Heesun and I both share a love for Harry Potter. After writing about my time in London, I’ve decided to dedicate a whole post to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, because it is just that great. As a warning this post will contain many spoilers if you’re planning to make a visit!
A lot of Harry Potter was filmed in the Warner Bros. Studio in Leavesden, and after filming each part in the series, the staff would keep many of the earlier props in case they would need them for future chapters. When the movies were released, instead of throwing out these items they opened up a studio tour on site to give people the opportunity to check out the set props and immerse themselves in the Harry Potter World.
Arriving at the Studio
If you want to visit the studio, you can purchase admission tickets online as you can’t buy them at the entrance. Tickets are around $50. Make sure to give yourself at least 3-4 hours at the tour as you’ll need it! I think we ended up using around 5 hours. In my opinion there was a LOT to be seen and a lot to admire – especially if you’re a fan.
I went in November so I got to enjoy their Christmas decorations throughout the tour. Here’s me at the entrance (taken right before closing time):
The Awesomeness that is J.K. Rowling
Before you’re free to explore the main attractions, you enter a room where you watch a video that pretty much glorifies J.K. Rowling. And after I watched it I realized, damn, J.K. Rowling really revolutionized the world and touched millions of lives. She made a whole new world for kids to expand their imaginations with. I remember secretly wishing to audition for the part of Cho Chang in middle school (don’t judge me). And I would dream about getting that letter from Hogwarts saying I was accepted. It truly hit me that Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood! Just watching the video and checking out the tour made me realize that I wanted to be like J.K. Rowling – someone who created something and changed the world for the better.
After watching the video, the large doors opened and we walked into the Great Hall. This is where the students of Hogwarts would eat their meals.
The actual outfits of Cedric Diggory and the Hufflepuff peeps…Pretty cool!
The outfits of Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore, and Snape.
After the Great Hall, you’re free to explore the Main Room. This room is huge and has a bunch of sections to check out along with neat facts to accompany the props. I had a lot more pictures but I unfortunately deleted some of them because my phone was running out of space during my trip. #Regrets
The Potions Dungeon (and me illegally touching it)
Wands! I couldn’t tell which one was my favorite – they were all pretty.
The Backlot Set
The backlot set included more fun photo opportunities and a chance to drink Butterbeer! And to top it all off, since we were there for the winter specials, they had fake snow coming down from above. It was the best.
I got a taste of Butterbeer! This drink is (currently) only sold in three places in the world. I thought it would contain alcohol. Unfortunately, it did not.
Butterbeer was very sweet and foamy, and I normally don’t enjoy consuming sugary drinks/food, so after a few sips later I had to give the rest to my friend Andy. But don’t listen to me as I have weird taste buds – most people like the drink. 🙂
Creature Effects, Diagon Alley, & Art Department
I think the Art Department was one of my favorite parts of the tour. The paintings and 3D models were mind-blowing.
The Grand Finale [SPOILER ALERT]
I did not know what to expect with this last part of the tour. Andy had gone before so he was waiting for my reaction as I walked in. I started hearing orchestrated music play as I walked closer. And the grand finale – drum roll please…
OMG HOGWARTS! I didn’t realize the far shots of the castle were model sized!
“What is this, a school for ants?” LOL jk
Cheesin’ SO hard
Cause of the winter special, I got to experience the snowed out version of Hogwarts too. When you’re right next to the structure, you’re just in awe of all the little details that went in each aspect of the school. It was pretty crazy having the opportunity to stand right next to it.
The End Credits and The Gift Shop
At the very end of the tour, you walk through a room that sort of looks like a library. Every person who made a contribution to the books, film, and post-production each got their names on an Ollivander wand box, and the whole room was filled with these bookcases of wand boxes. My friend Andy actually knew someone who was a part of the making of Harry Potter, and we searched for her name. This older employee helped us out – he can find you ANYONE on these wand boxes. Such a good memory.
We last entered the gift shop, where I was close to purchasing a wand. Except I spent 30 minutes to an hour trying to decide which wand was the best. I remember Hermoine, Professor McGonagall, and Voldemort all had really cool wands. But in the end I was chatting with a worker who told me that there might be issues trying to get the wand past airport security. I have no idea how true this is, but I didn’t want to risk it so I figured I could purchase one online or at the Harry Potter Theme Park in Florida in the future.
My Last Thoughts
If you’re in London, you HAVE to check out the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was enchanting to say the least. My advice for your tour experience is – allot enough time and have enough space on your camera/camera phone for pictures as you’ll need it.
After the whole experience, I ended up buying the Harry Potter Blu Ray set. And when I got back to America, I had a Harry Potter movie marathon with Heesun and our other friend Alyssa!
Let us know what you think of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, London in the comments!