Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter gets ready to reopen to wizarding fans following Coronavirus closure
Harry Potter fans will not be waiting much longer for the reopening of the hugely successful Warner Bros Studio Tour in London.
The Making of Harry Potter – a look behind the scenes of the wizarding films – will reopen on Thursday, August 20.
It was forced to close earlier in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The attraction is at the actual Warner Bros studios near London where a lot of the filming for the eight Harry Potter films took place.
It includes sets like the Gryffindor Common Room, Hogwarts Great Hall, Diagon Alley and Gringotts Bank alongside thousands of props and costumes.
The Great Hall (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)
And from the opening date, the Slytherin Common Room can be seen for the first time along with iconic costumes and props belonging to some of the house’s cunning characters.
The Slytherin common room in the Harry Potter movies
So what will be different when Harry Potter Studio Tour London reopens?
There will be a number of Covid 19 safety measures in place.
The attraction has made some changes to manage social distancing and keep everything extra clean.
Do you have to wear face masks?
Visitors aged 11 and over must wear a face mask unless medically exempt. They can be taken off when the wearer is sitting down in a cafe.
How will social distancing be managed?
There will be less visitor numbers and there will be a one-way system around the studios.
The shops and cafés will only accept cashless or contactless payment options .
Cars will be parked with spaces in between.
What will not be open?
Hogwarts Express (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)
The Hogwarts Express train carriage
Inside Privet Drive
The cloakroom and left luggage facilities
The Studio Tour shuttle bus service to and from Watford Junction Station will not be available
Will the toilets be open?
Toilets will be open with extra hygiene measures in place.
Will the studios be cleaned more regularly?
Yes, there will be extra cleaning throughout the day, especially of touch-points such as door handles and barriers.
And hand sanitiser stations will be positioned throughout.
Gringotts (Photo: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter)
Will the cafes be open?
The Hub cafes, Food Hall and Backlot Cafe will be open but there will be less menu choices.
Seating in the cafe will be spaced and visitors must not pay with cash.
We have loads of useful Harry Potter Studio tour information and tips for you
READ NOW: Harry Potter Studio Tour London – our full guide, review and must-read tips
READ NOW: Harry Potter Studio Tour London – EVERYTHING you need to know
The studio tour is still pre-book only, tickets are available now from the website.
What will change at Merlin’s theme parks and other attractions when they reopen as Coronavirus restrictions are lifted
All Merlin Entertainment theme parks, attractions and accommodation are to reopen on July 4 for day visits and short breaks – with safety measures in place.
Alton Towers and Warwick Castle have been welcoming visitors since June 6 but they will be joined by Thorpe Park, LEGOLAND Windsor, Chessington World of Adventures Resort, the Blackpool Tower, SEA LIFE Centres and Madame Tussaud’s.
The attractions will be limiting visitor numbers to allow for social distancing.
All visitors must pre-book tickets online.
There will be safety measures in place including new routes around the attractions and new queuing formats.
Staff will wear PPE and carry out enhanced cleaning, in alignment with Government guidelines.
Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments’ CEO, said: “We are delighted to be reopening following UK Government guidance.
“There has been a huge effort from our world class health and safety team, and all our teams across our attractions, to ensure we are ready to safely welcome guests back through our doors.
He said Merlin operates in 25 countries across four continents and the UK is the final country where attractions are still waiting to reopen fully.
“We look forward to welcoming guests from across the UK back to our sites, just as we have done successfully across Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America,” he said.
“In each location, we have seen our guests embrace the ‘new normal’ and actively adhere to the new safety measures we have put in place.
“After the extended lockdown, we recognise that people need leisure and escapism and to make new happy memories with those they love. We look forward to helping them do just that.”
National Trust closes its parklands from March 21
The National Trust has now CLOSED its parks and gardens to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.
The trust had been offering people free entry to its open spaces despite indoor areas being closed.
But there were crowds of visitors taking up the opportunity which made social distancing tricky.
Director General Hilary McGrady said: “Despite our desire to keep our outdoor spaces open, the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors has to be our top priority.
“We have now sadly taken the decision to close all of our parks and gardens, in addition to our houses, shops and cafes, to avoid crowding that puts social distancing at risk.
“We know that people are likely to need space and fresh air in the coming weeks and months and we will do all we can to provide access wherever possible.
“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing measures.
“Over the coming weeks our digital platforms – our website, social media feeds, podcasts and video – will become even more important, ensuring the places of nature, beauty and history that we care for on behalf of the nation can remain open for business virtually while we are temporarily closed.
“We will also be ramping up our efforts to help people connect with nature wherever they are and to find moments of joy in the world around them. We will be providing rich content and staying in touch with our members and followers throughout this time.”
For more information go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
What to do with children at home during schools closures and our top tips to educate them
Schools have shut and parents all over the country are wondering how best to look after their children at home.
It’s daunting to realise you are now their sole educator for the foreseeable future.
It’s also a challenging time for children – they can’t see their friends and have lost the security of their usual routine and activities.
But now they are away from playground chat about Coronavirus, we can shield them better from anxiety and make this as positive a time as we can for them.
After all, they are living through a period which will be remembered in history – one day they could be telling their grandchildren about the time schools closed.
So, let them remember it for all the good stuff, when they got to spend quality time with the people who love them most.
Where they played games, had fun and learned about things that really mattered to them and interested them.
Read, explored hobbies and passions but above all felt loved and secure at a time when the world around them was confusing and different.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you.
But whatever you do or don’t manage, please don’t feel inadequate or guilty.
EVERYONE is in the same boat. Children are not at school, remember, you are a parent not a teacher.
Timetables and routine
Children respond well to a routine. And their normal schedule has been taken away from them.
You can make a timetable to add structure to their days and a lot of children benefit from having a visual plan in place.
I’m going to attempt to get my children up and dressed first thing – wish me luck, they do love a pyjama day!
I’m also hoping to set aside periods for learning, reading, exercise and creative time but will be flexible and lead by them.
Make sure to set aside good chunks of time for child-led play.
Remember, this is NOT the time to be nagging or upsetting children if they really don’t want to do something.
And if they don’t learn much some days? Don’t worry!
Children need plenty of exercise.
Besides keeping their fitness levels up, they’ll feel happier, more positive and more energised if they keep active.
*You could start the day with a PE session – body coach Joe Wickes is doing a free PE lesson at 9am every weekday on YouTube #PEwithJoe.
*When allowed out, plan a daily walk or jog and try different routes, keeping well away from other people. If you are feeling particularly enthusiastic, make a treasure hunt of things to find or collect bits for a picture!
Keep a safe distance from others and avoid playgrounds and anywhere where children may touch surfaces.
*Plan your own PE sessions in the garden or obstacle courses.
Adapt learning to match their interests
Example: Harry Potter
I have two Harry Potter fans so, I am really thrilled to have found some amazing resources which will combine one of their favourite subjects with ways to learn and be creative.
The Ultimate Harry Potter Project – this blog gives some fantastic wizarding ideas as trialled by a Harry Potter-loving family like potion making, wand making, a Quidditch creation and how to make Mandrakes.
And this site provides loads of carefully made Harry Potter printables like crosswords, words searches, colouring pages and maths worksheets.
And of course, encourage them to dress up and play and let their imaginations run wild.
Take a topic and research the subject together then do different activities relating to it.
I’m going to try making our own volcanoes, write about them, make poems and paint pictures of them after being inspired by this great website Ways To Learn Through Play At Home (by SEN Resources Blog) and its fantastic YouTube videos.
This is the best time you will ever have to learn life skills together such as:
*Gardening: A lot of children love helping in the garden. I’m not exactly green-fingered but I’ve bought packets of seeds and ordered biodegradable seed pots to get us started.
*Decorate (with care): This is potentially a good time to spruce up the house. I’ve splashed out on a huge tub of emulsion and a new roller and have optimistic visions of us all having a go at this together, which could all go horribly wrong. We are also going to have a go at painting the shed.
*Cooking and baking: My two always love to make cakes and biscuits but I’m hoping they’ll enjoy trying some other easy recipes.
*Even cleaning and housework can sometimes be fun!
Make sure they don’t lose touch with their friends by arranging regular video calls for them.
We are loving Facebook Messenger where you can do group video chats. There are some hilarious filters you can use too.
It’s also proved a saviour for me and my friends later on in the evenings, with wine in hand!
It’s easy to use, just open Facebook Messenger, select a friend/friends or a group as if you were writing a message then press the video camera icon. To get the filters, press the smiley face.
I saw one mum had asked all the children in a group call who could find various items, which proved entertaining.
Set a timer and dedicate all your attention to one child.
Let them choose exactly what they want to do and be enthusiastic and supportive.
Do the same with all your children and give the others something to occupy them if possible while they wait their turn, without (good luck with this) interrupting!
Read to your children, get them to read to you and give them time to read alone. I’ve got two little book worms and it’s one of our biggest joys.
Also Amazon Audible has made hundreds of titles free during the Coronavirus.
And World Book Online has made its collection of over 3,000 ebooks and audiobooks available for free for children to access at home.
Plus, there are lots of children’s authors doing online read-alouds and activities, find out more here.
If your children like coding or want to learn, a company called Code Camp which teaches children aged 7 to 12 to code, has scrapped its subscription fees during this period.
Loads of children love LEGO and it helps develop lots of skills including fine motor skills.
If they are really keen, you can print out a free 30-day LEGO challenge here.
Make a diary
This is a time they will remember. Use this free printable stay-at-home diary.
Blue Peter Badges
If you have children aged six to 15, apply for a Blue Peter badge. And then they’ll have over 200 places to visit for free until they’re 16, once they are allowed out again.
On BBC iPlayer they have episodes of Planet Earth. One mum played them for her children and quizzed them at the end of each episode.
Pictures in the window
Children have been painting a picture of a rainbow or something else of their choice to put in the window for their friends to see when they walk past to keep everyone smiling. It’s the #frommywindow initiative.
If you are working from home
Everything is far more challenging when you are trying to work too.
Make sure your colleagues and employers know that you have children at home with you so they have realistic expectations of what you can achieve.
If you have partner who is also working from home, try to take shifts.
Give children activities which don’t need as much supervision where possible.
Accept that the children will have more screen time.
Most importantly – have lots of fun
Try everything you all enjoy – have pillow fights, have a movie night, play music and dance, sing, play tig, make dens, camp in the garden, laugh and be silly.
Concentrate on your children as much as possible, let them mess up the house, give them the freedom to play.
There has been a great deal of advice and links and websites to help us muddle through this crazy time.
But this has been one of the best things I have read. The author is said to be an experienced home educator who wishes to remain anonymous.
Tips for PARENTS OF SCHOOL CHILDREN who might be spending a lot of time at home together in the near future, because 😷🦠.
Hopefully these are some useful tips/thoughts/experience from a HOME EDUCATOR’S PERSPECTIVE on what can work at home. NB: this is what works for us and all families are different, so take however much is useful to you and leave the rest. Bare in mind, if your child is receiving work to do at home from school, that external factor may give quite a different dynamic to home ed, so your experiences may differ too. But I still hope some bits of this might be useful.
1. Replicating school at home doesn’t work. This is a truth almost universally acknowledged in home ed groups by parents who tried it, including qualified teachers. Naturally sometimes parents begin home ed in a school-like manner, perhaps after removing a child from school, thinking that’s the way to go. But it seems 9/10 times families quickly discover this is a route to frustration for children and parents. So if this happens to you, don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal, read on for alternatives 🙂
2. It’s fine for children to be bored. Actually it’s good for children to be bored. Perhaps not all the time, but definitely sometimes. Boredom breeds creativity. Our minds cannot stay idle, so inevitably they find something to do, and often they find surprising and interesting things. Isaac Newton began his discovery of gravity at home when Cambridge University closed because of the plague. Shakespeare also wrote some of his best regarded plays while hiding in the countryside from the plague. Possibly if feeling bored is unusual for a child, they might find it uncomfortable at first, but rest assured it is good and valuable. Parents, we do not always have to ‘solve’ boredom.
3. Schools spend less time on learning than you might think. There are several calculations by teachers-turned-home-educators that attempt to quantify actual learning time in schools. When the breaks and moving around and getting things out and putting things away and controlling behaviour and setting expectations and golden time and school photos, and last day of term, and a million other things are taken into account, how much focussed learning time is left on average per day? The calculations range from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Consider scaling back your own expectations accordingly.
4. Learning doesn’t have to be at a table with a worksheet. Oodles can be learnt through cooking, gardening, household tasks*, reading stories to each other, board games, card games, toys and roleplay, sewing and knitting, art and crafts, DIY, servicing a car or bike, music, radio, discussing the news, magazines, documentaries… Some families find that things learnt in an active practical way can stick better than learning on paper.
* Yes cleaning really can be educational – think of all the science involved in descaling a sink, enzymes in washing up liquid, microbes on surfaces, dissolving stains in solvents…
5. You don’t have to already know everything your child needs/wants to learn. Welcome questions and try to find answers together if you don’t know. Actually you might want to search for answers together even if you do know, because how to find things out for yourself is a valuable skill for kids to develop. In periods when children’s questions aren’t forthcoming, try voicing your own questions out loud while you go about your tasks, or ask kids their opinion on something to start a discussion. For older kids (we aren’t there yet) it seems to be about helping them find resources (people, clubs, books, courses) that they can learn from. ‘Facilitator not teacher’ is a phrase sometimes used.
6. Learning doesn’t have to happen in school hours. You probably have the children with you longer than they would be in school, so you have the option to pick times when they are more receptive, or that fit with family needs. Some families come to consider all-day every-day as learning time, by noticing and using learning possibilities in all of everyday life.
(7. Because I can’t not mention it after 4 and 6: home learning doesn’t have to happen at home. Unfortunately right now there may be No, or Very Limited, options to go out – follow the advice for your country. But rest assured that there are some (many) home educating families who usually go out a lot, and they may well be having similar challenges staying at home as school families do).
8. Set expectations/ have a rhythm. This might be very individual, but what works for us, while not being too rigid, is to have a pattern of when we do activities together and when we don’t. Eg you might come together to do a joint activity in the morning after breakfast. And during meal prep and clear up might be independent play/activities that they choose themselves. I find I still need to remind frequently that I won’t be taking part in complicated parent-dependant activities when I’m in the middle of clearing up the lunch carnage! And reminding of the slots when we do those things together really helps.
9. Consider including quiet time/a break for everyone. Ours coincides with the toddler’s afternoon nap. But even before a younger sibling, we found it helpful to have a quiet break after lunch. This is when I get some quiet thinking/headtasks time (those things not being at all compatible with awake toddlers). The older one might have some screen time, and/or she usually has creative projects that she wants to work on. It took us some practice to get this going well.
10. Having a bad day? However crazy and distracting your household (younger siblings, pets, deliveries, illness, broken washing machines…) is it truly more crazy and distracting than 30 other kids? Or, if you feel like you didn’t give enough attention to your child today, was it really less than 1/30th of the attention of the teacher at school? Probably not. These can be helpful thoughts, especially on a bad day.
11. Minimise prep, or include the kids in preparing for future activities. Because, quite differently to a teacher, you have these kids with you *all the time*. If you can’t find a way to get it done together, it probably isn’t going to happen. I try not to use the quiet time/break for prepping because that isn’t a really a break and I wouldn’t emerge sufficiently refreshed for getting through the rest of the day.
12. Look for activities that you get something out of as well as the kids. This is how to stay sane. Do as many of these as possible.
13. Atmosphere. You can always subtly change how a situation feels by putting on music, changing lighting, opening a window…
14. Lead by example. Do you wish your child would show an interest in something (more) wholesome (than what they’re doing right now)? What might happen if you gather some interesting objects on the table, and some paper and pencils, and begin drawing? Or put on some exercise clothes and get out your yoga mat and video? Make sure to just casually happen to have some spare pencils & paper/floorspace nearby ready for any requests to join in. Play it cool and don’t be obvious about hoping they’ll take an interest, and keep an open mind about what follows. This can work with so many activities. They might choose to join in, or they might not this time. But chances are they’ll have noticed, and you hopefully got to do something you enjoyed for a short time, and you’ve set a great example, and… sometimes interesting responses emerge much later. 😉
15. Don’t compare. Inevitably we tend to share the highlights where a child made something we’re proud of. We don’t share the moment when the floor can’t be seen, every opportunity provided for doing something wholesome has failed all morning, both the kids are screaming because you dared to use the loo, lunch is hours late, and the toddler has smeared poo on the coffee table. 🤦 But even with the highlights, just because a friend seems to do lots of X or Y, doesn’t mean we all should. Families are different, so focus on what works for yours. Including, ignoring all of the above advice if you think that’s best!
Good luck and enjoy!
More ideas and free resources for home learning
This website has loads of great teaching resources and is offering a free access code UKTWINKLHELPS.
We’d love to hear how you are getting on, let us know below!
How to protect your family from germs on a plane – all the precautions you need to take
I’ve always been a bit OTT when it comes to germs and my children – I’m the mum brandishing a hand gel at parties and soft play.
But the spreading coronavirus has seen us all improve our hygiene standards.
Getting ill can ruin a holiday – so how can we keep our children – and ourselves – as protected as possible when we travel?
Here we explain the extra precautions families can take to look after themselves while flying.
Aeroplanes and germs
Aeroplanes are pretty amazing – they transport us quickly to fantastic destinations all over the world.
But they can also be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria – the result of packing lots of people into an enclosed space for hours at a time.
Studies say that one in five people will get sick after flying, so how can we help prevent our children – and ourselves – from getting ill?
Before the flight
When you travel on a plane, your immune system is challenged by dehydration, lower oxygen levels and other factors, weakening your body’s defence against infections.
But you can boost your children’s immune system to prepare their bodies for flying.
If a child has plenty of sleep and eats healthily before the flight, their immunity will perform better.
Where to sit
Believe it or not, some seats carry a higher risk than others.
Passengers are more vulnerable to illness if they sit in an aisle seat – they receive the most contact and potential contamination from potentially poorly people walking up and down and holding on to head rests.
So put children by the window if possible, where there are less germs.
Also try to not sit your child next to someone who is ill, instead take the seat yourself or discretely ask a flight attendant if you can move seats.
You are less at risk sitting behind someone who is ill or coughing than in front.
Also avoid sitting too near to the toilets if possible as these areas are busier. Plus, people spending more time there may be the sick ones.
Avoid aisle seats
Washing hands regularly, especially before you eat, is the BEST way to prevent illness, wherever you are. Help children to wash hands and teach them how to do it properly. Show them how to use warm soap and water, scrub all over for 20 seconds, then rinse and dry.
Discourage children from touching their faces as bugs can be transmitted to their mouth, nose or eyes. And tell them not to put anything in their mouths.
Hand sanitiser removes most bacteria and viruses from hands so use it regularly and before eating and drinking.
Even if children have just been to the toilet and washed their hands, they are likely to have touched seats or other areas on the way back to their seats.
Tell children to rub the gel all over their hands until it is dry. Apply it thoroughly including between fingers.
Supervise young children as it is dangerous if ingested and store hand gel in a bag away from them and to avoid spillages.
Germs can last for up to seven days inside a plane.
Most germ viruses are transferred by touching not just breathing the air. There are several hotspots on a plane and one of the worst offenders is the tray table.
Children love a tray table. To be safe you can wipe it down with an alcohol-based wipe or gel. Experts also recommend you wipe armrests, seatbealt buckles, screens and remote controls.
There is often a quick turnaround time between flights so these areas do not always get thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
In-flight magazines and seat pockets
Passengers often use the seat pockets as bins and air crew find dirty nappies and used tissues in them among rubbish left behind, so try not to use them if possible.
They contain a lot of bacteria but wipes can’t properly disinfect the fabric of the pocket.
In-flight magazines are touched by hundreds of people and are never cleaned so they are full of germs. Avoid!
One of the best ways to stay healthy during a flight is to drink lots and lots of water.
Ensure children drink more than they would at home as they will get dehydrated and then the mucous membranes in the nose and throat will dry up which protect us from most diseases encountered.
Everyone should avoid coffee, alcohol and sugary drinks when flying, which will dehydrate you even more.
Aeroplane toilets are a big source of germs.
Avoid touching surfaces in there and turn off the taps and open the door while holding a paper towel.
The air coming out of the vents is meant to be cleaner than the air around your seat as it is filtered, so leaving them on a low setting can move the germs away.
However, you may want to use hand gel after touching the vent as it is another bacteria hotspot!
Blankets and pillows
Bring your own blankets and pillows for children to use. If you ask for them and they aren’t wrapped, they may not be clean.
Plus having a familiar blanket and pillow to curl up with may also make children happier.
Bring your own entertainment for children so that they don’t touch onboard touchscreens which have a lot of germs from dirty fingers, coughs and sneezes. Or otherwise wipe them first!
Other Germ-Fighting Travel Tips
Health experts suggest wiping down remote controls, light switches, telephones, doorknobs, toilet seat handles and taps to protect children.
Chlorination does not kill all bacteria. Teach young children to avoid swallowing water in pools and water parks. And make sure they shower after getting out of the pool.
If you are going on holiday, do NOT let worry and anxiety spoil a trip.
Arm yourself with hand sanitiser and a bit of knowledge.
And don’t scare your children! Just make them aware of basic hygiene.
Wishing you happy, healthy holidays.
Coronavirus crisis is the final blow for struggling airline Flybe
UK airline Flybe has collapsed – all flights have been cancelled and passengers have been told not to go to airports.
Flybe told customers today its business had ‘ceased trading with immediate effect’.
“If you are due to fly with Flybe, please DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline,” the company has told customers.
“Please note that Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.
“If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on a Flybe flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.”
The budget carrier, founded in 1979, was once Europe’s largest independent regional airline.
The Exeter-based company operated nearly 40 per cent of UK domestic flights – more than 200 routes and around eight million people a year used its services.
Chief executive, Mark Anderson, said the company had made ‘every possible attempt’ to avoid collapse but had been ‘unable to overcome significant funding challenges’.
“The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets,” he said.
“Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation.”
The coronavirus has seen demand for flights plummet in recent weeks, putting added pressure on the company which was already struggling with rising fuel costs and competition from other airlines.
The government announced in January that it was in communication with the company about it finances and had announced a rescue deal.
The whole global airline industry is in crisis because of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China.
Flight schedules have been cut and planes grounded.
The collapse puts more than 2,000 jobs at risk.
The government has said it will help Flybe’s workers find new jobs and will work with other airlines to minimise disruption and replace services.
Flybe passengers and staff are being offered free travel by all First Rail train operators, which consist of Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast.
EasyJet has offered rescue fares for passengers and free flights to Flybe staff to get home.
Flybe customers who bought tickets directly from the company will not be protected by the Atol scheme.
But if you went through a travel agent or another third party you might be covered.
Some people may be able to get their money back if they paid by credit card or with some debit cards.
For all your rights go to the Martin Lewis MoneySavingExpert website,
Customers are also advised to monitor the Civil Aviation Authority website for further information .
You can contact the administrators by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.