When we picture a weekend away to London, the images that spring to mind are fancy cocktail bars, edgy Shoreditch eateries and browsing Camden Market.
However, a mere 40 minutes outside the central city awaits one of the most magical experiences a fiction lover could have.
As a child and teenager, I grew up devouring the Harry Potter series as soon as each book came out (seriously, I was almost on the radio one year for being the first person in Ireland to finish the final book) and re-reading them sporadically until present day.
When the majesty and might of the wizarding world was projected on too the silver screen by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and co, to say the DVD box set of them we had became scratched up and over-watched would be an understatement.
The word enthralled couldn't appropriately describe my aura while watching those films – so once I realised in adulthood that there was a way to discover the technical logistics behind building the world of Harry Potter on screen, you best believe I was raring to go.
I added The Warner Bros Studio Tour London -The Making of Harry Potter to my bucket list for 2018, and by January 12, I had already ticked it off.
Accompanied by my soon-to-be 16-year-old sister, we made our way to London to celebrate her upcoming name day, we took the tube out of the city to Watford Junction, where a Knight Bus awaited to take us straight to the studio tour.
Thanks to all of our planning and pre-booking, the queing and collecting of our audio guides was quick and painless, as we stood astonished beneath the 20-foot Christmas tree that decorated the main entrance and gazed up at the turquoise Ford Anglia which had been used in the films as it suspended itself above our heads in the corner of the ceiling.
Once you arrive at the Studio Tour, you can stay for as long as you please, or at least until their 10pm closing time, but if you're in a rush, the tour can be completed in about two hours.
Immediately upon entry, you're greeted with a series of posters and book covers from Harry Potter the world over, before being shown a film featuring Harry, Ron and Hermione discussing how they really grew up on the set of Harry Potter, in the studio you're about to enter.
With a beckoning hand from Hermione, you're swept into the Great Hall and the tour can begin. Waiting with your tour group outside the huge double doors of the Great Hall – it was easy tp imagine yourself as a First Year at Hogwarts, about to be sorted into your House.
The Great Hall was decked out for Christmas during our visit, with the enter pieces and decorations from The Yule Ball scattered around the room. After a pyrotechnics display, and a look behind the magical special effects of the Hall itself (and some secrets about that enchanted ceiling that I wont give away) it was time to walk ourselves through the experience using the audio guide.
From the moving staircases to the Gryffindor dorm rooms, and from Dumbledore's office to Snape's potion dungeon, the tour was overwhelming in its enormity.
While the tour showcased hugely impressive props, like Hagrid's Hut, The Burrow and The Hogwarts Express, it also brought to the forefront the intense and creative work put into the films by the costume designers, set designers, builders, graphic designers and artists.
The studio collected all of the various elements of the wizarding world which were used in the films en masse, from the hundreds of painstaking and separately designed wizard hats used in the films, to the elaborate processes of making the wizarding creatures such as goblins, basalisks, house elves and Dementors through a mixture of green screens and good old fashioned sculpture. (seriously if you ever want to feel lazy, you have to see all of the hundreds of variations of goblin heads made by the designers).
A highlight of the tour would have to be the Forbidden Forest experience, which allowed you to wander through the forest itself, surrounded by spooky trees with trunks 10-foot wide, amidst the mist and lightning and far too many of Aragog's family members for my liking.
As well as the Forbidden Forest, the chance to sample a famous Butter Beer from the The Three Broomsticks was too good to pass up.
While the queue for the Butter Beers was as long as the queue to get into the tour, it was worth it once we sipped the delicious, sweet substance.
There was an option to purchase memorabilia glass tankards, but seeing as we were flying home with just hand luggage, we had to opt for plastic cups.
The next stop on the tour was the lot, where all of the bigger props such as The Knight Bus, The Dursley's Home and the Hogwart's Bridge were kept.
A quick tour of The Dursley's revealed that they had preserved the scene in which Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's sitting room filled with Harry's Hogwarts letters.
From there we passed through Diagon Alley, with mechanical magic peeping through every doorway and window pane.
Like all epic commercialised experiences, there was a humongous gift shop at the end.
Most things were extremely expensive, with Harry Potter hoodies fetching up to £70.00, and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans going for about a tenner (worth it when your sister gets the Earthworm flavoured one on the train home).
However, stationary and pins and badges were as affordable as £6.00, and there was a huge range of HP themed sweets to choose from without such an extortionate price tag.
All in all, I can only highly recommend it for any true fans of Harry Potter – just prepare to get a little nostalgic when you step through into the the wizarding world and a little teary eyed when it's time to step back out again.