The Harry Potter Studio Tour London Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Visiting
If you’ve been reading TCS throughout the last few years, you probably know by now that I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan. Like, a MASSIVE fan. To me, there is nothing better than a rainy day where you can stay inside, order some delivery, and turn on a Harry Potter movie marathon or curl up with one of the books. I’ve spent more weekends than I could even count doing this, now that I think about it...
As soon as I booked my trip to London, the first thing I did was schedule the day when I would go to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour to explore the sets of the Wizarding World—no joke. This was my absolute top priority and nothing was getting in my way. I immediately started scouring the web for what to expect, where to buy tickets, what to see, and how to get there so I could know everything there was to know.
If you’re in that same boat right now, this guide is exactly for you! I figured there were probably other Potterheads like myself who wanted to get that ultimate experience and know everything possible before booking and arriving at the studio tour in London. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know and buy before visiting the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour London!
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: Purchasing Tickets
Because the Harry Potter Studio Tour is a popular attraction, tickets sell out very quickly. It is highly recommended that you book your tickets as far in advance as you can to ensure that you’ll get the desired time and date that you want to go. They also don’t sell tickets at the door, so you really have to make sure you book in advance. You can book your tickets for the tour right here on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour website.
PRO TIP #1:
Schedule your ticket time for as early as you possibly can because there is no limit on how much time you spend on the studio tour. If you book earlier, you have as much time as you want to meander, explore, and read every single little detail. I probably spent 5 or 6 hours there by myself!
Adult tickets start at £39 (unless you get a ‘Saver Ticket’) for regular admission. There are a ton of other package options that you can opt in for on their website that will give you additional souvenirs and/or guides. The regular admission was just fine in my opinion, though.
PRO TIP #2:
Make sure to print out your booking confirmation whenever you receive it via email to make the process much smoother once you arrive. This is absolutely necessary! You will use this confirmation to print out your actual tickets at a kiosk near the main entrance (unless you opt to pick them up at the ticket window). The kiosk is super easy to use!
PRO TIP #3:
Check the website for special events that might be scheduled during your visit. The studio puts on special, exclusive events every month, so you might want to plan your trip around that if you can.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: Planning Transportation
The Harry Potter Studio Tour is actually just outside of London’s city center, which means you’re going to have to plan how you get there. You can get to the studio by train, bus, or car. My preferred method is obviously the train since I don’t typically rent cars when I’m staying in a city. If you are driving or want to take a bus, you can look at some of those routes on their official website.
If you’re staying in London and want to take the train, you can book a ticket from the London Euston train station to the Watford Junction train station. I suggest purchasing that ticket in advance so you can give yourself plenty of time to arrive. You can purchase your ticket online right here. Once you have your ticket reservation, you can choose to print out your tickets directly from a kiosk at the train station to save more time.
Related reading: The Ultimate Harry Potter World Travel Guide
PRO TIP #4
There is both an express train to Watford Junction (meaning it goes direct with no stops in between) AND a local train (meaning it stops at every station along the way). The express train will get you there in about 20 minutes, while the local train will get you there in about 1 hour. I was unusually ahead of time to the London Euston train station and made the mistake of getting on the local train instead of the express train that I had booked on my way to Watford Junction. I still got there fine, but unfortunately I didn’t have the extra time I allotted myself because of this mistake. Make sure you get on the right train!
Once you arrive to the Watford Junction train station, there is a Warner Bros. Studio Tour shuttle bus right outside the station that will be waiting to pick up guests and take them to the lot. The bus is fully decked out in Harry Potter images, so don’t worry—you won’t miss it.
Buses run every 20 minutes and take about 15 minutes to arrive to the lot. A round-trip return ticket will cost £2.50 and you must pay it in cash. Credit cards are not accepted; so make sure you bring cash!
PRO TIP #5:
Bring the £2.50 in CASH for your round-trip return shuttle bus ticket. Once you exit the train station, the bus will be directly to the front of the entrance in the parking lot. Since they run every so often, there may or may not be one there; but rest assured it will come and you will notice. The bus is hard to miss because of all the Harry Potter images on it.
PRO TIP #6:
Plan to arrive at the lot tour at least 20 minutes before your scheduled time to guarantee entry. The lines can be crazy during peak times of the year, so it’s best to be prepared!
ARRIVING AT THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR
Once you arrive to the tour, you’ll have to go through a small security checkpoint before entering the building. Once you’re inside, you’ll likely queue up with the other guests who are also coming for their scheduled time. I’m the worst person when it comes to waiting in line and I’ll say that it didn’t bother me one bit. There is so much to “oooh” and “ahhh” at when you get inside that you won’t even realize you’ve been standing in line. You’ll be mesmerized by the magic!
PRO TIP #7:
If you’d rather save your money for souvenirs instead of food at the [slightly overpriced] cafe, pack yourself a little lunch or some snacks for the day. There is a large lunchroom right outside the cafe where you can sit down to eat about halfway through the studio tour. You won’t be able to eat or drink while you’re walking through the tour, but you can surely save it for later!
Once you pass through the line to enter the tour, you’ll be escorted into a theatre where you’ll stand to watch a brief film before getting escorted into another room to watch another quick film. Once you’re escorted into the next room, you’ll eventually see the front doors of Hogwarts after the film finishes. THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGINS!!!
PRO TIP #8:
Try to get a seat in front row of this second room if you can. You’ll be one of the first to enter The Great Hall, which means tons of cool pics! BUT...
PRO TIP #9:
Don’t worry if you’re not in front of the line to get in through the front doors of The Great Hall because the room will eventually clear out as people pass through to the next room. This is where you can begin to move at your own pace. Be patient and just hang back because the crowd will eventually go ahead. You’ll be able to capture those images without people in the background if you really want.
WHAT TO EXPECT INSIDE THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR
What can you expect once you’re inside? Magic. Just pure magic.
Seriously though, this is where you’ll be able to let your inner HP fan girl go crazy. There is no time limit for how long you spend in each room! Look at every single detail. Read all the plaques. Watch all the videos. DO IT ALL! Do it twice if you want!
As you walk room to room, you’ll see things like the costumes used, Dumbledore’s office, props from the Ministry of Magic, the Hogwarts Express train, behind the scenes special effects, and so much more. The entire experience is so whimsical you’ll actually feel like you’ve stepped into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Fun Fact: The paintings and portraits around Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are mostly the faces of the cast and crew members!
FINAL PRO TIPS FOR THE HARRY POTTER STUDIO TOUR
PRO TIP #10:
Save some money for souvenirs at the end! It’s not a bad idea to take something home with you to remember this magical trip...maybe some Slytherin socks or a Gryffindor shirt?
PRO TIP #11:
Butterbeer. Yes or No? Well... I personally thought that the Butterbeer was kind of gross and way too sweet. It tastes like pure butterscotch; so if you’re into that, then go for it! I don’t know why they haven’t come up with a Butterbeer that actually has beer in it yet. I mean...come on... Low hanging fruit, Warner Brothers!
PRO TIP #12:
Make sure all of your batteries are fully charged. Bring extra memory cards and even portable USB chargers if you can. If you’re a Potterhead like me, you’ll run out of battery life and space very quickly, so it’s good to be prepared!
PRO TIP #13:
Watch all the movies before you go! It will make the experience so much cooler to be able to know exactly what you’re looking at when you walk through each room.
PRO TIP #14:
If it’s the cold winter months, take advantage of the complimentary coat check at the beginning of the tour. It will be better than lugging around your coat the whole time.
PRO TIP #15:
Take lots and lots of pictures to remember your visit! You’ll probably be looking at them a million times before you’re able to return again (or is that just me?).
Overall, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is something I highly recommend for both Potterheads and people who are visiting London and looking for fun activities to do. It’s great for families, solo travelers, couples, and people of all abilities. It’s truly an unforgettable experience and one that I can’t wait to experience again when I’m back in London!
And with that... I SOLEMNLY SWEAR THAT I AM UP TO NO GOOD! MISCHIEF MANAGED!
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Have you been to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour London? What other tips would you add to this list? --or-- What is your favorite Harry Potter movie? Comment below!
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