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Harry Potter Studio Tour London

Everything you need to know about the Harry Potter Studio Tour­ in London. From how to book a tour, how to get there, what to expect, and what you’ll see at the Harry Potter Studio.

Entrance to the Harry Potter Studio Tour London.
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We’re just returning home from our first family trip to London, and I think my favorite part of the entire experience was the Harry Potter Studio Tour!

We’ve been reading the Illustrated Harry Potter books with our boys as nighttime family read-alouds this past year. I’ve always wanted that experience, and much to my delight, I think my boys (and husband!) have enjoyed the wizarding world even more than I have!

When my husband found cheap direct flights to London, we knew our boys (ages 8 and 5) would love to see all the Harry Potter nods in London. In fact, we revealed the trip with a Harry Potter scavenger hunt and let them know Harry would be a big part of this trip. The biggest part, of course, was the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

What is the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

The Harry Potter Studios Tour Lond is a tour of the Warner Brothers set that was used for 10 years to film the Harry Potter movies. It’s full of the sets, costumes, props, and magic of special effects. Essentially, it’s a walk through the footsteps of Harry Potter and a full guide into the making of Harry Potter films.

If you can imagine what it took to visually create the Magical world of the Harry Potter books, you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll see on the Harry Potter Studio Tour London! It’s incredible how many talented people came together to create the movie magic that is the eight Harry Potter movies. And this is the background look at so many of those elements.

How do I Get Harry Potter Studio Tour Tickets?

You’ll book your tickets online at the Warner Bros Studio official website. You do need to book these in advance, and the attraction usually does sell out weeks in advance. So the moment you know the date you’ll be available to see wonders of the wizarding world on the studio lot, I’d book those tickets immediately!

How Long is the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

We’d read you can get through it in three hours, but I’ll be honest, we could have spent all day. And for reference, we love Harry, but I wouldn’t call us complete Potterheads by any stretch of the imagination.
However, we love the series, we’ve seen three of the movies as a family, and I felt a little rushed with 5.5 hours of time to tour the studio. We booked 2:30 in the afternoon, and I wish we’d arrived around noon. I think six or seven hours, including a 30 minute lunch, would be ideal.  

Ideally, I’d book tickets at Harry Potter Studio opening times. If you are amongst the first visitors of the day, you’ll avoid a lot of the crowds and have the full day to enjoy the full-guided tour without any rush.

But if you can book by noon, you should be in great shape.

How Do You Get to the Harry Potter Studios?

The studio tour is about 20 minutes by speed train outside of London. From Central London, you’ll book a departure time from London Euston station. HOWEVER, I’d start by heading to King’s Cross station and snapping a picture with a luggage trolley at Platform 9 3/4s. You could also hit up Kings Cross on your way back, but it’s a fun way to start your journey! Right next door is London Euston Station, where you’ll book your train.

The nearest train station is Watford Junction which has a direct train from London Euston station. It’s about a 20-minute ride, and there are several trains per hour. I’d plan to depart an hour before your tour.

From there, there is a shuttle bus run by Mullany’s Coaches, which goes from Watford Junction Station to the studios.
Once you exit your metro stop, the Harry Potter shuttle bus is ready to take you to the lot. There are signs in the Watford Junction Station pointing you to the bus, and it’s right outside the station. They run throughout the day, with the last one leaving the studio at closing time.
Their shuttle bus makes it incredibly easy to get to the from the Metro station. And they offer return transportation right back to the metro once your tour ends.

You can also arrive by car if you’d prefer to drive or book a car service. I’d plan 45 minutes-1 hour from Central London.

Harry Potter Studio Tour London Atrium welcoming area with dragon flying overhead.

What to Expect on Your Tour

Harry Potter fans will be delighted to to walk through 10 years of artifacts from all eight Harry Potter films. You’ll see artifacts, costumes, props, iconic sets with scene shot secrets, and a few fun surprises.
They have a fully-guided tour via handheld device that you can grab on your way in.

Personal Video Guide and Headphones

Don’t skip out on the guide, it is fantastic! It’s full of information, fun facts, movie clips, and narrations from the actors, director, producers, and J.K. Rowlings herself.

The guide is a mini tablet (phone sized) that does such a great job letting you interact with small video clips that explain each thing you’re going to see. You can choose to watch them all, or select those you’re most interested in. Let me tell you, I was happy to listen to them all! They are fascinating! And even our short attention span five-year-old enjoyed watching them and following along.

A Breakdown of the Studio Tour

You’ll enter the studios with a great photo op in front of the sign and a giant billboard for the first movie.

The Atrium

As soon as you enter, you’ll get a headset with a tour. From there, you’ll walk into the main atrium and be greeted by a giant dragon. It’s a busy gathering spot, but don’t forget to stop for a picture at this magical spot!

Tour Welcome

I loved that the tours start where the movies do: with a look at the room under the stairs at the Durselys’ home. You’ll walk past it to see several of the movie posters from different countries for all eight movies. It’s the first thing you see while you go through a queue toward a welcome movie. ­Don’t worry, they have comfortable seats and all guests are greeted warmly.
The movie includes a welcome from everyone’s favorite characters, the three main stars. They begin with an explanation of how they basically lived at this studio and grew up here for ten years of their lives. They welcome you to explore the magic that happened as they grew up on set.

A full viwe of The Great Hall at Harry Potter Studios London.

The Great Hall

The staff will usher you quickly into The Great Hall. This room is HUGE with so much attention to detail. Also, the setup just like you see in all the movies. I won’t spoil anything here for those who go, but the end of the walkthrough The Great Hall ends with a magical surprise. I mean cheering, clapping, sheer amazement kind of magic.

This is the one and only place they rushed us out of. They keep the entry queue moving and it’s the one experience they need to do in batches.

But you’ll exit seeing a few exam desks, and the transition to wardrobe begins with some of your favorite professors costumes on full display.

Harry Potter Studios costume design with a shelf full of wigs and costumes used in the Harry Potter films.
Harry Potter Costumes on display including Hermione's Yule Ball dress.


Right after The Great Hall, you’ll walk through a wardrobe section. There’s an entire wall with all the wigs, hair pieces, and so much of the specialty wardrobe created for the movies.

My favorite was Luna Lovegood’s wardrobe, which had a tour guide to pull out specific dresses and pieces for a closer look. I loved seeing all of Dumbledore’s robes! But I particularly loved Hermione’s Yule Ball dress. It’s stunning in the movies, and even more stunning in real life!

Display case filled with Harry Potter movie props on display at the Harry Potter Studio Tour London.


You can only imagine the great time, detail, and imagination each prop took to make! They had to get creative creating a wizarding world with unique props and the time and effort it took to create things that had never been made before.
The hall with props talks about so many specific details, and how each was made.

Harry Potter Studios set of Dumbledore's Office.

Indoor Sets

There are a few rooms you’ll see over and over in Harry Potter films, and those rooms are in the middle of the studio with open walls for filming. The Gryffindor common room, Harry’s dormitory, the Slytherin common room are large and happened to be the favorite hangouts of actors in between scenes! But my jaw dropped at Professor Dumbledore’s office! It may be the most stunningly detailed room that you’ll see. And I couldn’t get over the details like the young Minerva McGonagall portrait in the Gryffindor room. Or the telescope and intricacies of it in Dumbledore’s office. Oh yes, and the Sword of Gryffindor hangs proudly to admire from a distance.

The guide also taught us that the stacks of books were hundreds of phonebooks decorated to look like ancient wizard books.

A close up look of the Harry Potter Studio tour London movie set of the potions classroom.

My personal favorite is the potions classroom. I could have spent hours staring at each of the potion jars. It was one person’s job to create each of the items in the jars, and they got creative picking up plastic animals and redecorating, visiting butchers, and inventing a large scale room with no detail spared! It was in fact such a popular space, they expanded it after the first film.

Truly, the details in each space are delightful, and we could have spent so much more time there staring at each!

A photo download from the green screen experience at The Making of Harry Potter studio tour with a man on a broom flying in front of Hogwarts.

Green Screen Experience

Let me warn you, if you go to this area, you will likely shell out money for the pictures and videos they’ll take! From the wanted wizard pictures to the green screen flying on a broom through famous scenes from the movie, they are so fun! We decided to tell them to take all our money here! I mean we know our boys will watch the movies of themselves and their parents flying on brooms for years to come!

Special Effects

The filmmakers had such a challenge to create so many magical scenes! The special effects area is where you learn all about their filmmaking trickery.
You would think they would use mostly green screens in the movies, and there are plenty of those. However, I loved learning and seeing that they decided to mechanically build so many of the scenes that created special effects. They knew they could get real reactions from the actors with actual “magic” and if the budget warranted it, they always opted to build it.

We learned the cake over Aunt Petunia was lifted with tiny water streams- and got to see it happen live! They build machines to shoot letters everywhere. It was amazing to see so many mechanical items and real props designed to interact with greenscreens.

And honestly, the quidditch area blew my mind! I remember going to an opening night midnight showing of the first movie mostly hoping to see how they portrayed quidditch. It was fun to learn they made so many tech improvements quidditch looks almost completely different by the third movie. I was just geeking out over all the details and effects that made Quidditch happen on the screen!

The set of the Death Eaters around the table at Malfoy Manor at the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

The Dark Arts/Ministry of Magic

You round the corner to see THE TABLE full of the Death Eaters, or at least mannequins in their costumes set at the table. Right down to Professor Charity Burbage hanging from the ceiling reading to be consumed by a snake. It was a bit of a shock for our kids who haven’t seen that scene yet, but I guess now I won’t be too worried when we watch the movie since they saw the complete behind-the-scenes.

I watched the movie in the tour guide with a behind-the-scenes of the making of the scene blended with the real scene about three times. It is incredible to see how they planted actors, cameras, and CGI to make it happen.

Right around the corner is the Ministry of Magic with walls, offices, and even Dolores Umbridge’s table complete with cat plates and her pink costume.

Dolores Umbridge's office complete with cat plates and a look at her pink costume worn in the Harry Potter movies.

And off to the side, you can take an interactive lesson from the choreographer who taught actions how to fight with wands. He is a martial arts expert who invented what fighting with a wand woud look like. Actors took three-hour classes to learn moves and physically practice with their wands. I loved watching my boys practice and perform some moves!

The entrance of The Forbidden Forrest at the Harry Potter Studio Tour London.

The Forbidden Forrest

There are enough magical scenes in the Forbidden Forest, they went right ahead and built it! This was another one they originally did for the actor’s reactions. Apparently, Rupert Grint (Ron) has true arachnophobia and knew what he was getting into with the second movie. They built Argon the spider to scale, with tons of other giant robotic spiders descending. And you can experience the whole scene yourself!

The Forbidden Forrest spiders at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

We saw Buckbeak the animatronic. And also Harry’s famous Patronus scene from The Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s a very surreal thing to walk through all these scenes!

The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London Forbidden Forrest set with the animatronic Buckbeak.

Hogwarts Express

Warner Brothers bought an old train and had it transported to the studios. Which as you can imagine, was no small feat!

They transformed it to the Hogwarts Express, and I learned they had to give it a fresh coat of red paint before each movie.

The Hogwarts Express train at the Harry Potter Studio Tour London.

Before you tour the train, there are a few fun things to do and great photo ops! Stop to take photos with a few luggage trolley options at Platform 9 ¾.
Take a minute to make an origami howler and hear Mrs. Weasley send one to Ron. And pause for a photo with a letter inviting you to Hogwarts in front of the giant train.

Platform 9 3/4s at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

You can tour the outside of the Hogwarts Express, and walk through a train car from each movie. I loved the frozen Dementor car from the third movie! But they were all fantastic!

A look inside the train car from the first Harry Potter Movie with costumes and the treat trolley at The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour London.

At this point, you’re a little over halfway through the tour, and it’s a perfect time to stop for some food at…

Backlot Cafe

You’ll find mostly American fare here. There are mostly burgers, hot dogs, salads, and loaded French fries. We weren’t expecting much, but we all liked our food

A tray with Butterbeer, A butterbeer cupcake, and butterbeer ice cream ad the Backlot Cafe at the Harry Potter Studio Tour London.

Don’t skip out on the butterbeer sampler! You can try a butterbeer drink, butterbeer ice cream, and a butterbeer cupcake on a flight. We enjoyed them all! Our boys loved the butterbeer best, and Jacob and I both liked the ice cream best.

Outside Sets

Privot Drive movie set at the Harry Potter Studios Tour in London.

The outside sets section is delightful- and where I started to wish we’d had more time! You’ll start with Privot Drive from the outside, and walk through the inside of the Dursley’s house. You can see the scene with Aunt Marge, including the inflated character props.

The Knight Bus set at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

Next up is the perfect photo op stops with the famous vehicles from the movies. The Knight Bus is ready for pictures, as is Hagrid’s motorcycle and the Weasley’s card Ron and Harry drive to Hogwarts in book 2.

Creating Magical Creatures

Crating magical creature display with goblin costumes and masks at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

We hurried through this part, and I’d go back just to have time to listen to all the commentary from the audio tour! We saw the masks and makeup that made up the goblins and trolls.

There are giant snake heads, dragons, and all the fantastical creatures in one place!

Gringotts Bank

I was floored how giant Gringotts Bank is! I mean I know a lot was going on there with scenes of goblins working, but I never thought it was one continuous space!

Gringotts Bank set at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

You can look through vaults, see the famous desks, and then head to the next room for a literal bang. The Dragon escapes through Gringotts right before your eyes with all the Hollywood-style effects. It’s an incredible scene, and I can’t believe it’s all live with very minimal CGI!

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley is a very real and continuous street with each of the specialty shops in a row. If we’d had another hour I would have loved to have spent it looking at the details in the shops.

Diagon Alley with Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

But the ones I spent time looking in had me tickled with the clever details and elements inside! And the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes shop tugged right at my heartstrings. You can see the magical pranks and homage to the beloved family in all the spectacular detail. I love that it’s there!

Hogwarts Castle model at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

Hogwarts Castle

Obviously, it wouldn’t be in a movie budget to build a full Hogwarts exterior, but they definitely built a model that’s still huge to film all the panning shots of the castle. And you can walk around the castle and see some of the effects they used like winter shows, fireworks, and day and night time lighting. It’s amazing! And I can only imagine the CGI artist’s creativity turning the model into something magical and perfect for the scene!

Ollivanders Wand Shop

Before you head to the location where you can buy your own wand, you’ll walk through THE room where Harry bought his wand. They have boxes and boxes with labels on them used in the movie.

Ollivanders Wand Shop at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

The Studio Shop

I feel strange calling it a gift shop, because this gift shop is also an experience! We walked out with one lollypop and a chocolate frog, but there was about every Harry Potter merch item you could imagine! Okay minus a Ravenclaw scarf that my Ravenclaw child had their heart set on! But I assured him we could find one elsewhere.

We almost gave into a Hedgewig puppet that moved its head and flapped its wings. But they truly had every character, animal, and even Fantastic Beasts creatures in stuffed animal form. The shirts, costumes, robes, candy shop, bags, and magical pens all amazed us!

Even if you plan to buy exactly nothing, it’s a fun place to walk through and experience a little magic in merch form.

Leaving the Tour

We had one kid start to cry when we left stating “I don’t want to leave! This has been one of the most magical days of my life!” Which I actually think sums up how our entire family felt!

The five and a half hours went by so fast, and we all were delighted by the experience! It exceeded our expectations! And as a family who make experiencing fun part of our lives (and mom’s job), we all agreed this was one of the most amazing things we’ve ever experienced!

I think it’s worth the money, and worth the time of travel even during a quick trip to London. Don’t tell Disneyland Paris I said this, but the Harry Potter Studio tour was the most magical thing we experienced on this family trip to Europe!

Gringotts vault at the Harry Potter Studios Tour London.

Harry Potter Studios Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to go around the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

If you listen to the entire tour guide, it will take about five hours to complete the tour. We felt rushed with 5.5 hours and could have easily spent 6-7 touring. However, their website claims the average is 3.5 hours. It just depends on how much of the tour resources you want to consume and if you want to walk through or stop to listen and learn about every detail.

Is the Harry Potter Studio Tour London Worth It?

As Harry Potter fans who wouldn’t quite classify themselves as Potterheads, we would say this is 100% worth your time and expense to see! The filmmaking included more creativity and design than almost any other film, and the artifacts and details are stunning. It’s a magical experience unlike anything else, and very worth it.

What is the Cheapest Way to Do the Harry Potter Studio Tour London?

Buy your ticket in advance, and take the metro for arrival. You can save money packing your own food and avoiding souvenirs.
If you are going as a family, look into the family ticket options for a cheaper price.

How far in advance do I need to book the Harry Potter Studios Tour London?

The sooner, the better! These tours fill up fast!
It gets the busiest on the weekends during the summer holiday months. You may need to book your tickets 1-2 months in advance to get a time early enough to see the full tour!
If you are going on a weekday or during the off-season, try to book at least a week in advance.

We hope this helps you plan and prepare for your own tour of The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour!

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