Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour London
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour London
In 2016 we visited the studio tour for the second time, this time with the little adventurers in tow and had a fantastic day. I think the studio tour is definitely one of the highlights of the last couple of years and I loved it even more the second time. So here’s our top tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour so you have the best time at the studios.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Before your visit
- Book well in advance. If you are restricted to visiting during the school holidays, these sessions will get booked really far in advance. You can choose a time and date, so make sure you factor in travel to the attraction when choosing your time slot. The theme in studio changes all year round, so around Christmas time it will be Hogwarts in the snow etc, if there was a favourite time of year, try and go visit then.
- The studio tours are 45 minutes from central London are located in Watford, so ensure that you add this into your planing. If you are not driving, you can easily plan your journey with this tool.
- Do a film marathon of all the Harry Potter films before your visit. I think this is really important and everyone will get so much out of the visit.
- Dress your children in Harry Potter costumes / robes to visit the attraction. The robes are much cheaper outside of the attraction and it helps get the children really excited about the activity. I would also have them wear something that makes them stand out from the crowd as it is quite dark inside and with lots of things to see and grab your attention, little adventurers seem to wander off a lot.
- Take a pencil with you. Children are given a passport, so make sure you get one of these and have a pencil with you as well as there a few a questions that they need to answer as well as the stamps to collect. I would have one pencil per little adventurer in your group. Under 4s are free and sometimes the ticket desk don’t give them the passport but I would ask for one as the kids would love to do these.
- Take a packed lunch as there is places to eat midway between the two studios and its best to avoid the long queues. Also pack some snacks as you will be spending several hours in the tour and the last thing you want is upset or hungry children.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Arrival at the studios
- You need to collect your tickets even if you have booked online and in busy periods this can be quite busy (the queues are fast moving though)
- Make sure you get your passports for the kids
- The attraction is very busy, so even at your allocated time slot, you can wait for 15 – 30 minutes in the queue before you enter. A few snacks are perfect and we found playing I-spy of characters was great fun. They have photos across the hall and it was a great way of engaging the children.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – The Studios Tour
- Your first stop is in waiting room, where you will meet a guide and they inform you of all the amazing things about the tour, stand next to the wall in front of you as you enter (left hand side as you look at the guide) as that will be the entrance to the next room with the film, means you will get the best seats.
- On arrival at the Great Hall, the guides ask if it is anyone’s birthday or special occasion. These people are chosen to open the door to the Great Hall, so timing it around a birthday can make it extra special. I loved opening the Great Hall doors and think it would be magical for kids to do this!
- The Great Hall is stunning and the attention to detail here and throughout the studios is incredible. I would spend time to examine the little things: the clothing, they have Harry Potters first uniform, the crest in all its detail. the teachers at the front of the Hall.
- The studios are split into three areas, studios 1 and 2 and the out area so try and ensure that you have enough time to get around all of them.
- I would recommend talking to the guides who are at various stops. They have a tremendous knowledge of Harry Potter, the films and its production and its great to learn more about how much time / attention to detail each aspect of the film has taken.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Studio 1
- Studio 1 is filled with so many different aspects of the films, that it’s so easy to spend hours moving from one exhibit to the next. There are loads of props from the films and it is really interesting to see them all. Tip: It can be a little overwhelming as the props are everywhere, high and low, in various cabinets. As it is a self guided tour, take your time as there is loads to see.
- The studio also has rooms from films from the Gryffindor dorm, Dumbledore’s office, the Burrow, Snape’s dungeons and its great to see them (If you have a set time ensure you move on!)
- The studio tour is really busy so I would keep a close eye on the kids as after the Great Hall you are left to wander at your own pace. As recommended earlier I would make wear something distinctive, which really helps when you turn around and they have wondered off to the next site.
- Ride a broom and the Weasley car: This is the busiest part of the tour (come midway in Studio 1) but going to it first won’t make it any quicker as the others from the earlier tour will be already queueing. The queues are fast moving though so I wouldn’t let them put you off.
- Tip for broom ride: if you are visiting with children under 4 the robes will be huge, so I would have the kids in their 0wn if they have any. Choosing a robe apart from a Gryffindor one will speed things up too. They only have a set number of each one and the Gryffindor ones are the most popular.
Visit the interactive activities, the kids (and big kids) will enjoy these the most. You can
- Ride in the Weasley car
- Ride on a broomstick (the videos are ace!)
These are both free to do but you cannot take any videos or photographs. You have to buy the official ones which are pricey, especially if you have a few little adventurers.
The following are free to do and you can take as many pictures as you want.
- Have a wand training session
- Watch as various of the Burrows magical household items work, from iron to the chopping board to knitting needles.
- Have your picture taken at the entrance of the Knight Bus
- Have your photograph taken with the trolley as it goes through the wall on platform 9 3/4
- Go aboard the Hogwarts Express
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Food & Outdoors
- At the end of studio 1, you will find the eating area. You are free to bring a packed lunch which is what I would recommend as the food though not super expensive, the queues can get very long.
- They have Butterbeer for sale (the queue is to the right hand side of the food queue). It is interesting to taste (very sweet) so I would only recommend one between you.
- There is an outdoors area in between the two studios. Just keep that in mind in case you visit on a day of typical British weather. It also helps, having a wait in the eating area so hopefully the rain will pass.
- Many people bypass the outdoor area but there is lots to see from Privet Drive, the walkway of Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s house in Godrics Hallow to name a few. This part of the tour tends to be quieter and on a nice day its great to have a break and let the kids explore this a bit more freely.
- Check to see if you can visit the house at Privet Drive, it was open when we were there in May and was fantastic to see all the letters floating in the room.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Studio 2
- I loved this part of the studio tours but on both occasions we visited, we ended up rushing it slightly so I would recommend again to carefully plan your time. The second part is the more technical elements of how designs were made, and all the technology which brought the magic to life!
- The start of the second studio has all the creatures and electronic props and they are so cool. Just be aware if you are with young children, there is a huge spider as you walk in and other creatures which may frighten younger children. I would recommend holding their hands as you walk through this part (Zayn saw the spider and literally turned round and walked out, luckily we were watching him!)
- Lots of the creatures “come to life” and its great to watch these. The glass cabinet in the middle which has lots of fun things to watch from Lord Voldemort to the the Mandrake to Beast book, the Mermaid head and the talking boar head on the wall.
- You are then able to walk through Diagon Alley. Apart from the castle, I really loved this part, there is so much to see here and I would recommend spending time to take in the smaller details.
- The castle at the end is magnificent, definitely watch the time lapse video on how the castle was put together, its amazing how much time and effort went into it.
Top Tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour – Shop
The last stop on the tour is the shop, the merchandise is really high quality (my Gryffindor scarf is my prized possession!) but the prices are equally high. So unless you want to break the bank, the following were the cheapest things we found to buy (which the kids will still like):
- Postcards (less than £1): We have a postcard collection (always recommend these to parents to start as kids will be keen to add to it!), so this always is great as a memory and a cheap gift. We have also started writing them at an attraction and sending them to family members (and to ourselves).
- Keyrings / magnets: these are around £5 – 7: perfect for rucksacks so the kids can have a memory on the travelling bag or school bag
- Books: If your children are still reading the books, buying the next book is a perfect addition to your book collection and the paperbacks are decently priced.
- Every flavour beans / Chocolate frogs: these are a nice Harry Potter linked treat and were around £8
- Clothing starts around £20, i got a scarf for my birthday when we visited in 2015.
We have had a wonderful time on the both occasions we visited and I would happily recommend it any Potter fans. It is expensive to visit but the tour is definitely one of the highlights of our visit! We hope our Top tips for Harry Potter Studio Tour helps you plan your adventure!