Why + how to visit the Harry Potter studios in London
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 15 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.
Exactly how do you do justice to such a brilliant, intricate saga that would go on and entertain generations to come? See for yourself.
Inside the Harry Potter Studios in London
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, there’s no doubt that you’ve dreamed of visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London. The studios are a great way to experience the magic of the books and films. You can get up close and personal with the sets, costumes and props from the movies at The Making of Harry Potter studio tour.
Being able to see how everything looks in real life and get an up-close look at your favorite characters’ costumes is something most fans will love.
When I visited the studio where they filmed all eight movies, it was like a dream come true. I felt like I was entering another world! The studio has been designed to look exactly like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the movie series. You can see classic Harry Potter sets like:
- Dumbledore’s office
- Hagrid’s hut
- Gryffondor’s dormitory
- The Weasley’s Burrow
- Diagon Alley
- Godric’s Hollow
There are also props from each film including wands for sale at Ollivanders Wand Shop. If you want to get an even closer look at how filming actually works on set then buy yourself some tickets for behind-the-scenes tours.
There is also a café called the Leaky Cauldron which serves traditional British food and drink. They even have Butterbeer ice cream!
Harry Potter Studios in London – know before you go
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!
Tickets cost between £37 (about $47 USD) and £45 (about $56 USD) depending on when you go. You need to book online in advance in order to pick a time and date. Don’t be late!The Harry Potter studio tour tickets are available online, and you can find them on the official website. The only exception is if you have an annual pass, which is available only at the studios themselves.
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.
More Harry Potter things to do in England and Scotland
- Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros. Studio in London
- Private Transfer: Central London to Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio in Leavesden
- A Muggle’s Guide to Harry Potter Walking Tour in London
- Harry Potter Walking Tour of Oxford Including Bodleian Library
- JK Rowling’s Edinburgh & the Writing of Harry Potter
- Alnwick Castle as Featured in Harry Potter and Scottish Borders Day Trip from Edinburgh
- GHD Clan tour of Harry Potter in the Highlands