* This post had been scheduled prior to Alan Rickman’s tragic passing. Let’s make this the time to remember his touching and deep portrayal of Severus Snape. Always. ♥
I remember counting the minutes left until closing time on my cash register. You know how time always seems to go by infinitely more slowly when you’re eagerly waiting for something? Well, that 5-hour shift felt like an entire week. You see, I was working in a bookstore back in 2003 and we had gotten our very first copies of Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix. I was unreasonably excited to get home, curl up in bed with a cuppa, and spend the entire night reading what I presumed would be yet another brilliant piece of wizardry literature.
That was over 12 years ago, and I vividly remember the goosebumps on my forearms and my rapidly beating heart as I leafed through the fifth novel of the Hatty Potter series (one that I would read many more times in the following years). The sun had long made its appearance when I finally put the heavy hardback down the next morning, not in the least bit tired of not having slept, but instead exhilarated and already excited about the next book.
Naturally, I beelined for the Harry Potter Studios when I last visited London and I didn’t care how much of a nerd that made me. You can tell by watching the movies how much thought was put into details and how precise J.K. Rowling’s storylines are; you can also tell that they used advanced technology to bring dragons and talking dogs and basilisks to life. I was intrigued by all of that.
How, exactly, do you do justice to such an imaginative, unrealistic yet incredibly relatable story? I don’t want to reveal any secrets or take away the fun parts of the visit so I won’t be writing about the specifics of what I’ve learned. But I will say this: this is definitely one of the highlights of my life.
Is the hefty pricetag it worth it? See for yourself.
Harry Potter Studios in London – In Photos
This is what you see while waiting in line to get into the Great Hall – it only gets better!
The Great Hall and its many details
Fun fact: they had to make the beds longer and longer as the actors grew up throughout the series.
The Weasley’s Burrow!
Privet Drive and the Dursley’s house
Harry Potter Studios in London – Good To Know
- Although you are free to explore the main studios for as long as you like, you don’t have that much free time in the Great Hall before the staff ushers you into the next room (which is unfortunate, because it’s one of the best parts!). So if you’re adamant on getting good photos of that now legendary room, you’ll have to be quick!
- You have no idea how amazing the special & visual effects area is. The methods used and the ingeniosity of these guys is simply mindblowing!
- Tickets cost £35 per person. You need to book online in advance in order to pick a time and date. Don’t be late!
- I visited the Harry Potter studios as part of a tour group, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The transfer from central London isn’t an absolute necessity; Watford Junction station really isn’t that far from the studio and there’s a regular shuttle from there that costs just £2.50 return. Moreover, going there with a group means you have to stick to a strict 4-hour visit, which, in hindsight, was much too short. I had to speed through the last hour to make sure I didn’t miss anything! The studio visit is expensive enough as it is, don’t burden yourself with a superfluous shuttle on top of that if you’re on a budget.
Things To Do In London: Get The Book
Like what you just read? Some of it are excerpts from my London city guide eBook, which I just published. You’ll find 200 more suggestions of things to see, do, eat, and drink in London in there, as well as photography pointers and loads of helpful tips.