This particular review has been a long time coming – the booking had been in place since January of this year and was even pushed back several times in a bid to avoid driving as far as Watford – let’s face it you’re almost in the Midlands.
Before turning up I was worried that the latest money-spinner in the collection would be a bitter disappointment – an aircraft hanger on the outskirts of North London full of memorabilia. Add into the equation that my companion for the day was (to put it mildly) not a fan of Harry Potter. Trying to discretely explain the relevance of the cupboard under the stairs in a queue surrounded by other adults in full wizard regalia made me feel like we were a little out of place – the last mortals J.K Rowling could reach.
But I was determined to see what all the fuss was about.
After a brief cinematic re-cap of the films, which made the children in the front row cheer and wave their wands, the tour was far more interesting than either of us could have anticipated. Even if you have no interest in the world of Harry Potter the tour is more about the sets, how the films are put together and the endless creativity of the production teams – which anyone can admire even if Potter isn’t quite your cup of tea.
As well as one, or fifteen, photo opportunities (the endless look of potential Facebook profile pictures gleeming in teenagers eyes) – a particular favourite seemed to be using the pole on the Knight Bus as something to gyrate against while parents looked on.
The Butterbeer in the backlot was another bonus – that is until you taste it.
And seeing Diagon Alley in it’s full life-size glory was perfect for a girl whose favourite film is still The Philosopher’s Stone – a blasphemy among real fans I’m told – there’s just something so much more endearing about Daniel Radcliffe before he hit puberty and took himself so seriously.