Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour

Being a huge Harry Potter Fan, I have always wanted to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour since the day it opened and been eager to sort out a trip since the Hogwarts Express arrived. So it was a very anticipated trip and I hoped it would live up to the films.

 

From Watford Junction Train Station there is a Shuttle bus that goes directly to the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, at £2.50 return its very reasonable and has a on board video of ‘Arthur Weasley’ telling you exactly what to do when you arrive and what to expect from the tour. After going through quite a thorough security check, you arrive in the main lobby and are free to explore the very big & expensive shop. More on this at the end.Before you get to the actual sets and main tour, a cinema room where Harry, Ron & Hermione introduce the experience sets the tour up nicely and lets you relive some of the best moments from the films. Then, as the doors of the Great Hall are shown the screen magically lifts to reveal the actual doors! Such a brilliant way to start off the tour!

After admiring at all the detail in the great hall and having pictures with Dumbledore & the Gang at the front you move into a giant warehouse filled everything you could imagine from the films. The props, Sets & costumes are on display in such a neat orderly way and set out as you would see them in the films so you can enter Dumbledore’s office, see the Gryffindor common room & stand outside the gates to Hogwarts. The horcruxes, the door to the chamber of secrets, Ministry of Magic Fireplaces…. You name it, it’ll probably be there.

After spending a at least a good couple of hours in this warehouse, yes there really is so much to see & look at! We made it to Platform 9 ¾ where the Hogwarts Express awaited us in a replica of Kings Cross Station, later on in the day we went to the real Kings Cross and felt very surreal as the two are so similar. If you’ve ever visited Kings Cross I’m sure you would have seen the huge queue to have a picture with the trolley going through the wall but here there is 3 different trolleys and no queue at all!

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Next was the backlot, the open air part of the tour where the Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge, Flying Car & Giant Chess pieces live. All of which you can get up close & personal with, have your picture taken in the car, on the bridge, on the bus! As it started to rain we quickly made our way back inside to the creature studio. This was probably one of my favourite parts as I loved the moving characters especially Buck beak. This was where every sort of creature is on display including the terrifying giant spider Aragog!

As you stroll around the corner you suddenly find yourself on Diagon Alley! It looks brilliant on the films and is even more magical as you walk up the street for real. The detail is amazing and the way the set is designed makes it look a lot longer than it actually it is, the only bad thing is that you can’t enter the shops themselves. The experience keeps on going and next is the production room where sketches, plans & paper models show the precision and effort that went into creating the film series.

Finally, to end the tour you are met with a model of Hogwarts, now I have seen pictures before and knew this was here, however, I underestimated the actual scale of the model! It fills a huge warehouse room and combined with the lighting and music it is the perfect ending to wonderful tour. Exiting into the store, we were spoilt for choice for merchandise, you could even buy replica death eater masks, broomsticks and of course wands & house merch. I sensibly restricted myself to a mug, pin badges & pen but could have easily bought a lot more!

What you forget when strolling around is that these are the actual sets & props, and the exact spots where the magic was born. The experience is presented brilliantly and so well done that someone that doesn’t know who Harry Potter is would thoroughly enjoy their selves and fall in love with the film. I spent 5 hours there and could have easily spent a lot more!

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