What is my hand doing in that photo? I do not know. But who cares, because I got to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and in this picture not only am I drinking Butterbeer, out of shot is my lunch which was a very respectable mac n cheese.
A day which contains Butterbeer, mac n cheese, riding broomsticks and checking out all the awesome props and sets from the Harry Potter film series is a bladdy good day indeed if you ask me.
If you haven’t been to the Warner Bro’s studio for this tour, you must try your best to get there. It is like HP nerd nirvana (and also really interesting if you’re into films in general – the amount of work and the scale of stuff that goes into making a franchise like this is insane).
Liam bought us tickets to the Harry Potter studio tour last year for my birthday, along with the Cursed Child tickets (spoiler free thoughts here) because he’s basically the best and isn’t even here coaxing me to say that either. We got to finally go along a couple of week’s ago during my birthday week and it was amazing.
We arrived at around 12ish having got the train to Watford Junction and jumped on the tour bus (FYI, if you’re planning on visiting make sure you have £2.50 in change as this is the cost for a return bus ticket). To give you an idea of how much there is to see, we left the studios just before 6pm.
I’d asked on Twitter roughly how long it takes to get around as we were heading back home that evening so wanted a general estimation and most of you guys were so, so wrong. Some said 2 hours. I think it took us more than that to see everything in the first sound stage!
Maybe it didn’t help that I took over 500 photos. Don’t worry, I’m not sharing them all here!
Anyway, I won’t do a full breakdown of everything we saw as I’d be here typing all day and it would spoil it for those still planning to go. I thought I’d just share some highlights with you guys like seeing the Hogwarts Express, in the flesh. It’s majestic, and made me very sad that when I climbed aboard, I wasn’t heading to Hogwarts.
The film’s art department had set up scenes in each of the carriages that were reflective of the films, chronologically. I really loved this as they were quite minimalistic but even without the signs, I think you could guess most if not all of the films the carriage was representing.
There are so many photo opportunities throughout the tour, that if you can go during the week when it’s a bit quieter, I recommend it. I can imagine a Saturday would probably be quite stressful if you wanted to engross yourself in getting as many photos as you wanted of moments like entering Platform 9¾.
Some of the photo opportunities can be taken professionally by the studio team and you can buy the prints. We got our Azkaban mugshot, and Liam forced me to try out the green screen opportunity where you can ride a broomstick and they make a short video of it and take photos. It really was like living a childhood dream (who didn’t dream of a game of Quidditch or flying around Hogwarts on a broom?). I ended up buying the Azkaban photo and one of me on the broomstick and it came to £21, which to be honest I thought was reasonable for a great memory.
My favourite set of the day has to be the Potions classroom. It felt to me like the set that had the greatest level of detail. You had lots of potions bottles, jars, books, test tubes and more all strategically placed. Many of the items had beautifully printed labels and all of them had been deliberately worn to look authentic.
There’s so much of this minute detail that made everything so fascinating to see. The potions classroom also had self stirring pots which were fun to watch, too!
I also loved being able to step on board the Knight Bus and stroll through Diagon Alley. Again, the detail of Diagon Alley was amazing and it made you want to go inside the shops to buy your quills, wand and school books. I really am convinced that my Hogwarts letter was lost in the post…
Throughout the tour there are these cool demonstrations including showing you how they created the effect of light orbs at the end of wands. The staff at the tour were really knowledgable, not to mention several of them were pretty funny, too. During the wand demonstration, this friendly Death Eater made an appearance and hilariously made some of the children jump.
Let’s not spoil how the tour ends, but for many people it’s their favourite bit. Let’s just say you walk into a dark room and see something pretty iconic (and huge)! If you’ve been already, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
I absolutely loved the Harry Potter Studio Tour, and would definitely go again! They add new bits all the time (as if there wasn’t already enough to see!), so I think a second visit is definitely not overdoing it. When we visited, the Great Hall was dressed for Halloween, and they were also celebrating the 15th anniversary of Philosopher’s Stone, so they had some cool extra props and costumes from the film to see.
Oh, and the gift shop is a dream. But y’know, take lots of money because it’s also expensive.