Warner Brother's Studio Tour - London
** This post contains spoilers of the attractions in the tour so if you don't want to know what is in store for you, don't read any more.
For any of you that know me well, you will know that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. My last trip to the Warner Brother's Studio Tour was in July 2019, it was my 6th trip to the studio and I had a fantastic time.
I hadn't been since October 2017 and they have made some massive changes, it actually felt like my first time at the studios which was just so magical and exciting.
What I really love about the studio is that it has been different each time I have visited. The first time was a few months after the studio opened. I had been to the grand opening out the front of the studio but my ticket didn't include actually getting to go in. The next time I went was just after Christmas so everything was decorated all Christmassy and some of it was covered in snow. The third time was just after King's Cross was added, the fourth was for Halloween so there were death eaters walking around. This was actually one of my favourite times because as we were walking around, there was 2 small boys, no older than 6 walking around with wands and started a duel with one of the death eaters. The death eater played along dueling with them and then pretended to die. You should have seen the look on those boys faces, they loved it. The fifth time was when the Forbidden Forest was added and then the last time, my sixth time, was when Gringotts was added.
There used to be a little lobby area with the entrance to the gift shop and the start of the line to go into the tour but now that lobby is just an entrance hall before you go into a huge lobby that feels 100 times the size of the old one and now has a huge dragon hanging from the ceiling! I seriously couldn't believe it.
On this trip I went with my friend Amy and my mother-in-law Michelle and I don't think they were surprised that I'd take over 400 pictures by the end of the day haha.
I love the new way that people queue to go into the first part of the tour as it's like going through the history of Harry Potter with some little sets through in. There's lots of information on the walls, places where you can take pictures and just a bit of extra fun to keep you busy while you are in the queue.
The first proper part of the tour is where you are taken into a huge room with screens all around it. One of the guides gives a little talk and then starts the screens. I love this bit because it is now mainly videos of real fans talking about how much they love Harry Potter.
Then you go through to a cinema where you get to see a video of Daniel, Robert and Emma. Now this is one of my favourite bits because the screen rises up to reveal the doors to the Great Hall. Now every time I go, the guides always say "Do we have anyone with a birthday who wants to come up and open the doors?" Every time I have been it hasn't been my birthday but this time I took full advantage of the fact it had been my birthday the week before and ran up to the doors like a 7 year old (instead of a 35 year old haha).
I love the Great Hall because as I walk in, I like to image the scenes from the films when the actors would walk into the Great Hall on the same stones that I'm walking on.
Once you are through the Great Hall, the real fun begins with the sets and props as far as the eye can see. I may have seen them before but it is still all amazing to me. There is a guide that takes you along the Great Hall and then you are free to carry on around the sets. I still love to see the Common Room, Dumbledor's Office and the Burrow's Kitchen.
There are green screen areas as you walk around so that you can get pictures looking like a real witch or wizard. I've had pictures and videos done to look like I'm in the Ford Anglia, on a broom going through London and being a passenger on the Hogwarts Express.
It is a bit expensive to get the pictures and the videos, the last time I went, it was £14 for one picture. If you do really want tot get the pictures done, there are packages for when you get multiple pictures that will help you save a bit of money.
The Forbidden Forest is a small part of the tour but it is brilliant. There is a live performance bit with Aragog where he talks to you and then lots of smaller spiders come down from the ceiling. So much fun!
My new favourite part is Gringotts because OMG it is absolutely amazing. Not only did I love all the bank artwork and how the goblins were created but actually walking down the middle of the bank seeing the huge chandeliers, the desks and the goblins was just so WOW. I honestly could not believe it. Then to go into the depths below the bank and seeing all the props and scenes was brilliant but the best best BEST bit was the dragon. They have rebuilt the scene from Deathly Hallows Part 2 where the dragon bursts out of the bank and put in a huge screen at the back which plays a video. The video is the dragon walking through the dust cloud towards you, sees you, moves quickly towards you like he is going to attack and then blows fire. It is out of this world!! It looks so real that my mother-in-law ran round the corner haha.
There are places to eat in the lobby as well as the the Back Lot Cafe where you can get butterbeer. The food is a bit expensive but if you are on a bit of a tight budget, you can take your own food. I usually take my own sandwiches and then buy a butterbeer.
The minimum amount of time that it has taken me to get round the tour is 4 hours. That's stopping to look at the scenes, get pictures taken on green screens, having something to eat, watching live performances and general running around like an excited 5 year old lol. I have heard that someone did it in 45 minutes and the only way I can see that happening is if you just walk around, not look closely at anything, don't get any pictures done, see live performances or stop for something to eat.
One thing I must stress is that you need to book well in advance, I am talking months and months. Don't leave it until a month or 2 before you go, as soon as you decide you are going, book it. I was meant to go one year with a friend of mine, I went to book 3 months before we were going and the dates were already sold out so don't leave it too late. When you are booking your tickets, try to book an early tour so that you get longer in the studios, I know that it is open until 10pm but sometimes it isn't very crowded in the morning and you will get longer to walk around.
You can get to the studios either by driving there or by bus from the train station. They have a huge car park that has been extended so lots of parking spaces. If you go up by train, you can get a special bus from outside Watford Junction station, you can't miss it, it's a big purple bus lol. It is £3 each return on the bus and it's only a 15 minute journey and the buses run every 20 minutes so don't worry if you miss one as there will be another one along in no time.
So there you have it, my review of the Warner Brother's Studio Tour. I hope you found it interesting and now feel the need to go there for yourself to have a wonderful day out.