For the avid Harry Potter Fan, the Harry Potter Studio tour in London is the place to visit where it will transport you back in time to your favourite moments in the Harry Potter Movies.
If you are planning on visiting make sure you take a full day out of your schedule in order to give yourself the time to soak in the Great Hall, Gryffindor Common room and Diagon Alley but to name a few. We were told at the start of the tour it would take approx. three hours to go through the whole studio however it took me around 5 hours. The tickets sell out pretty quick so make sure you book your tickets well in advance in particular if you are going around the Christmas holidays.
How to get there
There are some companies that offer a joint ticket that will include your bus journey to the studios. I decided to get the train instead to Watford junction train station where a shuttle bus goes every few minutes. The shuttle bus costs 2.50 return.
When to go
The best time to go is early in the morning. They do a bag check and search before you go in so this will delay things even with a small number of people. However they try to move people on as quickly as possible so if there are not too many people it shouldn’t take too long.
Before you enter
After the que to get into the building there is a second que to start on the tour itself. Before you join that que there is a reception desk where you can get audio tour guides. I really recommend this as this gives you lots of information on the different props, sets and other information that you will not know otherwise.
You will also see a shop selling lots of Harry Potter and Hogwarts related goodies. Don’t worry about going there at this point. You will be finishing the tour in the shop so you will have plenty of time to grab all the stuff later to fill your carry-on luggage. (I found people watching quite entertaining in the shop in particular two teenagers fighting over which Gryffindor t-shirts they wanted and being reassured by their mum that it didn’t matter what t-shirt they got as they were both in Gryfinndor.I digress)
The tour itself was absolutely fabulous. The staff there is excellent and apparently are very knowledgeable in all things Potter related and are eager to be tested on their knowledge. I didn’t try out this theory but feel free to do so if you are visiting. There are a number of points during the tour you can get your photo taken such as on a broom ride and also on the Hogwarts train (the photos are not actually taken on the train but in props set up for photos) My favourite part was definitely Diagon alley. The whole street as you know it from the movies was there. I would have loved to go into every shop but unfortunately there were only set up on the outside (will just have to wait for Orlando Studios for that dream to become reality.)
What I found most interesting about the tour was the amount of effort that went into each set. From scouring charity shops for props to go in Dumbledors office to handwriting thousands of labels for jars in the potions room. It really highlighted for me the amount of people it takes to make a particular idea come to life on-screen. I now have a new-found appreciation for those involved in the design of a set.
As a die hard Harry Potter Fan I really enjoyed my time at the studios. However I think even if you were not a fan of Harry Potter I think you would find it interesting to see how movies of this scale are made. See more photos of the different sets below.
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