It is no secret to those who know me or read my blog that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I couldn’t be in the birthplace of Harry Potter and not visit the West London Studios where the films were made. To see the sets, costumes and props as they were when they were filming and all the behind-the-scenes elements truly takes your breath away. It was the definite highlight of my trip. I got to see Diagon Alley and Hogwarts Castle as it appeared in the last films, costumes and props and learned some insider secrets to filming. It inspires a Harry Potter movie session upon your return home. In fact, it worked well in unison with the Muggle Tours walking tour of London that I did the following day. However, the Studio Tours fits in here because 95% of it is inside. There is an outside lot that houses Privet Drive, Godric’s Hollow, the chess pieces and much more including a snack stand which sells Starbucks and Butter Beer. Be prepared and bring a rain jacket or similar to the studios regardless. You will be outside briefly as you make your way through the Studios, besides it is freezing inside as it is basically a giant warehouse.
There are two direct and simple ways to get to the West London Studios if you don’t want to hire a car for the day. The Warner Brothers website, provided below, provides a detailed description of how to get there. I took the public transport option and caught the overground train from Euston to Watford Junction. This took about 30 minutes as it stopped at every station, however, I was lucky enough to get an express train on my return which was much quicker. Once you arrive at Watford Junction, exit and make your way to the bus stands, you can’t miss the giant Harry Potter double decker bus. For a small fee (around £2) you can buy a return transfer ticket. The other option is to buy your ticket, including transport, through viator.com, direct link provided below. The public transport option costs only a few pounds extra, however, you are not limited to a tour schedule and have the freedom to leave the studios whenever you wish.
When you book your studio tour ticket, which costs around £31 for an adult and £23.50 for kids, you select a time you would like your session to start, first one being at 10am. If you decide to take the public transport option via train and shuttle bus, allow 1 hours travel time to make this session, or they will make you wait for the next one. I suggest booking the 10am session as the tour is self-guided, no one will rush you or push you out (unless they are closing). Please note that although it is self-guided it is a one way system, so be sure you have seen everything you want before moving on. There are also upgradable options for your ticket, including audio guides and passport activities for kids, which involve them finding checkpoints and stamping a collectors Harry Potter Passport.
So there you have it, it appears that this one is all about Harry Potter Studios, it is such a great experience that it is worthy of an entire post. It will be an enjoyable experience even if you are not a fan as you get to see some behind-the-scenes aspects and secrets to filming, such as green screen and forced perspective.