Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, having read the books in excess of ten times each, as well as watching the films countless times. In fact, I am re-reading all of the books with my other half now as he hasn’t experienced the magic of J.K Rowling’s writing yet. Not only that, but we also went on a hunt for the real Hogwarts Express on a road trip in Scotland!
Well, I was lucky enough to have a magical Valentine’s Day at the Harry Potter studios near London last year, and I wanted to share some of my memories from that day with you all.
How to spend your magical day at the Harry Potter Studios
If you’re anything like me, you’d want to combine your day at the studios with a trip to London too, which is possible. Our tour started at 5pm, which meant we could visit the National History Museum and Science Museum first.
Or better yet… why not embark on a jam-packed and totally magical Harry Potter weekend in London?
From there, we hopped back on a train to Watford to make our way to the studios. Every moment in the taxi ride from the train station to Leavesden had me in knots of such excitement!
Once you’ve picked up your tickets from the self-service machines, you can venture inside to wait in line. Don’t worry about how long you may be waiting for – your tickets have a time slot to ensure you’re not kept waiting for too long.
Even waiting in line lets you see props and staging from the films, such as being greeted by the Cupboard Under The Stairs even before you hand your tickets in.
After that, you’re taken into a room to receive an introductory talk and then shown a video welcoming you to the studios. They’ve filmed this really well as the end of the video ties in with them opening the doors to the Great Hall.
The Great Hall section is timed as they need to ensure that all visitors leaving the film come into an empty hall, but after that, you have the rest of your day to explore the studios in your own time (at least until closing)!
I sneakily grabbed a quick shot of the Great Hall once everyone in our group had left. But the staff at the far end weren’t impressed as they were waiting to let the next group in…totally worth it though!
There are so many wonders to behold at the studios. The first building inside holds most props including the Quidditch equipment, Yule Ball props and all of the magical utensils from Dumbledore’s Office.
You can also see most staging in this first building such as the Gryffindor Common Room, The Burrow and The Ministry of Magic among others.
We were lucky enough to have gone during a special event where they also had the trained animals throughout the studios. Fang was sleeping, Crookshanks was dozing and the owls were hooting.
Once you’ve seen all there is to see within the first building, you can venture into the cafe for some warming Butterbeer before venturing outside to see The Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Hagrid’s Motorbike and The Weasley’s Flying Car.
After that, you have the opportunity to see the CGI props and videos about how certain parts were filmed. You can see how the Triwizard dragons were designed, how Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill operates and how the mermaids were filmed.
Now, comes the bit you’ve all been waiting for – a wander through Diagon Alley!
To finish off your day, you can see paperwork models of most props and staging and then walk around a large model of Hogwarts itself.
It’s probably for the best that the Gift Shop experience is right at the end, otherwise I could have spent hours there! I came away with some unique gifts as well as a Chocolate Frog for myself… I got my Dumbledore Chocolate Frog Card!
Diagon Alley, the Yule Ball props and drinking Butterbeer were by far my most treasured memories from this day and helped to make it a magical one.
In fact, I was so enamored with the Butterbeer that I decided to hunt high and low for a recipe, which I’ve posted up for you in one of my blog posts here.
Getting to the studios
The Studio Tour is located 20 miles north-west of London at this address:
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Studio Tour Drive
There’s parking on site but there are also plenty of public transport services arriving there. You can even get a shuttle bus from the Watford railway station, which costs a couple of pounds for a return ticket.
IMPORTANT! The last bus departs from the Studio Tour 20 minutes before closing time – don’t miss your bus!
Are you a Harry Potter fan? Would you take a trip to the Studio Tour or have you been there before? Share your experiences, opinions and thoughts in the comments section below…
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