Even though the last Harry Potter book (and movie) was released years ago, the magic is still alive and well! A visit to the Harry Potter studio has long been on my list of places to visit and when I went to London I finally got to see the sets for real! If you’re a fellow Potter fan (um, who isn’t?) here’s everything you need to know!
What to See
The tour starts by entering into a replica of the Great Hall (Oxford University has a better one).
After that you move through the big warehouse / studio with some of the sets including:
- Potions lab
- Gryffindor common room
- Gryffindor dorm
- Professor Umbridge’s office
- The chamber of secrets door
- Harry Potters room in the cupboard under the stairs
- Great Hall
- The Knight Bus
- The bridge from the 4th movie
They have a fake forbidden forest especially constructed for the studio tour that’s supposed to be a ‘replica’. It wasn’t that great. Apart from that it was cool!
The lighting in the studio wasn’t ideal for photos, some of mine ended up being blurred :/ but here are a few!
One of the ‘magic’ ways they did things was you wave your hand over this thing and it prompts the carrots to start chopping so it looks like they’re chopping themselves.
Loved this model of the castle that they used for filming exterior of the castle. The lights in the room change from ‘day’ to ‘night’
The sets are actually really small – I don’t know how they managed to fit all the actors and cameras etc.!
- You have to pre-buy the ticket online. It’s prone to selling out so book far in advance
- Book the 1st tour of the day where there’s less crowds
- The first part was guided and you had to wait until a certain time where they move the entire group to the next section. After that you were free to go at your own pace
- There’s not a lot of walking involved, the studio is quite small
- Make sure you read the plaques for each set – they tell you ‘behind the scenes’ things
- There is a small outdoor section ‘Privet drive’ (just 3 house facades / sets, the Knight bus and the bridge) otherwise it’s all indoors
How Long Do You Need?
We finished in about 2 – 3 hours. We booked the first timeslot where there was less crowds so it was quicker to get photos without other people in them. We also didn’t dawdle and moved through at a steady pace to make sure we stayed at the front so people weren’t in our photos.
You do not need to book an organized tour that takes you out to the studios on a bus. These are over-priced and getting the train is half the fun!
Here are my directions I used for the 9am timeslot (current as of 2018):
1. Go to Euston Station
2. 7:34am West Midlands Train to Waterford Junction (express train should take 20min, do NOT take local train = 1hr)
3. Watford Junction Railway Station on bus for 15 min to Woodside / Harry Potter Studios
4. At Waterford Junction will be the Harry Potter shuttle bus – buses run every 20 minutes and take about 15 minutes to arrive (round-trip return ticket will cost £2.50 and you must pay it in cash)
5. Should arrive at 8:40am (MUST arrive 20 minutes before scheduled time)
When you’ve finished the tour wait at the same location and take the bus back to the train station, then the train back to London.
More London Posts:
- Favorite London Stationery shops for planner supplies
- 50 Things you must see and do when visiting London
- My all time favorite trip planning tool: Visit a City
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