My 28th birthday fell on a Monday this year, and although I’d had an excellent birthday weekend, James very kindly took the day off work to spoil me.
After opening my presents in the morning, we headed to Windsor for a wander around the shops before lunch at Loch Fyne, a local seafood and grill restaurant.
However, much to my dismay, they had run out of oysters!
(I challenge you to find a bigger middle class problem…I’ll wait).
But don’t worry, I devoured a bowl of mussels bigger than the size of my head to make up for it.
In the evening, we made our way over to the Harry Potter Studio Tour (also known as the rather catchy ‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter’).
Leading up to the entrance of the tour is a hallway filled with quotes and I’m forever a sucker for a bit of Dumbledore wisdom:
At the beginning of the tour, the tour guide asked if it was anyone’s birthday and although it was mine, I didn’t want to put my hand up as I hate anything that involves audience participation.
But James had other ideas by pointing me out and I mean, you can’t miss the guy, he’s 6’3 for fucks sake.
So off I pop to the front of the crowd muttering, “This is my worst nightmare” under my breath.
Luckily, all I had to do was help to open the door to the Great Hall which was actually pretty cool and I’m sure lots of people have a photo/video of me on their phones of me awkwardly doing so.
During 17th November to 27th January, it’s ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ so the Great Hall was decorated as it was for the Yule Ball.
The hall was lined with Christmas trees and the long dining tables were filled with a seasonal feast such as roast turkeys, hams studded with cherries and Christmas puddings surrounded by real flames!
The sets looked incredible and at times, it felt hard to believe that so many scenes were filmed right there.
The Forbidden Forest was great too, complete with fake mist, but I’d give it a miss if you’re not a fan of spiders!
Kings Cross Station.
“All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it, that’s very important. Best do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous.”
The awkward moment when James thinks he’s on a Zoolander tour…
It was great to be able to walk inside the train and check out all the compartments where the scenes were filmed.
The attention to detail paid to the Harry Potter props is absolutely incredible!
We took a break from the first half of the tour with a Butterbeer.
James had been before and warned me that I probably wouldn’t like it as it’s really sweet and I don’t have much a sweet tooth, so I just tried a sip of his.
And he was right.
I’m glad I had a chance to try it but it was so sickly that one sip was enough for me.
Next up, we headed outside to check out the Knight Bus.
And Privet Drive.
Fun fact: The house that was used to film in and later recreated on set is 12 Picket Post Close in Bracknell, Berkshire – not far from where James lives.
Keeping it cool, as always.
One of my favourite parts of the tour was probably exploring Diagon Alley and all the interesting shops.
As I mentioned before, the attention to detail is second to none.
Finally, the Hogwarts castle model absolutely blew me away!
To create the layer of filmmaking snow, a member of the crew had climbed on an elevated work platform and sprinkled the ‘snow’ mixture of granulated paper and grains of salt onto the model by hand with a sieve – like dusting sugar onto a cake.
The tour takes around 3 hours and is completely self-guided (apart from the very beginning) and I’d thoroughly recommend it if you’re a Harry Potter fan – it truly is a magical experience, especially over the Christmas period!
And a big thank you to James for spoiling me! <3