Lonely Planet Writer

A hippogriff and a giant spider await at the latest expansion to London’s Making of Harry Potter

Harry Potter fans will be lured – against Professor Dumbledore’s best advice – into the Forbidden Forest in a new attraction at The Making of Harry Potter studio tour, just outside London. In JK Rowling’s world, the forest was a woodland that sprawled outside the wizarding school of Hogwarts. Students were banned from entering the wilderness, which was home to numerous fantastic creatures including hippogriffs, centaurs and giant spiders.


The expansion to the studio tour – one of the UK’s highest-profile attractions – will feature a full-size Buckbeak, the hippogriff who attacked Draco Malfoy and was later saved by Harry. Each feather was individually inserted and glued by the special effects team for his appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The forest itself will be represented by 19 trees, each with a diameter of over 12ft. Visitors will be able to walk beneath the giant roots and even control the weather.

Aragog, the giant spider who appeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is also part of the tour, along with his spiderlings. Other highlights include one of Hagrid’s original costumes.

Stuart Craig, the Oscar-winning Production Designer who worked on all eight Potter movies, helped build the Forbidden Forest expansion. “Over the course of the eight films, the Forbidden Forest has played a key role,” he says, “and I think it’s an exciting addition to the Studio Tour. The Forbidden Forest is full of mysterious, fascinating and sometimes threatening forces. It represents the great unknown compared to the comfort and safety of Hogwarts and the Gryffindor Common Room which makes it so interesting and important to the development of the story.”

2017 is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in Rowling’s series. Events  are taking place across the UK to celebrate the anniversary, joining numerous permanent sights associated with Harry Potter’s world.

It’s right behind me, isn’t it…? #spider #arachnophobia #aragog #harrypotter

A post shared by Dave Cobb (@davecobb) on Feb 15, 2017 at 6:44am PST

The Forbidden Forest opens on 31 March 2017 – entrance is included in the admission price for the Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter.

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