Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London


A couple of weeks ago, I finally visited and experienced the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London for the first time. I've been dying to visit the studios for a long time, so much so that it even became one of the things on my list of things to do before I'm 30. I went with a couple of friends from work and it was amazing. I absolutely loved every part of it and I'm already thinking about going for a second visit to see Hogwarts in the snow. I took a lot of photos of the tour and I just want to share with you some of my favourite snaps from the day. I'm not exaggerating when I say, this is just a small part of what you can see at the studio tour.

I promise I won't reveal all the secrets because it will only make your experience when you decide to go all the more special.

The Cupboard Under the Stairs



The very first thing you get to see in the tour is the iconic cupboard under the stairs. For some reason, I'd thought it'd be bigger but it's much smaller than I expected. Seeing this iconic part of the set is just a taste of what is yet to come and got me so excited to see the rest of the tour. In this part of the tour, there were lots of the film's promotional artwork and lots of information about the journey through each of the films. It's an amazing build-up towards the actual tour and the interactors do an amazing job of sharing what they know about the tour and the production of the Harry Potter films.

The Great Hall



The Great Hall is the most magical experience and one of the rooms I wish I had more time in. It's the only one that you're in for a limited amount of time but it's just so amazing too. The costumes were fantastic and I loved seeing the different house costumes grouped together. Of course, I looked for Hufflepuff first before venturing to see things from the other houses. I think the best thing about the hall was the professor costumes at the front and the house point counters too.

Sets, Props & Costumes


 








It was breathtaking seeing all the sets in one place and how they were used to manipulate your viewing of them on the big screen. The dorm rooms for Gryffindor tower were so much smaller than we thought and we learnt that the boys outgrew the beds pretty quickly when filming. I think my favourite set apart from the Great Hall, and in this section, had to be Professor Snape's potion room followed by the Weasley's house.

The props were so beautiful and the amount of detail put into them is definitely appreciated. I really loved seeing all the Horcruxes and the smaller iconic props like the time turner, remembrall and the golden snitch.

The costumes were absolutely fantastic too. I really appreciated seeing all the different wigs, the makeup used, the different costumes and all placed in the most fitting sets for them too. Hermione's Yule Ball dress was gorgeous and I liked seeing Luna's costumes altogether too. I did spot her headdress later on with the creatures too. See if you can spot it when you go!

The Forbidden Forest



The forbidden forest was a brilliant part of the tour and only added in March 2017. One of my favourite creatures from the film is the Hippogriffs so I really enjoyed the animated Buckbeak in the forest as well as the unicorns, centaurs and yes, even the spiders!

The Hogwarts Express



Having been to King's Cross plenty of times before and seeing Platforms 9 and 10 and also visiting the shop, I was finally glad to see the real Platform 9 and 3/4s as well as the Hogwarts Express. I loved that there was a shop here and that you could go on the train where each section in the carriages depicted a scene from each of the films. I was really tempted to buy one of the personalised embossed notebooks in the shop which has been added over the last couple of months. It was so tempting to get one and I think I might buy one next time I go.

Butterbeer




I really liked that there was a halfway point to sit down, have something to eat and experience butterbeer! I do think that the food is a little overpriced but it's expected in attractions like this. I did really want to try butterbeer though and so my friends and I treated ourselves to a tankard of it which I quite liked! It does get a little sickly towards the end because it's so sweet. It is really nice if you like cream soda and butterscotch which is exactly what it tastes like. We got the ones with souvenir tankard so I was glad to take it home after I had finished mine. There's even a tankard cleaning station so you're not taking home a dirty cup!

The Knight Bus & Privet Drive



After a drink of butterbeer, outside was the amazing knight bus, the Dursley's house at Privet Drive and Potter's Cottage in Godrick's Hollow. There were a few other props here to see too but seeing inside the Dursley's house was by far the best part. The living room with the letters all flying out of the fireplace was magical!

Magical Creatures


Back inside we were met with all the amazing animatronics and creatures from the film from mandrakes to thestrals. It was amazing seeing all the magical creatures and to think about how JK Rowling created them to begin within the books and seeing how they were bought to life in the films. I loved seeing Fawkes and all the mandrakes. We found out that Miriam Margolyes who played Professor Sprout hadn't seen the mandrakes before filming and so when she pulled it out for the first time on set was in fits of laughter for so long they had to stop filming!

Gringotts Bank



The newest addition to the studio tour was Gringotts bank which was every bit as cool as you'd imagine. I loved the interactive areas of this part of the tour and thought that the vaults were especially fantastic to see. I think it was such a great addition to the tour and I'd love to see them add Hogsmeade next.

Diagon Alley


Diagon Alley was brilliant and I loved seeing all the different magical shops. Experiencing Diagon Alley was one of the sets I was most looking forward to before going and it lived up to my expectations! I think now I've experienced this, it makes me want to go to Universal in Florida and experience that Diagon Alley more now!

Hogwarts


The model of Hogwarts itself was breathtaking. I fell in love with this room straight away and you felt like you had to just stand and look at it quietly for a long time. I stood there staring at every detail I could for a long time and loved seeing the video of it being built and how it was put together. I think it's amazing how they made something so small (yet it's actually pretty big) look like a full-sized castle in the films. It's amazing how we have the technology and knowledge to do so. Apart from the Great Hall, this room got me quite emotional to be here and feel thankful that I got to experience it all. 

My Thoughts on the Tour

I really took in the experience and it isn't something you can rush through. Any Harry Potter fan would feel the emotions I did when you first come face to face with the Great Hall doors and walking into a room and seeing the entire model of Hogwarts right there in all its glory. I could have cried it was so beautiful and I couldn't stop smiling the whole way through it. It is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to go again. (drink every time I wrote amazing lol)

Some FYIs and tips for your visit:


Book your tour for as early in the day as possible if you know you want to spend a good amount of time there. I booked the tour for 4:00pm and we left about at about 7:00pm which meant I spent three hours at the studio. I don't think I realised how big it is and how much there is to see so make sure you have lots of time to see it properly. Even then, there's probably something you could miss because there's so much and it's so big! I know that when I go again, I'd see things I didn't see before, read more of the plaques with information and probably try and find all the hidden golden snitches they tell you about in the Great Hall. 

Take a camera or a phone with LOTS of battery! (Mine died close to the end of the tour so I missed out on some things I wanted to take photos of!) I loved taking photos there too so I'd probably take my Nikon with me next time so I can take some higher quality photos. The lighting in there is perfect so it's all photo-ready and there are photo ops where you can take photos using your own phone or camera.

Be photo-ready! I didn't take part in any of the photo opportunities which are all over the place this time simply because it was the hottest day of the year so I didn't look my best for photos that day. I'd love to take some of them as they end up looking really cool. I did represent with my Hufflepuff hair bow though... Next time I'll be all Hufflepuffed up!

See what's available at the shop beforehand if you're on a budget. I had an idea of things I wanted to buy before I got there. I watched Cherry Wallis' recent video of the shop's tour and visited the online shop too to see what I could buy and what I might want. It meant I had an idea of what I wanted to buy and then I could make a decision when I got there. Things at the Studio Tour shop are quite expensive but they are of good quality. I think next time I might save for the trip so that I can get a couple of the things I missed out on this time. I'd love one of the personalised notebooks from the Platform 9 and 3 Quarters shop, a Niffler plush and I'd like a couple more of the chocolate frogs (mostly for the cards).

Book in advance! I booked my tickets back in April to get a date in July and one that I wanted. I plan on booking to see Hogwarts in the snow around my birthday and Christmas time so I might have to book in September or even now! I did originally want to go during one of the special events so another tip is to keep an eye on the dates they begin and finish and book them as soon as possible.
A child's ticket is £37, an adult's is £45 and a family ticket is £148.

Watch all the films in advance too. It's best to have all the props, costumes and sets fresh in your mind before you go. Have a movie marathon weekend with the people you're going with or just make sure you've watched them all within the last few months.

The Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour is something you do NOT want to miss if you're a huge Harry Potter fan. It's an experience worth having and though it is expensive, worth every single penny. I can't wait to go again.

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