The older you get, the harder it is to buy presents for someone; birthdays and Christmas become less of a celebration and more of a tightrope walk between disappointment and frustration. Philippe Petit has nothing on someone trying to get a gift that’s surprising and thoughtful, yet wanted.
Thank Dawkins Warner Bros. decided to turn Leavesden Studios into a dedicated museum to the Harry Potter movies. At least this year, Ang’s birthday didn’t involve the words Frack, What and The.
Housed in two gigantic buildings, the Harry Potter Experience contains almost every piece of Harry Potter arcana that any fan might want to see, including a fully dressed Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the scale model of Hogwarts used during filming. The latter really has to be seen to be believed: fifty feet wide, the size of a very large room, and with two and a half thousand optic fibres inside, it took eighty-six artists a total of seventy-four man years to create.
Even more breathtaking, once you go outside you can stand in Privet Drive itself while looking at the Knight Bus and the cottage where the story began. In a moment of marketing genius, Warner Bros. have allowed the taking of photographs, which means that most of the people will have their experience looking through an iPhone screen whilst screaming.
The Harry Potter Experience certainly is worth a visit even if you aren’t as foaming-at-the-mouth of a fan as Ang, though it’s likely to turn you into a confirmed agoraphobic as the sheer numbers of people passing through makes it feel like rush hour on the Central Line. If you do go, steer clear of the butterbeer.
‘Course, I’m screwed for next year.