Harry Potter magic at Warner Bros Studios Tour London

Warner Bros Studios Tour London

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Harry Potter is pretty big amongst school age kids. Having a house full of HP fans myself, a trip to Warner Bros Studios Tour London was a dream come true. But did it live up to our high expectations?

First things first

Knowing we had to book a specific date, we booked online several months beforehand. And since this is still a super popular tour it definitely pays to book early to get the day you want. You’ll be asked to select a specific day and time slot and then add on any extras like hotel rooms or souvenirs. We opted for the studio tour tickets alone since the tickets are rather pricey for a family of four and I don’t think we missed out by not ordering any of the extra ‘add-ons’. Once you have ordered your ticket, you’ll be sent a QR code which is worth printing out before you go since they are scanned upon entry. 

Getting to Warner Bros Studios Tour London

Finally the day of the tour arrived! Driving to the studio was pretty easy (watch out for M25 traffc) and from the moment you arrive there are staff on hand to direct you and help you with parking. There are also links to public transport which seemed quite straight forward but it’s worth looking at the ‘Plan your Visit’ tab on the website before you go. 

Warner Bros Studios Tour London

Excitement rose as we made our way towards the entrance, stopping to admire some huge Wizard Chess pieces on the way. There were even a couple of die hard fans who had dressed up as characters from the books. Our time slot was at 12.30pm but we arrived about an hour earlier. I wondered whether the kids might be bored by waiting around for the tour to start. I needn’t have worried. There is plenty to do before the tour begins.

Once you pass through the security check, you are greeted by a huge dragon staring down at you from the ceiling which really gives you that ‘wow’ moment. Next to this is The Chocolate Frog Cafe and Food Hall along with a gigantic shop full of every kind of souvenir you can think of – Sorting Hat anyone? Make sure you also pick up your Activity Passport at the entrance, the idea is that you find a stamp in each different area of the studio on the way round. Our kids enjoyed searching for these, it was a great souvenir and also free! 

It’s our turn!

Soon, it was getting close to our timeslot for the tour so we joined the queue and were led inside. The timeslot works well to make sure that the studio is not crammed full of people so even though it was busy, we were able to see everything we wanted to with ease. I won’t spoil the surprise but the way the tour starts is simply magical and soon you find yourself walking through the Great Hall at Hogwarts, lit by floating candles.

Once your tour guide has explained a little about the Warner Bros Studios Tour London, you are free to walk around by yourself spotting all the different props and costumes along the way. If you have seen the films then this will be a real treat. Stop by the Gryffindor common room or the potions classroom, there are plenty of photo opportunities to enjoy. 

Warner Bros Studios Tour London
Diagon Alley at Warner Bros Studios Tour London

Next up, we took the chance to fly on our very own broomstick by heading to the green screen area.  This was one section of the tour we had to queue a little while for but it was great fun. You can purchase your photos and videos straight after the experience at the desk but since there was a big queue we didn’t bother. Top tip – there is a chance to buy them again right at the end of the tour which was less busy and this was what we did.  

The venue is large with a capital L

The tour guide had warned us at the start that the Warner Bros Studio is very large and it can be quite tiring, and it’s true! It is so much bigger than you expect and it takes quite a while to walk through all the different sets before you get to the Backlot which is the halfway point. We were really grateful for the cafè and rest area here and as an added bonus you can try a glass of Butterbeer before you head off again. 

Warner Bros Studios Tour London

The second half of the tour is more interesting if you want to learn about how the props were created or how the sets were designed, and generally felt more geared towards adults. Looking at how the goblin makeup was created was fascinating and my husband particularly enjoyed this part of the tour. Even if you are not a huge Harry Potter fan, this would be interesting if you are into understanding the filmmaking process.

Warner Bros Studios Tour London

The last stop on the tour is the gigantic model of Hogwarts which is amazingly detailed and was used in the films. It was surprising to me how many sets and props were actually created and weren’t simply CGI. 

Was it worth it?

The whole experience is very well organised and you get a lot for your ticket price which just about makes the cost worthwhile. I won’t spoil it by revealing too much but there are plenty of magical surprises to keep you entertained. Also, since there are different themes depending on the time of year you go, there’s a good chance you may see something slightly different from your friends. Be aware though that the items in the shop and extras are super pricey – over GBP 30 for a toy wand!

If you have school age children who have seen the movies or read the books they will be in heaven, but younger kids and those who have no interest in Harry Potter may not find it worth their while. 

For us, it was one of the highlights of our trip to London and we certainly made some magical memories which we’ll never forget.

You can also book your tickets here, which includes coach transfer to the venue.

London on the cheap is a great read to help you plan for budget friendly (relatively) things to do!

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