The Magical Harry Potter Studio Tour Review
I love Harry Potter, and I mean wholeheartedly adore the books and films and I can happily re-read and watch them countless times. With the opening of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, I have been eagerly waiting a chance to visit. The tour is free for under 4s so we had considered visiting with the children last year but we decided against it as we didn’t want a rowdy toddler or two to spoil other people’s visit. So on our first night away without the little adventurers we decided to have an adult only adventure at the studio tour and it was as much fun and magical as I thought it would be!
So what is the Harry Potter Studio Tour?
The tour is set in the actual studios where the vast majority of filming for all the Harry Potter films took place. I loved the short video at the start of the tour where they have the characters of Ron, Hermione and Harry talk about the sets, films and life as Harry Potter stars. For me it was the perfect beginning and ideal introduction because it really hits home that these are things, places and artefacts from the movies! The tour has so much for Potter fans that I promise you will be totally wowed. The main items on display inside in the first studio is set in quite an eclectic way so its great to go around and discover something new and different on your way!
The tour is mostly self guided so you can spend as long (apparently one set of visitors spent 13 hours there!) to as little time as you would like. After completing the tour, I think the recommend 4-5 hours is the perfect length and would be what i would recommend to families visiting with children.
I love that elements of the tour are changed all year round to coincide with annual events, so the dates we visited was part of the “back to school” theme. There was extra displays of uniform to mark the event and I like that there would be different things for those who are revisiting. I think the Christmas theme would be incredibly magical and I know the organisers will go the extra mile to make the experience a memorable one for all those visiting. In addition, the organisers are always adding new elements to make the collection and tour even more comprehensive and this year added the Hogwarts Express to the tour.
The studio tour has a nice mix of different things for visitors to try, so its not just looking at the items but you can get quite hands on, I loved ‘flying’ on a broomstick and the wand lessons. These aspects are really fun and its great to see how the flying is done in the films. The flying aspects is a perfect example how the studio is perfect for all ages as the children will enjoy getting hands on whilst the older children and adults will be more interested in how they actually work in practise.
So what did we think?
The tour is not cheap but I can vouch that its definitely worth the expense and even as I write this post, I have the same feeling of excitement as I did during the visit. Standing at the feet of the doors to the Great Hall, there is a genuine buzz of excitement and for those who visit on a birthday or special occasion, they are given the privilege of opening the doors which for me was one of the highlights.
The range of items on display is huge and great efforts are made to ensure that visitors have an amazing time. Every corner of the tour has been filled with detailed aspects of the films it is really awe inspiring the detail, time and effort that goes into making a film come to life. One aspects which really stood our for me was the sheer much variety that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Doc is not a huge Potter fan but in the area of how all the creatures were brought to life and all the ‘techy’ elements behind the movies had him as mesmerised as I had been on other aspects.
The gift shop at the end was lovely but everything was really expensive. After the expense of the tickets, its a real shame that the items at the shop were priced as much as they were. As we were without the children, it wasn’t too much of an issue but I can imagine it being hard if you were visiting with a few children in tow.
Is the tour suitable for younger children?
After visiting I think some of the worries that I had have been alleviated. One of my concerns was that the children would be confined to a small group who would all be together for the duration of the tour and I could imagine my boys getting bored and spoiling it for others. However, after the Great Hall, you are left to enjoy the tour at your own pace and I think that works well. The tour also has a number of activities designed for younger children who need to collect stamps from different locations on the tour and there are also hidden snitches for the children to find so is perfect to keep the younger children engaged. As mentioned there are also lots of hands on activities for the children to do and these are at different points during the tour so its a nice way of breaking up the tour. The Hogwarts express is great for young children and going on-board will make for happy little adventurers. The day we visited there were lots of families with young children and it didn’t affect the tour in anyway. I would personally still wait until my youngest was about 5/6 years old so they have the attention span to last the whole length of the tour.
Overall, I had a fantastic time at the tour and think its a definite must for all Potter fans but is a great day out for families, especially those with children over the age of 7/9 years old. As you walk around the streets of Diagon Alley, you will be truly transported to the world of Harry Potter. I would recommend that your watch the movies again so its all fresh in your head before you visit 🙂