04 Apr VISITING THE HARRY POTTER STUDIOS IN LONDON
The Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, that place where every Harry Potter fan has to pay a visit in its lifetime, and probably the most magical place on earth. This is the actual studio where much of the saga was filmed, so everything you see here are the original props and sets!
Okay, I’m going to confess. I’m not the very best fan of Harry Potter… I have to say that I haven’t seen all the films… Even worse… I have never ever seen the first one, neither the second… you got me… not even the third (Although I was sure that yes before visiting the studios 😅). I have to be the only one 19-year-old in the world who hasn’t been bewitched by Harry Potter… Worst fan ever.
But no, I’m not a poser. I decided to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter due to my sister’s 18th Birthday, she’s a huuuuge fan of the saga, so I thought it would be the most incredible birthday present. And it was, not only for her but also for me! The true is that you don’t need to be the biggest fan of HP to enjoy its magical world; needless you’ve gotten to see all the films thrice, twice or once in your lifetime, you don’t need to remember all the little details nor who’s the protagonist (maybe this yes, unless you live on another planet, something that wouldn’t make sense). The case is that you will enjoy every second discovering the studios, and you’re going to leave with an overdose of Harry Potter, and once at home, you’ll want to re-watch and re-read all the films and books! In my case, I’m dying to have a little of free time to watch the 3 first films.
Let’s get inside!
While you queue to enter, you get to see the cupboard under the stairs where Harry slept for most of his life. The real thing is that it only gets better!
The tour starts off with a 10-minute guided section before becoming free and easy. Screen off and curtain up, and there it is, the entrance to the great hall! Yes, it is real!!! We were so hyped, and then the guide called for all the people in the crowd to make their way to the front. Luckily, my sister was the only one of our time slot in celebrating her birthday. So, she moved to the front and opened the big door to the great hall! Things had only begun, and they couldn’t get better!
The great hall is so much smaller than it looks in the movies and the ceiling isn’t bewitched, obviously. 😝 In this room, you’ll find the costumes of every Hogwarts house as well as the costumes of Dumbledore, McGonagall, Hagrid, Snape, among other professors. Oh, the Sorting Hat is there too!
Next, you’ll enter the main room and become overwhelmed by the movie magic. You’ll see and learn all about for the next few hours.
You can easily spend 2 hours in that same room. Here you will see the real sets for the Gryffindor Common Room, The Boys’ Dorm, the potion classroom, Hagrid’s hut, Dumbledore’s Office, the Ministry of Magic, the Malfoy Manor, and much much much more!
Did you know that they had to make the beds on boys’ dorm longer and longer as the actors grew up throughout the films? What a fun fact right? 😊
There are also a ton of Props, including the Goblet of Fire, which is actually so large and completely carved out of wood, areas dedicated to special effects, and a giant wall of Hogwarts’s famous moving pictures. You guys have no idea how amazing is the special and visual effects area is. The methods used and the ingeniosity of these guys is mind blowing!
But that list is only scratching the surface…
How amazing is the Weasley’s Burrow?! Best of it is that it has some magical objects 😜
Moving on, you arrive at the green screens. Yes, it’s time to pick up your broomstick and fly over Hogwarts!
After doing some silly stuff at the green screens, the tour dumped us to the 9 3/4 platform and the Hogwarts Express train station.
Hogwarts Express was actually a real train before it was bought to be used in the Harry Potter films. How amazing? You are even able to enter the train and walk one of the corridors.
The amount of magic you experience never ends, and I don’t want to spoil it all by telling you everything that you’ll see.
It will take you about two hours (or maybe even more!) to get through the first part of the studio tour.
Time to fuel your body with some food and of course a cup of Butterbeer! Why does everyone love it and I do not? Really, it doesn’t taste as good as they say… haha the only thing I enjoyed about it was the whipped cream on top! At least the mug it comes in is nice to keep… 🙂
That family looks so happy they want to move in! Just kidding. Did you already spot Dobby?
Out here at the backlot, you’ll see the Dursley’s house, the Knight Bus, the famous wooden bridge that leads to Hogwarts and much more!
And you move into the last, but not least, leg of the tour! The next building contains character props such as Hagrid’s and Doby’s head, character replicas and models of, well, just everything.
Oh, it also contains the Diagon Alley!!! Nothing to say that this was my favourite part of all the tour… OMG, I really want to shop, or work, or live at the Weasley’s shop! It’s just as fascinating as it is in the films!
The huge model of Hogwarts Castle is pretty much the end of the tour.
Leaving the castle room leads you out through a room full of credits, in shape of wand boxes, for everyone who worked on the set, and then dumps you to the gift shop. Where better you set a budget for souvenirs if you want to leave home with some pounds. Trust me, when you enter the gift shop for the first time, you lose all sense of self-control, and suddenly you want everything you see! If you ask me, the best souvenir you can buy is the Harry Potter Film Wizardry Book.
SOME USEFUL INFORMATION
- You can book your tickets with a tour company. It cost around £65 and includes both transport and entrance to the studios. Perfect if you don’t want to worry about the transport, and if you don’t have in mind spending more than 3 to 4 hours inside the studios.
- Take the train from London Euston station to Watford Junction (£9 return), before hopping on the two-way Harry Potter themed shuttle bus (£2.50 return) from Watford Junction Station. For me, this is the best way to get to the studios. Cheaper and you have the freedom to explore the studios in the time you want.
- You can also take a cab (but this will be very expensive)
- Or drive yourself if you’ve rented a car.
- Tickets are £39.00 per person (2017). You need to book them online and in advance in order to pick a time and date. Don’t be late! And if you’re late and you’re dying to visit the Studios, just buy a ticket for another day and once at the studios pay £10 more and enter.
- There’s a cafe inside the studios where you can eat.
- Do note that the tour is only one-way and you can’t re-enter an area after leaving it.
- Get your Harry Potter passport! How amazing it’s that?😍 It is included in every child ticket, but if you ask for one, they’ll give you one. It’s funny and a great souvenir!
- For additional info, check out the WB Studio Tour official website.