Hello everyone! If you haven’t been following me on social media, you may not know that my ultimate childhood dreams were achieved (short of actually getting my Hogwarts letter) — I got to go to the Harry Potter studios in London!
For those who do not know, the Warner Brothers studios in Watford were the location for many of the scenes from the Harry Potter films. This is where they shot the majority of the films, where the actors essentially lived, and where the amazing crews brought the magic of Harry Potter to life. They’ve preserved many of the sets and reproduced a few others, and opened the studio to the public! You can stroll down Diagon Alley, throw open the doors of the Great Hall, peek into Dumbledore’s office, and more. I had heard such amazing things about the studio tour and was so excited when Author Sister gave Scottish Fiance and I tickets for Christmas!
I had a couple of people ask for photos, so I decided to dump a bunch of my photos here!
So in order to actually get to the studio we had to take a train into London, then a commuter train into Watford. The journey was filled with puns and me bouncing in my seat.
You have to pick up your tickets and wait for your time slot, but it’s pretty quick! There’s a fair bit to look at as you’re queuing.
You get to watch a couple of short films — one about the making of the film and one about the studio itself — then you get to head on in!
The Great Hall
You really get a sense of the movie magic when you step into the Great Hall. It’s much smaller than I had imagined! They have the robes for each Hogwarts house set up as you walk to the front, where one of my favourite scenes from The Goblet of Fire is set up. The Weasley twins have tried to trick their way into the tournament and it backfires. Classic.
When you leave the Great Hall, you’re on your own! You step into a huge room featuring room and classroom sets, special effects, costumes, and props.
As you wander through, you can stop and get your photo taken either as a wanted poster or on a broomstick!
The Forbidden Forest
So the Forbidden Forest is a new addition to the studio! It’s not the original set, but you can wander through the foggy forest and see Hagrid, Buckbeak, and Aragog (there is a spider-free route, not to worry).
I didn’t include my spider photos and video, but just know they’re super cool if you don’t find them completely terrifying.
The Hogwarts Express
So this was one of my favourite bits. You can get on the platform for the Hogwarts Express and even get on the train itself! They set up the cars with scenes from each film (Prisoner of Azkaban being the best one, obviously).
At this point you’re about midway through. Forunately there’s a canteen for you to grab hot lunch (or eat anything you brought with you!). You can also grab yourself a cup of butterbeer (in drink or ice cream form!).
In the courtyard they have a few cool reproduced sets. The Knight Bus sits next to the Hogwarts bridge. You can also stroll through the Dursley’s house and sit in the Weasley’s Anglia.
Special effects workshop
So the special effects workshop was insanely cool. You can see prosthetics, animatronics, and watch videos on how they built and used these. There’s one in particular about filming Hagrid scenes without forced perspective. There’s also some bits about filming the goblins!
This was hands down my favourite part. As a kid, was there anything as magical as Diagon Alley? I used to daydream about strolling down the streets and poking my head into the incredible shops. This marked the second time I cried at the studio — the first glimpse of the Great Hall being the first (don’t judge).
Hogwarts in Miniature
Miniature is the wrong word for the model of Hogwarts used in the films. It’s massive! The room it is housed in has a ramp so you can really get a good look. It’s an absolultely stunning reproduction of our favourite fictional school. Crying count: 3.
This was the last room of the tour. You exit into…the gift shop! How convenient. I did go a bit mad in the shop.
I ended up getting another set of the books — I don’t actually own any of them in paperback! I did realise that I actually now own 3-5 editions of these books now, depending on which one we’re talking about (American and British hardbacks, illustrated editions, and the 20th anniversary hardback of Philosopher’s Stone).
Hermione is my favourite character from the books (surprise surprise), so I ended up getting a reproduction of her wand. Scottish Fiance, being the kind young man that he is, got me Crookshanks! I also ended up getting a shirt and we also had our wanted poster. Not a bad haul!
So that was my adventure through the Harry Potter studios! If you’re in London, I highly recommend it — there’s so much more that I couldn’t put here. It seems like they’re always adding to it as well, so I plan to go back at some point.
So, muggles. Have you been to the Harry Potter studio? Did you love it? Let me know!