Wow wow wow wow! I cannot tell you how much I was impressed with the Harry Potter Studio Tour London!
When Mark decided that on this trip we would finally visit London the first thing on my mind was The Making of Harry Potter London Studio Tour! Our family trip to London was not going to be complete without it. I have spent the last few years snuggled in bed watching the movies with Willow and just recently Marley started watching them. While I would love to blame the excitement I was feeling on the girls it was totally all me and I was absolutely not let down!
We had a small hiccup at our first station where we managed to get on the wrong train but after one stop we quickly fixed that! (Seriously where is the Hogwarts Express when you need it!!) Our journey out there from the was very easy and once we arrived at Watford Junction you could not miss the Harry Potter double-decker bus that was to take us out to The Making of Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour London. Once the girls saw it, it was like Christmas, they instantly started getting overly and loudly excited. I may have joined in with this slightly.
Once on the bus, we were on our way! The trip was easy and there was plenty of room on the bus. Pulling up to Leavesden Studios started a whole new round of delight and jumping from the girls! We just could not get in there fast enough. I tried in vain to get some good pictures of them outside under the sign but there was just too much to see. Willow had spotted some chess pieces from one of the movies and made a beeline for it immediately. We let them calm themselves a bit before we headed into the main area where our tour would begin. If they were this bad outside, inside was a possible category 5 meltdown!
How to get to Harry Potter Studio Tour London:
- The Harry Potter Studio Tour London is located 20 miles north-west of London city centre and just off the M1 and M25 motorways. This makes access very easy if you have a car. Free parking is provided on site at Leavesden Studios.
- Watford Junction is the nearest train station. Watford Junction is on the West Coast main line. Trains run direct from London Euston in 20 minutes. There are plenty more services that you can access that line at connecting tube stations.
- Once at Watford Junction a shuttle bus will take you to the studio. It recommended that you arrive at Watford Junction 45 minutes before your tour time.
- Golden Tours run a transfer from London Kings Cross and London Victoria stations. These transfer can be part of transfer entry combination or just transfer on its own.
Harry Potter: Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Transfers
Take the bus from central London for this magical full-day tour of the Warner Brothers Studio. Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film sets to explore the enchanting props and costumes, and walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters.For latest prices and bookings click here!
By this stage, everyone within a 5k radius knew that Wyld Family Travel had arrived at the Harry Potter StudioTour! Massive pictures of all the actors, the flying car, a trolley with suitcases on it all led the girls into fits of ‘oh my god’. We had to store our belongings at the cloak room and then proceed to the lineup area. A lady came over to the girls and handed them a ‘passport’ to fill out on their way around…this led to another fit of squeals with the poor girl handing them to me with a ‘you handle it’ smile. While lining up to start our tour the bedroom under the stairs was on display. It had a small plaque next to it that explained that it was the one from the films and that it could actually expand to fit Harry and all the crew in it! I was amazed that it was so small but that it could expand that much. I must admit by this stage I was just as excited as the girls!
We were led into a small theatre where we were shown a short film about all the movies and then led into a bigger theatre for an introduction presented on a large screen by Daniel Radcliffe. Que more screaming but thankfully, by then, nearly every child (and a couple of adults) were well beyond the point of keeping calm! If we thought that was bad as the screen went up into the roof it revealed the doors to The Great Hall. It was like a stampede to get in there!
It was everything I thought it would be, walking down it really did feel like you were going for your first dinner at Hogwarts. The hall was so big and everything was displayed so well. So much love and care had been put into all of the displays. At the end of the hall were the costumes from the teachers. Along the walls were all the houses uniforms, every detail so so beautifully laid out for us to see. On the tables were the cutlery and crockery set out, waiting for someone to sit in front of it. Both the girls were missing by this point and our guide was trying in absolute vain to keep us all together to explain to us what to do next!
As I wandered around taking it all in for what seemed like a second we were asked to proceed into the next room as the next group would be coming in very soon. They would want that first look at an empty Great Hall just as we had had so we hurried our last photos and went into the next room and yet again greeted by our children running at us at full speed.
Every prop you could think of was at Leavesden Studios. The wands from every character are displayed in a giant frame and it looked magnificent, the prosthetics from the goblins were there and more costumes. News articles and hand drawn pictures from the movies were displayed as well. There was just so much to look at. The audio guide we had at that stage had not had a lot of use. I finally remembered that I had it and started listening to what it had to say. I thought that this was pretty special until I laid my eyes on the next section of the tour. Dumbledore’s office, Hagrid’s hut and the Weasley’s house where all there.
Harry Potter Family Package for 4 with Transfers from London
Enjoy a magical family day at Warner Brothers Studio, Leavesden, with transfers from London. Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film sets to see wizardly props. Walk in the footsteps of Harry, Hermione, and all your favourite characters.For latest prices and bookings here!
I was blown away by all the tiny details that were in Dumbledor’s office, I was amazed at Hagrid’s Hut and I felt like I was looking into a home where I could sit at the table when looking into the Weasley’s kitchen. It was all there and I felt like it was just perfect. Again the girls were running around like crazy. Keeping up with them was hard as they zipped between pieces as fast as they could. There were plenty of people in uniform walking around though and a few times we saw them with children who had become separated from their parents. A couple of times I did have to ask them questions about some of the pieces in there and they answered with a bright smile. I was amazed at one young man’s knowledge and I sought him out whenever I wanted a question answered. His knowledge was absolutely unbelievable.
It was in here that you started to use the passport that we got out the front before entry. You had to spot the Quidditch and then use a press to stamp the spot in your passport. They both loved looking for the Quidditch and loved using the press to stamp their passport even more. Finding the Quidditch was challenging but not too difficult that the kids got tired of doing it.
After we passed Hagrid’s hut we went on to another section where the fireplaces from the Ministry of Magic were, a dementor hung from the ceiling, a frame containing all of the horcruxes’, the snake door to The Chamber of Secrets, The monument from the Ministry of Magic, the table from Malfoy Manor with Charity Burbage hanging above it and Death Eaters all around it.
Mark is not a Harry Potter fan and it worried me that this would bore him and he would not understand some of the props without seeing any of the films. I think they have thought this through really well as there is plenty of information around the place for people who aren’t quite up on all the films. To my amazement, he loved looking in Dumbledore’s office the most. He said that it looked so real. And as I watched him walk and look intensely at all the displays I knew that I was safe and he would enjoy it as much as we did.
Once we had finished in this area the next part was the visual effects area. Both the girls wanted the video of them riding a broomstick and flying in the car. As they got measured up for the cape they would wear in the video you could not wipe the smiles from their faces. Watching them ride the broomstick and love it was so much fun for us and the smiles on their faces as they had their pictures taken sitting in the flying car were worth it. To be honest this was one of the most expensive things we have ever done for the girls. We got both of them a video of the broomstick ride and a picture in the car. If we had have known how much it was going to cost we may have saved some money before we went to help out with the budget. After the credit card got a huge workout, it was off to the next room.
There is was. The Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 and 3/4. Again the squeals from the girls were right up there with a Mariah Carey high note…it was all just too much. We went over to the trolley half was through the wall and we all posed for pictures before boarding the Hogwarts Express. There were guides there that were happy to take our family picture standing on the steps. We then walked through the train carriages. We even got to sit in one while a dementor came up to the window! It was awesome to walk through it.
We then got off the train and went into another gift shop that had everything platform 9 and 3/4 that you could possibly think of! There was the cutest little T-Shirt that I wanted to get Marley but I was unsure if I would let her wear it! We left there and headed out to the cafeteria for some lunch. There was not a lot on the menu to get but what was there was reasonably priced. I also had snacks in my bag that had been stored in the cloakroom so I knew that the girls could have some food once we left on the ride home. We also enjoyed a butter beer as we sat and ate lunch. It was not what I thought it would be and to this day I still can’t describe the taste! Marley had one sip and that was enough for her. We had brought a cup for the girls to share. Willow had about half a cup before she had had enough so Mark and I shared the rest. Even before we had finished lunch the girls were off exploring.
Where did we stay in London
We stayed at Premier Inn Earls Court. This amazing hotel had family rooms that fitted 4. Onsite restaurant and bike hire situated out front. Earls Court train station was 200 meters away with great access to the city centre and Harry Potter Studio Tour.Click this BUTTON for the latest prices at Premier Inn
Where we had lunch lead to the parts of the exhibition that were housed outside. The Knight Bus was there (we were unable to go on it) The house from Privet Drive, The house from Godric’s Hollow and the bridge leading to Hogwarts that Shamus gets to blow up! The girls loved walking the bridge and knocking on Harry’s door! They both posed happily for a picture there, By this stage, I really think they thought they would see Harry Potter in London!
The next part of the exhibition was the special effects. It was housed in a building on the other side of the outdoor area. As you go through it, you are able to see so many different ways that they made the characters come to life and how they got them to. It was amazing to see the work that went into so many tiny pieces that made the Harry Potter World come to life on the big screen. As we wandered that area we then came to the place Willow had been hanging out to see. Diagon Alley. WOW! As we walked up all the shops were there and I wanted to walk into Gringott’s to bank my money and into Olivanders to pick my wand. Willow and I spent a good amount of time looking at all the shop fronts. They were so intricate. It was just the best feeling to see the girls loving the day…for me, these movies meant a lot to me as a Mum. They gave me time with my girls, snuggled up and loving something together. They provided us with laughs, chats and the chance to talk about life’s lessons even if it was about witches and wizards. I will not forget the feeling I had right there knowing that it would be something a feeling I would have for the rest of my life.
We exited that section and wandered the last little bit that had a lot of drawing and notes from scenes from the films. There was also a model of the Whomping Willow that was amazing to see. Just as we thought our time was over we entered the last room. A huge model of Hogwarts was there…right in front of us. You could see it from above on a small landing and then you could go down and walk around it to see it from every angle.
In all honesty, Marley had had enough by that stage and happily sat down to wait while the rest of us walked around and looked at the model. As we left that room we were all totally amazed at what we had seen and how wonderful it was. I couldn’t believe all the wonderful things they had kept from the films and to have it displayed as brilliantly as it was such a treat for all of us. As I said at the start Mark is not a fan of the films but he was so very impressed by the exhibition and how it was set out. He also said for someone who did not watch the films he could ask questions to any of the guides there and they could explain it (When he could not find me or one of the kids)
We had a fabulous day here at the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour and I highly recommend that if you even just like the films a little bit it is more than worth the visit on your trip to London. Our visit took around 3 hours and that was not including the travel time so please make sure you have enough time to stay out there and not be hurried. It is one of the most fun activities in London to do with kids or for adults.
Tips for families visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour London:
- Set enough time aside for a good visit.
- Even though you have to store your bag in the cloak room take some snacks as there is not a huge variety and it will get pricey if you have a large family.
- Get an extra passport if you can as Marley got very upset when she messed hers up.
- We got the audio guides and found them to be great.
- Save up some extra money if you would like pictures of the kids on a broomstick or in the car. They are very expensive and ended up adding nearly 100 pounds to our day.
- If you like anything at the Platform 9 and 3/4 store get it there as we found some was not available in the store on the way out (this may have changed now)
- Don’t hesitate to ask other families and the guides to take pictures of you and your family…No one seemed to mind when we were there and we all helped each other out!
- Be early for your entry time. The kids are hard to get inside and sorted while they are so excited!
- There is a coffee shop just in case it has been a long trip for you when you arrive or a long trip to London to get home!