If you’re visiting London with your family, one of the stops you must do is the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour. Truth be told, my husband and I were NOT going to do this because we didn’t want to end a somewhat-cultural vacation on a “theme park” note. But we changed our mind when a bunch of my friends told us to do it. And they were right.
The Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour is not a theme park. But that makes it even better. It’s more of an interactive, educational experience that shows the props and sets of the Harry Potter movie franchise. Everything — I mean everything — on the tour was used during filming of at least one of the eight Harry Potter films: from the dining hall set (it’s huge!) to props like newspapers, to costumes like wigs and dresses. You’ll be astounded at all the details that go into the film.
All along the way, there are many stations to spend money and take your experience home: taking a picture in front of a green screen on a flying broom, or interacting with Dementors on the train to Hogwarts.
Visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour is a half-day to three-quarters of a day trip, depending on how early you get there. Before you go, read:
5 Tips for visiting the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour:
- Buy your tickets online, ahead of time.
- Get the earliest tour time (we got the 9:00am shift) your family can feasibly do. The earlier you go, the less crowded it will be.
- Getting There: The studio is outside of London in a town called Leavesden. (If you’re from the tri-state NYC area, it’s like taking the subway to 34th Street and then switching to the NJ Transit train system to a suburban town, or to Grand Central and taking the Metro North to Westchester.) You take the Underground Tube and transfer to the National Rail system to the Watford Junction stop. Great thing is that you can use your Oyster Card the whole way through. At Watford Junction, follow the signs to the Harry Potter shuttle that will take you to the studio. Cost for the shuttle is 2.50 pounds each person.
- Save money and pack your own food with you and eat in the Backlot Cafe. But make sure to splurge on some Butterbeer! Personally, you don’t need to buy for every member of the family; we bought one for each of the girls and The Hubby and I had sips. It tastes like cream soda with some butterscotch.
- Give the kids a budget for the gift shop BEFORE you enter! The gift shop is of course at the end of the tour. It’s big and has a lot of things to buy. Leave enough time for some shopping and make sure to give your kids a budget, because you can definitely spend a pretty pence here!
This was a surprise hit for me and The Hubby. The girls of course LOVED IT and we highly recommend visiting if you and your family are in London. For more information and to buy tickets, visit Warner Bros Studio Tour website.