Hey friends! It’s been one week since I’ve returned from traveling in Europe and I must say, I’m pretty fricken sad about it. We planned that trip for almost two years and it’s just crazy to think it’s already over. It actually felt like it was a very realistic dream and it didn’t actually happen. Overall, I didn’t actually like London – which came as an unfortunate surprise for me because I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit and had very high expectations, but I was very let down. There’s a blog post coming up soon all about that so don’t worry, you’ll be able to hear all the unpopular opinions in that one. That being said, the Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter was one of the major highlights of my entire trip. I LOVED it. If you’re here to read a negative review, I’m really sorry but you won’t get that here. Keep reading for the review of Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour London below!
PS – I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.
Review: Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter London
I’m going to start off this review by saying: if you’re a Harry Potter fan and you’re visiting London, this is a must do activity in my opinion. While you’re probably not as big of a Harry Potter fan as I am (because no one is), I guarantee this will be one of the coolest things you’ve ever done.
Purchasing Your Tickets For Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter London
The first tip I have for you is to purchase your tickets in advance. You can purchase your tickets directly from Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter website here. Since they are known to sell out, we purchased our tickets two months in advance to be safe. This was the only MUST DO activity I had planned for while we were in London so I wanted to make sure it worked out.
You have a few different options for tickets – we purchased the Adult Complete Studio Tour Package tickets for £48.95 which included an audio guide and a souvenir guidebook. However, if I could redo it, I would purchase just a regular adult ticket for £39.00. I found that the audio guide was unnecessary if you speak fluent English (it comes in a variety of other languages) and I didn’t end up using it for the majority of the self-guided tour. And while the souvenir guidebook is pretty cool, I don’t think it’s necessarily worth the extra money we spent for it.
Another thing that I noticed is that you had to pick out a time slot for your ticket. We picked the earliest time and rushed to get there right when it opened but it seemed like that time slot was more of a suggestion and you can just show up whenever. I wouldn’t take my word for it but it certainly seemed like it. However, I’m still glad that we got there early because there was a short line and minimal people throughout the whole tour. I personally don’t do very good in crowds so if you’re the same, try to go as early as possible
Getting To Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter London
You all know how awesome the public transportation is in London and throughout England, and it’s no different for when you’re trying to reach the Warner Bro’s Studio. From the nearest train station to where you’re staying, you’ll want to take the Overground to the Watford Junction Station and then a Harry Potter themed shuttle bus (you really can’t miss it) will pick you up and bring you right to the front doors of the studio (in Leavesden). It’s cheap and simple. If you’re traveling from London, I mean. I’m not sure how easy it is from other towns but if you know, please inform me and the other readers in the comments!
We actually took an Uber from our Airbnb (which was located in Canning Town) to the Warner Bro’s Studio because we didn’t want to risk missing our time slot that we had our tickets for. Though, as I mentioned above, that time slot seemed more like a suggestion so we could’ve actually taken the train and saved a lot of money.
And if you drive yourself to the Studio, there is free parking out front but you’ll have to show the Car Parking Team (as they put it) your ticket confirmation to enter the parking lot.
On our way back from the Studio though, we took the shuttle bus to Watford Junction Station, got on the train to the Stratford station, where we transferred to go to the Canning Town station which was a few minutes walk from our Airbnb. Overall, it was a little over two hours of traveling and I find train traveling to be very fun and relaxing.
Funny story though, when we were transferring trains in Stratford, as Christopher (my fiance) got on the train, the doors shut right behind him and left me alone on the platform in the middle of pretty much nowhere England where I didn’t have a cell phone with an international call plan. There was no one else on the platform to borrow their phones so I had to turn on my cellular data (yay, roaming charges..) and luckily was able to get a hold of Christopher and he was able to get off at the next stop to wait for me. The next train came about ten minutes later and we were able to meet back up. I laugh about it now, but I didn’t have any idea how long I would’ve had to wait for the next train so I was thinking it was going to be hours and I was stressing the hell out. But, it all worked out as it always does. Okay, it’s not that funny when I tell the story but I find it really funny so whatever. Anyways…
We Recommend Reading: The Muggle's Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When You Arrive At Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter London
Upon your arrival, head straight to the kiosks near the front door to print off your pre-purchased tickets. While there is a place to purchase your tickets there, I do not recommend waiting until you get there. Like I said above, it’s very likely that the tour will sell out and it would be very sad for you to get there and not be able to do the tour.
Once you print off your tickets (which could also include a ticket for the audio guide and souvenir guidebook if you purchased those as well), you’ll go through security. If you purchased the audio guides, you’ll want to get in line for that. It’s clearly marked ‘Digital Guide’ located next to the gift shop. However, you can’t pick those up until five minutes before the tour starts (if you arrive before the doors officially open) so I recommend checking out the gift shop in the meantime. We didn’t purchase anything until after the tour finished, but it was still fun to walk around and pretend we were at Honeydukes or in Zonko’s.
Then, I would get in line for the tour. While you’re waiting in line, there’s a photo opportunity in front of ‘The Cupboard Under the Stairs’ so make sure you have your camera at the ready. Also, since I mentioned it, photography is allowed (and encouraged! Use the hashtag #WBStudioTour to share your photos on social media) throughout the tour but please be wary of your flash for obvious reasons.
During The Warner Bro’s The Making of Harry Potter Tour
Once you get past ‘The Cupboard Under the Stairs’, you’re ushered in small groups into a small room off the entrance way. There, a staff member introduces you to the tour and a short documentary about how the books became the movies starts to play on various TV’s on the walls. Each TV has a different language which I personally thought was an awesome and considerate touch. Once the documentary is finished, you’re then ushered into the theater where Danielle Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint show up on the screen and give a shortened version of their experience working on the set and what you should expect once you continue on with the tour.
After the short movie thing (whatever it’s called), you’re taken to the Entrance Hall. And if it happens to be your birthday, you’re able to open the huge doors to enter the Great Hall! This definitely starts off your tour with a bang. There’s a tour guide in here telling you about the different Houses and you can view the costumes of the house ghosts. Of course, my personal favorite was the Ravenclaw section since I’m a Ravenclaw. Up front, you can see statues of the teachers (including Dumbledore and Snape) and the House Point Counter which is filled with beautiful glass beads in the House colors.
After the Great Hall, the rest of the tour is entirely self-guided. It does take about three to four hours so make sure you budget your time wisely, there’s a lot of ground to cover. After you leave the Great Hall, you enter a huge soundstage that has various sets throughout the movies (including the Gryffindor common room, Malfoy Manor, and Hagrid’s Hut). When you first enter, there are some graphs on the wall with details about how the movie was made as well as props from the entire series (the Yule Ball props were pretty sweet). As you go down the line, you’re able to see small details like how Bellatrix’s wig was made and things like that.
The next area, you view both the Gryffindor Dormitory and Common Room, as well as the Mirror of Erised (which unfortunately doesn’t actually show you your deepest heart’s desire). My personal favorite parts of that soundstage were the Potions classroom and Dumbledore’s office, it was like you stepped straight into the movie and I forgot for a moment that it wasn’t actually real.
Throughout this entire area, there are interactive attractions which I thought was an awesome touch. You can make a broomstick hover, fly a broomstick in front of a green screen, and make the dishes wash themselves in the Burrow.
You can also see the Whomping Willow in action as it hits the Ford Angela, stumble into the Malfoy Manor and see the scene where Professor Burbage about to be eaten by Nagini, you know – your average everyday stuff.
After this area is the newest attraction – the Dark Forest. Which was AMAZING. When you enter through the Hogwart’s gates, you’re greeted by Buckbeak as he’s hiding from Werewolf Lupin. Then, giant spiders descend from above you and Aragog creeps out of the forest in front of you. There were a lot of crying children in this area so if you have small children, just be aware. You can also set off thunder and lightning which makes the creepy forest even creepier. Towards the end of the Dark Forest, there’s an area where you can see how Patronum’s are brought to life (this wasn’t my favorite area as I thought it was actually kind of lame..) and how they created Lupin’s wardrobe.
Once you move out of this area, you enter Platform 9 3/4! There’s an awesome photo opportunity in front of the Hogwart’s Express – it’s very large room so it wasn’t very crowded. You can also take a picture with the trolley going into the Platform but I had opted out as I took one at King’s Cross the day before.
In the Platform, you can actually go inside the Hogwart’s Express and view the compartments from each movie! My personal favorite was with the heart Lavender had made. You can also “ride” the Hogwart’s Express in front of a green screen and test out your acting skills (I have none). You can also try to “catch” chocolate frogs and hide from the dementors.
After you leave Platform 9 3/4, you enter a break area where you can buy snacks, drinks, and Butterbeer! I would recommend trying out the Butterbeer ice cream, it was soooo good. Chris got the regular Butterbeer drink, and while it was good, I thought the one at Universal Studios in Hollywood was much better. You can take as much time to here to rest as you need to because there’s a lot more walking ahead of you.
Once you’re rested, you can head outside to the backlot. You’ll see the Knight Bus first and you can actually go inside! There’s only room for one or two people as you can peer inside the first floor and second floor but it’s a good photo opportunity. The next thing is Number 4, Privet Drive which I was sooo excited for!! And you can go inside! But, you only can view one room – the living room from the first movie. Still, it was very cool. You can also see the Potter’s house in Godric’s Hollow (with the hole in the roof and all), the rickety bridge, and you can sit in the flying Ford Angela!
Once you’re done exploring the backlot, you enter the next area where all the SFX and Creature Effects is. Here, you can view all of the creepy goblin heads, Werewolf Lupin, as well as how Dobby was created!
After this small area, you enter one of the coolest parts of the whole tour – Diagon Alley. The store fronts have SO much detail put into them, I spent almost around a half hour examining all of them. Me being the giant bookworm that I am, my personal favorite was, of course, Flourish and Blotts.
After you leave Diagon Alley, you enter the art department. I should have spent more time in here looking at the artwork and miniature models of the sets because I’m so there was an underrated amount of effort put into all of that but I was eager to get to the grand finale…
THIS was my favorite part of the entire experience. When I turned that corner and saw Hogwart’s for the first time, I audibly gasped and actually shed a few tears. I’m not even being dramatic, that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, especially being a Harry Potter fan. I don’t even have the words to describe how magnificent this was, it’s definitely something that you have to experience yourself to understand.
Harry Potter was one of the first “grown-up” books that I read on my own when I was a young child, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Visiting here was a dream come true for me and the only other thing that could be even greater, is, of course, the Harry Potter world actually existing.
This tour is worth every penny spent on the tickets. I mentioned before that I didn’t like London very much, but I would return again and again if it meant getting to explore this place even more.
I hope you found this review helpful and I hope you get to experience this if you haven’t already! And if you have, let me know what your favorite part was!
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All the photos in this post were either taken by myself or my fiance, please do not borrow without permission.
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