Thursday, 11 May 2017

How to see Harry Potter film props for free in London

Calling all Potter fans! There's an exhibition of Harry Potter memorabilia in London at the moment, and it's completely free.

It's not by any stretch a new exhibition - House of MinaLima threw open its doors in mid-2016, and was originally due to close in February 2017, but has been extended indefinitely due to popularity.

It showcases art and design work by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima that was used in the films, with props on loan from the Warner Bros Studio Tour. Basically, a Potter nerd's paradise.

I'm not the biggest fan of Harry Potter which is why it's taken me so long to get round to visiting the exhibition. Nothing against the Boy Wizard, just not a huge fan of the series - more a casual observer.

On a Saturday afternoon, it's nowhere near as busy as I'd braced myself for, and I even had some of the rooms to myself, except for the extremely friendly staff members who are posted on each level. The expected throng of die-hard Potter fans was few and far between - presumably they visited in the museum's early days. Most of my fellow visitors seemed to have walked in off the street, attracted in by the intriguingly colourful shopfront.

You'll enter (and exit) through the ground floor gift shop - but as the exhibition's free, you can't begrudge them the chance of making some money. With Hogwarts house badges at £3.50 and posters starting at £19 though, it's not somewhere for young Potter fans to be spending their pocket money.

Take the narrow, steep, winding staircase up to the first floor - unfortunately the exhibition's not wheelchair accessible - where you'll step into 1920s-30s New York.

This section is dedicated to the most recent film, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and although I've not seen the film and had very little idea of what was going on, there's no denying that a lot of effort has gone into recreating the time period.

Up another flight of stairs - the staircase is an artwork in itself - and you'll come face to face with artwork from the original Harry Potter films. Daily Prophet front covers line the walls and Hogwarts textbooks stare down at you.

Even with my limited Potter knowledge I was able to recognise the Howler letter Mrs Weasley sent to Ron at Hogwarts, and a ticket for the Hogwarts Express.

The highlight? You'll find yourself standing on a Marauder's Map the size of the room (invisibility cloak optional).

After solemnly swearing that you're up to no good, head up another flight of stairs for even more items from the films. Centrepiece here is the Dursley's fireplace, overflowing with Hogwarts acceptance letters - a bittersweet sight for any die-hard Potter fan who's still waiting for their letter to arrive.

Take time to glance again at the artwork lining the staircase on the way back down - even on second glance, you're bound to miss something.

A quick sweep around the shop and you're back outside - although by this time you'll be expecting to find yourself in Diagon Alley, rather than 21st century Soho.

House of MinaLima, 26 Greek Street, Soho. Open 12pm-7pm every day. entry is free.

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1 comment:

  1. You should watch Fantastic Beasts Laura - it's a fab film!