5 things you don't want to miss at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Make your trip to the wizarding world a memorable one. Here are the things you don't want to miss at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London…
1. See the sets up close
All 8 films were produced at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and, since the books were still being written while they were working on the films, the team saved many of the iconic props, sets and costumes just in case they were needed later. And that's great news for Harry Potter™ fans – these sets have been lovingly reassembled so everyone can experience the wizarding world and filmmaking magic first-hand.
Your jaw will drop when you first step into the Great Hall. It's every bit as grand and magical as you might expect from the films, which is thanks to the painstaking attention to detail, and a swish and flick of the wand, that went into making it. No expense was spared – even the floor was made out of Yorkshire stone tiles that would be used in actual castles, so you'll feel just like the young witches and wizards do when they first arrive at Hogwarts™.
Feeling brave? Sneak through the eerie Forbidden Forest and marvel at the imposing, expertly carved tree trunks and roots. Just watch out for spiders – Aragog's been known to creep around these parts. Then, head to Platform 9 ¾™ and board the Hogwarts Express™ before getting your hands on a Mandrake in Professor Sprout's Greenhouse (you might want to cover your ears).
Next door you'll find Number 4 Privet Drive, where Harry endured life with the Dursleys. Shot on location in Bracknell for the first film then moved to the Studios, methods like parking the same type of car on every driveway were used to create a bland, never-ending suburb – it's anything but bland on the inside, we promise. After that, you can explore Gringotts Bank™ in varying forms of grandeur and ruin before strolling through Diagon Alley™ and its array of marvellous wizarding shops.
Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to explore – you could get lost in the magic for hours.
2. The amazing photo opportunities
Admit it, since Harry first burst onto the scene as the new Gryffindor™ Seeker on his Nimbus 2000 you've wanted to fly a broomstick. Well thanks to a bit of green screen magic, you can!
You can test out your broom skills by flying through London and over the River Thames just like the cast did. You'll be able to take a souvenir photo home with you of the experience, so don't be afraid to over-act for the best possible photograph – once you've boarded the broomstick it'll be impossible not to!
There are plenty of other photo opportunities along the way, including another green screen experience on Platform 9 ¾, where you can board the Hogwarts Express like so many witches and wizards do at the start of term. Plus you'll find the Weasley's flying car and Sirius Black's motorcycle (which Hagrid™ borrows to take Harry to the Dursleys in the Philosopher's Stone) in the outdoor Backlot area.
3. Order a round of Butterbeer™
Ask any Potter-head what they're thirsty for on their first Studio Tour and it'll likely be a Butterbeer. And you're in luck – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is the only place in Europe where you can sample this popular wizarding beverage on draught.
What does it taste like? Well recipes differ. The Butterbeer you'll find in Hogsmeade classics like the Three Broomsticks and the Hog's Head are sweet like butterscotch and either served in bottles or foaming tankards.
The Backlot Café is where you'll find the Butterbeer at the Studio Tour. Their version tastes sweet like shortbread and butterscotch, is served on tap with a creamy head and comes with a souvenir tankard for you to take home. At 0% alcohol, this Butterbeer won't even get a house-elf drunk, and there's a vegan option too – meaning everyone can get a round in.
4. Seasonal special features
The Studio Tour changes a lot from season to season. Once you've gone once, you'll want to go again to see Hogwarts and the wizarding world in a whole new light!
Mid-September to the start of November is officially spooky season thanks to the Dark Arts feature, which has returned for 2023 by popular demand. From the moment you step into the Great Hall you'll get the chance to experience Halloween as a Hogwarts student, with pumpkins floating above and a devilishly delicious feast laid out on the tables.
Just keep your wits about you, Death Eaters are never far away around this time of the year. They can be seen parading through the studios, displaying their menacing combat skills and authentic costumes used during the films. But don't panic, you'll be taught a spell or two to take them on in Wand Combat. And as long as you approach with caution, the Death Eaters are friendly enough to pose for a photo or two.
After Halloween comes Christmas, when from November to mid-January you can explore Hogwarts in the Snow! The sets change from dark and eerie to festive and cheery as the Great Hall is filled to bursting with Christmas trees, wreaths, twinkling decorations and a festive banquet to end all banquets. Step into the season by learning Neville Longbottom's iconic Yule Ball dance, and head into the exclusive Christmas shop for all the festive Potter gifts you could ask for.
5. The Studio Tour shop
After you've completed the tour, you'll definitely have learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a wizard or a witch. Now all that's left is to get ready for your first day at Hogwarts.
The Studio Tour shop has everything an aspiring wizard or witch could ask for. You'll find it right at the end of the tour, or you can head there before for all your wizarding needs.
Once you've been sorted into your house (sorting hats are available, or you can easily do it online), it's time to get kitted out in your house colours – think robes, hats, scarves, jumpers, Quidditch™ jerseys and everything in between. Speaking of Quidditch™, don't forget to fly away with your Quaffle Ball, Golden Snitch and broom – we can't promise it'll actually make you fly, but you'll look the part at the very least!
They say the wand chooses the wizard, and there'll be plenty of wands calling out to you. The wands of many a famous wizard and witch can be found here, so whether your favourite is Harry Potter, Hermoine Granger™, Professor Dumbledore™ or Lord Voldemort™ (surely not!?!), the perfect one is waiting to choose you. And if you're struggling to decide, the Studio Tour team know just as much as Ollivander (maybe even more?) and will be super keen to help.
Anything from the trolley, dears? How about Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans™, Chocolate Frogs and bottled Butterbeer? There's plenty more where that came from, as well as a Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes-style wonderland of practical jokes and games, including Extendable Ears, Wizard Chess, Marauder's Map and Deluminators.
You could spend hours in the Studio Tour shop, and one of the best things about it is that so many of the gifts can be personalised! You can get your name on robes, wands, trunks, jumpers and more, and can even come away with your own Hogwarts acceptance letter. Your very own 'you're a wizard, Harry' moment is waiting for you at the Studios.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter + Hotel breaks
Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter film series at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and extend the fun with a magical overnight stay and breakfast. Book your official short break today with Holiday Extras.The wizarding world awaits...
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