There aren’t many students who have failed to be entranced by the boy wizard Harry Potter. As a result, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour has long been a highlight of many school trips to London. Last month The Warner Bros Studio Tour – Making of Harry Potter has won no fewer than two British Youth Travel Awards.
The British Youth Travel Awards recognise visitor attractions which provide exciting, valuable experiences with an educational slant. For this reason an award for the Harry Potter exhibition from the BYTA suggests it is the perfect choice for teachers looking for exciting things to do on school trips to London.
More Gongs for Harry
At its award ceremony in December, the BYTA recognised the Warner Bros. experience with two major awards: Best Leisure Product and Best Use of Social/Mobile Media.
· Best Leisure Product
According to the BYTA, the award for Best Leisure Product recognised the innovation and positive educational focus of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour– The Making of Harry Potter. The tour allows students to look behind the scenes at the sets and technology which went into making the successful film franchise. As part of its school tour the Studio offers a free one-hour lesson based on current curricula, taught by qualified teachers. Subjects offered include Art & Design, Business, Film & Media and English.
· Best Use of Social Media
The second award was given to the Studio for its inventive social media teaser campaign ‘Follow the Spiders’. The campaign was said by the BYTA to have effectively used social media to engage prospective visitors. The teaser campaign featured a video on Twitter of spiders scurrying across the screen with the words ‘follow the spiders’. At the same time it published a selection of Instagram posts which, when put together, made a close-up of a spider’s face. Fans of the book were attracted by the image and the well-known quote, which was given as a clue to Harry by Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Definitely not one for anyone who (like Ron Weasley) suffers from a fear of spiders, the campaign was to promote a new attraction on the tour which will open in March. The Forbidden Forest will be a new part of the tour that includes a forest of 19 trees, a chance to meet (and bow to) Buckbeak the hippogriff and, of course, Aragog the giant spider-like acromantula. Students will be able to ‘control the weather’ through special effects and see the detail that went into making the Hippogriff and other memorabilia from the films, including a set of Hagrid’s clothes.
The two awards together recognise the work by Warner Bros. to make the Harry Potter Studio Tour an entertaining day out for children and a great educational experience. The combination of fun and education make the tour the perfect choice for teachers looking for unique destinations to engage students onschool trips to London.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning school trips to London, New York or India’s Golden Triangle, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.