Located just outside of London is Warner Bros. Studios, the place they filmed the Harry Potter series. It is one of the top ranking things to do when in London. Naturally, I had to take a day trip out to see it.
We arrived in the morning at the studios with our tour group. The energy built immediately as we entered the studios in an excitable huddle, stopping to check out the costumes on display from the latest Fantastic Beasts film. Even before we went inside for the actual tour we saw our first set piece, the cupboard under the stairs. It’s incredible to consider how significant this set, the smallest used in the series, was in the first film. We then went into a room where we were shown a quick video before the doors opened and we were welcomed into the Great Hall.
The Great Hall is an astounding set and, as we were there during Christmas in the Snow, was dressed up with pieces from the Yule Ball. It was amazing to study the intricate detailing of the set and learn more about how they made the hall look larger than it was for the films.
The next phase of the tour was a sort of maze through a variety of sets including the dormitories, the Burrow, Dumbledore’s office, and the potions classrooms. Again, as it was January at the time, the sets were all festively decorated with tinsel and trees. The effort that the set decorators and designers went into is evident and I really appreciated that this tour does well to highlight all the work that went into the series from the crew. Though I will say…the dormitory beds were hilariously small. It was here that we also got to make broomsticks fly!
The middle-point of the tour is marked by a large cafeteria hall. Unlike other cafes, Butterbeer and Butterbeer flavoured ice cream were sold. For research purposes, I tried both. Butterbeer is heavenly and I’m highly disappointed it isn’t sold by the bottle at my local grocery…
It is also at this point in the tour that we could visit the outdoor sets namely the Night Bus, the Dursleys house, and the Wooden Bridge. Afterwards, we also took a stroll down Diagon Alley and had a wander through part 2 of the tour which focuses on how the robotics and make up/styling for each character was developed, as well as initial concept art for how the castle and characters would look.
The Harry Potter Studios Tour is an incredible day trip from London. It takes hours to properly enjoy all elements, but there is so much to see you hardly notice the time go by. Of course, at the end of the tour you also need to overspend on all the keepsakes and collectables you can find…and perhaps some chocolate frogs.
BRB…off to Hogwarts!