Harry Potter Studio Tour

Where: London, England
When: October 2017
Hotel: Victory Services Club
Why The Harry Potter Tour: It was John’s birthday, and I was trying to come up with something fun we could do for it. The Harry Potter Studio tour was the most obvious choice for my Potter-loving husband, but it was something that needed to be booked well in advance. This is an incredibly popular attraction so I booked the tour two months out. There are lots of options from straight-forward tickets with no guide to fully guided tours. It wasn’t cheap, but if we were going – we were going to get the full experience.

img_1484

Airport selfie – ready for a weekend full of Potter!

The Trip: We were just going to London for the weekend, and thankfully there is a direct flight from Stuttgart to London on Friday evening, returning Sunday evening on EasyJet airlines. The entire purpose of the trip was Harry Potter – so there was nothing else planned.

And here are a few important notes before you go:

  • Book a guided tour if you can. The single tickets are cheaper, but as with any tour, you’ll learn more than you will on your own. It also included skip-the-line access and train tickets to-from London.
  • Whether or not you book a tour, get the earliest time slot available. You don’t want to rush and there is so much to see. We did the guided tour, and then our ticket allowed us to go back in again…which we did, because while on the tour, we didn’t get a chance to do the photo op sections or get all the pictures we wanted. We literally spent all day there – even if you aren’t a die-hard Potter fan (me), it is so fun. Give yourself all the time you can.
  • Directions on how to get there are available on the website. The fully guided tour includes a return train ticket as well as a guide that gets your from London to the studio, which is in Watford – outside of London. I missed this in the directions, and we got to the studio by ourselves via train (very easy, but make sure to get on the express one that gets you there in 20 minutes). At the train station, there is a bus (decorated in all Harry Potter, you can’t miss it), that takes you right to the studio in about 15 minutes.
  • Bring plenty of the following: cash (for the bus), a credit card (for the awesome souvenir store), extra camera batteries/phone chargers (for all of the pictures), a printed copy of your confirmation, and snacks (if you don’t want to buy at the cafes in the studio).

Because we arrived on our own, we had to wait for our tour group, so we scoped out the souvenir store and grabbed a coffee at the cafe. Once our group arrived, we were all given headsets and were ushered into a cinema area. You’ll watch a brief film where Harry, Ron and Hermione introduce you to the tour, and then the magic begins!

img_1494

The studio tour bus – clearly hard to miss! It runs every 20 minutes, so add this time into your travel to the studio.

img_1496

On the double-decker bus!

img_1532

We got there bright and early to have the whole day to enjoy it – the more time the better is key!

What was super cool is that our tour guide asked if there were any birthdays happening, and John was able to open the doors into the first stop of the tour – the Great Hall! It was super cool, with Halloween decorations hanging throughout. When you do go, give the chance for the people to move out and you can get pictures of the empty hall in all its glory.

img_1533

Ready to get this going!

img_1543

John opening the Great Hall doors.

img_1545

The Great Hall (and our fun tour guide!)

img_1551

The actual character costumes.

img_1552

The tables as seen in the film.

img_1570

Cheers to the Birthday Boy!

From there, you are ushered into the wide world of Harry Potter. I enjoy Harry Potter, but my knowledge level doesn’t come close to John’s, but it was so cool to learn the tricks of the film and see actual stages used in the movies. You get to see the potions classrooms, the Weasley’s home, Dumbledoor’s office (with the sorting hat), walk Diagon Alley, sit on the Hogwarts Express, pretend to run through Platform 9 3/4, see Dobi, costume, drink Butterbeer and sit and marvel at the actual castle. This is probably the best tour I have been on, and we took advantage of everything offered. It was a blast.

img_1587

The moving staircase

img_1581

The various wigs

img_1598

The boys dorm room – the beds were made to stretch as the actors grew.

img_1606

The Gryffindor common room

img_1608

The Griffin in the staircase

img_1612

Dumbledore’s office

img_1619

The Potions classroom

img_1640

This is actually a moving broomstick – say “Up” and it moves! 🙂

img_1641

The Chamber of Secrets door

img_1646

The Weasley’s home

img_1651

The Malfoy residence

img_1658

The Ministry of Defense

img_1660

Delores Umbridge’s office

img_1670

The Enchanted Forest…the spider moved which was extra creepy!

img_1682

Trying a butter beer! There is another cafeteria between the main studio and the backlot, where there the Knight Bus, Privet Lane and the Hogwarts Bridge, plus the main prop room.

img_1686

Butterbeer Ice Cream and drink!

img_1692

The Hogwarts Bridge (with dementors!)

img_1698

He’s not afraid!

img_1700

In the sidecar!

img_1702

This was the entire bridge used in the film, which is crazy because it wasn’t huge!

img_1717

Dobi – he was all computer animated except for one scene, which was the one this was used in.

img_1741

This castle was so cool – it was used in the film for many of the flying scenes. We stayed and admired this for close to an hour.

After the first tour, you turn in your head phones and you can either leave, or go back through. Of course we opted to go back in – there is so much to see, it is impossible to fully take it in on the tour, so I highly recommend going back through if your ticket allows. Plus, you’ll get to stop at all the photo ops set up throughout. It is really well done and should not be rushed through!

img_1750

Getting ready to get our picture taken on broomsticks!

0.jpeg

We had to buy this…and the video! It’s so cute!!

img_1758

This moved the car, like in the film!

img_1762

Hahahaha – in Hagrid’s cottage, to show how they showed the size difference between the character’s.

img_1766

Next to Hagrid’s costumes

img_1767

Walking back through the enchanted forest.

img_1755

Hagrid’s cottage

img_1787

By the Hogwart’s Express!

img_1793

Can’t miss this photo op!! 🙂

img_1810

The train station from the films

img_1811

The Knight Bus on the backlot

img_1813

Heading into Harry’s childhood home

img_1816

This was a super cool display!

img_1824

On the Hogwart’s Bridge

img_1833

More neighborhoods from the movies

img_1838

Diagon Alley!

img_1841

This place was SO MUCH FUN!!

img_1845

By the Weasley’s Store

img_1874

Another view of the Castle (we have so many pictures!)

img_1904

More fun photos from the tour! 🙂

We ended in the souvenir shop – and be prepared…they have everything a Potterhead could want and more. We were probably in there over an hour, and there were lots of items bought in that store. But after the whole tour, it’s hard not to get caught up in all of the fun and want items to remember it by. We also bought the pictures taken inside the studio as well.

We made our way back to London late in the day, and thankfully, our hotel was right by this amazing Lebanese restaurant. Easy and delicious – which is good, because we were beat!

The Trip: The Harry Potter Studio tour is fantastic. If you are in London, and traveling with anyone who loves Harry Potter, do not miss this. We had the best time, and it was the perfect way to celebrate John and his birthday! 🙂

unnamed.jpg

Hanging out on Hogwarts Express!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s