Cast your mind back to last Autumn, I’d just got back from Florida where I’d spent time at both Universal Studios and Walt Disney World and had a great time immersing myself in the world of magic and fantasy. Well a few days after getting back I was jet lagged and exhausted after my adventures, so what did I do? I joined my friend Sarah and headed to Watford to do the Warner Brothers Studio Tour of course! This now means I have the bragging rights to say that I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Studio tour over 5000 miles apart in less than a week *dusts shoulders*.
I have attended the Studio tour before not long after it first opened. It was back when I was living in Hull and I grabbed my flipcam and headed down all on my own with the intention of filming my first travel vlog. I filmed a video but it never made it off that flipcam. Four years later, camera in hand, I filmed and actually uploaded the travel vlog I’d wanted to do all those years ago:
I was running late due to traffic but thankfully arrived just in time for the end of our times slot. We headed past the famous bedroom under the stairs set before passing into the film room. They do a really does a good job at pulling on your heart strings as it reminds you of the history of the Harry Potter movies before the famous Great Hall doors are revealed! Here there is a countdown before the truly magical moment, as they creak open and the great hall is right in front of your eyes!
When we were there it was around Halloween, so the great hall was dressed up accordingly. You’ll find that they do this throughout the year, dressing the sets for the time of year. Here the world’s shortest guided tour takes place, your guide takes you down the hall and points out the costumes and props around the hall. Then that’s it, the tour is over and from here you can go on at your own at your own pace around the rest of the exhibits. Get your pics in the great hall quick as you are heavily encouraged to move along before the next group arrives a few minutes behind you.
This time I didn’t choose to have an audio guide as I’d had it on my previous trip, but it is definitely worth paying extra for it if you want to make the most out of the tour. In the first section you can expect to find the Gryffindor dorm rooms, the potions classroom, Dumbledore’s office and so much more. Here you can also get a chance to ride your own broomstick in front of a green screen! It’s a lot of fun, but don’t expect to get an Instagram shot, they are very tight on making sure the staff are the only people who record/ snap away so you can buy them at the end.
The next room was new to me as it wasn’t here on my original trip, that is of course, is the Hogwarts Express! Here in the station you get to see it in it’s full glory. Unlike at Universal Studios this train is completely stationary, but you still can climb aboard and peer into the carriages. Inside each carriage is decorated inside as if it is from a different film.
From here you are taken outside via the cafe where you can pick up your butterbeer (last time it was just a small outdoor stand). I got one of course along with Sarah who hated it. Having tried it several times at Universal Studios over the years and now twice here I can confirm they taste exactly the same, although the souvenir glasses are better in the US as they are actually made of glass and are much bigger. The outdoor area has a lot of the bigger set pieces, including Private Drive which you can now venture inside to catch the famous scene with the letters!
Back inside and you can now peek further into the special effects, as they show you just how the movie magic was made. There are plenty of really cool effects on show here, as well as the full sized Diagon Alley set! Perfect for those Instagram shots.
Finally the last thing you will find before you leave is the huge Hogwarts model, complete with emotional music as you will find yourself getting teary eyes. It really is hard to explain the scale of this thing until you see it, it fills an entire studio and is stunning to see. Then the only thing left to do is make your way through the gift shop without spending all your savings, it’s easier said than done!
Have you been to the Harry Potter tour? What was your favourite part?