This visit really was one of the most magical ways to spend a Friday evening.
I've been meaning to visit the Happy Potter Studio Tour for years, and my excitement levels leading up to the day were huge. The first book came out when I was about 7, so I well and truly grew up with the world of the Harry Potter books and then films.
The ticket was £35, which is more than reasonable when the average visit takes about 3 hours...
When we were told people tended to take 3 or more hours to look round I was a little dubious, but I had no idea quite how much was actually there!
The tour begins with a short film about the making of Harry Potter, after which the doors to the Great Hall at Hogwarts are revealed. Walking through the Great Hall was just incredible, and the Studio Tour houses lots of sets just like this one. There's the Gryffindor dormitory, the potions classroom, the Weasleys' house, and many more.
Costumes were displayed throughout, with little explanations and anecdotes about how certain sets, props and costumes were used or created. There was the opportunity to fly a broom in front of a green screen, and information on the hugely talented teams behind every stage of the production of the films.
We walked through the Hogwarts Express, each compartment kitted out to represent a different film. We used screens to make the magical household tasks happen in the Weasleys' kitchen. We saw a board describing all the different animals who played Hedwig, Fang and Crookshanks.
It's truly amazing to see so many sets and costumes up close, and to be able to admire the incredible detail of every one. I loved little quirky facts, such as that the wand boxes in Ollivander's shop all feature the names of people working on the films, and each box was hand-painted.
There was then a section all about the creation of the many different creatures of Harry Potter. There were explanations on how the mechanical elements worked, on how concepts were developed, and you could examine close up the 'creatures' that were brought to life on camera.
We walked down Diagon Alley, we admired tiny models of every set and architectural drawings of how they would come to life. We saw the work of the incredible artists who helped to create the visual spectacles Rowling had written about.
And then the final masterpiece.
This huge model of Hogwarts was used to shoot external scenes, and watching on screens as this model transformed into scenes from film after film was truly breath-taking - I've never seen anything like it.
This visit honestly surpassed every expectation. There is so much to see, and I have so much admiration for every single person who was involved in bringing these incredible stories to life.
Since my visit, I've re-read all seven books, and now intend to re-watch all eight films - is there really any other way to spend your time post-tour?