When I was 12, I did a dazzling Hermione impression. I loved Harry Potter so much, and knew the books so well, that I once asked to stop answering trivia questions at a bookstore launch party for Harry Potter and the half-blood prince.
The truth is I still love Harry Potter that much. Visiting Warner Brothers Studio to see the Making of Harry Potter was at the top of my list on my visit to London. I landed at 8PM the night before, and was on a bus to the studio at 8AM the next day.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is the place for you. These tips will help you plan your visit and have a… magical visit (I couldn’t resist).
Visiting the Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Studio Tour
Everyone ready? *Tosses floo powder* “Diagon Alley!” I can’t begin to explain how excited I was for the studio tour. I landed in London at 8PM, and was on a tour bus at 8AM the next morning. One Harry Potter fan to another, bring tissue. Harry Potter was a big part of my childhood, and I teared up more than once!
The Making of Harry Potter
There are many different Harry Potter themed attractions around the world today. I loved visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal in Orlando, Florida, which was a completely different experience. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour takes you behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies, sets, and stories. There are a few fun activities, like getting your photo taken on a broomstick or stepping in to a life-sized game of wizards chess (I didn’t realize the pieces moved when I stepped on to the board, so I got the fright of my life). Most of all, the studios are for exploring and discovering.
You’ll have the opportunity to see costumes from scenes like the Yuletide Ball, and classic sets like Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s Hut, and the Gryffindor Common Rooms. Walk through number 4 Privet Drive, board the Hogwarts Express, and make your way in to the Forbidden Forest. Learn everything from the mechanics of the Gringots vault doors, to recipes for troll snot and unicorn blood.
The tour lets you explore fine details of Harry Potter’s world too, that you may even have missed on screen. Get an up close look at specially crafted artifacts like the gold snitch.
Make sure that you read every sign you see as you go along. The level of attention to detail involved in bringing a place like Hogwarts to life is exceptional.
There are surprises and new discoveries at every corner through out the tour. I was so awe-struck and amazed by things like the Hogwarts Express that I even forgot to take photos a few times!
Planning Your Visiting
This visit does require a bit of pre-planning. The Making of Harry Potter is exceptionally popular (for good reason!) so it’s important to plan ahead if you want to go yourself.
How to Get to Warner Brother’s Studio from London
There are a few ways to get from London to Warner Brother’s studios. Plan your visit on your own, using the Warner Brothers Journey Tool to travel by rail or train. If you’ve rented a car, you can drive yourself. Warner Brothers Studio is located in a town called Watford, about a 1.5 hour drive from London. You can also book a day tour, like this one.
There’s more to see than the studio, too. If you’re a hard core Harry Potter fan like myself, book this day tour and carry on to Oxford. There you will explore the town and see memorable Harry Potter filming locations, and see the inspiration for Harry’s scar.
Book Your Tickets in Advance
The studio tour sells out! Book your tickets online in advance. There are only a certain number of people per day allowed inside the studio, so book a tour or purchase tickets as soon as you know your travel dates. Tickets are included in day tour costs.
Food & Drinks
There is no outside food or drink permitted in the studio. There are places to eat and drink, in the backlot of the studios halfway through the tour, and at the end of the tour. Bring your own lunch, or purchase lunch at one of the counters. While you’re out on the backlot, try a butterbeer!
Budget for Souvenirs
It’s rare for me to include buying souvenirs as a travel tip, but this gift shop is worth mentioning. The studio tour ends with the most incredible Harry Potter themed gift shop. We came home with Deathly Hallow earrings, and a mug shaped like a cauldron.