If you’re one of the many millions of superfans of JK Rowling’s wizarding series, you’re more than likely to have made the pilgrimage at least once to Watford Junction to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter.
The tour has added to its collection of original sets over the years, having bolted on the exterior of the Dursley’s No 4 Privet Drive, Platform 9 ¾ and, in March 2017, the Hogwarts’ Forbidden Forest, complete with its own terrifying Aragog spider.
But it’s the most recent expansion to include the original sets of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, which proves to be the most magical addition yet.
Visitors are invited to walk along the bank’s opulent hallways, lined with towering marble columns and crystal chandeliers, where they can observe and learn about the costumes and intricate prosthetics actor Warwick Davies had to don to play Griphook and other goblins of Gringotts.
You can then pay a visit to Bellatrix Lestrange’s bank vault, which Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley broke into in Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2. As well as the original costumes worn by the actors in the dramatic final scenes, fans can view some of the 38,000 pieces of rubberised treasure and the 210,000 galleons, knuts and sickles (the wizarding currency for those not in the know) created by the prop department for the heart-stopping moments in which Harry, Ron and Hermione are in danger of being buried alive in gold.
But it’s the centrepiece of Gringotts Bank that really makes it worth a second visit to the Warner Bros Studio Tour: facing the fiery wrath of the Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon in a crumbling Gringotts Hall. Watching as it breathes flames across the fallen marble pillars demonstrates why the Harry Potter franchise has won a string of awards for its outstanding visual effects, including an Oscar in 2011.
The Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and all the original sets on display from the eight Harry Potter films, is a reminder that much of the magic happened before the cameras started rolling.
The Gringotts Wizarding Bank will be open to the public on Saturday 6th April at the Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Tickets are available here