The Harry Potter Studio Tour takes you behind the scenes to see the real film sets, original costumes, Platform 9 ¾, Hogwarts Castle and so much more and after doing it twice I thought I would write a blog about it! I first visited the tour in 2014 for my 21st birthday and we went back this year (2022) for my 29th birthday, so much has changed since my first visit so I couldn’t wait. Nick isn’t a huge HP fan but he was looking forward to seeing it all for the first time.
The whole tour is designed with every inch of the day drowned in magic and it includes so much attention to detail that it really left me not wanting to leave. If I drove I reckon I would get a job there s it is only an hour from me on the motorway.
Visiting the Harry Potter Studios takes no less than 4 hours and it does take a LOT of walking so make sure you plan in advance and wear comfortable shoes/trainers.
Location Of The Harry Potter Studio Tour
I know from being on a lot of forums that people think the The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making Of Harry Potter is in central London but as a heads up it isn’t. It is in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, north of London. If you need public transport then look for Watford Station, as there is transport to the tour from there, or check out the travel section on the website.
It doesn’t take very long to get there from central London, and can easily make for a nice day trip from London or surrounding towns.
Harry Potter Studio Tickets
Tickets to Harry Potter Studio sell out for dates super quickly and you cannot buy on the day. It often sells out months in advance so plan ahead, book tickets and hotels together to make sure you can get dates for both. Plan your travel early as there is a lot of train strikes, motorway works and travel issues in the UK currently (August 2022).
- Tour tickets with no transport, no hotel, no audio guides – From £49.95 pP
- Tour tickets with hotel, no audio guides – From £65 pP
- Afternoon Tea Before Or After The Tour – From £60 pP
- Gift Tickets – From £49.95 pP (Valid for 12 months) – V.Good For Presents
- Groups of 10 – 24 people – From £47.95 pp
- Deluxe Tour – 2 Hour guided tour, green screen photo and broomstick video, butterbeer and souvenir guide plus priority parking.
If you don’t get the guided tour, I recommend adding the audio-visual guide to your order, I did this the first time but not when we went back in 2022 as we didn’t feel like we needed it.
Tickets to the Warner Brothers Studios are for specific time slots. That means you have to pick your time of entry when you book the ticket, we booked 2.30 but we got in from 2pm with no issues. We got in at 2pm and left around 6pm, we didn’t rush but we didn’t do any of the green screens. Allow for queues for the extra priced items. However, once you are in, you can stay as long as you like and you can spend hours upon hours in each section if you would like. Demand is VERY high in Summer months, school holidays and weekends. If you visit in the summer months, try to book for a weekday as it is slightly quieter.
You want to arrive about 20 minutes before your time of entry, as there might be a line and there are security checks. You will want to grab a passport from the ticket booth to get it stamped as you go around but if you forget you can get one at each stamping point. I say stamp but it is more of an embossing machine, it is super cool and we did one each (2022). This wasn’t available in 2014 when I went.
How to Get to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios
The easiest way to get to the tour if you are staying in London is by joining a tour that includes transfer to the studios from London and back. There is a shuttle bus from Watford Train Station that is frequent and pretty cool to travel on which we used back in 2014, it used to be charged but is now free and the bus is based on the Knight Bus. You will need to go from Euston Station in London and get off at Watford Junction which you need to allow around 45 minutes for the journey. It varies from 45 minutes to 1hr. Oyster cards are accepted on this line or buy tickets in advance for good prices.
Your journey to the Studio Tour is carbon-free as our buses are powered by electric. This journey is included as part of your entry ticket.
Regular shuttle buses operate from Watford Junction to the Studio Tour with a journey time of around 15 minutes. Buses run at least every 30 minutes from 9.20am (with additional services available from 8.15am when the first tour is at 9am). The last return shuttle bus back to Watford Junction will depart the Studio Tour when the Tour closes.https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/getting-here/
It is easy to access by car as it is not far from the M25 and is around an hour drive from Stansted Airport. You can get a coach from Victoria Station which includes both the ticket to the studios and transport to the studio and back to London and is fairly priced. The other option is a bus from Kings Cross which includes the ticket and the journey, this is slightly longer but also fairly priced.
When you plan the journey, you will need to allow extra time in case the train is delayed or the bus gets full and you have to wait for the next one. If you get to the studio early there is a cafe there which sells cakes, ice creams and drinks etc.
The studios provide free parking but you’ll need to have your booking confirmation to show the staff and they will direct you to which carpark is available.
You need to use postcode WD25 7LR in your satnav system to reach the studios, it is signposted when you get nearer.
What to Do When You Arrive.
We got our tickets in the post so we didn’t need to collect them. If you don’t opt for this then when you arrive, you will need to collect your ticket from the ticket desk and It will have your entry time printed on it.
- E-Ticket-Email: Your tickets will be sent as attachments via email, these can be printed or shown on a mobile device. Please ensure you have these with you when arriving to the Studio Tour.
- Postage (UK Only) £3.95: our tickets, or gift tickets will be posted in a ticket wallet.
Postage can take up to 14 days to be processed and dispatched to your chosen address.
We cannot guarantee your tickets or gift voucher will arrive in time if your chosen visit date is less than this.
- Postage (Rest of World) £6.95: Your tickets, or gift tickets will be posted in a ticket wallet.
International post can take up to 28 days to be processed and dispatched to your chosen address.
We cannot guarantee your tickets or gift voucher will arrive in time if your chosen visit date is less than this.
When you collect your ticket, they’ll give you a beautifully illustrated Harry Potter passport, full of puzzles, trivia and a Golden Snitch hunt to play during the tour. As I mentioned above If you didn’t get a passport with your ticket, then you can ask a staff member to get you one during the tour. You will have to go through a security check and a bag check before entry is allowed but it is only basic and you do agree to this when booking your ticket.
If you haven’t been before then I do recommend you booking the audio-visual guide with your ticket and it is available in 10 different languages which is awesome. If you forget to book it or can’t afford it when booking, you can still hire one when you arrive but they can’t guarantee they will be available.
There’s a cloakroom at the Warner Bros Studios that you can use to store your bags or coats for free but don’t leave any valuables in there.
Inside The Tour
The Studio Tour starts with a short film about the making of Harry Potter. It’s a little appetizer before you actually go into the studios. You are NOT allowed to film in here and they ask you not to disclose what goes on in there.
After the film, the Great Hall Door to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is revealed and that’s where the spectacular Harry Potter experience really starts! If it is your birthday then you get to open the door. I have done this on both trips and it is awesome and makes brilliant photos.
Once the door opens, you’ll find yourself in the The Great Hall and the tour begins. This part has someone talking you through the hall and you do have limited time in here as all the tours start in here. It was Mandrakes and Magical Creatures themed when we went in August 2022, and this changes every few months.
You’ll want to take pictures of the great costumes and the Sorting Hat. You can stay until the staff ask you to move on, because another group is about to enter The Great Hall. You can reenter the great hall when the next group are in there but most people just move on. Look for the golden stitch in here and by the floating candles just after the hall. After the Great Hall, you’ll be completely free to explore everything at your own speed. Take it all in and take loads of photos!
Highlights from the Harry Potter Studio Tour
There is a lot to see in the studios and you may feel like you need to rush but don’t. You can easily spend 4-5 hours there, or even more. The first section before the outside buildings is the longest half (2hrs maybe more) then the second half is slightly shorter (1-2 hrs). You should 100% get a butterbeer but we haven’t tried the ice cream so I can’t comment. I would recommend taking a bag for the glass afterwards or getting a bag from the shop at the start, otherwise you are stuck holding it all the time.
The audio visual guide has video interviews, behind the scenes photos and much more. It was well worth getting back in 2014 so would imagine it is even better value for money now. You’re introduced to the people behind the movies, from the costume designers to the soundtrack composers and they tell you little quirky facts you might not otherwise know. You should download the app before you go and look out for the keys which activate something on the app – I don’t have it but a cast member told us about it.
Once you scan an Enchanted Key with the Harry Potter Fan Club app, you’ll be rewarded with an exclusive piece of content related to the area of the Studio Tour you’re in – so keep a Seeker’s eye out for every Enchanted Key to make the most of your visit.https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/enhance-your-visit/
There are so many costumes and props on display, as well as life size models, costumes and parts of the set, including the marble staircase, the boys’ dormitory, the Gryffindor common room and Dumbledore’s office. I LOVED Gringotts Bank and the Forbidden Forest. The sets are full of details to spot and you need to keep an eye out for Golden Snitch’s above you.
The potion classroom is super entertaining, as is the Weasley family house, full of mechanical tricks. Keep an eye out for moving parts and hand sensor triggered items. It honestly is full of magic and mystery.
Walking into the Forbidden Forest is a truly immersive experience, the floor is different, the sounds, the lights, the smoke just everything screams spiders and scary! A full size Hogwarts Express train awaits you in the next room, next to Platform 9 3/4 in a recreation of King’s Cross station in London. I didn’t know this until we went but you can board the train and walk inside the carriages, it is tight and not wheelchair or buggy accessible but it is worth it if you can.
As you leave the platform you will be thrown into real life with a restaurant and Butterbeer station and you should take this time to rest your feet and load up on food. The hot dogs are good and the butterbeer is worth trying but maybe share one between you unless you want a goblet each. There is outside props such as the Knight Bus, 4 Privet Drive, The Greenhouse and the Hogwarts Bridge. Lots of chances for photos and take your time here it is nice to be outside before going back inside.
In the next section you will learn about the set design and models and how they made dobby come alive as well as much more. You get to see the models of the various House Elves and how the characters from the Gringotts Bank were made and portrayed. fIt also includes lots of behind the scenes secrets which I won’t spoil for you.
You might be thinking because you are coming to the end of the tour that all the surprises are over but you have so much more to see and the impressive model of Hogwarts Castle occupies an entire room. It has different lights on it so take a seat and watch it in all its glory. At Christmas time they cover it in snow and make it look all christmassy, I would love to see it but we tend to go in the summer months. It is awesome that you can see how it was shot from all the different angles. This set leads into the final moments of the tour so make sure you take it all in.
The Diagon Alley set is one of my favourites and I won’t ruin it for you but honestly I could of stayed forever looking in the windows. The stamper at this location is hidden in the bottom corner so don’t miss it, there is also one at the top but it was easy to just walk past it.
The Harry Potter Studio Tour Shops
There are 3 shops in the Warner Bros Studios with plenty of gifts and souvenirs for both adults and kids, there might of been more but I only spotted 3. It is expensive, nothing really costs less than £10 unless you are looking for a postcard or pencil.
The Studio Shop is the main shop, you see it before the tour and it is where you come out at the end too. It is full to the brim of all the official merchandise such as collectables, costumes, very expensive wands and clothing items. I loved the Hufflepuff toy but couldn’t warrant £27 on it even though it was so adorable. There is also a sweet section full of Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Peppermint Toads but once again they were expensive and personally I think you don’t get a lot for your money. There are smaller shops at the end of the Forbidden Forest and there is one that runs along side Platform 9¾ but I waited for the main shop. You can also purchase online after your trip if you forget anything or have soft toy regrets.
Harry Potter Studio Tour Tips
Visiting the Harry Potter Studios is a magical experience but you want to prepare yourself for it. There is so much to see and it can feel very busy, very overwhelming and you will always feel like you haven’t seen it all no matter how many times you go!
Here are some tips:
- Book your ticket in advance, I prefer to go on a weekday in order to avoid the huge crowds.
- Watch or read the books before you go if you can, it refreshes your mind of the story and makes you excited to see it all
- If you’re an avid fan, you can come in dress up. I saw quite a few fans who dressed up for the tour but I didn’t have the confidence.
- When you select the time of entry, make it as early as you can, so that you have as much time as you want – I prefer lunchtime slots but 2.30PM was enough time too for us.
- Allow at least 3-4 hours for the tour and 1 hour to 90 minutes for the gift shop maybe more if you plan to buy lots. I went with £100 and actually only spent £20 as I struggled to justify the cost of some of the items.
- Bring a power bank (I took two) and make sure your phone is fully charged. If bringing a camera bring spare batteries.
- On selected dates, there are special events in the Warner Bros Studios. Have a look at the official website to see if any of those coincide with the dates of your visit. Thee include events like Valentine’s Dinner in the Great Hall or the Christmas – Hogwarts in the Snow event.
- You can bring some food with you and I would recommend bringing water as it can get hot in there.
Do You Have Any Tips? Comment Below!
FAQ – Harry Potter Tour
- How long does the Harry Potter Studio Tour take?
- The Harry Potter tour takes 3-4 hours on average and that is with a brief lunch time stop and no children
- Is the Harry Potter Studio Tour London worth it?
- 10000% YES! It’s an amazing experience, Nick said he loved it but wouldn’t go again as he isn’t a huge fan but I am already planning trip 3.
- Where to buy Harry Potter Studio Tour tickets?
- You can buy tickets on the official site
- Where are the Harry Potter Studios London?
- The Harry Potter Studios are in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, north of London, not far from St Albans & Watford
- What is the nearest train station to Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour?
- The train station is Watford Junction.
- Is the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour a theme park?
- No, it’s a tour around the film sets of the Harry Potter movies, not the same as the Orlando version of Harry Potter World.