Harry Potter Studio Tour is about to turn 11!

In the world of Harry Potter, turning 11 is a big deal. That’s when a young witch or wizard can expect a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry heralding the beginning of their magical education.

For those of us still waiting for our letter, the Harry Potter Studio Tour in England has the next best thing: in 2023 the studio tour turns 11 and, to celebrate, there will be a brand new exhibition – Discovering Hogwarts.

Now, they have a number of new spaces planned but, really, I’m mostly interested in the candles.

Back when they filmed Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the floating candles in the Great Hall were exactly that – real candles with real flames hanging from wires. Now, I don’t know what the special effects people were thinking but, as a mum, I can tell you with absolute certainty that hundreds of lit wax candles floating above a couple of hundred real child actors is a recipe for disaster. Can you imagine trying to deliver your line with the threat of hot wax dripping down your neck?

Sensibly but perhaps a touch too late, the team decided it was better to create the candles digitally in post-production, thereby saving all those children from third degree burns, but not before the cast had entered the Great Hall through those spectacular doors for the first time to behold all those beautiful and real candles. By all reports, it was breath-taking.

Starting in May and going through to September, you too can witness the spectacle of the Great Hall at Hogwarts lit up by hundreds (if not thousands) of floating candles. Not real ones though: this time the special effects people have worked out how to make the candles LOOK real without using wax and fire. Stand under them and look up, confident in the knowledge that you won’t cop a blob of hot wax in your eyeball!

There’s a bunch of other cool stuff happening at the same time, apart from the normal magical stuff you can see on any visit. You can learn all about Hagrid and how they made him appear so huge, discover the film-making secrets behind the iconic scene in which a young Harry, Ron and Hermione learn to master Wingardium Leviosa, and take a seat in a new photo opportunity depicting Harry’s first boat journey to Hogwarts.

All awesome of course but I’m all about the floating candles in the Great Hall.

What: Discovering Hogwarts
Where: Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter, London
When: 2nd May – 4th September 2023
How: More info and book online

Author: Professor Penelope Presto
Professor Presto is Headmaster at the esteemed Quizzic Alley School of Sorcery and also Chief Wrangler of wizards large and small. She loves to bake toad cake and swaps recipes with like-minded wizards all over the world. On Tuesdays she joins the local Goblins and Gouls swimming club for a few laps before a lunch of wiggle-root salad.

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