Welcome to Hogwarts

Day three was devoted almost exclusively to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. Karli and I as huge Harry Potter fans have been wanting to come here since it opened in 2011. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is located on the actual set where the movies were filmed and has the sets, thousands of prompts, costumes, and background information from all eight of the Harry Potter films. With the trip being last minute when I went to the site to purchase tickets they were already sold out for the dates we would be in town. Panicked I kept looking and discovered that there was a deluxe ticket option available. It was a bit pricey, but our only option if we wanted to attend. I could not see going all the way to London without taking this tour, so I got the tickets and I am so glad I did.

Our tour time was scheduled for 10:00 am. The problem we ran into was that it took us longer to get to Watford Junction than I had planned. Luckily, I was able to change our time to noon. The tour is about 45 minutes outside of central London. After the train reaches Watford Junction then you take a special bus to the studio. The bus cost cost five pounds for both of us round trip and only accepts cash. Once you board it is another ten minute or so ride.

Warner Brothers Bus

We were so excited to arrive. We picked up our tickets at will call and were immediately escorted in. One perk of the deluxe tickets was avoiding the outside line to enter. Once inside we visited the amazing gift shop. This place was huge and housed any Harry Potter merchandise you could possibly want. We purchased several items and luckily they have a cloakroom and will hold your coats or bags for you so you don’t have to drag them around with you. Free of charge!

Gift Shop

The deluxe tour includes a two hour “private” tour. By private it means you have a dedicated tour guide, but there will be other people in the studios. After your guided tour you are allowed to go back and stay as long as you wish. Our tour guide, Jack, met our group in the lobby and we went in the video room to start the tour. After a brief video, the screen lifts to reveal the ginormous Hogwarts Castle doors. the doors open to reveal the great hall. Everything in the tour is authentic and it is incredible to see the sets you have seen in the films come to life.

The Great Hall

The tour includes so many sets, costumes, and props that it impossible to list them all. Some of the highlights of the tour included; sets and costumes from the Yule Ball, the Fat Lady Portrait, Dumbledore’s Office, Potions Room, Ministry of Magic set, Chamber of Secrets door,The Burrow, Hogwart’s Express, Knight Bus, 4 Privet Drive, Diagon Alley, and the Hogwart’s Castle Model.

Ministry Clock
Potions Classroom

 

 

Yule Ball Costumes
Chamber of Secrets door

 

 

 

“A wand? Well you want Ollivanders. There ain’t no place better.” Hagrid 

The tour was the absolute highlight of the trip for me. It was mind blowing to see the details that went into all of the sets and props. We learned that The Hogwarts Express was a real train that was in service during World War II and was refurbished. The Knight bus really drives but only about 40 miles per hour. The Hogwarts bridge is really pretty short and the actors had to run back and forth to make the appearance of a longer bridge. It was informative and so much fun.

Hogwarts Express
“The car?”
This is my favorite
Knight Bus for the stranded witch or wizard
Hogwarts model
Diagon Alley
No visit would be complete without Butterbeer

Our tour package also came with lunch and a photo package. Karli and I both had gourmet pizza for our lunch choice and it was delicious. The photos taken there include flying on a broomstick, Platform 9 3/4, and riding Hogwarts Express. We stayed about five hours and could have stayed longer. This is a “must do” for Harry potter fans who visit London, but very interesting for anyone who just loves films. The behind the scenes information was so interesting and informative. On a different lot of the same studio they filmed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last year and are now in pre-production for the sequel. Less than two weeks after we visited an expansion, the “Forbidden Forest” opened. All the more reason to plan another visit!

After we left Warner Brothers we had one more stop to make. We headed to Heddon Street to the Ice Bar! The Ice Bar is kept at -5 Celsius at all times. The bar is quite small but filled with ice sculptures. The actual bar is made of ice as are the tables and your glass. You are given a special coat and gloves when you enter and your session last 30-45 minutes. It was quite an experience.
London Ice Bar
London Ice Bar

After the ice bar we took the train back to our hotel and called it a night. The next day would be the entire reason for our trip Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. 



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