Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, but for some strange reason I’ve never visited the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. I had always wanted to go and earlier this year decided to finally book my tickets, excitedly realising a little later on that the Forbidden Forest was opening just a couple days before I was visiting! I had the greatest time and took an insane amount of photos, so I decided to share my experience with you!
If you’ve never been to the Harry Potter Studios Tour before, I’ll explain to you exactly what happens (if you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading now!). When booking your tickets you have to choose a tour slot – you aren’t actually given a proper tour unless you choose to buy a digital guide, the time slots are given purely for the start of the experience – and arrive half an hour before your ‘tour’ will begin. We had a 2:30 p.m. slot so arrived for 2 p.m. and began queuing for our tour, however it wasn’t too busy when we were there so they allowed people with later time slots to queue and start the tour earlier, which I believe happens quite often.
After queuing, we were taken into a room with screens on either sides of the walls to watch a short video with a few interviews, before being taken into the cinema where we watched a video of Daniel, Emma and Rupert talking about their time on the set. Once that clip is over, the screen raises to reveal a set of giant doors that open onto the Great Hall – it’s a super awesome start to the tour.
Once in the Great Hall, we were given a maximum of thirty minutes to walk around and take pictures before the next tour came in, but we found we didn’t need that long and, as we hadn’t bothered with a digital guide, we chose to move around at our own pace.
The Great Hall is awesome, albeit a lot smaller than I imagined, but it was so cool to see the intricate details that you missed on-screen. As a proud Slytherin, I made sure to take many pictures of my house’s section and uniforms – they had so many different costumes on display which were really interesting to see up close.
Moving on from the Great Hall, we entered a massive room which had so many different sections of sets, costumes and props from all eight of the movies. There was honestly so much to look at, it was almost overwhelming! I was especially surprised by how small everything looked in real life, but the detail on everything was so incredible and it was really interesting to read about all the work that went into making things.
One of the coolest displays was the circle of wands of all the major characters – except Lucius’, much to my annoyance – so much detail was put into them that wasn’t noticeable on-screen, and it’s super helpful for picking out the wand you want from the gift shop at the end!
One of my favourite sets by far was the Potions Classroom, there were so many different props to be created and each one had to be placed perfectly to create the right look. Snape’s costume was also on display there, and as he’s one of my favourite characters I, of course, had to get a picture.
The props especially were incredibly impressive; the pure amount of detail that was put into them is amazing, and it just goes to show how much work goes into creating a movie. The Golden Snitch was so much more detailed than I had imagined, the wings were so intricate and it truly was a piece of art.
Another favourite set of mine was Dumbledore’s Office; stepping inside it honestly felt like stepping in an old castle, it had been designed so perfectly and the floors had even been scuffed just the right amount to make it look ancient and well-used. There was also so much more of the room further back that we couldn’t see, and although I understand why we couldn’t walk onto the actual set, it would have been so awesome to actually walk all around the office and see more of the details up close.
When we arrived at the Dark Arts section I got especially excited – I’m totally obsessed with Lucius Malfoy and Voldemort (don’t judge me), as well as the Death Eaters in general, so it was super cool to see all of the different props that were used. They also had sets from the Malfoy Mansion, including the table that Voldemort and the Death Eaters sat at during Deathly Hallows Part 1 as well as all of the characters’ costumes, so that was really awesome.
One of my favourite parts was at the Ministry of Magic section, which had the sculpture of muggles being crushed under the weight of magic that was erected during Voldemort’s reign – the design was so awesome and it was really intricately sculpted.
From the Ministry of Magic we then went into the Forbidden Forest, which housed Buckbeak (who would apparently bow back to you if you bowed first, but clearly wasn’t having any of it that day) as well as the acromantula Aragog, who would move towards you as his children dropped from above, just like in the film.
The Forbidden Forest was actually a much smaller section than I thought it would be, but it was clear that they had put so much detail into the animals and making the trees look realistic – which they definitely did!
From that giant room, you then went into a copy of King’s Cross Station where you could take your picture heading in to Platform 9 3/4 and walk onto the Hogwarts Express, where they had set up different carriages to recreate ones from the different movies. At this point there were also a couple of gift shops, and it led you directly to the cafe that marked the halfway point.
I obviously had to stop off for a Butterbeer (not as good as the ones in Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter in my opinion, but still pretty good) before continuing on with my journey. Since it was a pretty nice day we sat outside, and had a great view of the Knight Bus and Privet Drive.
The house is totally awesome and looks really realistic, but is actually just made using resin and then decorated to look like real brick walls. Although there isn’t much to look at inside, they did have the living room set up with all of the Hogwarts Letters flying out of the fireplace which was really cool.
They had also recreated Harry’s Cottage in Godrick’s Hollow, which although you couldn’t enter was really cool to look at. The designers had put so much detail into it to make it look worn and weathered, and the result was super realistic.
From that point there was an entire room set up dedicated to special effects, and I loved seeing the different animatronics and finding out how everything was done. Something that I found hilarious was that they actually had to create an animatronic Hagrid head for a rugby player to wear during scenes as Hagrid, as Robbie Coltrane was too small to be a giant!
Next up was Diagon Alley which was definitely one of the most impressive sets – it really felt like you were walking along a proper street! You couldn’t go into any of the shops unfortunately – very different to the Diagon Alley in Universal Studios – but it was cool to look into the shop windows and see all the props on display.
The final section (before the gift shops), and definitely my favourite, was the Hogwarts Castle that was used for wide shots of the school. It had it’s own room, and rightly so, and was so much bigger than I imagined it would be. So much detail had been put into it, from the tiny windows that lit up to the plants in the herbology room – there was even a dirt track leading up to the castle from carriages! The designers and artists had put an incredible amount of thought and effort into creating the castle, and it was absolutely breathtaking. The lighting in the room also changed to show you the castle at day and night!
After a lengthy trip to the gift shop during which I bought a lot of Slytherin stuff plus a Death Eater wand (I had had a Death Eater wand picked out for me by Ollivander – or I guess technically it was the wand that picked me – in Universal Studios, so I obviously needed another one), I finally made my way home.
I had such an awesome day at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour and I already want to go back! I absolutely recommend it to any Harry Potter fans who haven’t yet been, and even if you have been you should go back, there’s probably loads of new stuff!
I hope you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments if you’ve ever visited the Harry Potter Studios, or if you really want to go! See you next time,