THINGS TO DO

New Harry Potter attraction opens soon

Success for the new addition appears to be a banker

Harry Potter fans make a note: This Saturday (April 6) will see the opening of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank addition to The Making of Harry Potter tour on the outskirts of London.

The bank represents a major extension to the attraction hosted at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London at Leavesden, Herts, just within the M25 a little way north of Watford.

The tour is adjacent to the film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made. Visitors can explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and special effects. Plus, of course, the bank. The tour takes about three-and-a half hours.

The studio is easy to get to by road and various other forms of transport are readily available. For example, you can get the train from Euston to Watford Junction where shuttle buses will take you to the site for a small fee.

Price for the tour is £43 for an adult; £35 for a child aged five-16. A small saving can be had by booking a family ticket (two adults, two children or one adult and three children) for £140. You are advised to book in advance.

The bank is no small addition. As you will see in the picture it has towering marble pillars and the grand banking hall will be lit by three giant crystal chandeliers and finished with real brass leaf.

Actor Warwick Davis (pictured in the banking hall) played a bank teller in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He also appeared in all but one of the films (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I being the exception) as the character Filius Flitwick.

Warwick Davis attends the reveal of the Harry Potter Gringotts Wizarding Bank at Warner Bros Studio Tour London which opens on April 6.

The bank will also feature the Lestrange Vault (also pictured) which will allow a great photo opportunity for visitors.

Speaking of photo opportunities, Potter fans may want to grab a snap of themselves with a baggage trolley and bird cage disappearing into the wall at a special feature at Kings Cross station in central London.

Waving their wands – tourists at the Kings Cross Harry Potter feature. Both Kings Cross pictures: London Inspire

You can take your own picture without charge next to a souvenir shop called Platform 93/4 which the Hogwarts Express “leaves” from. Or, if you prefer, the queue attendants will take a picture for you which you can buy in the shop.

A word to the wise, the queue (see below) may appear short but, during busy times, those waiting are asked to queue outside the station to stop them blocking the concourse.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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