Travel Diaries – The Harry Potter Studios Tour, London

Let me start this blog post by stating something: I have the best sister in the entire world. The kind of sister that makes your dreams come true.

The kind of sister that gets you, as a birthday gift, an entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I know. I’m still crying about how lucky I am.

I asked a little while ago on twitter if any of you would be interested to hear about my trip and my experience in the studios and most people said yes, so… here I am.

Fair warning before getting started: this blog post will be detailing my tour of the Warner Bros Studios in London. If you’d like to hear nothing about it, because you’re not that curious or don’t want to be spoiled at all about the visit there, I’d recommend you stop reading right here. I wouldn’t want to ruin your experience.

For those of you wishing to continue reading, thank you!! I have lots of pictures, (though I tried to spare you all because I took over 350 pictures…) and a lot of fun things to share and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

We arrived in London on Friday, November 8th and got up early the next day to head for an early tour of the Studios. Turns out it was the best strategy to avoid the crowds that came more and more as afternoon came by.

The Warner Bros Studios are a little further away from London, in Watford, which is about an hour and a half away from London’s city center, more or less depending on traffic. There are a couple of ways to get there: car, public transportation (with multiple subways you have to take), or a tour bus. We had picked out the latter option, it being the easiest one and…. well, we did not regret it, because traveling in this bus was kind of cool.

After a little over an hour and a half trip we spent watching the first Harry Potter movie, we arrived at the studios. Just a step out of our bus and we were already in a very Harry Potter-y atmosphere, the walls alongside the studios plastered with posters we recognized from the movies. It was a gloomy, foggy kind of morning and therefore I only took that picture of the studios sign as we went out of the studios in the afternoon.

The Entrance & The Great Hall

The entrance to the studios was just as magical as I expected it to be, somehow even more impressive than ever. The music from the movies came on as we walked in, the giant dragon above our heads welcomed us. Needless to say, I was already impressed and giddy and kind of out of my mind and it was like 10 in the morning. That would be a fun day.

Finally, we entered the tour, following the small crowd gathering at the entrance. We walked alongside hallways filled with pictures and behind the scenes pictures of each of the 8th movies, posters in every language possible, the cupboard under the stairs.

Then, we disappeared in a closed room I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of, where a member of the tour’s staff introduced us to the studios, alongside with a fun video. Then, we disappeared in another movie-like room where I wasn’t allowed to take pictures, either, but, well… the chills. We went from seeing a short movie of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint to, well, this.

This was the moment that the studios felt real, this room, everything. This was the moment I kind of felt like crying, to be honest. Standing in front of that door, opening it and stepping into the Great Hall, still decorated with everything Halloween. The pumpkins, flying in the air, the long tables, the actors’ costumes spreaded all around. Even if we could see the mechanisms of it all, even if they were just this, costumes on lifeless mannequins… it still felt magical.

We unfortunately had to quit the Great Hall a little too soon (since they monitor it for it not to be too crowded), so we headed to the next part of the Studios: the Interior Sets.

The Interior Sets

From the costumes of the Yule Ball which were absolutely stunning, to the moving staircases, the Gryffondor common room, Dumbledore’s office and Hagrid’s Hut… we got to see so much, in so many details. Everything was stunningly impressive, really. The details in each of the rooms, all of the incredible props, from the Golden Cup to every single Horcruxe there was, to the Pensine and the Portkey…You could really see the stunning work of every people working on this movie.

The flying car and brooms, Hagrid’s motorcycle, the Weasley’s kitchen, Tom Riddle’s tombstone: we got to see so, so much of the movies in this single space, it was amazing to see it all living right in front of your eyes.

The Forbidden Forest

Okay, so my pictures aren’t that great for the Forbidden Forest, but I also feel like it’s a space you have to be in, to really experience. Though that’s true for the entire studios.

The Forbidden Forest was chilling, filled with a dark, cold, foggy atmosphere and music, where you meet creatures of all sorts: centaurs, hippogriffs, patronuses… and even, well, aerm, spiders. Like, giant spiders and small spiders coming from above you. I’m sorry. I didn’t take pictures of the spiders and… I didn’t even look. I’m terrified of spiders okay.

Platform 9 3/4

We headed out of the spidery, gloomy forest to step onto Platform 9 3/4 and to hop on the Hogwarts Express.

Literaly. We didn’t only get to stare at the train, looking exactly like it did in the movies, waiting for us, but we got to step in (!!!). The train had 8 compartments, one for each of the movies and each of them was done up with every little prop of each of the 8th movies, which was amazing.

Exterior Sets: Privet Drive & the Knight Bus

After admiring some incredible props from the movies, newspapers and actual books, letters and ugh just so many incredible details, we stepped into the cold, foggy London weather to check out the Exterior Sets. We discovered the gigantic Knight Bus, one we couldn’t visit from inside, but was still fairly gigantic from outside.

We discovered 4, Privet Drive and its interior, the staircase, the letters flying all around…

We spotted James and Lily’s house, the bridge from Hogwarts, some chess pieces and the flying car.

Creatures Shop

We went back inside to discover the work of everyone on every single creature ever created for the movie. From Goblins to Dragons, Mandragores and the magical creatures in the Great Lake… there was so much to see and so much to learn, from the time it took to create masks and props to the time it took to put them on the actors, sometimes over 3 hours.

Gringotts & The Vaults

Gringotts and The Vaults were probably one of my favorite parts of the studios, though it’d be hard to pick one thing. I just feel like Gringotts was so damn impressive, I was amazed, even more than usual. It was like stepping into a movie, into the movie, really. Everything was grand and stunningly real with so much details, I felt like Harry stepping into the bank for the first time.

We discovered Bellatrix’s vault next, once again staged exactly like in the movies.

We weren’t ready for our next stop, let me tell you. You know, in the story. Harry, Ron and Hermione go to Gringotts. Get into Bellatrix’s vault. You remember what happens next, right? The pounding on the bank’s floors, the goblins startled. The tension of that freaking scene in the movie. Before that dragon gets loose and destroys everything.

Well. That happened in the studios, too. With stunning effects making you feel like you’ve just stepped into that movie scene, for real. No pictures here, it’s really something you have to experience live.

Diagon Alley

After all the emotions of Gringotts, we were lucky enough to step into Diagon Alley as no one was there, allowing me to take deserted pictures of the little paved road and little shops, once again incredibly detailed and beautiful.

Model Room

Our last stop in the tour was the Model Room, once again showing us the behind the scenes of building up the movies and their decor. We got to see almost every single decor, from the Astronomy Tower to The Burrow to the Three Broomsticks, stunningly done as little models. If I had to do these kind of things… well I would never because I lack the patience, so my admiration is great.

The last room of the tour was the most impressive of them all, and another moment where, as a Harry Potter fan, I felt overcome by emotion upon seeing it all. It’s a gigantic model of the Hogwarts castle, probably over twice my size, in absolutely incredible details and, I don’t know, it made me feel very emotional okay.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, of the movies, of the books, of both, visit the studios. If you’re a movie fan, visit the studios, too. I’ve always adored the series and seeing it come to life – or, well, be a little destroyed, obviously, by all the mechanisms showing – was one of the best experiences of my life.

Even if you can see all the ropes of it all, even if you can see the costumes, the way magic is created, on screen, every single step of it still felt magical and only made my love and admiration for every single person working on these movies stronger. Everyone from the big actors we all know and love to the designers and make up artists and architects working on it all… there’s just so much. So much happening behind the scenes, behind the screen that you discover in the tour, really. It all felt magical and I hope I can go back there someday.

 

Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Did you visit the Harry Potter Studios in London? Or any other Harry Potter attraction in the world? What did you think of it? Would you like to go there? Let me know in comments!

 

 

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

54 thoughts on “Travel Diaries – The Harry Potter Studios Tour, London

  1. YOUR SISTER IS THE BEST!!! and can i just say a big thank you for all the pictures that you included?? i probably won’t be able to go to the harry potter studios unless i ever visit london, but i felt like i got to live vicariously through your experience. i’m so glad that you had fun and were able to avoid some of the huge crowds too 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? I’m too lucky to have her 😍 I’m so happy I could make you visit the studios along with me thanks to this post, yay! and I really really hope you’ll be able to go to the studios and london someday, both are equally awesome 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! It looks like you had such a fab time! 😀
    This was like a walk down memory lane for me! I went 5 years ago and it’s amazing to see how much has changed! The Hogwarts express looks fun as well as Gringotts!
    How you managed to get photos without so many people is impressive! When I was there, every shot I took had someone in the frame haha!
    Loved reading this! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really did! I hope you’ll be able to visit the studios again someday, I feel like they always add new experiences to it all. The Gringotts part was added very recently, if I remember it correctly and it was impressive!
      Ahh thank you! There were a lot of people for sure, it was complicated sometimes to get a shot without people in it, but I was determined 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀
        Yeah, maybe one day! 🙂 I love that they keep adding things because it makes every visit special! I still want to visit Universal Studios in Florida again (as that’s the closest Hogwarts to me 😂)

        Your determination paid off! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t visited the Harry Potter studios – and I really want to – but I have been to the Harry Potter shop in Kings Cross station and I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood. There are only two rides there because it’s more atmosphere based, but it’s definitely worth going for the Forbidden Journey ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg you REALLY DO have the best sister ever!! 😭 Ahh I’m so glad you got to have to so much fun and THE HARRY POTTER STUDIOS is like Wonderland for all potterheads!! I hope I’m lucky enough to visit some day. Really had fun reading your experience! Great post, Marie ✨❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so happy that you got to experience this!! One day, I will too, and I can’t wait. It really seems like the Harry Potter studios in London are the BEST ONES. I remember watching the “Brit Crew” on Youtube vlog part of their experiences here years ago, and I knew then that I had to make sure I added this to my very long list of places that I want to go to when I travel England someday. It’s so immersive!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh.. this is amazing!! I want to the studio tours in the last week of September I think and it was wonderful. I love that they play the music in the entrance, it just feels so magical when you walk in. That was my second time going but this time there was new stuff like The Forbidden Forest and Gringotts. I found the spiders really creepy too. I hate spiders so much but I did think it was all very impressive.
    Also I loved Gringotts as well, it all felt very impressive!! And I loved the effects with the dragon coming out and burning fire too. That must have taken ages to set up.
    My favourites parts are probably the taps from the prefect’s bathroom, diagon alley, platform 9 and 3/4 and finally the hogwarts castle at the end. But I love so much of it!!
    I absolutely adored seeing all your pictures and reliving it. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time and I think it is so sweet that your sister got you the tickets!! Did you buy anything from the gift store?? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh I’m so happy you got to go there, Sophie! The music makes it quite magical right when you come in, right? I loved it so much 😀
      I’m so happy you loved it too! Gringotts was SO impressive, I didn’t expect it at all and I loved it.
      Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoyed it ❤ I didn't buy anything from the store, I wish I could have but some things were so expensive 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes me too!! It really is so magical and because it is where you just walk in I think it is awesome!!
        I know it was incredible!!
        I thought the store was really expensive too which is a shame but it is still fun to look at everything, haha!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I have tears in my eyes just reading your post, Marie, I loved it so so much! 😭 I’m so glad you could experience the studios for yourself!! ❤️ I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and I’d love to go to the studios someday. Fingers crossed I’ll finally have the opportunity sooner rather than later. 🙈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh I’m so happy I could make you live the visit a little bit through this post! ❤ I really hope you'll be able to go to the studios someday, it's a must, really, I'm certain you'd adore it! Fingers crossed you can go soon! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I still am a little jealous you got to go there hahaha but I am so glad you did at the same time. I really love the look of everything, especially since it reminds me of the Doctor Who Experience (one of my favourite places on earth that’s closed by now though) just like 100 times bigger in scale haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really really can’t wait for you to go and hope you’ll be able to, I adored it so much there. It was kind of gigantic and sometimes, it felt like I was stepping right into the movies. I wanted to cry haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I really want to visit the Harry Potter Studios in London! It seems like such a magical place. Plus, as someone who loves Harry Potter, why wouldn’t I want to be surrounded by all the things from the series. 😉 I’m glad to see that you had a great time and I hope you’ll be able to go there again in the future! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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