Family holidays in South Tyrol, Quellenhof Resort
Sport & Wellness Resort Quellenhof, Family holiday in South Tyrol
Family holiday in South Tyrol can’t get any better! Experience a great holiday at a beautiful location near Meran, stretching across a soft hill: our paradise for parents & kids. Enjoy an unforgettable family holiday at the Sport & Wellness Resort Quellenhof in South Tyrol – with all the family! The Quellenhof ensures that you will have a relaxing Wellness holiday (with kids!). Mum and Dad can relax while the kids are taken care of at the Kinderclub. Or alternatively you can a enjoy ‘Wellness together‘ in our spacious family Wellness worlds.
Discover happy children and relaxed adults! A dream come true at the Quellenhof Resort. Enjoy great leisure time and space filled with adventure, plus lots of kid’s activities during your family holiday in South Tyrol!
Great facilities for an active leisure time for kids and teenagers of all ages. Fantastic children’s rooms (indoors and outdoors), exciting children’s courses, professional care & animation with a varied programme all guarantee an excellent, happy family holiday in South Tyrol.
Your kids will love it …and you can enjoy it too ….
An attractive family programme for your family holiday in South Tyrol will bring excellent fun for young and old alike…at the Sport & Wellness Resort Quellenhof!
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Hotel Ritz and Hotel Continental adriatic sea family hotels
Hotel Ritz and Hotel Continental, Adriatic Sea coast, perfect hotels for families
The Hotel Ritz and the Hotel Continental are both located along the beautiful seaside of Senigallia (Adriatic Sea coast), offering to all the guests a wonderful panorama from the famous “Rotonda a Mare” until Monte Conero. Passion for Hospitality! This is the true essence of these family hotels, on the beaches of adriatic sea coast.
The Hotel Ritz, 4 stars family hotels, has 150 soundproof rooms with double or twin beds, small terrace facing the sea, safe, radio, LCD TV, minibar, telephone, bathroom with bath or shower, air conditioning and ceilingmounted ventilation system. All the Junior Suites have a separate bedroom from the sitting room and from the wide window it’s possible to admirate the beautiful beach of Senigallia!
The restaurant at the Ritz Hotel comprises two large well-lit rooms, surrounded by a terrace where it’s possible to enjoy a very rich buffet breakfast. The kitchen offers every day healthy food by selecting top quality ingredients based on the best cooking traditions of the region, Le Marche! The beach, reserved to the guests of the Hotel Ritz has a direct access through a private underpass; beach umbrellas, deckchairs, games and toys for children are always available to customers.
The “Cafè Ritz”, located on the Hotel’s own beach, is ideal to savour delicious snack breaks while relaxing on the beach. The Hotel Ritz has also the “Parlour bar” located inside the hotel: it faces a wide living room with a panoramic terrace. On the beach or in the garden there are picnic areas with houses, slides and games to entertain the kids.
Behind the hotel is located the Conference Center and next to it a wide well-kept garden. Hotel Ritz has also 3 swimming pool, a big one (Ex-Olympic pool) and 2 for childrens, a free bike rental dedicated to the guests and a large shaded car park with surveillance from the reception.
The Hotel Continental, 3 stars family hotel, has rooms with different styles: Senigallia Classic and Continental Modern. The first one reflect the Continental Hotel’s overall style and furniture, sober tones, romantic and elegant style; the second one, Continental Modern, characterized by a younger style, have modern lines and stateof-the-art design. All the rooms are equipped with air conditioning systems, soundproof windows, LCD TV with Sky Vision, hairdryers and refined courtesy sets; almost of them overlook the sea and can take care of an entire family! The restaurant of the hotel offers typical dishes, specialities from Le Marche region; special attention is paid to children, celiacs and guests on a special diet.
The Continental Hotel’s private beach, “Il Maremoto”, is equipped with huts, hotwater shower, toys for children, two courts for beach volley and beach tennis! Do not forget the private bar and the private garden where it’s possible to taste special aperitif in the evening or after-dinner cocktails in total relax. The Hotel has also an indoor swimming pool and a professional aesthetic area “Carezza del Mar”. Also the Hotel Continental has a private car park and another one next to the Hotel in a private area with security services.
Both the Hotels have a special entertainement and fun equipe for the guests assured for all the summer! Do not forget mini-club for children, with theatrical, recreational and creative laboratories. Children are a focal point in fact many services are directed to their welfare: from playground, baby corner, sports courses to special menus, small beds and baby baths. What else….Passion for Hospitality…is not just a way of saying!!!
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Rome with kids: things to do in Rome with kids
Rome with kids: things to do travelling in Rome with kids
Gelateria San Crispino – Via della Panetteria,42 – Closed on Tuesday
Stay away from any gelato that looks cute, airy and puffy (like how most look in any Italian/French gelateria). Lots of unsavoury preservatives and stabilizers have been added to create that unmelting candy floss look. The best gelaterias keep their gelato in tins, as much away from air and light as possible because they’re so freshly made and without preservatives, that exposure to these elements will only deteriorate their taste. Next door to the Trevi Fountain you can find Ice Cream Shop “San Crispino” which has been called the best in Rome. Ice creams are made with the finest ingredients, Valrhona Dark Chocolate, real fruits (a rarity nowaday), aged Marsala, hazelnut and pistachio from the best producers… Pricey but worth a go.
Villa Borghese Park
The Villa Borghese Gardens are Rome’s sprawling central park. One of Europe’s most elegant parks, it was created by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 1600s. The park is also home to a few outstanding museums such as Galleria Borghese. The best kids’ zones are near Porta Pinciana,(Top of Via Veneto, Metro: Barberini or Spagna) where you’ll find rental bikes, pony rides, and other amusements. Summer activities at the gardens, sure to be a hit with kids, include hot-air balloon rides and classic Roman puppet shows at Teatro dei Burattini (weekends only). Rome’s zoo, Bioparco, in the northeast section of the park, houses about 900 animals , including the endangered black lemur and pygmy hippopotamus.
Forno del Ghetto
Via del Portico d’Ottavia 1 – Closed Friday at sundown and Saturday.
This small bakery in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto (near the synagogue) has no sign and no tables. You’ll recognize it by the crowd spilling out the door and the slightly burnt pastries in the display case. Everything is a little bit burnt, which caramelizes the sugars just enough to give the pastries a rich, deep taste. Ricotta cake with sour-cherry or chocolate are special favorites, and the biscotti is delicious, but choose whatever strikes your fancy — it’s all wonderful. This is the last remaining bakery preserving traditional Jewish Italian cooking in this shrinking community. You won’t find pastries like this anywhere else in the world. As you bite into a pastry, savor its flavor and the warm community feel of this special place. You can purchase fresh squeezed orange juice at one of the cafes on this street and sit down on a bench to eat your pastry.
Fountains Garden, Villa d’Este, Tivoli (15 min East of Rome)
Tivoli is just outside Rome (East) and it could be a lovely day trip. It is famous for Villa Adriana, Emperor Adriano’s staggering countryside villa and Villa d’Este a wonderful Renaissance villa intended for entertaining with a breathtaking garden composed almost exclusively of water features.
Villa d’Este and its sprays have been our saving grace during the heat wave in 2003!
Hydromania Water Park
Rome has a big water park called Hydromania (pronounced EE-dro-man-EEah), featuring a giant wave pool and what is billed as the “fastest slide in Italy.” There is another water park called Aquapiper near Tivoli, a 15-minute drive east of Rome.
Via SS Apostoli, 20 – Tel 0039 06 69921823 – www.timeelevator.it/
In the center of Rome, a 3D show to take you straight into history. Thanks to 3 panoramic screens, flight simulators and a state-of-the-art surround sound system, you will be projected into the cinema dimension: a deep jump in time through 2,750 years and the most important events in Rome history. A 45 minutes show with hightech virtual projections of the most famous Roman monuments.
Individual headphones in English.
From 10.30 to 19.30, every hour.
Price: Eu12 adults
Eu9 children under 12
More Things To Do in Rome with Kids
Tell kids the history of the Colosseum (leave out the really gory bits for the younger set) and history comes alive for them here. Kids especially love the book of ancient sites with the overlays that you can buy from many of the souvenier stands. Each page shows a picture of what a site looks like now, and then the overlay shows what it looked like in ancient times. Truly amazing and helps the children (and parents!) get a better idea of how splendid Rome truly was.
Explora, Children’s Museum
Via Flaminia 82 – www.mdbr.it/inglese/ – Hours Visits have a timed stop and start. Check the website for details and book in advance. Cost: Children 3-12 7Eu; Adults 6Eu
The relatively new Explora children’s museum is a rarity in Italy… a place designed specifically for kids. This hands on museum has a miniature grocery store, a bus that kids can “drive” and more, making it a great place to play during the hottest part of the day.
Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo)
Circo Massimo is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium. It is the location for the well known chariot race in the 1959 film “Ben Hur” with Charlton Heston. Grab some fresh bread, salami, cheese, juice, a bottle of wine for Mum and Dad and head over to the Circo Massimo for a wonderful picnic. There are many families picnicking here, groups playing casual pick up soccer games, and lots of room for the kids to run around. Not to mention the views of the ruins nearby are outstanding. After the picnic, take a short walk over to the Bocca della Verita’ (Mouth of Truth)!
Just wander around the streets of Trastevere, it is really quaint and beautiful. Let the kids lead the way and get lost together exploring the pretty winding streets.
Cripta dei Cappuccini
The crypt below S Maria della Concezione (Via Veneto, 27) contains the skeletons of hundreds of monks arranged on the ceiling and walls to make decorative displays. Unique, eerie, mysterious, spooky, very, fashinating for children and grown ups.
Bocca della Verita
Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin – Piazza Bocca della Verita’, 18 Have your kids been truthful? Are they brave enough to put their hand in the Mouth of Truth? Legend says if you are a liar the Bocca will gobble down your hand.
Want to take the kids to the zoo…you can, right in the Villa Borghese park.
Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo)
There are puppet shows at the top in the summertime. Amazing views.
Vittorio Emanuele II Monument
Have your kids count the steps as they climb to the top of this monument, known by locals as “The Typewriter” or “The Wedding Cake”. Its close to the Foro Romano and Colosseum, and its so enormous you really couldn’t miss it even if you tried. When you get to the top you are rewarded with a splendid view!
Largo di Torre Argentina
There is a wonderful cat sanctuary here that cannot be missed by animal lovers. The beautiful cats lounging amongst the ruins is really a sight to see.
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
Via delle Muratte, 9
Don’t forget to throw your coin in the fountain before you leave Rome, so that you can return one day. Once there don’t miss Ice Cream Shop “San Crispino” in nearby Via della Panetteria,42.
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Going south Italy
Going South: things to do with children travelling in south Italy
Abbazia di Casamari
The Abbey of Casamari was built on the site in the early 11th century in the austere Cistercian style, specifically designed to avoid distraction and ostentation. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), the abbey is a beautiful sight, with delicate columns, vaulted ceilings, small stained-glass windows, and a lovely cloistered courtyard.
Today, the beautiful Abbey of Casamari still houses a Cistercian community numbering about 20. The spiritual life of the monks of Casamari centers on common prayer and visitors can enjoy their Gregorian chant throughout the week. The other main focus of the monks is work, by which they earn a living for themselves and for the poor and missions.
There is a small museum and bookshop at the abbey, and accommodation for guests is provided (phone +39 0775 332 371).
Reggia di Caserta
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Caserta is known as the “Versailles of Naples” after the Royal Palace built here by the Bourbon King, Charles III, in the 18th century. The enchanting palace overlooking the huge square is one of the most sumptuous buildings of its kind in Italy. It has over 1,200 rooms and is full of paintings and rich decorations. The magnificent gardens are 3 km long and their crowning glory is a 75 metre high waterfall, which can be clearly seen from the palace.
Cratere degli Astroni, Riserva Naturale
Info and bookings: Tel 0039 081 5883720 – Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Astroni is one of the wonders of the Campi Flegrei: an entire volcanic crater carpeted with Mediterranean vegetation. Tapped by the Romans for its geothermal waters (the baths have never been discovered) and used by Naples’ various dynasties as a hunting area from the 15th to 19th centuries, Astroni is now a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reserve. A landslide after heavy rains in March 2005 blocked the road (near the site entrance) that winds down towards the lakes on the crater floor; visitors have since been channelled down a steeper path through holm oak woodland.
A shady picnic site has been laid out at the crater bottom, and screened observation walkways have been erected for birders by the lakeside, but much of the area is so dense in vegetation that birdwatching here requires a good pair of ears as well as binoculars.
Although it sounds idyllic, be warned: access by public transport involves a two-kilometre walk through an isolated area and opening hours are subject to change, so phone ahead.
Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio
Vesuvio National Park, of great geological and historical interest, has been established in order to safeguard the values of the territory, use suitable means to allow a correct integration between man and environment, promote environmental education and scientific research activities. The Park was also born from the need to defend the most famous volcano in the world: Vesuvius, a typical example of fence volcano consisting of an external truncated cone, the extinct Mt. Somma, with a crateric perimeter which has been mainly destroyed and in which there is a smaller cone represented by Vesuvius, which is still active. The territory, rich in historical-naturalistic beauties, boasts of a unique agricultural production for the great variety and originality of its tastes.
Directions by car from the highway:
•To access the coastal slope of the Park, go along highway A3 Naples – Salerno up to the exits Ercolano or Torre del Greco, get to via San Vito or via Vesuvio according to the exit, and go ahead following the indications leading to the summit of the volcano.
•To Strada Martone, take the exit in Torre Annunziata and go ahead in the direction of Trecase.
Pompei is one of the most significant proofs of Roman civilization and, like an open book, provides outstanding information on the art, customs, trades and everyday life of the past.
Via Sepolcri, Torre Annunziata (NA) – Motorway A3 Napoli-Salerno (exit Torre Annunziata sud)
Open everyday from 8.30 to 18.00.
Access to 3 sites – valid for 1 day: Eu 5.50 – Free under 18
It is possible now to visit Pompei by bike. Bikes and helmets can be borrowed free of charge at the entrance. The bike path is 5 Km long and includes racks where you can leave the bike and visit the sites.
Capri and Ischia
Ferry services run from Naples to Ischia and Capri, as well as Procida and Sorrento. Services – especially in the summer months – to Ischia and Capri are frequent and you can simply turn up at Molo Beverello in Naples, buy your ticket and take the next service. Services range from speedy hydrofoils to slow car ferries, with prices that range correspondingly.
Ferries depart from two ports in Naples: Molo Beverello and Mergellina. Beverello is the principal port for ferries, and it is fairly straightforward to reach from the main Naples train station, Stazione Centrale.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
The three Doric temples of Paestum, at the start of the Cilento coast, are said to be the best preserved Greek temples in the world and the walls around Paestum are the most complete of that period. Paestum is also renowned for its painted tombs. This area is also very well known for the Caseifici (small cheese factories) where Bufala Mozzarella is produced. Don’t miss a stop at any of the Caseifici of the area to taste the freshly made Mozzarella from the factory shop.
Grotte di Castelcivita
The Castelcivita Caves are located on the right bank of the Calore River and penetrate the Alburni Mountains for several kilometers; of these, 1.3 kilometers are actually accessible for visits. Along the route, it is possible to admire all types of concretions: stalactites, stalagmites, columns, drapes, etc. The cave is alive and its drips continue to create new concretions over the centuries.
The visiting route was once longer, arriving at 1700 meters; however, the frequent winter floods eliminated the structure constructed for visitors in the deepest part.
Piazza Umberto 1 – Castelcivita (SA)
tel.fax. 0039 0828772397
Information and bookings: email@example.com
Visits: 10:30 – 12:00 – 13:30 – 15:00 – 16:30 – 18:00
Price: Eu 10 Adults and Eu 8 Children 6-12
Certosa di Padula
Padula Charterhouse is one of the most impressive buildings of all the Southern Italy, and, as usual, it is virtually unknown to the people that look for a cultural holiday in Italy. It is the second largest Chartreuse in Italy. It was founded in 1306 and it is dedicated to St. Lawrence. According to the stern carthusian rules between contemplation and work in use in the Chartreuse there are two distinct places for these practices: the peaceful cloisters, the library with its nice fine Vietri ceramic tiled floor, the chapels decorated with fine inlaid marble works, the cloister orchards ; and the large kitchen – where the legendary one thousands egg omelette was cooked for Charles V -, the cellars with their enormous wine vats, the laundries, and the huge external yards, where there were people working at the stables, ovens, stores, and at the olive oil mill.
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Valencia Tourism launches family card
Valencia Tourism launches family card
Birth of a new tourist card for families with children including free transport and discounts at major attractions. Travelling with the family is a sector of tourism that is rising. According to data compiled by Valencia Tourism in 2010, about 12% of tourists visiting the city come with their children.
Attractions such as The Science Museum, L’Oceanographic and Bioparc which are all extremely family orientated are among the most visited tourist attractions in the city. Together the beaches, the Turia Gardens and the Natural Park of La Albufera, all propel Valencia forward as a destination for tourists travelling with children. This is now further enhanced with the launch of their tourist card.
What is the Family Card
The Family Card is a new tourist card that offers a discount on the usual prices of the Valencia Tourist Card: 10% off adults and 20% off children between 6 and 12 years travelling with them.
The Family Card includes free travel on public transport, free entrance or family discounts for many interesting museums, like 15% off the City of Arts and Sciences and Bioparc, 25% off guided tours, up to 20% off in restaurants, a reduction of three Euros on the tourist bus and various discounts on buggy rides and on boat, bike and Segway routes, visits to the stadium of Valencia CF and bicycle rental.
Like the Valencia Tourist Card, Family Card is available in three forms: 24, 48 or 72 hours, saving up to more than 13 Euros in the case of a family of two adults and two children. The new family card can be purchased at tourist offices and on the offers page on www.turisvalencia.es
Children under five years do not need the new card as they travel free on public transport and enjoy free or reduced fares on most tourist attractions.
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The Making of Harry Potter
The Making of Harry Potter
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is a unique walking tour offering visitors the ultimate opportunity to journey behind the scenes of Harry Potter and experience the magic that has gone into creating the most successful film series of all time.
Visitors are able to step into the original Great Hall, first built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™, experience green screen technology and marvel at the breathtaking miniature scale model of Hogwarts castle. The attraction allows visitors the chance to see firsthand the sheer scale and detail of the actual sets, costumes, animatronics, special effects and props that have been used in all eight of the Harry Potter films.
In addition to the Great Hall, some of the most iconic sets featured in the attraction include Dumbledore’s office, Diagon Alley, the Ministry of Magic, 4 Privet Drive, Gryffindor common room and the Weasley kitchen.
Sarah Roots, Vice President Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “What makes this Tour so special is that everything on show has been used in the making of the Harry Potter film series. All the sets, props and costumes are authentic and show the incredible detail and craftsmanship that goes into film production. All the films were shot at Leavesden so it’s wonderful to have given the sets a permanent home here.”
Tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter are available via www.wbstudiotour.co.uk and must be pre-booked in advance by selecting tour times throughout the day. Tickets are not available to purchase on site. Tickets are priced at £29 for adults, £21.50 for children and £85 for a family of four. The attraction is located just north of London at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden with fast train links from Euston and shuttle buses for ticket holders to and from Watford Junction.
For further information please contact Warner Bros. Studio Tour London’s PR Dept.: Sarah Mitchell – 020 3427 7549 – firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR LONDON – THE MAKING OF HARRY POTTER
In 2000, an enterprising production team made its way to a film studio on the outskirts of London. The producers were inspired to make a film based on a book about a young boy with a lightning bolt scar who, on his eleventh birthday, learns that he is a wizard. That story was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ and that studio was Leavesden.
From 1939–1994 the studios were known as Leavesden Aerodrome, a local airfield and factory. During World War II, the plant produced fighter planes for the Ministry of Defence and, in the following years, it became a production centre for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines.
The factory closed in 1994 and Leavesden began a major transformation. Hangars became soundstages for filming and workshops for constructing sets and props. Meanwhile, the airfield’s runway and grassy fields turned into a fully functioning backlot. The old aerodrome was now England’s new home for film production. By the time cameras began filming Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ six years later, author J.K. Rowling’s first four Harry Potter books had climbed to top spots on best-seller lists all over the world. The filmmakers, cast and crew were now tasked with bringing to life on the big screen a magical world that was loved by millions.
Hundreds of talented men and women converged at Leavesden Studios to begin more than a decade of production. With each new film, the Harry Potter phenomenon grew, and soon the seven books that enchanted the world had become the biggest film series in history.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter™ celebrates the incredible craftsmanship behind these films as well as the wonderful production family that called the studios home for ten years. This tour also marks the first time that fans get the chance to set foot on the actual sets from their favourite movies.
THE GREAT HALL
As the setting for Hogwarts’ abundant feasts, the Yule Ball, and even a duel or two, the Great Hall is one of the castle’s most unforgettable locations. Visitors can walk on the actual solid York stone floor which was laid over 11 years ago. They will also marvel at the solid oak and pine house tables which were built for the films and then aged with axes and chains. Over the years, the Hogwarts pupils have taken it upon themselves to carve in their own graffiti, which production designer Stuart Craig encouraged – after all Hogwarts is a school!
Though it was rarely seen on screen visitors can also enjoy the unique house points bead system which prop makers are especially proud of. It is said to have caused a national shortage of beads when it was first installed in the year 2000. The physical ceiling in the Great Hall was inspired by the arched timber ceiling of Westminster Hall in London; however, the Great Hall’s enchanted ceiling, as seen in the films, was created using visual effects. The floating candles were created via individual candle-shaped tubes containing spirit oil which were suspended by wires, digitally removed on screen. During production on the first film, the heat from the flames burnt through the wires and the ‘candles’ fell onto the tables. The floating candles were created digitally thereafter.
GRYFINDOR COMMON ROOM AND BOYS’ DORMITORY
The Gryffindor common room is one of the films’ oldest sets and remains one of the most loved by fans. Each portrait on the walls depicts one of the Gryffindor Heads of House, including a young Professor McGonagall. The Gryffindor common room’s radio received news broadcasts from the Wizarding Wireless Network and has an opening on the front grille that actually moves like a talking mouth. The set decoration department chose the rich tapestries for their medieval look and prominent use of the Gryffindor colours — scarlet and gold. Within the set visitors will be able to spot Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak which was printed with Celtic symbols and ancient runes. Several cloaks were made, including versions with a green fabric lining that allowed the visual effects department to make Harry and his friends appear to be invisible. Up the spiral staircase from the Gryffindor common room was the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, which will now feature alongside in the attraction. The set includes the original beds made for Harry, Ron, Seamus, Neville and Dean for the first film. Over the course of filming, as the cast grew from young boys to teenagers, filmmakers were required to find unique camera angles to hide the fact that the cast had clearly outgrown the beds. Over the years the set decorators personalised the boy’s spaces in the dormitory; forexample, they put up posters and pennants of Ron’s favourite Quidditch™ team near his bed.
The small, circular shape of the room was production designer Stuart Craig’s way of creating a space in which Harry Potter would finally feel at home. Designers had originally planned to custom-make the fabric for the curtains surrounding the beds. However, set decorator Stephenie McMillan spotted the perfect fabric in a local shop window.
Professor Dumbledore’s office — a quiet retreat and study for the Headmaster — was located in one of the highest towers of Hogwarts. Dumbledore’s fascination with the universe and the skies became the room’s defining feature and the shelves glitter with old microscopes, telescopes, star charts and astronomical devices. The office also features forty-eight portraits of former Hogwarts Headmasters and hundreds of books which are actually British phonebooks covered in leather.
The Memory Cabinet where Dumbledore kept his memories, as well as those he had gathered from other wizards, was filled with more than 800 tiny, handmade and hand-labelled vials and is located in the office next to the Pensieve.
Tucked away in the upper chamber was Dumbledore’s largest telescope. Though one of the most expensive pieces ever created for the series, it was only ever seen in the background. Eagle eyed visitors will notice key props situated within the office including the Sorting Hat and The Sword of Gryffindor.
The art department designed the Potions classroom to appear as though it were located in a dark, underground corner of the castle. The brass-leafed archways are inscribed with the Latin and English names of potion ingredients and rare minerals, all selected from ancient alchemy recipes. Students brewed their potions using old-fashioned, gas-powered Bunsen burners and among the ingredients kept on the classroom shelves were baked animal bones from a local butcher shop and dried leaves and herbs.
Hagrid’s Hut is the home of Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts and later, Care of Magical Creatures teacher.
Filmmakers relied on some clever tricks to make Hagrid seem larger than the other characters, including creating two different versions of the set. A larger scale set was used to make characters of ‘regular’ size seem small in comparison to the surroundings and a smaller set was used to make Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) seem large.
Set decorators also filled the hut with an abundance of cages, each containing peculiar real animals and items such as hairless cats, fruit bats, and ostrich eggs.
THE WEASLEY KITCHEN
The Burrow was designed to look as though Mr Weasley had built it all. Within the Weasley kitchen visitors will spot the magical household items such as the self-washing frying pan which was created by the special effects department.
The rather unique Weasley Family Clock, featured in the kitchen, was purchased at a local auction. Prop makers outfitted it with new pendulums, gears, hands and other fanciful accessories to turn it into the clock that let Mrs Weasley know where each member of her family was at all times.
THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC
Concealed deep beneath the streets of London, the wizarding world’s centre of government in Britain, the Ministry of Magic, is accessible by telephone booth, lavatory and the Floo Network.
The office towers within the Ministry were based on a 19th century Victorian building in London and covered with thousands of green and red tiles made of wood.
As the Ministry of Magic was one of the largest sets ever constructed for the films, scenes shot there required hundreds of extras — many of whom were actually crewmembers in cloaks, beards and hats. The Magic is Might statue, including the fifty-eight Muggles at the base being crushed under the rule of the wizarding world, was sculpted from foam and hand-painted. Each of the Ministry’s enormous fireplaces is over nine metres tall.
Included within the Ministry of Magic set is Dolores Umbridge’s office which retains many of the nuances that were featured in her office at Hogwarts — especially the gaudy pink motif. Professor Umbridge had a love of ornate furniture, which set decorators found at a Middle Eastern furniture shop tucked away in North London.
From white kittens to peculiar-looking hairless breeds, dozens of cats were filmed for the kitten plates adorning the walls with goldfish bowls, crystal balls, miniature witches’ hats and other props. The visual effects department digitally added the frisky feline footage to the plates during post-production. On the set, the kitten plates in Umbridge’s Hogwarts office had a bluescreen centre that was replaced during postproduction. As she gained more and more power at the Ministry of Magic, Dolores Umbridge’s wardrobe became progressively pinker.
During production, the backlot was home to the exterior sets of the Harry Potter films — including Privet Drive and the Hogwarts bridge.
Number four, Privet Drive was the quiet, suburban home of the Dursleys, the relatives who raised Harry Potter. The exterior of the house in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ was filmed in Bracknell, Berkshire. For future films, the filmmakers decided to recreate the street on the backlot.
Though it was never in the original novel or script, the now iconic Hogwarts bridge was created for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™. Only one section of the bridge was ever built; the visual effects department created the remaining sections using computer-generated effects.
The 22-foot tall Knight Bus was created from pieces of three vintage London double-deckers. Two versions of the bus were built: one that was motorised and able to be driven and a ‘stunt’ version that spun around on a turntable. Interior shots of the Knight Bus were filmed on a soundstage.
THE CREATURE EFFECTS
The Harry Potter films called for hundreds of creatures and intricate prosthetics — from the Basilisk and Buckbeak to Lord Voldemort’s snake-like face — all built by the creature chop.
The creature shop created the makeup effects for characters like Griphook the goblin, but also built other amazing creatures such as the Mandrakes by using animatronics made of steel and foam. The creature shop also created models called maquettes, which were scanned by the visual effects department who then developed their own computer-generated versions.
The creature shop built a life-size version of Dobby for the actors to work with in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1™. The visual effects department then scanned that version into the computer, and applied computer-generated facial expressions and movement to create the Dobby that is seen on screen.
THE CREATURES, MAKEUP AND PROSTHETICS
Aragog had an 18-foot leg span and was covered by hand with yak hair, sisal (a fibrous plant of the agave family) and hemp from brooms. The animatronic figure was so complex that it required nearly 100 technicians to operate.
Three life-size, animatronic versions of Buckbeak were built: one standing, another rearing and a third lying down. Visual effects artists also scanned a life-size version of Buckbeak to create a digital model, which was then animated for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™.
Three animatronic versions of Fawkes were built: an old, moulting phoenix, a new-born bird that rises from the ashes and a (non-moulting) adult phoenix. A computer-generated version of Fawkes was also made from digitally scanned models of the bird.
The Greyback makeup effects artists developed a seven-piece silicone prosthetic mask for Greyback’s werewolf face. Each prosthetic was made with real goat hair that was inserted strand-by-strand. The makeup effects used to create the Dark Lord, Voldemort, included temporary tattoos for veins, enhanced cheekbones, contact lenses, and false eyebrows, fingernails and teeth. Coloured dots on actor Ralph Fiennes’s face were used to track the movement of his face and digitally replace his nose with Voldemort’s snake-like nostrils.
The Diagon Alley set constantly changed throughout the film series. Since its construction, walls have shifted, shop fronts have moved and entire buildings have been carefully tweaked, leaning just slightly, to create the street that is seen in the films. Many of the Diagon Alley set pieces were also re-dressed for use in the village of Hogsmeade™ for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™.
The original design of the street combined the rich details from the Harry Potter books with inspiration from the streets described in the works of Charles Dickens. Each of the shopkeepers and patrons was given his or her own unique costume.
In the three-storey explosion of orange in a deserted Diagon Alley, the Weasley twins sold everything from Extendable Ears to fireworks in the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes shop. The 120 individually designed products reflected Fred and George’s mischievous sense of humour. Designed to look like an 18th century shop, the Weasleys’ storefront took more than three months to build — and much of that time was spent constructing the 20- foot mannequin above the main entrance.
The dusty Ollivanders wand shop in Diagon Alley is where Harry’s wand chose him. The shop was home to more than 17,000 individually labelled wand boxes
HOGWARTS – CASTLE MODEL
The jewel in the crown of the art department is the intricately detailed model of Hogwarts castle. Built for the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™, the model’s every courtyard, tower and turret were filmed and enhanced with digital effects to create unforgettably realistic views of the magical school. Footage of this meticulously built model was combined with digital effects to create unforgettably realistic views of the exterior of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A team of 86 artists and crewmembers built the first version of Hogwarts castle for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™. To make Hogwarts appear even more realistic, artists rebuilt miniature versions of courtyards from Alnwick Castle and Durham Cathedral, where scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ were shot. The Hogwarts landscape is inspired by the Highlands of Scotland, including the regions of Glen Nevis, Glen Coe and Loch Shiel.
Model makers installed more than 2,500 fibre optic lights, which simulate lanterns and torches and even gave the illusion of students passing through the hallways. Artists also used real gravel for rockwork and boulders, and real plants for landscaping and trees.
The work on the model was so extensive that if one was to add all the man hours that have gone into building and reworking the model, it would come to over 74 years.
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