6), the kids behaved (hurrah) and we took away loads of ideas of what we can and can’t do in our Sheffield Cauldron. For example we can’t have replica dragon ☹. The Steel Cauldron will aim to be more hands on with our own Steel Wizards and plenty of things to entertain and educate the kids and of course delicious magical snacks.