Let me start this off by saying this is going to be a really nerdy post, so you have been warned! I love Harry Potter… like I have a tattoo that’s the level I am at. I grew up reading the books, went to midnight book premieres and then later to midnight movie premiers. I even went to the Harry Potter Wizarding World in Orlando during its opening year! Okay now that I have set the stage lets dive into WHY you need to visit the Harry Potter Studio.
If you are in London, I really encourage you to go and visit it’s a short distance from the city, but I will say I believe it’s a full day experience. This place is MASSIVE, and you do not want to rush through! There is just so much going on from the detailed sets such as Private Drive to the Forbidden Forest and so much more!
Tip: Book in advance! There are limited slots available meaning you will want to book BEFORE you plan to go!
Fun fact each time of year they have a unique extra additional experiences. Things like Valentines Dinner in the Great Hall, Hogwarts in Snow, Darks Arts and so much more! It’s really an experience you can go to a few times and see all new things!
Now that I have you convinced you must go let’s get into the review!
Wands at the ready…flick and swish…
If you are staying in London the easiest way to get there is by train. You take the London Euston route which is about 20 minutes. Get off at the Waterford Junction and you can take a special decked out Harry Potter bus that goes straight to the studio. It’s a 15-minute ride and they run every 20 minutes. Cost is £3.00 each way and you need to have cash or contactless card they have no ability to swipe cards. Plan your journey here.
When you first arrive, you come in through the lobby where there is a café. If you haven’t eaten, make sure to get some food or bring your own. You can consume food in the backlot café but if you take your time in the tour it can take quite some time to get there.
Once you check in if you opted for the complete package (which I recommend!) you will be given your digital guide. Its super helpful and gives your extra information on each set that has the corresponding marker. It has extra videos from the cast, crew and directors who explain extra tidbits from on the sets. For more information check it out here.
Also to make sure to grab your activity passport, is it for children….yes…did I get one…HELL YEAH! There are six stamps that you will collect throughout the tour plus it has fun interactive activities as you walk through.
After you are all ready to go you enter in groups straight into the pre-tour area. This is the only part of the tour you cannot photograph or record. I won’t spoil it but it’s a fun show with some surprises!
You will then enter the Great Hall and this is the only timed part of the tour. They limit your time because the next group enters the same way and again there is a fun surprise!
It’s so cool in here as this was the actual Great Hall you see in the movies. They have some of the cast real costumes on display and it’s just breathtaking! You will seriously be awed and you’re barely getting started!
As I mentioned the studio is HUGE and its easy to get turned around. Below is a map of the studio and the downloadable pdf version in case you don’t have internet.
At this point you are cut lose to take as little or long as you would like to explore the sets. First up are the interior sets which is everything from Potions to the Common Rooms! You even can do a photo op at Hagrid’s house.
I was just blown away by how detailed these sets were and all of the information they provided. One that was really interesting was the portraits were actual pictures of crew members!
Make sure to stop at each set and watch the video its chock full of extra info.
This will be your first green screen stop. You can opt for a photo on a broomstick which is pricey but a fun unique experience!
This is a really creepy part of the tour but here you can see all the death eater costumes. They even have the set from Malfoy Manor. It still has poor Charity Burbage strung up before she was killed by Voldemort and eaten by Nigini.
My favorite set in the whole place! I have always been obsessed with the secrets the Dark Forest held and this is a great set. Its dark inside and things do pop out so be forewarned and make sure to say Lumos for your wand.
I swear every kid wanted to ride the Hogwarts Express and go to Hogwarts. This part of the tour is the real train that was used to film and its massive! It even has a fun photo opt of going through the platform.
Once you are in the Backlot this is the place to eat! I had taken up to five hours at this point walking through, so I was starved. Grab yourself some butterbeer which is amazing! They even have Butterbeer ice cream.
Once you have refueled head and explore the backlot. This is where Private Drive is, the Knights bus and some more bigger set items!
Love Dobby or Buckbeak? Here you can see how they were brought to life! You can find Aarog, the Baslik and some goblin heads here too!
There were so many departments that went into the creation of Harry Potter! From set design, costume design, creature creators and so much more. This department is dedicated to them with models and technical drawings.
Omg let me just say my jaw actually dropped! It was freaking Diagon Alley with the Weasley Wizard Wheezes and everything. It’s a very detailed set and so much fun to explore!
I tried to open an account, but they said no…ugh. This is a new addition to the tour that wasn’t available when I toured but man it looks so cool! They added Gringotts along with the vaults. They even added new dining experiences: The Chocolate Frog café, The Hub Cafe and the Food Hall. Plus they added the dragon that Harry, Hermione and Ron escaped on!
Even with the addition you will still exit through the Model Room. It’s a huge Model of Hogwarts I mean HUGE!
After you have spent the day exploring the sets and eating magical food it’s time to SHOP! The souvenir shop is pretty great! Note it’s a souvenir shop which means it’s expensive so budget ahead of time on unique things you can only get here.
I hope you decide to visit I promise its amazing and if you do drop a comment below and let me know how your experience was!