Now, I'll be honest. I don't know where to begin. There's so much I want to share with you, but I know I must refrain from inundating this with all the photos I've taken over the last week. Instead, I think I'll include just a small selection, perhaps just enough to whet your appetite, and hopefully you'll enjoy these as much as I do. Allow me to start with Diagon Alley...
The above picture is of Leadenhall Market, seen in the films as Diagon Alley. It's not too difficult to find, situated near Bank tube station, and the image here is taken looking down from the main entrance. If you wander around a bit (and we had to do quite a bit of wandering!) you'll find this:
That there is no ordinary doorway into an optician's. No, that is the doorway to the Leaky Cauldron! Sadly, there was no sign of any witch or wizard in sight willing to help us pass through this magic doorway, but it was fun to visit there all the same.
The last stop on our magical Potter trail around London is Great Scotland Yard:
Yes, that's none other than the exterior for the Ministry of Magic. It's slightly different, as the bridge has been duplicated and added to where the front door can be seen in the photo, thus acting as a pillar next to which the red telephone box is situated, but it's still instantly recognisable. I think, out of all three here, this was by far the most thrilling to see.
However, the winner, insofar as it excelled my excitement levels to heights I didn't even know existed, is the Warner Brothers 'Making of Harry Potter' Studio Tour. Full details can be found on the website as linked, but in brief an adult ticket costs £30, and it must be pre-booked. I definitely advise anybody to take the tour bus from Watford Junction station as there are a few interesting features on there that you wouldn't get if you drove to the studios.
Once there there's a brief introduction from a member of staff - it's not as boring as it sounds, I promise! - which definitely helps to set the mood and get fans even more excited. After that, you're free to look around at your own pace. I thought this was fantastic as I'd originally assumed that it was a timed guided tour. How long I stared at Bellatrix's dress for was probably more than socially acceptable, but I remain thankful for not being pushed for time!
As much as I'd love to share all the pictures I took, we'd be here forever. Instead, I've selected three I particularly like - one set, one costume, and one too awesome for words - to introduce you to the tour's beauty. I really cannot encourage you enough to go along and enjoy it for yourself. The props and costumes on display were the actual ones we see in the films, and it really helps to bring everything to life.
Who doesn't love pink?
Anyway, I'm afraid we've come to the end of this particular Potter session. I do hope you've enjoyed this as I fully intend to remain enveloped in this magic until the grave and beyond. If there's anything in particular you'd like to know about the tour or any of the locations mentioned then please don't hesitate to email me via the address above and I shall try my best to answer any questions from my own visitor perspective. Do look out for my second blogpost and make sure you check out the Harry Potter footage in my video below!
Oh, and just one more thing: long may Slytherin reign!