Harry Potter Studio Tour Review

(Entrance to the studio tour.)

Last week I went with my family to the much-hyped Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, in Watford. We were met by a decorated shuttle bus at Watford Junction station and were greeted in the entrance foyer by huge photographs of the cast lining the walls. By this point, my sister was practically wetting herself with excitement – she is a die-hard Potter fan and says on a regular basis that she is sick of being a Muggle and she wants to go to Hogwarts.

(My sisters by the shuttle bus.)

(The foyer.)

We had a long wait before our designated tour time (we arrived nearly 2 hours early, anticipating Olympic-related train delays which did not in fact occur), so decided to check out the gift shop first. It was fantastically stocked with all kinds of merchandise relating to the films, including wands, house robes, brooms, jewellery and even chocolate frogs (although these were about £7 in price!!) It has to be said the shop was ridiculously over-priced, almost eye-wateringly so. For example, a beanie hat cost £14.99, a uniform jumper cost £59.95 and a replica of Dumbledore’s robes could be bought for £495 (!!). Still, it was great for window shopping – I had initially planned to buy a Ravenclaw scarf but decided that £23.95 was a bit steep…I think eBay may be a better option…

(From top to bottom: Chocolate Frog, Marauder’s Map, The shop front.)

Once we started queueing for the tour itself, we had a 1/2 hour wait before we could get in. We had the cupboard under the stairs to look at while we were waiting, though. Once inside, we watched a short clip of Emma, Rupert and Daniel welcoming us to the studio, before we progressed to the Great Hall. Unfortunately, the tour guide seemed quite keen to usher us through the Great Hall fairly quickly, doubtless due to the fact that another tour group was waiting to come through. I would have liked longer to look at everything, especially the costumes on display.

(From top to bottom: The cupboard under the stairs, Great Hall doors, the Great Hall, Dumbledore.)

After the Great Hall, we found ourselves on a massive sound stage, containing an Aladdin’s Cave of props, costumes and sets for the 8 films. It contained ice sculptures for the Yule Ball, wigs, the Gryffindor common room, the Burrow, Snape’s classroom and so much more. After that, we walked through to a backlot which featured the Knight bus, the Potters’ cottage, 4 Privet Drive, the Hogwarts Bridge, the Riddle family grave, Hagrid’s motorbike, giant chess pieces and the frame of the Ford Anglia in which people could sit to have their photos taken. You could even buy a cup of Butterbeer if you so wished.


(From top to bottom: Yule Ball costumes, Yule Ball ice sculpture, Yule Ball drinks, Gryffindor dormitory, Dumbledore’s office, Gryffindor common room, Tonks and Lupin, The Burrow, Potions classroom, the Knight Bus, the Potters’ Cottage.)

The next part of the tour showed off some of the models used for visual effects, such as prosthetic goblin masks and the animatronics for Buckbeak and Hagrid’s head.

Following that was the fantastic set for Diagon Alley – I loved walking down the ‘street’ looking at the various shop fronts, the highlight being the Weasleys’ shop.

(From top to bottom: Diagon Alley, Ollivander’s, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.)

Finally, we saw the truly amazing scale model of Hogwarts, used for most of the sweeping exterior shots in the films. It literally took my breath away. The lighting changed as we watched, so we saw the castle go from ‘day’ to ‘night’.

(From top to bottom: Hogwarts ‘day’, Hogwarts ‘night’, me standing by the Hogwarts model.)

I was very impressed by the tour. I found the level of detail that prop, set and costume makers put into every item astounding. You could really tell that the people who worked behind the scenes of the films loved their work, judging by the incredible level of effort put into everything. The only real negative for me was the expense – the tickets cost £28 for an adult and £21 for a child and I have already mentioned the gift shop. Still, I had a wonderful day out and would love to go again…once I’ve saved up…

(Photos ©E. Bell 2012. Do NOT use without my permission.)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  2. Daniel
    Feb 18, 2013 @ 08:43:08

    Saw Harry Potter stuf make me jealous, i hope i can go there and see with my eyes. Harry Potter in one of most film i love. Even the book, i love too. With book, i can create my imagination about Hogwart, but with the movie i can see writer imagine. Even, sometimes, the movie is far from my imagination, but its still great movie…


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