I’m so excited to share that last Thursday I visited the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford. This visit wasn’t my first time, it was actually my THIRD and that’s why I wanted to share with you how fun the tour is, even if it’s not your first trip. The first time at the tour is of course super magical as you see many tips and tricks for the first time ever, but returning to see new things is just as exciting.
Something I have noticed with the tour is that they’re always moving pieces of set around the studio lot. I will never know why other than perhaps to keep it updated and fresh for returning guests. I’m not entirely sure how often they move things around, I’m guessing it’s probably about a monthly activity when a special effects team come in.
Everything about the tour is so magical. As soon as you step on-site you know that something special was made here. The last time I visited (April 2017) the set from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was still up outside and I almost screamed. Seeing the green screens was oddly exciting and made you feel so much closer to the magic of the set.
My favourite part of the entire tour is most probably when you’re in the theatre and the screen sours up and there is the entrance to all of our childhoods: The Great Hall. Although this is something that has never changed on all 3 of my trips I still managed to cry every single time. That for you, is movie magic. However, we were extremely lucky to be visiting during the season of the Goblet of Fire where the Goblet itself had been brought back into the hall for the first time in 10 years since they filmed the scenes for the movie. This was the first time I’d seen a difference in the Great Hall, I believe they also change it at Christmas time but I’m yet to visit during the festive season (although I really do hope to visit at Christmas). The awesome employee in the Great Hall did a fabulous running commentary of the entire hall and then very kindly demonstrated the two features of the goblet: the smoke turning red and then blue where a piece of parchment with ‘Harry Potter’ written on it spurted out. It was so cool to see something I had never seen before and to witness a prop returning to the set for the first time in 10 years, it felt really special.
On my first trip we were given the passports automatically, but we did visit within the first few weeks of it opening so I don’t know whether they stopped doing it as part of the tour as on my second trip we didn’t get given them. This time I made sure we got some by just going to guest services. Although they are designed for children they are a super fun way to do an ‘egg hunt’ and have a souvenir to take away from your trip.
Usually I am someone that gets quite bored doing the same experience over and over again but seeing all of the sets, costumes and props again felt almost like the first time. I was super excited to see the Hogwarts Express and Forbidden Forrest again as it was my first time seeing them on my last trip and they were absolutely amazing additions to the tour. Buckbeak is easily one of my favourite characters from the book and the animatronic they’ve made in the forrest is so amazing I could stand there and watch him all day. He was so life-like I bowed in the hope of him bowing back and allowing me to ride on his back. The spiders on the other hand are albeit fantastic but most probably the scariest part of the tour. The way the lightening is crashing and they all just swoop down and nearly attack you I too like Ron wish it could have been ‘follow the butterflies.’ Luckily, there is a separate route if you want to completely skip past the scary spider experience.
Being able to venture onto the Hogwarts Express really is the most fantastic feeling. Although you can’t go into the carriages themselves you can do a virtual reality experience where you’re directed through a series of events such as dementor attacks, chocolate frogs and a flying car, which is just as fun. This extra attraction is free and takes two pictures which you can then view/purchase after the ride. After a quick stop for Butterbeer which was as delicious as always we managed to get inside Number 4 Privet Drive. This was open as a special event early last year and we managed to catch the extension of it on my last trip. But, they seemed to have kept it open as a part of the tour now and it is so awesome to see that front room with all of Harry’s invitations to Hogwarts!
One thing I had never seen before was an extensive collection of hats right before Diagon Alley. I have absolutely no idea why they were there or their importance but it was so fantastic to see the difference between each one and all of the design and time that had so obviously been put into making each individual hat – even if they were just for extras.
Before finishing the tour we of course had a quick stop at the gift shop where I managed to pick up a few Hermione pieces, including a Time Turner pin?! So awesome and perfect for my trips to the Wizarding World in Universal Orlando. Although this trip was my third time visiting the tour and second time in the last year I cannot recommend it enough for returning visitors and definitely new visitors. The tour is so special and full of magical sets and surprises that are always changing so its so worth you making that first trip or even returning for a second, third or tenth! I will link the website here if you want to go ahead and make a booking!
YOUTUBE: Ellie Browne
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