If you’re on a Harry Potter weekend in London, you cannot miss the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio. It’s a one of the Harry Potter attractions in London (ok, Leavesden) that are 100% worth their price, and you’ll have the time of your life. Be ready to feel your Potterhead (heart) go crazy, but don’t take your camping gear with you because – sorry – you can’t sleep in there, you’ll have to go home at some point!
Harry Potter Studio in London
What you need to know
How do I get tickets to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour?
You can buy them on the website and by phone. You can also buy gift tickets.
Whichever way you decide to buy tickets, you will have to book a particular time and date. If you buy a gift ticket, the person who receives the ticket will have to book the time they want by themselves, by phone (it’s a UK number, so keep that in mind) unless you have already booked it when buying the ticket.
Simone had gifted me with a ticket for our first anniversary, and we had no idea when we’d go. So once we had decided on a date (almost a year after!), I called the number to book my time and date, and also bought a ticket for Simone, everything by phone. I then received a confirmation email, and they told me I had to get the ticket once I was there.
Do not worry, your ticket will be there and ready when you arrive (but do verify your confirmation email in case their was a mistake). It will be very easy to get it at the entrance and will only take a few seconds.
But it’s far! In the name of Merlin, how do I get to the Harry Potter Studio?!
Fear not, it’s not in London, but it’s really not that bad!
Cheap option: Take the train – cheapest on the weekend and off peaks
Our tour was on the Sunday, so it was off peak. It cost us 11.5£ per person for a return ticket. You take the train at Euston Station (close to King’s Cross) and get off at Watford Junction. Check out the timing because some trains are more direct and take 20 min, whereas others are less direct and take 50 min! They’re the same price, so take the more direct one!
Once you get off at Watford Junction, you will find directions to get the Warner Bros Studio Shuttle. It’s 2.5£ for a return ticket. You have to have cash on you (if possible, have the exact change). The shuttles run every 20 min so don’t worry, you’ll get one!
Total: 14£/person for the whole thing.
Expensive option: take the special bus.
Even though the cheap way is very easy to use and pretty fast, you could also choose to take the easiest and more expensive option.
This website explains everything very clearly and that what I used to plan our journey to the Studio in Leavesden.
By the way, did you know you can go on a bus tour of the Harry Potter filming locations in London? Check out our review, we loved it!
Before the tour
Don’t wear yourself out before going, because you’re going to walk, and it’s going to take you at least 3 hours. That’s what it took us and we didn’t even read everything and didn’t do all the activities, etc.
You should pack some sandwiches if you don’t want to buy anything on site. But there is food to be bought – although probably not much is vegan (we had bought vegan wraps at Euston station).
You’ll be able to leave your things at the cloakroom, but if you go in winter know that you’ll have to go outside during the tour, so keep your coat with you.
Don’t forget memory cards and maybe batteries for your camera so you can take as many pictures as you’d like!
If you want to dress up, please do – it’ll be even more fun!
Let the tour begin…
Once everyone from the dedicated time slot has gathered, you’ll get into a room for the introduction of the tour, and then to an amphitheatre where you’ll see a video about the making of the movies.
It’s nothing earth shattering, but to me it’s been a pretty emotional moment. I was very excited to go visit the Studio, and very excited by this Harry Potter weekend in general. It might sound silly, but Harry Potter has been such an important part of my life, for such a long time (since I was 7! 20 years ago!) that being here and seeing some emotional footage about the movies made me almost shed a tear. I talked about this to Simone and compared it to the love of he has for his football team. Something that has been with you most of your life, and probably won’t go away. Something you can pass along to your children.
On that note, don’t be afraid that the Studio will be full of children, as it’s not the case. And the children in there are just adorable – kuddos to the Potterhead parents: you did a good job! I thought my heart would explode when I saw two kids – probably twins – cursing each other with a lot of intention (« expecto patronum« , so no harm done). It made me think that as there’s no way I ever gift my kids with guns toys – maybe plastic swords – I might get them wands and tell them that if they want to fight, they can use fancy latin words for all I care.
Anyway, back to the tour!
First room: The Great Hall
This is where your dream comes true. It will be super hard not to pass beyond the barriers and sit down at one of the tables! I honestly just wanted to look around and day dream that this was where I would have diner, that I was in Hogwarts – finally.
Main room of the Studio
Then you’ll get into a huge place where you will see a lot of decors, props, all put together in themes. Look everywhere! It’s gonna be a lot to take in, but it’ll be great. You will spend a lot of time in this room!
I won’t detail everything that you can see, because there are simply too many to do so. Know that there are also some activities: you can practice your wand waving for duels, ride on a magic broom, get a broom to go from the floor to your hand by saying « up », try some visual effects, etc. I did most of them and it was a lot of fun!
The Gryffindor Common Room and the boy’s dorm in Gryffindor tower
Ever dreamt of reading by the fire of Gryffindor Common Room and checking out how comfy Hogwarts’ beds were?
The Potions classroom
Can you guess I’m a fan?
The set of the Potions Classroom was one of my favorite! Can you believe all the props there are in there?! Potions, ingredients, textbooks, cauldrons… And the lighting of the room is just amazing to immerse the visitors in the atmosphere of the room.
You can walk around a bit, but can’t cross the line before the desk of Hogwarts’ Headmaster. Even though you could have if you had been the 10 Millionth visitor!
You could practically touch the Quaffle! This is also where you can get a broom to go from the ground to your hand by saying « up ».
The Mirror of Erised
That’s probably the most romantic or loving thing you can do at the Studio: see your reflection in the Mirror of Erised with the one(s) you truly love!
Props and sets that you’ll find all around the room
Do you know who wore a wig in the films? Now you’ll know for sure!
Fun fact: There’s a wig for Hermione Granger because they had to reshoot the scenes at the end of the last movie, when they’re all grown-ups. But Emma Watson had already cut her hair super short, so they had to make her a wig just for this reshoot!
One of the coolest thing you can find on The Burrow set is the magical clock that I’d love to have!
Fancy regrowing a broken bone? You’ve got it: help yourself to a bottle of Skele-Gro!
Forgot your wand? No problem, we’ve got you covered!
After taking in everything you could in this room and doing as many activities as you feel like, you will step into the Forbidden Forest to get to the other part of the Harry Potter Studio.
The Forbidden Forest
While it was not my favorite part, Simone has lots of fun with the buttons that unleash the thunderstorm, lights, etc.
Me, arachnophobic? How did you know?! It’s true that it was a pretty nice transition to the rest of the Studio and it was well done.
The Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express
Some more magical and emotional moments will happen on the replica of the Platform 9 3/4. Here, you’ll have plenty of time to take pictures with the cart, pretending you’re going on the other side – from Muggle King’s Cross to magical Platform 9 3/4.
You’ll also be able to take pictures of the Hogwarts Express and get inside to have a peek at the compartments (where you won’t be able to enter though).
The books and paper props
As a book lover, words lover, and medievalist, I really enjoyed this part! I wish I could have held the books in my hands…!
After this, you’ll get to the cafe. Sit here to relax a little bit – you’ve seen most of the Warner Bros. Studio by now, but it’s not over!
Knight Bus, Dursley’s and Godric’s Hollow
As written above, you’ll have to step outside during the tour. You will have the opportunity to see the Knight Bus, get inside the house of the Dursleys and be enchanted by the flying envelopes – and also see the Potter House at Godric’s Hollow from outside.
The Special effects room – Creature Shop
Don’t you think Visual Effects are some kind of Muggle magic? Here is where you’ll see the other side of the magical universe: the techniques and props used to make everything appear as though they were real! From Gobblin masks to the Mandrake and the technique behind Dobby, you’ll learn a lot in this room. You’ll also be able to make Dobby move!
Will follow some corridors where are exhibited some beautiful Harry Potter artworks that I didn’t even know of but everyone should see. And then…
Have a stroll in Diagon Alley
If you didn’t feel emerged in the Magical world yet (that would be pretty hard, but let’s pretend!), the next part of the Studio will definitely be it! You can take a stroll in Diagon Alley, as if you were going to do some shopping for your school supplies, find a new book on Potions at Flourish and Botts or maybe some pranks from the Weasley Shop!
The Castle replica: the cherry on top
The tour ends by an amazing magical sight: the huge replica of Hogwarts, that will put stars in your eyes.
After the tour
After the tour, you might spend all of your knuts and galleons at the shop, and honestly we won’t hold it against you!
When you’re done, step outside to board the shuttle and get back to Watford Junction, away from the magic of the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio…