Have you always wanted to visit the Warner Bros. ‘Making of Harry Potter’ tour near London but not made it there yet? Let us satisfy your wanderlust with our Harry Potter photo tour… we hope it makes you feel like you’ve apparated straight there!
Be sure to read to the bottom too as we’ve also included some bonus magical things to do in London. And why not include the Harry Potter tour as part of a jam-packed and totally magical Harry Potter weekend in London?
Photo Tour: The Making Of Harry Potter
The Cupboard Under The Stairs
Once you’ve picked up your tickets from the self-service machines, you can venture inside to wait in line.
Even waiting in line lets you see props and staging from the films, such as being greeted by the Cupboard Under The Stairs even before you’ve handed over your tickets.
The Great Hall
After that, you’re taken into a room for an introductory talk and then shown a video welcoming you to the studios. They’ve filmed this really well as the end of the video ties in with them opening the doors to the Great Hall.
Inside, you’ll see the long tables laden with magical food like ‘Cheeriowls’ and ‘PixiePuffs’, while models of the Hogwarts staff in their original costumes are at the opposite end of the hall.
Even Crookshanks and Fang are in attendance!
The Great Hall section is timed as they need to ensure that all visitors leaving the movie come into an empty hall. But after that, you have the rest of the day to explore the studios in your own time (at least until closing!)
We sneakily grabbed a quick shot of the Great Hall once everyone in our group had left so you can see what it looks like when it’s empty.
Hogwarts Sets & Magical Props
There are so many wonders to behold at the Harry Potter studio tour.
The first section you come to after the Great Hall holds most of the props and sets associated with Hogwarts and its students like the Gryffindor Common Room, Quidditch equipment, Yule Ball props and all of the magical utensils from Dumbledore’s Office.
Check out the video below for a 360 degree tour of Dumbledore’s office:
You can even see the Hogwarts clock swinging like a pendulum.
Can you spot Crookshanks sleeping in the Gryffindor Common Room? This was actually a real cat when we visited because a special ‘animal actors’ event was taking place!
Check out the video below to see the common room in 360:
You can also see inside the boy’s dormitory.
We just love how much detail goes into stuff like this such as the gold stars on the curtains surrounding the beds and the dirty socks that have conveniently missed the laundry bin.
Teenage boys are delightful creatures aren’t they?
The Burrow was perhaps one of our favourite sets. Doesn’t it look so homely and inviting?
I wouldn’t mind at all if our future countryside cottage could look as bright and cheery as this!
As is expected, the Potions Classroom was one of the darkest parts of the studio tour. But notice the stains and rings on the table from students spilling their potions… no detail is left forgotten!
The Ministry of Magic & Other Dark Magic Sets
The other half of this first section of the tour is devoted to the dark arts and all the less cheery sets including Death Eater props, Voldemort’s lair and the Death Eater-owned Ministry of Magic.
Butterbeer At The Backlot Café
Once you’ve seen all there is to see within the first building, you can venture inside the café for some warming Butterbeer.
It doesn’t come cheap and it is sickly sweet, so you’ll probably only want to have a few sips, but it’s still a must-do if you’ve never tried it before. Expect to get a creamy moustache though!
“Harry and Hermione made their way to the back of the room where there was a small vacant table between the window and a handsome Christmas tree, which stood next to the fireplace. Ron came back five minutes later carrying three foaming tankards of hot butterbeer. “Merry Christmas!” he said happily, raising his tankard. Harry drank deeply. It was the most delicious thing he’d ever tasted and seemed to heat every bit of him from the inside.” — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Fancy trying some butterbeer but not sure when you’ll be able to get some? Try making your own with the recipe in this magical blog post!
The Large Harry Potter Sets Outside
After the café, you can head outside to see some of the larger sets like The Knight Bus, Privet Drive, Hagrid’s motorbike and Arthur Weasley’s flying car.
You can even get in (or on!) the magical vehicles. People queuing to get their own photos are usually nice enough to take your photo for you (especially if you offer to return the favour!)
Did you think the outside of Privet Drive was a real house/street? Think again!
And in one lone forgotten corner, you’ll find the Potter’s now derelict home… #RIPLilyAndJames
If you’re visiting in the winter like we did (we went on Valentine’s Day), then expect it to be quite cold in this section of the tour. You’ll want warm coats, hats, gloves, scarves… the works!
CGI & Creature Effects
After the outside section, you can head back inside… this time to see CGI props and videos about how certain parts were filmed.
For example, how the Triwizard dragons were designed, how Rita Skeeter’s Quick Quotes Quill operates and how the mermaids were created.
Not to mention Dobby is forever immortalised here too… #WeLoveYouDobby
Now comes the bit you’ve all been waiting for – a wander through Diagon Alley!
Can you see the ‘Puking Pastilles’ kid in the window? This is a moving decoration just like in the movie!
Did you know you can even stroll along Diagon Alley via Google Street View as well? Very cool…
More Magical Props & Incredible Packaging Designs
After Diagon Alley, you can wander through a section of the tour that’s devoted to paper models and detailed graphic designs for things like the Marauder’s Map, spellbooks and food and drinks packaging.
It’s incredible to see just how much detail goes into every single part of the movies!
Your last stop on the Harry Potter tour is to walk around a large model of Hogwarts to see it from every possible angle. The lighting changes every few minutes in this room so you can see the castle by ‘day’ and at ‘night’.
NEW! Hogwarts Express, Gringotts & The Forbidden Forest
Since our visit, you can now also see the Hogwarts Express and go inside both Gringotts and The Forbidden Forest.
We can’t wait to visit again to see these sets for ourselves… we’ll be sure to update this blog post with photos as soon as we do!
BONUS! Animal Actors
We were lucky enough to have gone during a special event where they also had the animal actors throughout the tour.
Fang was sleeping outside Hagrid’s Hut, Crookshanks was dozing in the Gryffindor Common Room and owls were hooting outside Eeylops’ Owl Emporium in Diagon Alley.
It really did add to the magic of the day so be sure to look out for special events on ‘The Making Of’ website.
The Making Of Gift Shop
It’s probably for the best that the gift shop is right at the end otherwise we could have spent hours in it! We came away with some unique gifts as well as a Chocolate Frog.
As you can see, I got a Dumbledore Chocolate Frog Card and I’ve kept it stored away ever since!
There’s also a section near the gift shop where you can see row upon row of Ollivander’s wands. Although we didn’t find our own names, we did find my Dad: Dave Cross!
See if you can find your own name when you visit. We’d love to know if you do (tag us on Instagram: @_wanderers_of_the_world_)!
Our Top Tips For Visiting The Harry Potter Studio Tour
1. The Leavesden studio is an easy day trip from London
The Studio Tour is located 21 miles north west of London at this address:
Studio Tour Drive
There’s parking on site but there are also plenty of public transport services arriving there.
You can even get a shuttle bus from the Watford train station, which costs a couple of pounds for a return ticket.
2. But make sure you check when the last shuttle bus times are!
IMPORTANT! The last bus departs from the studio tour at the same time as the official closing time (10pm).
Don’t miss your bus because you were filling up on chocolate frogs and sherbet lemons in the gift shop!
3. You’ll need to pick a time slot when buying your tickets
Don’t worry about how long you may be waiting in the queue to start the tour. Your tickets have a time slot to ensure you’re not kept waiting for too long.
Also, don’t worry about potentially missing your time slot if you’re running a few minutes late.
We were allowed in 15 minutes after our time slot as we didn’t give ourselves enough time to get to Leavesden from London. But safe to say we didn’t need to panic as much as we did that we wouldn’t be let in.
4. Evening entry is best for couples
If the idea of wandering through the magical world of Harry Potter with loud children all around you doesn’t sound too fun, then you can get evening entry, which is great for couples as most of the kids will have gone home already.
During our visit, we arrived at 5.30pm and stayed until 9.45pm.
BONUS! Magical Harry Potter Things To Do In London
Although the Warner Bros. ‘Making of Harry Potter’ tour is in Leavesden, Watford rather than in London itself, it’s only 21 miles north west of the UK capital so can easily be enjoyed as part of a Harry Potter weekend in London.
Here are some other magical Harry Potter things to do in London:
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Theatre Show: Showing at the Palace Theatre in London (and a number of other locations around the world), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an original eighth story, which follows Harry, Ron and Hermione in their later years and their children at Hogwarts. Tickets for the show go on sale every few months, but it’s really tough to get tickets. Keep trying though as it will be so worth it when you do! It’s a truly magical production. Note that the play is divided into two 2.5 hour shows, each with 20 minute intervals. Although you can see both shows in one day, we’d recommend seeing them on consecutive days instead. It’s a long time to be sitting down and it’s better that you digest each part to fully appreciate the magic you’ve just seen. Check dates and book your theatre tickets here >>
- Magical afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge: Head to Cutter & Squidge on Brewer Street for the most magical afternoon tea in their Potion Room. Down in the bakery’s basement, you’ll be asked to wear wizard’s robes, chant spells and even make your own potions and elixirs. Not to mention the finger sandwiches, rock cakes and other magical treats are divine! Book your magical afternoon tea experience here >>
- Harry Potter Walking Tour: Find all the very best Harry Potter filming locations in London as well as places that are said to have inspired the books via a guided walking tour. We like to use Get Your Guide for tours like this as their 24 hour cancellation policy is fantastic!
- House of MinaLima: The House of MinaLima is something of a hidden gem (yep, it’s possible even in the middle of London!) Found just around the corner from the Palace Theatre, this FREE museum, gallery and shop belongs to Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima who have worked as graphic designers across the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises. Inside, you’ll get the opportunity to explore four floors of Harry Potter artwork, artefacts and other memorabilia that they helped to design. You can even see a fireplace exploding with Harry’s Hogwarts letters!
- Stay in a Harry Potter inspired hotel: Although the Georgian House Hotel in Pimlico is not an official Harry Potter hotel, it is heavily inspired by Hogwarts. The Wizard Chamber is hidden behind a bookcase door and has a large four poster bed and stained glass windows with cauldrons and antique leather trunks. A must for Potterheads! Check Prices | Read Reviews
We hope you loved our Harry Potter photo tour just as much as we’ve loved looking back at our magical day out! Is there anything else you’d like to know about the studio tour? Let us know in the comments below…
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