I have visited the Harry Potter Studios (Warner Bros Studio Tour) twice now and loved every hour, minute and second. The first time I visited was back in March 2015 and the second time I visited was in November 2015. If anyone has looked into booking to go to the studio tour before, you’ll know that they put on special events at certain times of the year. In November/December, it’s all about Hogwarts in the Snow.
This blogpost will be split into 2 parts, Harry Potter Studio Tour (Part 1) and Hogwarts in the Snow (Part 2) as it will be very very long if it is all as one. Part 1 will be the longest as it includes all the spoilers, and Part 2 will be briefer. I personally think it’s best to go to the tour ‘blind’ and not knowing what is inside those doors, but I know some people like to know, so I have added a spoilers section, but you can skip past it. I will let you know when that it though, don’t worry.
So let us begin…”Welcome to Hogwarts“…
Warner Bros Studio Tour – Normal Harry Potter Studio Tour
So let us start this magical journey from when I got onto my very own Hogwarts Express from Wolverhampton Train Station. I made my way to the nearest train station to me which was Wolverhampton, met my friend and ran through the wall to platform 9 and ¾ and got on the train to Birmingham new street. Ok, I’ll stop believing I’m in the Wizarding World now. So the train to Watford Junction train station only took us about an hour and a half from Birmingham New Street which was great. While arranging our journey, we saw on the Studio Tour Website (which if you haven’t seen, do check it out; it is full with great information) that there is a bus which goes from Watford Junction to the Studio Tour. It cost us £2.50 return and runs every 15 minutes, and it is not a bus you will miss…look at it…
Once at the Studio Tour, it really doesn’t look much from the outside. There are some of the big chess pieces which you see in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets outside, so if you have time before you go in, make sure you go check them out. Once inside the, in the foyer area there is the entrance, cloakroom to store your coats and any suitcases you may have, a Café where you can get some food and a Starbucks. They suggest you get to the queue to go in 20 minutes before, but both times I have visited I started to get into the queue about 10 minutes before and was ok, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Here is where I go quiet for a bit….there is a bit before you go on the tour itself, but you can see that for yourself. The only bit that is a guided tour is the Great Hall, but after that, you are free to go around at your own time. There is so much to see and the room first room is literally full to the brim with props, wigs, scenery and everything in-between. My tip is to take it slow, take it all in and explore low and high. You will be amazed at how they get some of the stuff so high up, it’s amazing. ALERT! This is where the Spoilers hit, so skip to ‘Welcome Back’ if you want to miss them out…
Skip to ‘Welcome Back’ to miss all spoilers
Ok, so there is so much to see in this first section of the tour. You will be greeted with wigs of all the cast, the back gates to Hogwarts, the boys dorm room, the goblet of fire (with demonstrations), wands of all the cast, The Mirror of Erised, the potions class, Dumbledore’s office & staircase, the door to the Chamber of Secrets, Hagrid’s bike, the cart in Gringotts Bank, Death Eaters and so so much more.
You can take a Wand Class in this room if you want to, which I didn’t do to its full extent, unfortunately. My friend didn’t want to do the whole class while there were hundreds of people walking around, but she did agree to a few photos’ which the man there was happy to take for us. Just next door is where you get to go into the green screens. You get to ‘sit’ in the Weasley’s car and also get to robe up (there are ones for every house and ones for adults and kids) and fly on a broom. This was amazing and you actually feel like you are flying with the wind blowing through your robe and hair.
When we got out of here we went through to the Backyard Café. We didn’t stop here, which is a huge regret of mine. I didn’t realise this is where the Butterbeer would be served. Just outside there was the Knights Bus, Privet Drive, Potters Cottage, Hagrid’s Bike, the Weasley’s Car and the Hogwarts Bridge.
The next room is where you get to go back inside and see all the special effects. They have all the prosthetics, animals and very lifelike ‘stunt’ doubles (all models in a glass cabinet, sorry). Then it happened…I rounded the corner and unexpectedly just wondered into Diagon Alley. I fangirled, I’m sorry. It is a lot smaller in real life compared to on the big screen, but that’s TV for you. It was still breathtaking though, It takes nothing away from the magic.
The next section shows you the sketches of the sets etc. but I can’t really talk about this as it’s only a ‘walk through’ area and I skipped past it, but that’s not to say it was boring; just not my cup-of-tea. We then heard music playing and saw a darkened room on the horizon, and there it was in all its glory…Hogwarts. It was the most amazing view. It was miniature, but massive with so much detail that you have to keep stopping to take a good look and appreciate every section of it. I saw everyone in here with their Digital Guides and I was gutted I didn’t pick one up at the beginning. I wanted to hear about this section so much.
After this section, you end up inside Olivander Wands and then go straight into the shop.
You didn’t miss much, don’t worry. This story picks up after the last room and we were so tired after the tour that we decided to forget the shop (which is at the very end of the tour) and go grab a drink and some food in the café and do a sorting hat quiz on the internet (free wifi by the way) and I found out I was a Ravenclaw. The tour took us only 2 and a half hours to complete, without a break; running through it all not including the stop in the shop. We then decided to hit the shop, and oh my; it was full of Harry Potter goodies. There was so much and of course, I needed to buy everything Ravenclaw now that I was a Ravenclaw. We spent about a good hour in the shop alone and well, you may need to take out a loan before you go. It isn’t the cheapest of places, but it was good stuff in there.
We boarded the bus once again, said our goodbyes and headed to the train station to go home. It was a long day and tiring, but was such an amazing place. I loved it so much that I had to book again and take my boyfriend who is a Harry Potter geek! This time though, I wanted to experience it at Christmas for the Hogwarts in the Snow special. See my next blogpost Hogwarts in the Snow for all the Christmassy & snowy spoilers. I promise it is nowhere near the length of this blogpost.
Ticket Prices – Adult – £35 / Child – £27 / Under 4 – Free
Location – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
Special Events for 2016 – Explore Number 4 Privet Drive (27.05.2016-06.06.2016), Finding the Philosopher’s Stone (22.07.2016-05.09.2016), 15th Anniversary Film Celebrations (15.10.2016-04.11.2016), Hogwarts in the Snow (19.11.2016-Onwards).