Being able to see the Great Hall, Diagon Alley with it’s colourful shops and even Privet Drive seems like something you could only do in a dream. But walking among the tables that Harry sat on at Hogwarts is actually something you can do – so exciting for movie nerds like me!
As huge fans of both the Harry Potter films and books when the Warner Bros Studio Tour attraction was first opened we desperately wanted to go. We had to wait a little to go at first due to London being a little bit of a trek from our home at the time, but when we finally went it was so worth it!
I’m a geek for details, one of the reasons I love the books – I love spotting things that are key to main plots of even back stories. If you’re the same then you’ll love the studio tour – it always amazes me that they put so much effort into things people hardly see!
Looking for tickets and transportation? The best way to get to the tours from Central London is the organised buses. They include tickets too! Check them out here.
We’ve now been twice, and at different times of the year so seen some of the more special things that they put on as well. Our first Studio Tour trip was at Christmas and that was super special! We’d still go again so I think that shows how special a place it really is!
Read on for our best Harry Potter Studio tour tips, including loads of pics of inside, whether you’re visiting for your first time or your seventh! You’ll be as prepared as a Muggle can be!
Tips for visiting Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
These tips are in no particular order – I hope they’ll help you. Many of them I wish I’d known before we went the first time!
1. Buy your tickets in advance
Tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour MUST be bought in advance. There’s no way to buy tickets on the day so definitely do not just turn up and hope to get in.
If you have a choice of days to go then midweek will always be quieter and easier to get tickets for. The summer months, when UK schools are on break, are also very busy so if you’re traveling to the UK in July or August make sure to buy your tickets as soon as possible.
We’ve struggled in the past before when wanting to go at a certain time and have needed to rearrange our days to accommodate our trip so this is my top tip for you. Get it booked AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! Or at least as soon as you know when you’ll want to go.
Important if you’re struggling to get tickets you might like to look at some transportation options available – some include your ticket and take you from Central London as well. Worth checking out.
2. Figure out how to get there & where it is
My second tip for visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour is to get familiar with where it is and check how you’ll get there.
Many people don’t realise that it’s not actually in central London and as such it requires a little bit of planning to figure out how to get there.
The Warner Brother Studio Tour is in a place called Leavesden near Watford – it’s on the Northern outskirts of the city of London. It’s about 20 miles or so from the centre, but since London is such a busy city that is still quite some way!
If you’re traveling from elsewhere in the UK and coming by car then it’s fairly easy – it’s not far from the M25 motorway and there’s a large car park with plenty of spaces.
If you’re traveling from central London then you have a few options – some include a ticket as well which can be handy!
- Train & Shuttle Bus – Euston – Watford Junction (see Trainline for times and prices)
- Bus from London (with entrance ticket)
- Private transfer (with entrance ticket)
- Taxi – can be expensive especially if traffic is heavy
3. Don’t do too much else on your day
I think this has to be my top Studio Tour tip and also one that I fail to listen to each time – try not to plan anything else in your day that you’re visiting the attraction.
The first time that we visited we’d already spent the morning sightseeing around London’s landmarks – we wanted to make the most of our time in the city! It was a mistake though.
There’s a lot of walking around the studio tour so if you add that on to a days sightseeing as well you might really struggle, kids can get grumpy and none of that is pleasant!
If you do have limited time in the area and you’re wanting to fit in as much as possible I recommend trying to do other things that don’t need you to walk or stand too much! Take it from someone who just did too much and needed to sit down so often around the tour!
4. Allow plenty of time to explore
While you *can* get around the studio in just an hour or so, you’re going to miss a lot by rushing around. A lot of the tour is looking at the exhibits of what was used in the films, or learning about how they filmed different scenes. You’ll want to enjoy those.
There are also some more interactive things to enjoy such as riding on the broom using the green screen (which my kids adored – definitely do it if you can) but they can sometimes attract queues so try and keep enough time for that too.
The tour is self guided, except for a short bit at the beginning, so you can really take as much or as little time as you like. Since the tour is definitely on the more pricier side I for one try and get my moneys worth!
4 hours is probably a good time to enjoy the tour and have enough time to grab a bite to eat and explore the gift shop as well – you want an average 2 hours to walk around the whole tour itself, so leave enough for the extras.
5. Wear comfortable shoes
I hinted about this one earlier but it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of walking around the tour – you’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing comfortable shoes and clothing for the tour.
There are lot of places you can sit around the attraction, including half way round at the cafe, but having those comfy shoes in the first place is always a good idea!
6. You can dress up if you like
So, keeping in mind my last tip about comfortable shoes, you might be wondering whether you can dress up for the Studio Tour? YES! Go for it. I went, unimaginatively, as a muggle last time!!!
But seriously, loads of people dress up in robes, scarves or Hogwarts school uniforms so you’ll not look crazy for doing the same. In fact you’ll probably be the highlight of some of the other visitors who will wish that they had done the same!
7. There will be queues
One thing to be aware of when visiting the Studio tour is to be prepared for some queues.
First of all you might have to wait in the queue to start the first part of the tour, even though you have a specified start time – this is the only part of the tour that is guided and it let’s people enter the tour in a relatively smooth way.
Most of the tour is self guided so you don’t need to wait in queues after this if you don’t want to – you’ll still see lots.
While around the tour itself you might find queues at some of the interactive exhibits such as flying on a broom or at the cafe to get a butterbeer.
8. Be prepared for the gift shop
The gift shop at the end of the WB Studio Tour is a real delight to the senses and it can be easy to get carried away with buying souvenirs from your day.
There’s a lot to buy whether you want clothing that’s unique to there, wands, toys or even some special sweet treats – I’m partial to a Chocolate Frog myself!
My tip for you is to give yourself a set budget for the gift shop and get yourself something special that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s no point in saying don’t buy stuff – especially if you know you will!
9. Find out what’s new or special
There are always new and special exhibits taking place at the Harry Potter Studio tour so it’s worth seeing what’s new for your trip.
For example, at certain times of year they do different things. At Christmas time the Hogwarts model is covered in snow and they sometimes have Yule Ball things to see.
They also add new things all the time – the first time we went there wasn’t the Hogwarts Express there but it had been added by the time we went again. There’s now the Forbidden Forest as well and in 2022 they added Professor Sprout’s Greenhouse.
10. Enjoy a Butterbeer!
Picking up a Butterbeer on the way round the tour is something you have to experience. You get them in the cafe called the Backlot which is just after you’ve been to see the Platform 9 3/4 area.
I’ve heard mixed reviews on whether it’s nice or not – you’ll have to let me know what you think! You do get to keep the tankard as a souvenir too which is definitely worth it!
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