Yesterday we went to the Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Bros. Studio in London (technically, it is known as the Warner Bros Studio Tour, but everyone seems to just refer to it as the Harry Potter Tour instead). It was part of The Bloke’s ongoing 50th birthday celebration, and while I’ve never been a fan of the films (although an avid reader of the books), it was something that I knew he had been looking forward to for quite a while. In all honesty, I was prepared for it to be something that I just ‘did’ that I could add to my list, purely for the sake of saying that I had visited and experienced it.
I take it all back – it was fabulous. The sets, the costumes, the atmosphere – it was amazing just to see everything on show, to the point where half-way through I was resisting the urge to steal a cloak and wand from one of the children wandering around (seriously, shouldn’t they have been in school?) and run around yelling EXPELLIARMUS at everyone in my way.
Want to visit the Harry Potter Tour? Here are a few hints and tips that may help make your journey a little easier.
A specific date and time slot needs to be selected for your visit, and expect for spaces to be filled for weeks in advance (I booked tickets in September and the nearest space I could get was for early November, as October was completely sold out for the entire month). It isn’t cheap, particularly if you’re planning on taking the kids, with prices for 2019 at £43.00 for adults, £35.00 for children and £140.00 for a family of four (but totally worth it), and under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.
It’s advisable to book a slot as early in the day as possible and to arrive at least twenty minutes ahead your allotted ticket time. The earliest entrance time we could get was for 2.30pm, and we were incredibly lucky in that we arrived over an hour earlier and were allowed to go in as they weren’t particularly busy, which is rare. However, by the time we had finished and were making our way to the exit, the entrance queues were enormous. On average, it takes about 3 – 4 hours to do the entire tour, although The Bloke and I managed it in 2 hours as we didn’t stop to sit down and eat.
Click on the images throughout the post for the full size…
While the exhibition says that it is in London, it’s actually in Leavesden, which is about 20 miles away from Central London.
To save on hassle, petrol and to allow us to be able to relax during our journey there, we travelled via public transport. We got a train to Watford Junction and outside the station there is a shuttle bus service directly to the studios that takes about 15 mins and drops you off outside the main entrance, running every 20 minutes for £2.50 return ticket that can be purchased directly (cash only) from the driver on the day. In order to be allowed on the bus you have to show proof of purchase of your tickets. On the bus there is a short video with useful instructions and things to be aware of when going to the studios.
For travel instructions and directions, here is the link from the official website
Food and drink is not allowed to be consumed during the main areas of the tour. However, there is a ‘Backlot Cafe’ where food (and Butterbeer) can be purchased and if you bring your own packed lunches then you can eat it in this area. There is also a very small smoking section outside.
What to Expect
Upon entrance bags will be searched and every person will be checked with a metal detector scanner.
There are cloakrooms to leave coats and bags near the entrance.
The start of the tour will begin with a short introduction by one of the staff, and a very short film is played, introduced by Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint (Harry, Hermione and Ron), and your tour begins in the Great Hall.
The tour is separated into two studios, J and K (see what they did there) with the Backlot cafe (along with sets such as the Knight Bus and Privet Drive) in the middle of the two.
There is no time limit on how long you spend in each area except the Great Hall, although be advised that it gets considerably more busy as the day progresses.
The tour is incredibly easy to follow, with the actual sets, props and costumes used in the films, along with interactive exhibits, green screen photo opportunities, art work and graphic examples of the Harry Potter world, with an amazing model of Hogwarts towards the end of the tour. Just some of the sets you can see and even walk through include Dumbledore’s Office, Privet Drive, the Hogwarts Express train, the Forbidden Forest and Diagon Alley. It’s actually a little more emotional in parts than you would perhaps anticipate, particularly around the Hogwarts model, possibly because of the beautiful lighting and sound that accompanies it.
Photography is actively encouraged – you are allowed to take photographs everywhere except the film presentation at the beginning – and you can share your images on your social media using the hashtag #WBToursLondon.
Need to ask a question? Don’t be afraid to speak to any member of staff – this was one of the only major tourist attractions that we have visited over the last few years where every single person was friendly, positive and helpful…
An extra tip – if you’re visiting for a birthday, be sure to ask at the entrance for a birthday pin and you may get an extra surprise at the start of the tour!
Want to see more? Click on the images for the full size!
And the most beautiful part of the whole tour…
Note: I took literally hundreds of photographs during my visit, but made the decision not to share most of them on this post, mainly because the impact of the different sets when I wasn’t expecting them to be on such a grand scale made me physically gasp, and I would like anyone visiting the studios to experience the same thing – I didn’t want to potentially spoil any surprises…
What about you guys? Have you visited the Warner Bros. Studio Tour? Are you a Harry Potter fan?
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Great post 😁
I’m booked on a tour in a few weeks. Thanks for the timely review and advice.
Ooh amazing! are there any questions you have that I can help with?
Was it a long wait to get on the shuttle? we are also planning to train in and shuttle over and I wasn’t sure how crowded that option might be.
Are you going to get the shuttle from Watford Junction? (They call it a shuttle – it’s just a double decker bus with the WB Studios Harry Potter sign on it). We were able to get straight on one that was waiting, and we waited about 10 mins before it went, and it took about 15 mins to get there. On the way back we waited about 10 mins to get the return shuttle. At max you’ll be waiting 20 mins as that is the regularity of the shuttle. The one we were on to go there, which we got at about 12.45pm, was only half full
perfect! thank you!
What time are you booked in for?
130 tour. Was the earliest I could get the whole week we are in London.
Is it during a weekday? Ooh, if you’re getting a train from Euston DON’T get a train to Watford where the time ends in a 7 – those take over an hour (tip from one of the train ladies there) – all the others take 10-15 mins. I would get to Watford for 12 and then you’ll have an easy time with the shuttle trip, getting in, bag checks etc, and they may let you in earlier if they aren’t busy!
Monday the 19th. I might be more excited than my child. LOL. We are taking a train from Euston. I won’t get a 7 ending. Thank you!
Can I ask, where would you go to tea in London with a nine year old and husband who doesn’t dress up? LOL
What area are you staying in? (Don’t give your exact hotel) – The Bloke and I went to the pizza express opposite Kings Cross after we had visited as we wanted a sit down meal but didn’t want anywhere that was expensive or posh but had good food
Not hoteling. rental flat. Marylebone. I’m waffling between very traditional tea or something fun and silly like the mad hatter or winney the pooh tea. LOL.
Oh sorry where I’m from ‘tea’ means ‘dinner’ haha!
i realized after. LOL. Hence the further information
I would check out Pinterest for an afternoon tea type thing – I have had a few in Birmingham but not in London
BEST day out I ever had!! I was more excited than the kids lol x
I would have LOVED to have been there to see your face haha!
Ah it just looks amazing!!
It was sooooooo good! I actually almost cried at one point and I’m not even a massive fan of the films!
It was fantastic!
I’ve passed on your post to a friend who’s going with the family.
Fabulous, and genuinely useful as we hope to be able to take the boys sometime soon
Glad you found it useful!! When are you planning to go?
Oh, nothing booked yet- possibly this summer.
I’m not a Potter-ite but I can see the appeal. Looks amazing!!!
Neither am I, and I absolutely loved it!
Thanks for this great review and helpful hints. Hubby and I have been talking about a weekend in London and I definitely want to do this!
It’s definitely worth a visit – you have to book tickets several months in advance though as it’s so popular!
An amazing place for all HP fans. My kids and I loved this tour we did a few years ago now. Great memories. 🙂
It’s fantastic isn’t it!
Have a great weekend lovely 😊
I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan and would love to take this tour one day before I am too doddering!
I bet you would love it – just make sure you don’t break any bones before you go though haha!
So glad you enjoyed the tour. I’ve been wondering if it was worth doing…don’t have to wonder anymore 🙂
I’ve got some serious Harry Potter fans in my family so definitely this is going on my to-do list 🙂
It’s absolutly worth going, even if it is just the once! They would love it!
I went a few years back and loved it. Did two posts and her had so many photos spareness. Really liked the detail. Thanks for sharing
Thank you! I didn’t include most of my photographs as I didn’t want to ruin a few of the surprises i had!
Guess I’ll have to bucket list this for that time I ever get to England!
It’s definitely worth visiting- even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan it’s one of the best days out I’ve had in a while…
I am a Harry Potter fan. Devoured those books with my son.
I loooooved the books. I think that’s why I disliked the films so much haha!
I have been wanting to go to the US one but the UK one seems soooo much better!! Luckily there are HP festivals around that turn local towns into “mini” Hogwarts which is great for those of us on budgets and no time for real trips. I’m not a fan of the butterbeer though. #slytherinpridethough
Hahah! I’ve always seen myself as a slytherin too – not sure why!
Every single quiz I have ever taken has said Slytherin haha which is so funny because I’m so sweet and not the ideal image
Haha! Me too, although I’m not sweet…
Hi, thanks for sharing your trip to Harry Potter World :). Wwe are only able to book the 4:00pm session in January and are a bit concern about the shuttle bus that runs from the studio to Watford. I’m assuming we have until 8pm when the studio closes to take everything in but then are there still any shuttle buses running at that time? At this rate we really have no choice but at least if we know about the transport, I can look into it now and be well prepared for it. Cheers!
Please forgive the late reply! According to their site the last bus goes when the venue closes, but I would contact them directly to clarify
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The Potter craze seems to have no expiration date, it just expands more every year. That amazes me.
I’m not a fan of the films, but this was absolutely worth seeing, which really surprised me
What fun! I’m ready. My boys would’ve loved that when they were younger. Who am I trying to kid? I’d go now!
I absolutely loved it – my ‘kid’ is 50 and he loved it too haha! Totally worth a visit if you ever get the opportunity
Although I did see a couple of the Harry Potter movies, I’m not a fanatic. A few years ago while in Orlando for a conference, I had the opportunity to visit Harry Potter World. It’s was really neat! I enjoyed yours pics and glad you had a good time.
I know The Bloke would love to go to the Orlando one… does it look like the London one?
Oh, how fun! I wonder if it will count that this will be a (deferred) birthday treat for BOTH my girls? My mama and I are taking them to London and Paris next year, as part of a Girl Scout tour run by one of the other troops in our area – this is one part of the itinerary that none of us have ever done (though my mama and I have both been to the UK several times), and all of us can’t wait for! 🙂
It’s absolutely worth it if you ever get the chance – I’m not a fan of the films and we don’t have kids but it was one of the best experiences I had last year – it’s incredible!
My daughter would KILL for this experience.
It was a present for The Bloke’s 50th and it was unbelievable. I wouldn’t say that I’m a massive fan of the films but I was completely blown away…