Harry Potter Studios, London: Full Review of the Warner Bros Studio Tour

The Harry Potter Studio Tour takes you behind the scenes to see the real film sets, original costumes, Platform 9 ¾, Hogwarts Castle and so much more. And it’s not just for Harry Potter fans.

When I booked my last trip to London, my sister suggested she’d join me and we’d go to the Harry Potter Studios together, to do a tour of the sets where the Harry Potter movies were made.

Having visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in LA, which was a brilliant experience, I got curious and Googled it.

I found that The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making Of Harry Potter (that’s the full name of it…) had some really amazing reviews online and it looked like a truly exciting day trip from London.

But it wasn’t until we got inside the studios that I could fully appreciate what an impressive, immersive, spectacular and fun experience it was!

The whole experience is designed so beautifully and with so much attention to detail that it really left us stunned.

Hogwarts Castle model at the Harry Potter Studio London
Hogwarts Castle

Visiting the Harry Potter Studios takes a good few hours and it does take a bit of planning in advance.

In this post I’ve gathered all the tips and advice that will help you plan your visit efficiently, and added some extra tips that will help you make the most of it.

By the way, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour isn’t only for huge fans of the J.K. Rowling books or of the Harry Potter movies.

Even if you only watched some of the movies or read some of the books, you will definitely have a great time at the studios.

Harry Potter Studio Tickets

Tickets to harry potter studio may sell out for your dates, because it is such a popular attraction, so you have to buy your tickets online in advance as soon as you can.

Here are your ticket options:

1. Get tickets on the official site. However, these do not include transport from London.

2. Book a ticket that includes transport to and from the studios. This is handy if you don’t want to plan the journey by yourself, as the studios are outside of London.

3. Book a fully guided tour: This option includes transport, entry tickets and a dedicated guide who will take you around the studios.

If you don’t get the guided tour, I recommend adding the audio-visual guide to your order.

There are a few more ticket packages available, I’ll give you more details about them later in this post.

Tickets to the Warner Brothers Studios are for specific time slots. That means you have to pick your time of entry when you book the ticket.

However, you can stay in the Harry Potter Studios as long as you like (that would be several hours, normally).

Demand is high in summer and during weekends. If you visit in the summer months, try to book for a weekday rather than Saturday or Sunday.

That way, you’ll stand a better chance of finding tickets at the time slots that are convenient for you.

You want to arrive about 20 minutes before your time of entry, as there might be a line and there are some security checks.

Where is the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

Though the official name of the tour is The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, it is not actually in London itself, but very close to it in Leavesden (Hertfordshire, England).

It doesn’t take very long to get there from central London, and can easily make for a nice day trip from London.

How to Get to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios

The easy way to get to the Warner Brothers Studios is by joining a tour that includes transfer to the studios from London and back.

The other option is to plan how to get there yourself using public transport (a train and then a shuttle bus) or by car.

If you don’t want to worry about transport, there are different options to choose from.

Tours Including Transport & Tickets

WB Studio Guided Tours

Tours to the Harry Potter Studio combining other UK destinations

  • From Birmingham: Round trip transportation and an entrance ticket to the Harry Potter studios.
  • With a tour in Oxford: This full day trip includes a visit to the studios followed by a guided tour in Oxford. The Great Hall at Christ Church College in Oxford was the inspiration for the Hogwarts Great Hall.
  • Dover to London & Heathrow Transfer via Warner Bros Studios: This option will help you make the most of your time in England. This tour takes you by bus directly from Dover to the Warner Bros Studios and then takes you back to your London or Heathrow hotel. The price includes the entrance ticket to the studios.

Getting to the WB Studios by Public Transport

If you want to plan your own journey to the Harry Potter studios, here are some tips:

You have to take a train from Euston Station in central London and get off at Watford Junction.

You can use your Oyster or contactless card for this train ride, or buy train tickets in advance here by searching for London-Watford Junction trains.

Outside the station, you’ll see the bus stop for the Harry Potter Studio Tour shuttle bus, that goes from the train station to the studios.

Prepare some cash in advance, as there’s a small charge for the bus. Also have your ticket booking confirmation ready (you can show them the email confirmation on your phone).

The train ride from London should take about 20 minutes with the express train, but if you board a local train it takes about an hour.

If you’re not sure which train to board, ask the staff at London Euston for advice.

The shuttle bus should take around 15 minutes.

When you plan the journey, you want to allow more time in case the train is delayed or the bus gets full quickly and you have to wait for the next one.

How to Get to the Harry Potter Studios by Car

You can use postcode WD25 7LR in your satnav system to reach the studios.

The studios provide free parking (you’ll have to show your booking confirmation).

Check the official website for detailed routes from London and other parts of the UK.

What to Do When You Arrive at the Warner Bros Studios

The entrance to the Harry Potter Studios
The entrance to the Harry Potter Studios

When you arrive, collect your ticket from the ticket desk. It will have your entry time printed on it.

When you collect your ticket, they’ll give you a beautifully illustrated Harry Potter passport, full of puzzles, trivia and a Golden Snitch hunt to play during the tour.

If you didn’t get a passport with your ticket, you can ask a staff member to get you one during the tour.

Then you’ll have to go through a security check and probably stand in line to get in.

I recommend you book an audio-visual guide with your ticket (unless you’re taking a guided tour of course). Pick it up at the Digital Guide desk. It’s available in 10 different languages.

If you forgot to pre-book it, you can still hire one when you arrive.

There’s a cloakroom at the Warner Bros Studios that you can use to store your bags or coats for free.

You can also have a hot chocolate at the Chocolate Frog Café 🙂

It all goes quite quickly and you’ll soon find yourself inside with a large group of people and a guide who’ll give you a short briefing.

Inside the Harry Potter Studios

The Studio Tour starts with a short film about the making of Harry Potter. It’s a little appetizer before you actually go into the studios.

After the film, the door to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is revealed and that’s where the spectacular Harry Potter experience really starts!

Once the door opens, you’ll find yourself in the The Great Hall.

It’s a magnificent surprise and I can’t think of a better way to start a tour like this.

The Hogwarts  Great Hall
The Hogwarts Great Hall

You’ll want to take pictures of the great costumes and the Sorting Hat, but there will be lots of people around… I waited till they were all ushered into the next room so I could take some photos 😉

You can basically stay until the staff ask you to move on, because another group is about to enter The Great Hall.

However, during the rest of the tour you’ll be completely free to explore everything at your own pace.

Highlights from the Harry Potter Studio Tour

There is a lot to see in the studios. You can easily spend 3-4 hours there, or even more.

Everything is presented in a way that really draws you in.

The audio visual guide has video interviews, behind the scenes photos and much more. It is well worth getting.

I’ll give you a quick description of the highlight, without revealing too much, because you really want to experience it yourself 🙂

After The Great Hall, you’re introduced to the people behind the movies, from the costume designers to the soundtrack composers.

There are many costumes and wigs on display, as well as models and parts of the set, including the marble staircase, the boys’ dormitory , the Gryffindor common room and Dumberdore’s office.

The Gryffindor Common Room film set
The Gryffindor Common Room

The sets are full of fascinating details to spot.

Original props from the different movies are displayed in the middle of the room, like the golden egg and the Triwizard Cup.

The potion classroom is super entertaining, as is the Weasley family house, full of mechanical tricks.

Potions Classroom at the Harry Potter Studio Tour
The potions classroom
The Burrow, the Weasley family house
The Burrow, the Weasley family house

The special effects and visual effects part of the tour is really exciting and you’ll get to try the green screen yourself.

Walking into the forbidden forest is a truly immersive experience!

A full size Hogwarts Express train awaits you in the next room, next to Platform 9 3/4 in a recreation of King’s Cross station in London.

You can board the train and walk inside the carriages.

When you exit the train station, there are even more movie sets to discover, like the 4 Privet Drive house, the Knight Bus and the bridge to Hogwarts.

We felt like we’ve seen so much! But there was still a lot more to see.

This tour keeps surprising you. It feels like at every stage there should be a “Wait! There’s More!” sign 😉

In the next rooms we learnt about the set design and special effects, the various creatures from the movies and how they were made and lots of behind the scenes secrets.

Towards the end of the tour, expect some more beautiful highlights:

A very impressive model of Hogwarts Castle occupies an entire room and as you walk around it you can see how it was shot from different angles.

The Diagon Alley set is as wonderful as you’d expect, colourful and full of cool details.

Diagon Alley at the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios
Diagon Alley!

And… there’s more, but I don’t want to reveal everything.

The Harry Potter Studio Tour Shops

There are several shops in the Warner Bros Studios with plenty of gifts and souvenirs for both adults and kids.

The Studio Shop is the main shop. It’s the one you reach at the end of the tour and it is simply huge.

It offers all the official merchandise you can imagine, collectables, wants, costumes and clothing items (a Gryffindor Scarf or a Deathly Hallows scarf? tough choice), homeware, art and more.

They also have Harry Potter sweets like the irresistible Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Peppermint Toads.

There are smaller souvenir shops you’ll go through during the tour:

One is the the Forbidden Forest Shop and the other is the Railway Shop, next to Platform 9¾.

You can also get your Potter merch online from an official licensed store.

Hotels Near the Harry Potter Studios

If you want to stay close to the Warner Brothers Studios for easy access, here are some good hotels in the area:

Holiday Inn London Watford Junction

This hotel has great reviews and is located only a 5 minute walk from Watford Junction railway station, where you can take the 15 minute shuttle bus to the Harry Potter Studios. If you arrive by car, it’s a quick ride.

Travelodge Watford Central

A budget-friendly option, about 15 minutes walk from Watford Junction and about 10 minutes by car from the studios.

Jurys Inn London Watford

Another convenient option, a very short walk to Watford Junction and a short drive to the WB Studios.

Mercure London North Watford Hunton Park

This hotel is close to the studios, but there is no direct access on foot, so it’s a good place to stay if you arrive by car or if you want to take a taxi.

Airbnbs near the Warner Bros Studios

There are some reasonably priced Airbnb rooms available close to the Harry Potter studio. Availability may change from time to time, so check this map for current options.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Tips

Visiting the Harry Potter Studios is an experience that you want to prepare for. There is so much to see you might be overwhelmed!

Here are some tips I want to share after visiting myself that will help you make the most of your visit:

Book your ticket way in advance, preferably on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Watch at least 4-5 of the Harry Potter movies shortly before you go. Of course it’s best if you can watch all 8 of them again. It will make your experience much more meaningful.

– When you select the time of entry, make it as early as you can, so that you have as much time as you like inside.

– Allow at least 3 hours for a self-guided tour, or even four. Then, if you’re a big fan, you’ll want to spend some time in the gift shop, which is huge, so plan your time accordingly.

– You’ll want to take a lot of pictures and videos, so make sure your phone is fully charged and bring a power bank with you just in case.

– On selected dates, there are special events in the Warner Bros Studios. Have a look at the official website to see if any of those coincide with the dates of your visit. Thee include events like Valentine’s Dinner in the Great Hall or the Christmas event Hogwarts in the Snow.

– You can bring some food with you or eat at the Backlot Café. It’s about halfway through the tour. If you bring snacks with you, you can eat them at the cafe.

– If you’re an avid fan, you can come in a Harry Potter outfit. I saw quite a few fans who dressed up for the tour.

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The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making Of Harry Potter
Warner Brothers Studios London - Harry Potter Tour
Harry Potter Studio Tour London

FAQ – Harry Potter Studio Tour London

How long does the Harry Potter Studio Tour take?

The Harry Potter tour takes 3-4 hours on average.

Is the Harry Potter Studio Tour London worth it?

Definitely! It’s an amazing experience, beautifully designed and very entertaining.

Where to buy Harry Potter Studio Tour tickets?

You can buy tickets on the official site or join a tour that includes tickets and transport.

Where are the Harry Potter Studios London?

The Harry Potter Studios are in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, north of London.

What is the nearest train station to Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour?

The nearest train station is Watford Junction.

How to get to the Harry Potter Studios from London independently?

Take a train from Euston Station to Watford Junction and then a shuttle bus to the Warner Brothers Studios.

Is the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio Tour a theme park?

No, it’s a tour around the film sets of the Harry Potter movies.

When did harry the Harry Potter Studios London open?

The studios opened in March 2012.

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