For anyone who knows me, knows that I am absolutely OBSESSED with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I know every single word, of every single line, from every single episode. I go through life relating absolutely everything to Friends (somehow everything that happens to me, I can draw parallels to something in Friends). I have taken countless photos of Rachel to the hairdressers to perfect the style, and when I found out my university boyfriend studied Palaeontology, my dreams of meeting Ross had come true (seriously, I need help). So, when the opportunity arose to visit the actual set of Friends, I couldn’t have purchased the tickets any quicker.
More excited than Ross seeing a picture of a Trilobite, I headed to Clissold Park in London. Here’s how I got on!
There is no doubt that being able to go on set was the best part of the experience. It was such a dream come true to be a part of the show and being sat in Monica’s apartment made it real for just a moment. Everything was perfect, from sitting on their sofa, to eating cookies in their kitchen, to spying on Ugly Naked Guy through the binoculars. Those who have tickets for any future Friends Fest, be sure to open the fridge – they have Rachel’s infamous Flan, a sandwich for Joey and I’ve been told that if you open the freezer, they have a copy of ‘The Shining’ in there! I was very impressed with the attention to detail. Every single item on the shelf was meticulously placed in order to give the most accurate representation of Monica’s kitchen.
I really liked the fact they had built up the corridor set as so many scenes happened there – from eating cheesecake off the floor, to the whole gang being locked out on Thanksgiving (Got the key?) to Ross and Ben pranking Rachel. This is something I felt was missing on my visit 2 years ago so it was great to see they had added it to the collection.
Across the corridor, was of course Joey and Chandlers pad. I finally got to kick back in the Lazy boy recliners and watch Baywatch (they are super comfy), have a game of Foosball and sit in their wooden boat! The apartment wouldn’t have been complete without that famous white greyhound statue they come riding in on after winning the apartment bet (He’s a TRANSPONSTER!), which was situated near their yellow sofa with HUGSY. Yep, I got to cuddle Hugsy!
Once the sets tours were over, we grabbed a hot MOCHOLATE in Central Perk (after confirming we weren’t allergic to Rat Poison or Cats hair of course 😉 ), and sat back on the renowned ‘orange sofa’ to listen to some live music – A Phoebe Buffay tribute act who had the whole cafe singing along to some of her classics including: The Snowman, Grandma, Little Black Curly Hair and of course Smelly Cat. There was even the opportunity to get up and have a sing song yourself which I took full advantage of.
Props and Costumes
What I thought was a great addition to this year’s Friends Fest was the ability to see real props and costumes that were worn by the actors during the series. Ross’s leather pants were on show (It’s made a paste!), Phoebe’s guitar, the Armadillo costume David Schwimmer donned for his son Ben, the Geller Trophy, Rachel’s 18 page letter to Ross and that cute black and white outfit Jennifer Aniston wore when Rachel GOT OFF THE PLANE are just some of the things that were made available.
Additionally there were a couple of dress up stages that allowed you to try on some of the costumes such as the wedding dresses the three girls wear when having their boyfriend bonfire, the gladiator costume Joey wore during his stint in Vegas and Rachel and Monica’s prom dresses from 1988 were also available to try on. To make it even better, it would have been nice to have had Monica’s fat suit available or Rachel’s lucky cheerleader costume as the former especially, would have provided some extra laughs!
Recreate the Titles
Situated near the entrance is one of the most famous opening credit scenes in TV history – the orange sofa, accompanied by a pop up fountain, the background set and those umbrellas. Annoyingly, we weren’t allowed to open and close our umbrellas (we wanted to get a boomerang!) which was a shame but the staff did allow us to embarrassingly dance around the set to the theme tune.
Although there were lots of places to eat and drink, all in keeping with the theme, I was slightly disappointed by them as most of them were just kebab vans with a friend’s themed menu and title. Although there was a small diner (Monica’s Moondance), it would have been fun if there had been a performance, even just once an hour of people dancing on the bar to YMCA just like Monica and her colleagues did. Or at least at the Mocholate van put mocholate labels on the Nutella bottles to keep the magic alive!
Although saying that, there was lots of variety, including Ross’s sandwich, a themed gin and prosecco bar named after Chandler and Joeys pets Chick and Duck, and traditional New York style food.
Amongst all this, in the centre of the festival, was a huge stage and screen playing the best clips from the series. A few people have mentioned they would have preferred actual episodes to be played so you can sit down with a bite to eat and watch a full episode whilst waiting for your set tour. Personally, I preferred having a variety of clips, as it allowed you to see all the funniest parts of Friends and relive a wide range of scenes and memories.
Overall, for any Friends fan, this is the dream! Tickets from the website have now sold out, however if you search for them on Stubhub or Ebay or vsit the Facebook Group ‘’Unused Tickets’, people are selling spares! This is now the third Friends Fest so I’m sure there will be another next year or the year after. Keep your eyes peeled!