Like most kids born in the late 80s and early 90s, I spent a good portion of my childhood dreaming about what it’d be like to go to Hogwarts. I remember going to book release parties at midnight, and staying up all night to read the books. When the movies were announced, I was over the moon- even more magic.
When I moved to London, I knew the Warner Bros. Studio Tour was something I wanted to do while living in the UK. To be exact, it was near the very top of my list. 😉 Luckily, my sister shares a passion for Harry Potter, and I knew her visit would be the perfect time to visit the studios.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, visiting the studios will be undoubtedly be one of your favorite London memories.
On the tour, the books and movies come to life before your eyes. You see exactly what went into making eight magical movies.
It’s honestly all so mind-blowing. Throughout the entire tour, I was amazed with how much input JK Rowling had in the filming process. Sure, I knew she was heavily involved, but when you read about examples of how the production crew wanted to do one thing, and she urged them to consider another, you realize she was really a driving force in bringing the story to life in the way it deserved.
All of the details from filming, and from the experience amazed me.
After watching a short film, your tour starts in the Great Hall. Then, you go at your own pace, learning about how the movies were filmed, and exploring sets for Dumbledore’s Office, the Weasley Burrow, the Potions Classroom, the Gryffindor Common Room, The Leaky Cauldron, the Ministry of Magic, the Malfoy Manor, Umbridge’s Office, the Forbidden Forest, and more.
It’s an incredible experience.
You’ll have the chance to see platform 9 3/4 and board the Hogwarts Express.
Just when you thought things can’t get any better, it’s time for Butterbeer.
Post-refreshment, you’ll head to the backlot to see the Dursley’s house, the Knight Bus, the Potters’ Cottage and more.
Then, it’s time for the second part of the tour, which includes special effects and costume rooms, the chance to walk down Diagon Alley, and a special magical surprise at the end.
At the end, there’s a gift shop- my sister and I both bought volumes of the first book with special house covers (hey, hey Gryffindor).
The tour took 3.5 hours, and we’d been told most people take 3 hours, although some take 4-5. It’s an experience you should be prepared to book far in advance. It was one of the first things I reserved when my sister told me she was coming to London, and tours were almost totally sold out six weeks ahead of time.
The studios are located outside of London, but easy to get to. We took a train from Euston Station to Watford Junction, where we caught a shuttle to the studios. Be sure to check the train timetables for Euston before the day of your tour- there are two trains, a 20 minute one and a 50 minute one. You’ll want to time your journey so that you’re able to take the shorter train.
Have you ever been to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour for Harry Potter? If so, what was your favorite part?