If you call yourself a fan of the Harry Potter movies, you just cannot not go at least once in your life to the Warner Brother’s Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. So me, being a MASSIVE fan, I just had to go, and last week was finally the day., My friend and I went on a citytrip to London for four days, and one day of those four, we went to visit these amazing studios.
These studios are the actual studios where all eight Harry Potter movies were shot. It’s in Leavesden, which is about one hour out of London. During this tour, you get to see so many sets and props from all movies and you get to know many secrets about filming and behind the scenes information. It’s just all so magical.
Because I know many people still want to go visit these studios, I won’t be posting a lot of pictures from the actual tour, apart from some well known things that are present there. I’ll just describe most of it so you can still have the same magical experiece I had.
We went from London (Euston station) to Leavesden by train, which is really, really easy and doesn’t cost much. You can pay by Oyster Card and it’s about 10 pounds both way. Then in Watford Junction a shuttle bus will take you to the studios for 2 pound both way.
The other option is to take the couches of Golden Tours. They’ll take you from London (Victoria) to the studios in one go, but are of course a bit more expensive. You are also restricted to their timing and only have about three hours to spend in the studios. But you do get to travel in a really amazing Harry Potter bus.
I really advice going by train because then you’re free to spend as much time in the studios (and the shop) as you’d like. We spend over four hours in the studios and the shop together, so the couches wouldn’t have been a good option for us.
When you go by train, you still have to book your ticket to the studios in advance. Careful; you HAVE to book them online as you can’t buy tickets at the entrace. When you go by couch, your entrance fee is already included in the price.
Make sure to arrive in time for the tour, as you can only enter between the time you’ve selected and 30 minutes after that. We arrived at the studios about two hours before we were allowed in (we didn’t want to take any risks with the train and bus combo), but the large merchandise shop was enough to help us through the waiting time. We both had already checked the online shop of Warner Brothers Studios so we already had an idea of what we wanted to buy. If you really want to buy something, it’s a good idea to check beforehand what they have and give yourself a budget, because otherwize you’ll go home broke. (Yes, it’s that awesome!) I spend about 60 pounds in that shop and that was a great success. If you do buy your merch first, you can leave it at the cloak room, free of charge.
Then the wait was finally over, and we could start queuing to enter. First you are shown a video and then the actual visit starts. The tour itself already provides a lot of side information, but if you want to know even more, you can get an audio guide with extra clips and pictures for 4.95 pounds. As we wanted the full experience, we of course got one of those. If you get one as well, I advice to listen to a few numbers of the audio guide at once and then to go look at the sets and props itself. We tried to combine both and it was just a bit too much. Also, don’t worry if the battery of your audio guide suddenly dies. Just go up to the staff and they’ll bring you a new one right away. Excellent service!
In the first hall of the studios, you mainly get the see the Great Hall, the boy’s dormitories, Gryffindor’s Common Room, Dumbeldore’s Office, the Potions classroom, the Burrow, Hagrid’s hut, Malfoy’s Mansion, The Ministry of Magic and many props and costumes. You also have the opportunity to fly a broomstick or fly the Weasley’s car. You can buy pictures from both of those, and even buy a video of you flying the broomstick. It’s awesome, but unfortunately quite pricey.
After the first hall, you enter -surprise- another hall where you can admire the Hogwarts Express. This train has only been added to the tour a couple of months ago and I must admit that it definitely makes the tour a lot better. It’s such a beautiful prop and such a significant part of the movie. I simply loved it. You can also get a picture taken of you going thought the wall at platform 9 3/4.
Halfway through the tour, there is a cafetaria which sells all kinds of food and more importantly butterbeer! It’s a really weird taste, but surprisingly good. Definitely try it! You can already get a taste for 2,95 pounds, but if you’re willing to pay a bit more you can get a souvenir cup for 4,95 pounds. There is also a tankard, which costs 5,95 pounds.
After having finished the butterbeer, we continued towards the outside sets, which features 4 Privet Drive, Harry’s parent’s house, the Hogwarts bridge and the Knightbus. All so lovely!
In the last hall, you get to see how the special creatures and animals were made. It’s all really impressive and I simply can’t believe how much time it must have cost to make all those props. They’ve put so much thought in all the details, it’s astonishing. I’m mindblown, honestly.
The next stop is Diagon Alley, where you can admire Gringotts, Olivander’s Madame Malkins, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and much more!
And last, but not least; Hogwart’s Castle. It’s so hard to describe this masterpiece. You just have to go see it for yourself. Even pictures don’t do it any justice.
At the end of the tour, you arrive in the shop, so if you didn’t have time before the tour, you can still buy all you want afterwards.
Anyway, it was one of the most magical days I’ve ever had and I can’t only say; if you’re a fan of Harry Potter; GO! You won’t regret it!
Next up – if I actually get to it- is some info about my citytrip to London itself.
Until next time,
With love, Ellen