Friday, January 11, 2013

The Magic of London

Hello! My name is Tonya Pell and I studied at Kingston University in London, England in the fall of 2012. Ever since high school I have dreamt about studying abroad once I was in college, specifically in London. I have always been fascinated with British history and literature and there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to study there.

 Many people have asked me since I've returned home what was the one place I visited or one moment I had while I was in London that was the best. While it is obviously hard to narrow it down to just one experience, I would have to choose my trip to the Warner Brothers Leavesden Studios Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. I have always been a huge fan of the Harry Potter series and when I heard about the studio I knew I had to go there. Leavesden Studios is where they filmed all eight of the Harry Potter movies and they set up some of the actual sets from the movies in the studio, along with costumes, props, and more from the years of productions.

I went with my friend Kelly and the whole day was an absolute blast. We took a double-decker tour bus to the studio that was also Harry Potter themed, which was the perfect way to get there. Stepping into the studio there are giant pictures of the major characters up on the walls. One of the many Ford Anglia's was hanging from the ceiling as well! The first set you see right before you enter the real studio is the cupboard Harry lived in for the first eleven years of his life. It was incredible walking into the studio with all of these things surrounding me. It really hit me then what I was about to see for the rest of the afternoon and I admit it, I had to hold back tears a little. 

For the next three hours Kelly and I walked through two studios and the back lot where we were able to see so many incredible sets, costumes, props, concept drawings, special effects and more. We purchased the audio guide that was narrated by Tom Felton, the actor who played Draco Malfoy, and he told us stories and secrets involving the movies. We were able to see how Quidditch was filmed, tasted Butterbeer, and even see the real Hogwarts.

 While I saw so many incredible sites and visited a lot of great places while I was abroad, the Harry Potter tour was my favorite because it was something very personal for me. I grew up reading the books and watching the movies and being able to see first-hand the magic behind the movies was truly an incredible experience. 

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