Warner Bros Studio Tour, London, asked visitors what new feature they’d most like to see at the popular attraction and their response was overwhelming – “The Hogwart Express!” Now, as if by magic, the enchanted train has appeared at the venue, ready to transport Potterheads and their friends and family on a journey to where the world of muggles and wizards intersect.
Rescued from the scrapheap in 1997, the 78 year old steam train Olton Hall, was repainted crimson and renamed Hogwarts Express to star in the Harry Potter films. Many of the original film crew members worked on the new 20,000 sq ft extension at Warner Bros Studios, carefully recreating platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Station where the student wizards boarded the iconic train. Visitors can wander down the narrow wood panelled corridor and explore the compartments, which are dressed with original prop luggage belonging to Harry, Ron, Draco, Luna and other characters, complete with interactive dials revealing the name of the owner. At the back of the train you can sit in a compartment adapted for filming and learn how the train journey scenes were created. Look out of the green screen window and you may see a flying car or be threatened by a Dementor attack! The engine hisses and puffs out steam so realistically you’ll feel like you’re about to set off for Hogwarts any minute!
The studio tour takes around 3 hours, but you can linger longer if you like! Tickets cannot be bought at the attraction, so pre-booking is essential. Kids can get a free souvenir passport to be stamped when they discover various hidden “treasures”. Walk accross the original stone floor of the Great Hall, stroll along Diagonal Alley’s cobbles, enjoy a Butterbeer and explore the Backlot’s exterior sets, including the Knight Bus, 4 Privet Drive and Hagrid’s motorbike. Be filmed riding a broomstick and photographed pushing a trolley through the yellow brick wall! Plenty of Potter paraphernalia is available in the gift shop, and you can dine in the cafeteria or bring your own food to eat in the picnic area adjacent to the car park, or the outdoor Backlot.
Have a magical time!