I love Harry Potter. I loved the books, I loved the films, I am a fan. Since Warner Bros studio tour opened last year I have been keen to go. So when I was given the opportunity to go this year I was very pleased. I wasn’t sure about taking the Purple children, the oldest two have watched the first few films but I didn’t know how child friendly the experience would be. I decided to take them, in the interests of research, and I’m glad I did as they all loved it as much as I did, even Wonder Girl who is only two.
Even on a busy Saturday in the school holidays queuing to get into the attraction wasn’t bad. We waited about 20 mins. Whilst in the queue you see Harry’s under stair bedroom (from the Dursley’s house) which meant that we didn’t get bored.
The start of the tour is the great hall. It’s exactly as it looks in the films, and displayed around the hall there are costumes and props from the film. Everything on display at Warner Bros studio tour is authentic and from the films.
The next section has more props, sets, and costumes than you could even imagine. Gryfindor common room, the boy’s dormitory, Dumbledore’s office, The ministry of magic, Hagrid’s hut, I could go on and on, basically a lot of the sets from the films are here. The children love the potions classroom which has self stirring cauldrons, and smoke billowing from potions, as well as jar upon jar of magical ingredients.
Whilst in this section of the tour we realise that Wonder Girl is flagging. We hadn’t bought her sling in with us, and we needed it for her to be able to have a nap on Purpledad’s back. Purpledad asks a nearby member of staff if it would be possible to get out to the car park to get it. We were impressed when a manager helped Purpledad out, and back in. He even radioed ahead so that Purpledad would know where we where when he got back.The tour staff are wonderful, they are knowledgable, helpful and friendly.
Also in this section we get the opportunity to ride a broomstick! Again the queue on such a busy day passed very quickly. The children’s faces were an absolute picture as they watched themselves transported from the green screen to flying high above Hogwarts castle, and onto the quidditch pitch. In fact, I also found the whole experience tremendous fun. We were able to buy pictures of ourselves flying on our brooms and could choose from around four different backgrounds.
Also this summer there are some extra activities as part of the ‘summer of spells’. So Purpledad and Super Kid were able to take part in wand lessons, it was fun to watch but I am hoping Super Kid won’t be performing any spells on me at home.
From here we head outside to the backlot, home to the exterior sets of the Harry Potter films. We see the night bus, Privet drive, the now iconic Hogwarts bridge and other outdoor sets and props. This area is also the place to buy refreshments, including butter beer. I join the queue blissfully unaware that this process is going to take around 30 mins! The kiosk is small and I think it’s insufficient for the number of visitors. The prices are reasonable for a London based attraction. Eventually I get some snacks and a couple of glasses of butter beer. The butter beer is amazing. Like ice cream soda with a milkshake frothy top, I loved it and wish I could drink it every day.
Next the creature workshop. I wasn’t particularly excited about this part of the tour, but I was totally wrong as it turned out to be one of my favourite parts. We saw prosthetic make up for our favourite house elf, creatures, and crazy costumes. The children loved pressing the buttons to make the mandrake plant wiggle and the monster book snap alarmingly.
We come straight out from the creature workshop into Diagon Alley, again an excited kid moment as it’s like being transported straight into the film.
After this I didn’t think anything could be more spectacular but that’s before I saw the final part of the tour, the Hogwarts castle model. It’s brilliant. The lighting on the castle changes from daytime to nighttime, complete with twinkly lights. The detail is amazing. Apparently the work on the model was so extensive that if they added up all the man hours gone into it, it would come to over 74 years.
A word of warning, the end of the tour takes you through the gift shop where prices are a little steep. £25 for a wand, amongst other things, could make for an expensive end to the day.
Warner Bros studio tour London – the making of Harry Potter, is every bit as fantastic as I had imagined and then some. It’s a brilliant day out with children, even those that haven’t seen the films will enjoy the magic of the displays, and experiences in the attraction.
Tickets cost £29 for adults £21.50 for children over five (children under five need a ticket but get in for free) and £85 for a family of four. Tickets must be booked in advance from here and are not available to purchase on site.
*Disclosure: I was provided with tickets to review the studio tour. All opinions are my own.
I enjoyed the tour too and I’m not even a mad fan. I think I will take my kids when they are a bit older. My fav bit was the fantastic bus – I’m surprised you didn’t go mad about its purpleness! Agreed about the merchandise – far too pricey – they need some cheap bits so everyone can go home with a souvenir.
I did a review too in case you are interested…