We did a trip to Europe in Oct/Nov – with a quick stop in London. I made sure this time I included a trip to Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio. It was really hard to get tickets that week (it was Halloween week). I just wanted the entrance tickets and was thinking of getting there by train but all the entrance tickets on the Studio website were sold out one month before the trip. I had to book a tour with Golden Tours which included the entrance tickets but cost a bit more than what I initially budgeted for. And honestly most of these other Studio tours were also sold out – (with all tour agents), so I was really fortunate to be able to get these tour tickets at all.
Basically what I learned, if you plan to go during a peak period like school holidays and so on, or Halloween week or Easter weekend of whatever special holidays where the Studio may be offering extra exhibitions and things, you should book way in advance (like months before) directly with the Studio or even with the tour companies. They sell out fast. Try this month – December, if you check the Studio website directly, you can probably get a single ticket on a number of selected dates but if you plan to go in twos or more, you may be in a bit of a fix. Few dates (and time slots) left.
Booking a Studio combo tour is not necessarily bad – because the tour companies will usually throw in the coach transfers from Central London; and there are tours that are bundled with things like hop on hop off tours and so on. But that means double (or slightly more than) the price you will pay for just the entrance tickets x the number of person in your group. One adult entrance ticket is close to GBP50.
What To Expect
This is a Studio tour after all – so what you will see are the sets, props and costumes from the Harry Potter movie series. I am not a hard core fan, but I was really impressed with the sets – my favourite is the Great Hall and the Diagon Alley. Will refrain from posting too many pictures and spoil it for you. The sets are just so beautiful though – difficult not to share.
Gorgeous Actual Sets
Just to share a few…
So the hall looks a bit different here because of the Halloween decorations. You’ll probably won’t see it in this light, if you go on any other month/week so thought it would be nice to share some photos.
I have seen the replica Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Hollywood, although that one was outdoor and each shop is functional shop, selling wands, chocolates, shirts and other souvenirs etc. Anyway this is the real set so you only walkthrough the street – but it is a beautiful set. Loved it.
Most of the scenes on the platform 9¾ were shot at Kings Cross Station London. The Studio team recreated some of the station platform here for specific shots.
The Hogwarts Express doesn’t need any introduction. It’s the same carriage used over the 10 years of Harry Potter series filming.
There are thousands and thousands of props – big and small. A few highlights:-
There are about one thousand jars lining the classroom wall each filled with unique props like herbs, animal bones etc. If I was a wizard, this will be my favourite class.
My daughter was fascinated by this cup – she had to make one for a school project based on internet images. It was not easy. Well here’s the real deal.
So I didn’t know much about this cup (as I said – not a true hard core fan). Read up a bit about it. The Triwizard Tournament is a contest held between the three wizarding schools – Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Each school will send one Champion – obviously its a magic/wizardry contest but it’s also dangerous and requires a lot of problem solving skills. Basically other than being able to wave your wand and cast some spells – you need to also be able to think quickly on your feet. The winner gets fame and glory, of course the cup and some monetary rewards. The games were stopped for a long time because there were many fatal casualties but were revived in one of the series, and of course Harry was selected as one of the champions (although he wasn’t supposed to be – it was a trick by Voldemort). Anyway that’s the short spin on the cup.
The thing about the world of wizardry, and mystical creatures like goblins, serpents, dementors etc – you can write about just anything and everything. And so you can really have a blast with coming up with beautiful creature props with special effects. Absolute love these… checkout the pictures below.
If you get there early and didn’t have time for that morning coffee – have no fear – you can have a quick fix at the cafe just before you enter the main Studio hall. There are two cafes outside the hall selling beverages and small pastries. If you want something more filling – there is also the Food Hall – also in the same area.
Butterbeer – Backlot Cafe
Inside the main studio – halfway through the studio tour, you will find the Backlot Cafe. Here you can have things like burgers, hot dogs and the famous frothy Butterbeer. If you dont fancy the drink version, you can also try the Butterbeer ice cream.
Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic drink – the ingredients are cream soda, butterscotch syrup, sugar, vanilla extract, butter and heavy cream. Personally – I don’t really like it – too sweet for me.
You may end up spending a bit of time at the gift shop like us. So many things to see – temptation.. temptation…Anyway – as we were on a tight schedule (perhaps that was a blessing – I couldn’t spend as much time and money), we were not able to get much. But I have got other Harry Potter merchandises already – every time I pass through Heathrow airport, I will drop by the Harry Potter shop. I am not a crazy fan – but I love collecting these kind of items. I also have the One Ring from Lord of the Rings – (another blog perhaps)…
Great Day Out
This trip to Warner Bros Studio was part of a two-week vacation in Europe. I have to say it was one of the highlights of the vacation. The Harry Potter tour was a special request from my daughter – and I am so glad that I was able to get us there! Highly recommended to both adults and children.