In my experience, there are die hard Harry Potter fans who absorbed all seven books as the elixir of life – and there are those that have never read the J K Rowling books, Diane Davies writes.
Similarly with the eight Harry Potter films. Cinema goers are rarely anything other than delighted by these magical movies and there is a global army of Potter fans that drives through international barriers to unite film and literary lovers.
So it is no surprise that the Warner Bros Studio Tour at Leavesden in Watford – which was home to the films for 10 years – is such a huge success.
More than 6,500,000 people have walked through the doors of the Great Hall since the attraction
This is a unique experience for fans of the young wizard films with the chance to actually stand in such amazing sets as the Great Hall and Diagon Alley, to see the Gryffindor common room first hand, grab a selfie outside 4 Privet Drive, see inside Hagrid’s hut and board the Hogwarts Express.
But it is also gives an amazing insight into the world of film making with a look behind the scenes, secrets of the visual effects, creating the incredible sets and intricate props, green screen technology, working with animals – real and fantastical – and even how quidditch is created.
There is the opportunity to ride a broom, sit in Mr Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia, try your hand at a wand duel or enter platform 9 ¾.
The highlight is the splendid Hogwarts Castle which is a jaw-dropping example of the intricacy and detail as well as the cinematic magic that goes into the Harry Potter films – and can no doubt be seen in the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which has now opened in cinemas.
It is truly a wonderful day out for Harry Potter and film fans alike.
And now, for a short time only, it is even more magical – for now you can enjoy Hogwarts in the Snow.
The studios have been given a seasonal makeover and the experience now includes the festive touch.
The Grand Hall is decorated as it was in the films, lined with wreaths and Christmas trees including flying witch ornaments, and including a magical feast on the tables complete with flaming Christmas puds.
Some of the sets such as the common room and boys dormitory have been decorated and there is snow falling in the outside back lot where features such as the night bus and the wooden bridge can be found.
Visitors can also learn the secret to how an invisible Harry’s footsteps appeared in the snow, how the icy-covered props are created, why the snow never melts and how the fires work with only water and no heat.
But the highlight remains the majestic Hogwarts Castle model which is quite beautiful with its blanket of film-maker’s snow.
During filming, members of the crew dusted the huge castle by hand with the fake snow – a mix of granulated paper and grains of salt – and the same has taken place for this event.
If you have never been to the studios there is no better time to visit. If you have – go again.
You are guaranteed to see new props and spot items you sailed past before as well as learning another interesting fact from one of the many very knowledgeable guides.