The magical inside scoop on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London

Guest post by Bree Lark

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I’m going to assume most people have at least seen one of the Harry Potter movies. Of course, being a hardcore Potterhead, I’ve read all the books dozens of times and own all the movies. (I also have an account on Pottermore. I’m a Ravenclaw.)

So when my dad and I were planning our trip to London, England in June. I knew there was one thing I just had to go to before leaving England: the famous Harry Potter studio tour. My Dad was hesitant because he’s not a Potterhead like me, but all the same, he ordered the tickets and we took the many trains and subways to visit the studio location.

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Holy shit, it was amazing…

I never thought I would be able to walk down Diagon Alley, see the Great Hall and peek into the cupboard under the stairs. There were so many things to read, look at and take pictures of. Costumes, props, rooms, buildings, statues, paintings, fun facts, everything you could ever imagine.

You could easily spend more than one day at the studio, it is basically impossible to read and explore everything on this spectacular tour in one day.

Now, for the downsides…

If your hotel is in London, getting there alone will eat away a lot of your travel time. My dad and I had to take a few subways and a couple of trains to get there. You also need to catch the “Night Bus,” the bus that drives you directly to the location. Due to all this, you will have to set aside one day just for the studio tour.

The second downside I found was you have to preorder your tickets. You cannot walk up to the studio and buy tickets at the doors, they will not sell them to you. They can only have a certain amount of people in the rooms at the same time, which I can understand.

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Okay, can I just freak out for a second…

It is such a surreal feeling. I felt (and probably looked,) like a giddy kid waking up on Christmas day as we moved from room to room. I probably have stood in the exact same spot Emma Watson was standing not that long ago!

They serve butterbeer, and really, you have to try it; they only sell the original stuff in two specific places in the entire world. (It was almost too sweet for my liking, but just being able to say that I drank butterbeer made it oh-so-worth-it.)

After spending several hours looking and reading everything I could, the gift shop was at the very end of the tour. I’m not sure whether to recommend bring in a ton of money to the gift shop or not. Honestly, a Potterhead would love every single item in the gift shop. Clothes, magnets, key chains, wand replicas, Hogwarts outfits, scarves, magical broomstick replicas, Marauders Maps, Hogwarts house flags, stickers, temporary tattoos, Hogwarts-themed jumpers, posters, candy, (the chocolate frogs they sell are solid chocolate,) the list goes on. I spent a great deal of time deciding on which souvenirs to purchase.

My rating: 5/5

Despite the long travelling, it was worth it, every penny of it. The only people I would not recommend this to would be anybody who is starting to read the Harry Potter books for the first time, spoilers will be impossible to avoid on this tour.

For more Harry Potter goodness today, head over to Offbeat Bride to see this Harry Potter-themed, majorly DIYed wedding!

Comments on The magical inside scoop on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London

  1. Omigosh, yessssss. I went on a mother-daughter trip to Europe last fall (recapped on my blog) and as Harry Potter fans we just had to do the studio tour. Geeked out for hours. 🙂 So cool to see the sets/costumes and learn how they put everything together. And, the castle model? Absolutely beautiful. 🙂

    • The castle model was just amazing!
      What was your favourite set? I absolutely loved Diagon Alley.

  2. My sister and I went a couple of years ago. We had a moment of thinking “oh shit, we’re two fully grown women, and we’re surrounded by kids… is this going to be embarrassing…?” But it was AWESOME!

    Now maybe it helps that I was a HUGE fan as a teenager, but I think a lot of people would get a lot out of it. You just don’t realise how incredibly detailed all the props and sets are, even really close up – the attention to detail is amazing.

    “A few subways and a couple of trains” – how so? If memory serves, it’s only a quick fifteen-minute train ride out of Euston. Obvs you might need to get a bus or tube to Euston, depending on where you’re staying, but it’s all pretty easy. Once you get to the train station in Watford there’s then a special bus to take you to the studio. (And of course you can drive there too if you have a car etc!) My sister and I arrived like an hour and a half early by mistake…

  3. The detail was really incredible! I didn’t see many young children while I was there, mostly teenagers and preteens with their parents.
    My Dad and I had never been to London before, so I’m sure we didn’t take the quickest and best route there; plus we were not renting out a car at the time.

    • Yeah, I certainly wouldn’t rent a car just for this!

      It should take 45 min to one hour if you’re staying in central London. They have a pretty good public transport tool on their website:
      http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/your-visit/getting-here

      It also looks like you can get a direct bus from central London, if you need a more tourist-friendly option.

      I think for me and my sister it was a long half day trip – lunchtime to dinnertime – rather than a whole day, and that was including coming from the other side of London by train.

  4. My husband and I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios a few months ago and had so much fun. For him it was a dream come true. He’s been wanting to go to London for a long time, so this just gives him one more reason to want to go. I’m curious from people who have been to both the London studio and Universal–how similar/different are the experiences?

    • I haven’t been to the Wizarding World, but I have been to the studio tour in London. And from the advertisement I think I have seen about the Wizarding World (and some crazy, misinformed one star reviews about the studio tours), I think there is a big difference. The studio tour in London is just that: a studio tour. It’s great and I was kind of giddy and emotional all the way. (I nearly cried seeing the great hall doors for real, but then again I was also four or five months pregnant and hormones got me) Anyway, sorry to diverge. What I got from the ads for the Wizarding World is that it is a theme park with rides. I could be wrong on this, but you would know. At the studio tour there were no rides.

    • I have been to both, tour in 2012 and wizarding world Orlando in 2016. Very different. The tour is much more focused on movie memorabilia and there is a ton to see, but you could reasonably do it in a day. The theme park is a whole experience, it’s like being submerged in the wizarding world with rides and shops. I loved them both but for different reasons.

  5. I’m from an hour away from London, and weirdly have never been to this!! They do say you never go to the interesting places in your own country. I’ll have to correct that next time I’m home!

  6. How crowded is it? I recently went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I imagine there’s a lot of cross-over (at least in terms of foods/drink and souvenir offerings). I’m curious about this one, in getting to eyeball the props, costumes and sets- but can you actually get close to any of them? Are you in there with 100 other people?

    • So close!

      I was in the first group of the day on a weekday morning and there were some moments when I had an entire display to myself. Being alone on Diagon Alley is something that I will never forget 🙂

    • It’s crowded, but not like crazy crowded inside the studio. It was definitely more crowded in the gift shop than anywhere else in the studio. Honestly, it’s totally worth the money if you’re a HP fan in any sense!

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