I am a Potterhead…I have a ritual of reading all the Harry Potter Books every year followed by watching all the Harry Potter movies back to back…no matter what! Last year I was working full time, travelling and preparing for my wedding but still I made time for this ritual!! 😛 So imagine how ecstatic I was when I got a chance to visit London and stay in Watford where the Warner Bros Studios are located!! So like any happy Potterhead, I booked my tickets to the Warner Bros Studios before booking my flight tickets and arrived in London just a night before my tour of the Potterworld. Read on for the magic I experienced there…
The Warner Brother Studios
For the uninitiated….the Warner Brother Studios at Watford are the actual sets where a major portion of the Harry Potter movies were shot. Here you get to walk through the Grand Hall, Daigon Alley, visit Harry’s room under the stairs in the closet, Professor Dumbledore’s office, Snapes Potions room, Privet Drive…well you get the drift!! Do not confuse these with the Wizarding world of Harry Potter of the Universal Studios Theme Parks…this is not a theme park..this is the real thing. All the props here are authentic, the clothes, robes even the quills used by the actors are saved here.
These studios are huge…it will take at least 4 hours for you to complete the whole trip and at the end you will feel as if you’ve gone through the entire Harry Potter series within 4 hours.
Pre-book your tickets!! This is the most important thing, the tours fill up fast and if you are in a group it is highly recommended that you book your tickets well in advance.
The tickets are priced as
Adult Saver ticket (16+ years) – £39.00
Child – £31.00
Family ticket – (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children) – £124.00
There is also a complete studio package which I opted for which will give you a digital guide to guide yourself through the studio and a souvenir at the end of the tour. The complete package for adults is at £48.95 and for children is for £40.95
You can include the bus shuttle in your tickets for an additional £5.00 per person and I recommend you do this. The bus shuttle is from Watford Junction, the operators are very cheerful and friendly and the Harry Potter experience starts well before you reach the studios!!Arrive around 45 mins prior to your tour time at Watford Junction bus stop and the staff will happily assist you with the shuttle timings.
Once you reach the studios swap your online tickets at the counter for the studio tickets and you are on you way to an amazing adventure!!!
The Grand Hall
I nearly teared up at the entrance to the Grand Hall and don’t worry you won’t be the only one….this has been a childhood dream of almost all the visitors there so emotions run high! No shame. 🙂 If its your birthday…you are lucky…they let you open the door to the grand hall!!
Though the enchanted ceiling is missing, you will find the Grand Hall surrounded by mannequins fitted with actual outfits which the actors wore. You will see the Gryfindors, Slytherins, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs in their robes and the teachers in their robes standing at the end welcoming the visitors 🙂
As you move further ahead you get to see these highlights of the studios
The Forbidden Forest
Next up in the studio is the Forbidden Forest. Complete with the background sound effects, you will feel exactly how Harry and Ron felt the first time they entered the forest. They also mist out the floors which was a favorite among the kids!
They have re-created the whole Kings Cross Platform here with props of the trolley passing through platform 9 & 3/4 for you to click as many pictures as you want. There is also a store here where you can purchase your copy of the ticket to the Hogwarts express on Platform 9 & 3/4. My ticket proudly sits in my home 🙂
As you move out from the the platform you get to see the outdoor shooting spots such as the Privet Drive, the Hogwarts Bridge which was burned down in the last battle, the Knight Bus and more chess pieces!!
Finally you move towards the post production and makeup part of the studio where all the props and accessories kept. You will see replica of the Hogwarts Castle, the props used to decorate the Grand Hall during the Yule Ball and off course Dobby!!
You will finally wind your way out through Diagon Alley through the gift shop out to the real world!!
Although food is not allowed to be consumed within the studios, they have a cafeteria midway through the tour where you can get Harry Potter inspired food, the famous Butter-beer or get your own meals and have a picnic of your own. I visited on a warm Autumn day and this made the perfect opportunity for a happy outdoor picnic!!
Tips for an amazing experience
- Purchase your tickets in advance
- Check out for the new shows which they have regularly
- The tour is long and you have to walk a lot so wear comfortable shoes
- They have various spots for taking pictures & videos with added effect, these spots are always crowded. Its recommended to line up for these first then do the tour of the particular spot, that way you wont miss anything.
- Start early in the day to beat the rush
This tour will take an entire day so plan your itinerary accordingly. I hope you have a great time at the studios and do let me know if you need any more details on this. I literally have a folder of photos and worksheets planning my tour through London and I would be happy to share them with you all!!