On Wednesday I finally got to visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, I’d been waiting patiently to go since it opened 5 years ago. Obviously a lot of new sections have been added since it first opened, like the Hogwarts Express and more recently the Forbidden Forest, so I’m glad I’d waited. I’m probably one of the last Harry Potter fans in the UK to go, but if you haven’t been, this post might help you to find out what is at the studio tour.
We stayed in the Holiday Inn Watford Junction the night before which I’d highly recommend, we got to leave our luggage there while we went to the tour, and the shuttle bus to the studios was only a short walk from the hotel. Another thing I’d recommend is booking your tickets well in advance if you’ve got a date in mind to visit. I booked our tickets almost two months in advance, and there were barely any time slots available. We were on a later time slot at 3:30, but we were able to join an earlier tour as there was space and no queuing whatsoever. You go into a little room where you watch a short video about how it all began. In the second room you go into – which is a cinema – I’d recommend sitting near the front, you’ll see why. The tour is not guided for long, only until you get to the Great Hall, which is amazing to see in person.
After the guided part of the tour has finished you are free to explore the sets, props and costumes. One of the little touches all around the studio tour that I loved was the quotes from the books on the information placards. It’s incredible to see things you’ve seen on screen in some of your favourite films in real life and also reading about how they got them to work on-screen. The photographer side of me loved looking at the cameras they used to film the Harry Potter series and reading about which scenes they used them for. There were quite a few little activities you could queue up for, we only queued up for the ‘up’ broom one as you could take your own photo or video. The others were the broom ride and the Hogwarts Express one with the green screens, but I didn’t really see the point if I wasn’t going to buy the video or photo at the end.
The Forbidden Forest section opened at the end of March and it was definitely worth waiting to visit the studio tour for this. Even with how much I hate spiders I still loved that section and thought the special effects were incredible, I absolutely loved Buckbeak. You can bypass the section with Aragog if your spider fear is severe. We were also extremely excited when we saw the Hogwarts Express, that was one of my favourite parts. After all that excitement, we got a cup of Butterbeer between us, I’d heard it wasn’t that nice from a lot of people but we liked it. After the cafe, you go outside where you can see the Knight bus, chess pieces, Privet Drive and the Hogwarts bridge. Unfortunately the bridge was closed due to the torrential rain that day. In the next section you get to see all the masks and how they brought Dobby to life. You also get to see all of the drawings for the models and the cardboard models they made before creating the sets.
The whole tour was amazing and I’d 100% recommend it if you love Harry Potter. Every single part of it was so well thought out, the way they displayed everything was incredible and the Hogwarts Castle model at the end was breathtaking. I will mention that the gift shop at the end was horrendously expensive, this didn’t put me off buying Hermione’s wand though.