Visit the studios where all eight Harry Potter movies were made, walk down Diagon Alley, drink butterbeer and step into Hogwarts
What do you do when you’ve made a hit series of eight amazing films and avid fans from all over the world are still baying for more? Take a lesson from Warner Bros, that’s what. With their special exhibition, ‘The Making of Harry Potter’, Warner has done an excellent job of keeping the Hogwarts magic alive.
For ten years, the warehouses and film lot at Leavesden, just outside Watford, were the base for the Harry Potter movie series. Apart from on-location scenes, most of the filming was done here, and as the movies came to an end, Warner Bros redeveloped and expanded the facilities to enable other productions to continue filming, while allowing enough space for The Making of Harry Potter to become a permanent exhibition.
JK Rowling’s original stories were still being published while the first films were being made, so sets, props and costumes were carefully crafted then stored away in case they would be needed in future shoots. As a result, the workshops, store rooms and film sets formed a unique collection of preserved artefacts.
The Making of Harry Potter is no ordinary tour. Any visit to warner Bros Studio Tours London includes a chance to walk into some of the most famous film sets: the Great Hall at Hogwarts, down Diagon Alley and onto Platform 9¾ (complete with the vast, original steam engine that pulled the Hogwarts Express). You can also discover more about the behind-the-scenes tech and artistry of each production – the special effects, the animatronics, and the methods by which the weird and wonderful cast were brought to life.
You can also try a flagon of butterbeer, and if you really want to splash the cash, buy yourself a wand (real magical powers not included). In addition to all of this, there are also seasonally changing exhibitions to keep things fresh for diehard fans who want to make a return visit. Check the website to see what’s on when you’re thinking of going. It’s not a cheap day out, and needless to say that hardcore Potter nuts will consider it better value than any non-believing muggles they drag along with them.
RECOMMENDED: Our guide to the 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' play
|Venue name:||Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter||Contact:|
Studio Tour Drive
|Opening hours:||Open daily. Times vary seasonally. Check website for details|
|Transport:||Rail: Watford Junction rail then shuttle bus, free parking for ticketholders|
|Price:||£35 adults, £27 5-15s, free (ticket required) under-4s, £107 family|
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It is pricey but if you are fan of Harry Potter you will love it, you feel like if you are in the movie
I just want to start by saying that if I could give this experience more than five stars, I would – it’s that good - and not overpriced at all when you factor in how much you get to see. I’ve been twice and still don’t feel as though I’ve seen everything! The first time I visited was a few years ago when it was all quite new, and while it was busy (it was the middle of the school holidays), it wasn’t heaving, I guess because of the timed entry.
Visited again recently to see the Hogwarts Express - awesome to see it up close - and enjoyed myself just as much as I did the first time, so would definitely recommend going! A few things to bear in mind: get an early slot if you can (did I mention there’s loads to see?!), leave plenty of time for the gift shop (it’s vast) and definitely chat to the staff there, because they’re all really friendly and really knowledgeable.