Can you believe it has been almost twenty years since the first Harry Potter book was published!? I know! I’ll just let that sink in for a second…
Two decades, 7 books and 8 films later and the universal love for the teenage wizard hasn’t gone anywhere. And with the recent introduction of two screenplays, a West End play, a spin-off film and two short novella trilogies to the HP family, it doesn’t seem likely to do so soon, either.
Whether a hardcore wizarding fan or a more relaxed Muggle, The Warner Bros. The Making of Harry Potter studio tour, based just outside London, is an essential day out for all. Be sure not to miss a single moment of the experience with the complete top ten guide of what to see and do when you visit.
Plan your journey
For car owners, the studios are located only 20 miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways. This makes it easily navigable for those who can provide their own transport.
Buses also run frequently from Victoria coach station but need to be booked in advance. Golden Tours provide themed doubledecker buses, but be warned; the price is almost equivalent to that of the tour ticket. The journey racks up at almost two hours either way and the arrival and departure times are calculated by the company, however, which takes a lot of pressure off and allows you the freedom to relax and enjoy your day.
Knight bus, Hogwarts Express or Nimbus 2000; however you get there ensure you arrive twenty minutes prior to your entry time to allow for queues.
Much of the tour is run on a look-but-don’t-touch policy. However, there are interactive sections dotted around that allow you to relive your favourite scenes.
Always wanted to compete in a Quidditch tournament? Levitate your broomstick? Travel to Platform 9¾? Journey on the Hogwarts Express? Ride in the Weasley’s car? Well, now you can!
Feast in The Great Hall
Warning: this section will make you hungry! Decked out in seasonal ornaments and filled with food, the Great Hall is not to be missed! And in amongst all the delectable delicacies are the actual costumes worn by the likes of Dame Maggie Smith, Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Felton in the films.
Board the train to Hogwarts
Wonders are to be found around every corner, during the tour, and none are more wondrous than finding a full-size steam train indoors.
This is one of the more recent additions to the attraction and proves just as spectacular inside as out. On board, each carriage represents each year of Harry’s time at Hogwarts. With amazing attention to detail in each small re-created set, returning to the Muggle world when you step off will come as a bit of a shock!
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As one of only four places in the world to sell the infamous beverage, this experience is a must! And with a secret recipe that not even the vendors know, this truly is an indescribable treat. For a small extra fee, you are also free to take your goblet home as a souvenir.
Located exactly half the way through the tour, use this time to quench your thirst and refuel for the next set of surprises to discover.
Visit the Dursley’s
“A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley…He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: “To Harry Potter – the boy who lived!”
The full-scale home of Harry’s Muggle relatives is located in the small outdoor section of the tour and allows you to relive some of Harry’s earliest (and worst!) moments in No. 4 Privet Drive.
Explore Diagon Alley
Explore one of the most famous streets on the planet. Boasting such sights as Olivander’s wand shop and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, this will transport you directly into the wizarding world. The carefully created aesthetic and the minutely designed set makes it hard to believe that the entire street is contained indoors. Unique and quirky – this is truly unforgettable.
Return home to Hogwarts
From one unforgettable place to another. Hogwarts has become a symbol of belonging to a plethora of fans across the globe. The exquisitely designed set is truly a breath-taking and mesmerizing sight! The castle can be viewed from a 360 degree angle to properly showcase the beauty and detail from every angle. As truly one of the most iconic images of both the films and the books, this is a key sight along the tour.
See it in the snow
From mid-November to the end of January each year, you can visit Hogwarts in the snow. The studios become adorned in snow, seasonal foods and decorations and Christmas trees line some of the most iconic sets. It is truly an unmissable sight!
Each section of the tour has its own unique check-in point on social media. Share your journey with your loved ones and create memories to look back upon after your visit is over by utilising the online aspect of the experience.
Not over your visit here? The studios have also been extended on Google Maps where key sets have become viewable online. meaning your tour never has to end! Keep the magic alive. Always.