Breaking into Harry Potter’s World in London

Harry Potter Studio title

I was that girl that lined up for all the midnight releases of the newest books, promising that I would make it last at least a week before gobbling it up in a few hours. Same goes for all the movies. I may have took spirit week a bit too far by cosplaying as a character when our Homecoming theme was Harry Potter. Having been a self-declared Harry Potter fan for the majority of my life, however, did not prepare me for how old or outdated I felt on the trek to the Harry Potter Studios just outside of London.

There I was, waiting for the special Harry Potter bus just outside Watford Junction, surrounded by people who fidgeted with excitement at being a ride away from the closest thing to the Wizarding World. It’s not that I was too OLD for this… since a lot of the fidgety ones were a bit older than me; I actually had no idea why I felt mundane about something I’ve looked forward to ever since the grand opening. Two years ago!

Harry Potter Studio Tour Bus

Harry Potter Studio Tour Entrance

Sure, it had felt a little weird on the Potter Trail in Edinburgh, but I’d chalked that up to our tour guide wearing a full robe, wand included.

However, in between the children pushing open the doors to the Great Hall and finally stepping foot into the hall myself, I was whisked back to my childhood… I WAS IN HOGWARTS!

Harry Potter Studio Tour Great Hall

Harry Potter Studio Tour Great Hall Professors

Harry Potter Studio Tour Great Hall candles

Minus the ceiling (the biggest disappointment) and the professor’s faces, it felt eerily real. I felt lie a first-year, heading into the Great Hall to get sorted! If only they had huge amounts of actors sitting at the tables the whole time, watching you stride in. But I understand… budget and all that.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Goblet of Fire buffet display

Harry Potter Studio Tour Swinging Pendulum

Harry Potter Studio Tour Statue to Dumbledore's Office

Harry Potter Studio Tour Marauder's Map

Harry Potter Studio Tour Chamber of Secrets Door

The Studio Tour does a great job of appealing to both children and adults, mostly by bringing out the geek children in us (kidding, we were loser children, not geek children). I handed over an additional 4 pounds so that I could have the audio guide, although the sights and little plaques themselves would’ve kept me plenty busy for hours.

The Harry Potter Studio Tours has this organized way of scheduling visitors so the building isn’t too crowded at any time. At the time of purchase, which you should do online, you’re prompted to choose a time for your tour. It’s usually in half-hour intervals and, though they don’t tell you this, you can be up to 30 minutes late. Confession: I was 40 minutes late, but thankfully it was off-season.

My favorites were the fully recreated rooms. By having whole rooms preserved in the way they were when filming gives people the unique ability to be momentarily transported into the Harry Potter universe—as long as you can imagine out the hundreds of people gawking with you. It’s like a Harry Potter version of IKEA!

Harry Potter Studio Tour Gryffindor Boy's Dorm Harry Potter Studio Tour Gryffindor Boy's Dorm

Harry Potter Studio Tour Dumbledore's Office

Harry Potter Studio Tour Snape's Potion's Class

Harry Potter Studio Tour Slughorn's Potions Class

Harry Potter Studio Tour Potion's Classroom

Harry Potter Studio Tour The Burrow Harry Potter Studio Tour The Burrow

Harry Potter Studio Tour Dolores Umbridge Office

Although the huge “Magic is Might” column that you see in the Ministry of Magic isn’t too shabby either!

Harry Potter Studio Tour Magic is Might muggle column

Or Diagon Alley…

Harry Potter Studio Tour Diagon Alley Harry Potter Studio Tour Diagon Alley

All right, you got me, I loved every minute of it!

The outdoor portion was quite impressive… which is where you’d find 4 Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, Godric’s Hollow, parts of the Hogwarts Bridge, the chess pieces, and the Weasley Car. Still naming these things by memory… I don’t know whether to be impressed or saddened that what I learned in public education hasn’t even come close to how well I know the Harry Potter universe.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Knight Bus Harry Potter Studio Tour 4 Privet Drive Harry Potter Studio Tour Hogwarts Bridge

Harry Potter Studio Tour Hogwarts Bridge Harry Potter Studio Tour Godric's Hollow Harry Potter Studio Tour Weasley Town Car Harry Potter Studio Tour Chess Pieces

BUT I do have a favorite. Warner Bros, like the last film, you know how to end with a bang. But before we get to that, we were shown the behind-the-scenes countless makeup figureheads.

Harry Potter Studio Tour Makeup IMG_7431 IMG_7434 IMG_7436

And finally, my favorite part:

Harry Potter Studio Tour mini model Hogwarts

Harry Potter Studio Tour Hogwarts miniature

The whole production came together to create a FULL miniature model of Hogwarts and her grounds. And when I say mini, I mean spanning 50m x 50m in minute detail. I entered this room and stood there at the entrance for a full 5 minutes before I could move.

To spice up an already spicy bit of fanage, the lights projected onto the castle changed colors every once in a while. Ever wondered what it would look like washed in blue? You don’t have to wonder anymore!

Harry Potter Studio Tour mini model Hogwarts

I know I’ve shown you guys a lot of the photos but trust me, photos are nothing compared to being there first hand.

Practical Details: 

Cost: 31£
Location: best accessed through a visit in London! From there, you can catch either the tube or the Overground to Watford Junction. King’s Langley station is highly not recommended, given that the shuttle bus does not run there. From Watford Junction, head outside to the bus area. Look for station #4. There should be Harry Potter posters and enthused geeks all over. The journey from Watford Junction to the studio is about 15 minutes.
Time: You should plan to give yourself at least 4 hours here. There is so much information and displays to geek out about! And they usually have some special display or guests, depending on the season, so look out for those too.

Have you ever visited the Warner Bros’ Harry Potter Studio Tour (that mouthful though…)? What did you think? If not, do you think you’d ever want to?

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  • http://snowintromso.com/ Van @ Snow in Tromso

    I would love to visit! This would probably be my first stop if I ever make it to London! ;)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha were you a huge fan as a kid too?? I thought everyone was until I met other people and they were only lukewarm about the universe. Mind shattered hahaha

      • http://snowintromso.com/ Van @ Snow in Tromso

        I was! I just couldn’t go to any midnight releases as I lived in the middle of nowhere but yeah….wrote a fake Hogwarts acceptance letter to myself and put it in our mailbox. Guess I was a weird kid :D

        • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

          HAHAHA oh my gosh, please tell me you still have that letter! I prefer to say uniquely cool :p

          • http://snowintromso.com/ Van @ Snow in Tromso

            No, definitely not!
            So embarrassing! :D

  • http://agirlandhertravels.com/ Polly

    So awesome! I loved the recreations at Universal but I’d love to see the real deal too!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Yeah! I went to the theme park at Universal and was hoping for something similar to the one in London… unfortunately that didn’t happen. Why build a real-scale castle if you’re not going to do the insides too?! #bitter ;)

  • http://www.tothedayslikethis.com/ Sammy @ Days Like This

    Haha ‘Harry Potter version of Ikea!’ That is so true. I am the biggest Harry fan as well. I read the 7th book in one sitting. I loved the studios. I thought it was EVEN more than I was expecting and I would go back!!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      YES! Welcome, fellow fan ;) The only downside of my visit was that I was in a rush (why did I do that to myself?) and I wished the whole time that I had someone with me to express how much I was geeking out in my head!

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld

    OMG WHY WAS THIS NOT THERE IN 2009???

    I had to live my dream in Orlando but this trumps it……Okay, I am legit planning a trip back to the UK solely to do this!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Harry Potter fans unite! I thought the one in Orlando would be more extensive… but was disappointed when it was just a house for the line!

  • http://www.chicadeedee.com/ Dannielle @ Chicadeedee

    We’ve been trying to plan around people to go for aaaages, I am just going to go on my own if they cant get their act together! Massive fan.

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      You should! Although it would be fun to geek out with a huge group of friends, going alone is better than never going at all!

  • http://www.melaniefontaine.com/ Melanie Fontaine

    I do have to admit… the Studio Tour may just be my favorite thing to do in London! I know, I’m a Nerd, but Harry Potter is a way of life in my opinion! We should have gone together – I think we would have squealed and screamed of excitement the whole time! ;)

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Ahhh, I wish I had stayed a few more weeks just so we could’ve gone together! :p our fan pictures would’ve been fantastic. I know you popped into London not so long after I left :(

  • http://thethingsiamcrazyfor.wordpress.com/ Camila

    soooo cool! I’ve kicked myself for not going while I lived in the UK, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do once I move back!

    • http://mishfish13.com/ Mishfish13

      Haha, definitely plan to spend an entire day in there! My only regret was planning to meet up with someone afterwards so I was crunched for time!