On my most recent trip to England, I made a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, and it exceeded all my expectations. I am so excited to share this experience with you!
My Visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
I am a big Harry Potter fan, I have read all the books and I have seen all of the films. In October Charles and I rewatched all eight Harry Potter films as a way to celebrate Halloween. When my friend Jenn asked me to join her on a last minute trip to London, I had Harry Potter on my mind. I have seen the wonderful production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I had visited many of the spots in London where they filmed the movies, so it was time to visit the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour.
The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London is the ultimate Harry Potter experience. This is the studio where all of the films were made. Visitors get to see the Great Hall of Hogwarts, the exteriors of Privet Drive and the Potter Cottage, Diagon Alley, the Enchanted Forest, and a scaled model of Hogwarts.
Even before we set foot inside the studio, we loved seeing the costumed fans around us. A toddler dressed as Dobby the house elf, an older gentleman in full Slytherin robes, and a young woman in a homemade Hedwig costume joined numerous guests of all ages in Gryffindor uniforms.
The tour covers all of the major sets that were created at the studio, and it has displays of costumes and props. A massive team was in charge of everything from building Diagon Alley to hand making thousands of wand boxes for Ollivanders.
The craftsmanship of the set, props, and costumes is something to be seen and admired. The attention to detail and the sheer amount of props is nearly overwhelming. There are dozens of oil paintings which hang on the walls of Hogwarts, all sorts of bottles and ingredients in the potions classroom, animatronic beasts like Buckbeak the Hippogriff, and entire homes that have been created. You truly are transported to the wizarding world.
I loved seeing places like the Hagrid’s Hut, the Weasley’s Burrow, the Hogwarts’ Express, and the Great Hall. The highlight for me, and probably for more visitors, was getting to see Diagon Alley. This is the most immersive experience of the studio tour.
Overall, the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London has all the highlights without being too big or too time-consuming. It hits the mark just right.
The tour ends with a room filled with individually labeled wand boxes. Each box is marked with the name of someone who worked on the film which demonstrates the massive size of the crew and the amount of work that went into creating the films.
There are different events and exhibits so you can have a different experience when you make repeat visits to the WB Studio. In winter you can see Hogwarts in the snow, or attend a dinner at the Great Hall. I visited just before Halloween and they had pumpkins hanging from the ceiling of the Great Hall. When they made the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there was a scene where carved pumpkins are hanging from the ceiling. The pumpkins were digitally added in the film, but the prop makers made it come to life at the studio tour. There was also a Death Eater feature that included Death Eater costumes and masks.
What to Know about Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour
You absolutely must purchase tickets in advance. In order to take the bus to the studio you need to show your ticket.
To be clear, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is 20 minutes outside London, in Leavesden.
This isn’t the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it is the actual sets where the filming took place.
You will want to spend between 2-3 hours at the Studio Tour, it is self guided (audio tours are available) but you can go at your own pace.
You won’t be out of place if you wear a costume, or if you don’t.
If you aren’t a Harry Potter fan… at least watch a couple movies before you make the visit.
The tour is very family friendly, and spoiler free. If your kids are new Harry Potter fans and haven’t read every book or seen every film, that is ok. The only thing that might scare some children would be the giant spiders in the enchanted forest, but these can be easily avoided. I would stay that the studio tour is a PG rating – and G if you skip the spiders. The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is more of a PG-13 – and it requires knowledge of all of the Harry Potter series to be truly understood.
How to Get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour
No, you don’t take the Hogwarts Express. From London, you can take a train from London Euston Station to Watford Junction.
You do not need to purchase a separate train ticket to ride this train, you can use your Oyster Card – but be sure to tap the card when you board the train, and when you arrive at your destination. The train costs £10.20 each way, add the value you need before you depart.
The fastest trains will have you there in 15-20 minutes, while the slower trains take 50 minutes or longer. There are trains leaving every 10-20 minutes.
Once you arrive at Watford Junction, there is a bus that will take you straight to the WB Studio. These buses are very well marked and they leave regularly. It seemed as though the buses are timed so that there is one to pick up people from each arriving train. The bus costs £2.50 round trip per person – cash only.
In total, you should plan on it taking about 40 minutes to get from Euston to the WB Studio.
I want to mention that Euston is close to King’s Cross, so you can easily add in a visit to platform 9 3/4.
If you don’t want to take the train, there are some buses that run from London straight to the WB Studio.
More London Travel Guides:
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What to Do in Chelsea and Kensington
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What to Do in London at Christmastime
Harry Potter Filming Locations in London
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Thank you so much to the press team at the WB Studio Tour who very kindly gave us tickets.