As a nineties child, I grew up with Harry Potter. I vividly remember my mum sitting on my bed, reading me the first chapter of the first book and being hooked immediately. As I got older, I would count down the days until the next book was released and then hide myself away in my room until I’d finished it. You can imagine my delight then when Warner Bros. Studio Tour London opened.
I went when it first opened in 2012 and then again, last weekend (which was even better then the first time I visited). Even if you are not the biggest Harry Potter fan, there is something really very magical about this place – it’s a wonderful experience to see what went on behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films.
The Warner Bros. Studio tour in situated in Leaveden, Hertfordshire which is in southeastern England – not far from London and is a permanent exhibit.
The Studio Tour can be reached by car or by train (and then a shuttle bus). Check out the Warner Bros Studio Tour website that has detailed information about how to arrive at the studio, as well as timetables and other travel advice. I would suggest it’s easiest to arrive by car or by catching a train to Watford Junction and the catching a shuttle bus from there (it’s reasonably priced at £2.50 for a return).
It’s recommended that you arrive around 20 minutes before your tour starts. You can’t take a hot beverage around with you so make sure you leave yourself some time if you’re planning on grabbing a drink before the tour.
There are so many highlights to the tour and some wonderful touches and surprises along the way. Without giving too much away, here are my top five studio highlights:
The Great Hall has to deserve the first mention – I went when the Goblet of Fire was the special feature and so the hall was set up to when people were being selected for the Triwizard Tournament. There is a live Special Effects demonstration showing how the Triwizard Champions’ parchments were expelled from the Goblet, and you will receive a souvenir parchment to remember your visit by.
I think if I could choose to play any character in Harry Potter then it would probably be Molly Weasley. The Burrow was one of my favourite sets on display at the Studios – the clock, the iron that irons clothes itself and the knitting needles makes you feel as though you are actually in the Weasley household. A must-see in this Studio tour!
Meet Buckbeak, the spiders and the whomping willow as you meander your way around the Forbidden Forrest. A real treat – beautifully created and hugely atmospheric.
I did a little internal squeal of joy when I saw this. With steam puffing from the Hogwarts Express (which you can actually BOARD – I know!), Platform 9 and 3/4 and the Honeydukes trolley – filled with chocolate frogs and other delectable sweat treats – this was perhaps the highlight of the entire tour for me.
Seeing the cupboard under the stairs, entering the house where we first meet Dobby (another favourite character) and that iconic scene where all the letters come flooding through the fireplace, Privet Drive was another firm favourite of the Studio Tour.
There are so many other amazing sets and parts to this tour, that it’s best to see for yourself in person. The tickets are £41 so they aren’t the cheapest but I do feel like they are worth every penny. There is a family ticket option and a saver ticket option which is £39. The tour books up very quickly, so it is definitely worth booking well in advance so you can get the date and time you would like (particularly during peak holiday season).