The Making of Harry Potter-Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Nearly two years ago I was in Scotland and London doing some sleuthing about the Harry Potter series. You can read about that adventure in a previous blog.  I didn't have time during that visit to view the newly opened Warner Bros. Studio Tour.  It has been there since Spring 2012. This time I took a bus tour from Victoria Station area to view it.  For any Harry Potter Fan, I'd put this on your "Bucket List".  What a fabulous place it is, and quite large.

If you have a car, you won't have to worry about how to get out to Leavesden, where it's located.  It took about 2 hours by coach, but there is a train option as well.  I used Golden Tours, which offered an easy way to do it.  They make your reservations and deliver you to the front door where you enjoy everything for 3 hours.  It was a bit tricky to find their office, because they say they are at Victoria, but it is really a few blocks away.  The bus was a double decker painted with the Harry Potter motif so you can't miss it, once you are in the right place.

They call it a "tour", but you start out with a group just for the first 15 minutes.  After that you are free to roam the grounds as you wish looking at sets and props.  A guide tells you a bit about the sets and you watch a video before you really enter the huge warehouses set up like museums.
You might be surprised at how small everything looks in person
A guide starts you off in a large group setting and you view a video

First stop on the self guided tour
You can learn how to use a wand.  There's also a spot where you can sit on a broomstick in front of a green screen and they can make a video or photograph for you to take home with you.  Weasley's car is also in a similar setup, which is great for a group photo.  Kids can get a passport which can be stamped at six stations throughout.  They can be a bit tricky to find if you have a kid like mine that likes to run through the exhibits.  Once you move forward, you can't move back, so try to get the most out of each area before moving on.
There are various backgrounds.  They provide a cape to cover your muggle clothing

How fun to make a group shot here
The props and sets are full of detail.  The only thing missing are the actors.  Some of the exhibits are interactive, like the monster book.  Kids were lined up to press the button that makes it come to life.  You can watch mini length videos in several places that explain how special effects were made or add information to what you see.  I was most impressed with the creatures.

Preorder butter beer if you want a taste of a delicious drink that seems to be cream soda with whipped topping.  There are also plenty of food options in the cafe near the gift shop and also midway through the tour area.

Outdoors is a lot which includes the Night Bus, Harry's aunt and uncle's home, the exterior of several buildings, one of the famous bridges, and a few props you can use for photo ops.

Allow some time for the gift shop.  Things weren't that ridiculously priced when you consider this is the only place that sells them.  We ended up getting some wands made of chocolate and a marauder's map.  There is simply so much to look at.  You can find a multitude of candies, books, clothing, and of course wands galore.  I also picked up one of the official programs which covered most of what we saw (that I had to skip over because my son was moving too fast).  We've looked at that many times so it was money well spent. Overall it took us 7 hours to visit here and enjoy it, but time passed quickly.  Bring your camera and your credit card for the best experience!
Deciding what to take home with you may be the hardest part!
If you have additional time, check out this self guided Harry Potter Tour of London. There are other guided Harry Potter walks, but really the link gives you enough information about how to get around with an underground pass that you won't need much help.  Not only will you see the Harry Potter inspiration, but you'll experience a great deal of the locals' London as you do it.  Lastly, I'll leave you with a youtube link for a Harry Potter parody of Uptown Funk, called Dark Lord Funk- hilarious!


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