The Harry Potter Studio Tour (Review)

A few weeks ago, I headed to The Harry Potter Studio Tours by Warner Bros. You guys! It was magical. It was such a beautiful and perfect experience and it was quite a special opportunity.

Going into the location you see a huge open space with pictures circling the walls. It's wonderful to see the timeline and especially the changes from the kids between the first film and the last. I've watched them all recently so I think it's quite apparent in reality but my mum was quite shocked that the ten year old became adults so graciously.

So there's a massive shop filled with gifts but the tour ends there - so tip, don't go in yet! - and also a lobby cafe which is surprisingly reasonably priced. Also, there are lots of Fantastic Beasts details as well. I quite liked that they added it in but others thought it ruined the Harry Potter culture.
As we joined the queue, there is the car and broom hanging from the ceiling but as you get closer to the start the chills start. There are a few worded boards and JK quotes but most of all, there is the staircase! The staircase where Harry slept for years! It's a bit of a shame that only a few people get to truly experience it for long as once the queue starts moving, it goes fast!
I wasn't expecting very much as I wanted the whole tour to be a surprise so I was shocked by how the tour started.

The doors opened to a dark room and after an initial introduction, TV screens played a run through of what to expect on the studio tours. This is followed by another cinema experience but this time with seats and it's well organised.

Personally I found them both a little odd. The first was split between 6 narrow screens, all playing different things and looking in that many directions is actually impossible, regardless of ability. The cinema room was so over rehearsed but mainly focussed on Daniel, Emma and Rupert which was actually quite nice.

Then, as if by magic, the screen floats upwards and behind is the doors to Hogwarts hall. It was the perfect start to the tour!
The guide comes through with you which is both a good and a bad thing because while she gives some behind the scene details and background knowledge of the great hall, I did feel like I didn't have a chance to truly enjoy the hall and the four houses uniform. But don't worry, after all that you can start going around at your own pace.

Interestingly, I was quite shocked at how small the hall was. It's about a quarter of the size I expected and really not that 'great' at all.

So after all that you finally get through the the main exhibit which has an easy to follow pathway through which you can follow. Each of the unique, individual exhibits have information provided and it gives a really wonderful behind the scene interaction.
I loved how it started with the things not scenes on the screens like costumes and makeup with director information and more. Then it continues with the bigger sets and some of the crucial individual pieces from the films. It's super magical to see them in real life.

I think a few of my favourites were the goblet of fire and then the wands! I loved how the opposite types were placed against each other and compared.
One aspect I was really impressed with was that while some stations were lone, a lot of them had members of staff providing some really interesting insight into different props. I loved hearing about them. The goblet of fire was truly memorable!
After that, the scenes came through like Hagrid's, the Weasley's kitchen. The bigger set pieces and some interactive pieces plus the actual live size pieces.




Finally areas of the darker days like the Malfoy's table and Dolores Umbridge office. Although the things that impressed me the most was without a doubt the flop networks and seeing the costumes from some of the scenes that stick out to me the most.

Then came the newest part of the tour...The Forbidden Forest! Hagrid, Buckbeak the Hippogriff and the spiders! Make sure to head towards the left to see the special effects and truly see what special effects they are capable. I won't ruin it!

Walking through a little alley you walk and see the Hogwarts Express. I mean come on. Who doesn't want to travel on that incredible train? There are the trolleys on platform 9 and three quarters, carriage experiences with acting cues and even the trolleys on specific individuals. I thought the train itself was quite special and walking though the carriages told a story. The set designers made it tell a story with a carriage dressed from each film to tell a story. While the idea was nice, I did find the final product quite boring in all honesty. I don't think the idea quite paid off because the little details were so small.

One of my favourite parts of the day was the final part of the train. I had a moment of serene admiration as they dressed a set from the first carriage with 10 year old Harry and Ron sharing sweets in the first film and the four adults watching their children travel to Hogwarts from the final scenes, 19 years later.

Then the backlot! I loved the backlot! I loved seeing the big set pieces and also, some of the most realistic pieces which are small but closer to full size. It was a bit weird going into Privet Drive and only seeing one room there though for sure!



And of course, that's where you can get Butterbeer! It's very sweet so I just wanted a picture. It's a must!
Before finishing, the tour continues with the creatures. Videos provided help to give detailed explanations on how they were each created. My mum loved the in depth aspects while I liked seeing the transition from the early aspects to the final design. Before leading onto Diagon Alley with all the memorable shops. Again, surprisingly compact.
The tour finishes with a huge masterpiece of Hogwarts. The music playing just adds to the experience and with the lights dimming on a regular basis, the transition from daytime to evening time is really quite wonderful to witness. What I loved was how many little details you can see as you walk down the wrap around walk away. As I looked I saw little pieces and rooms from each aspect and it was really quite wonderful to see how they all linked and how all the rooms fit together because I actually don't think it's well appreciated in the film franchise.

Finally, you walk out of the dark room into the shop that has EVERYTHING. No joke, you could easily spend HUNDREDS.

Writing all these down makes me realise what a truly magical experience it was! I didn't realise how many different areas there were! Even more so the vast range of different aspects.

That's not even mentioning the things you can do interactively or pay for like the flying broom filming, the broom raise, the carriages and more!
If you are a fan of Harry Potter and live in England, go! It is an experience like no other and the memories will last a lifetime.

I think I am going to put together a few little tips and tricks in separate post so stay tuned for that if you have already booked tickets. If you want to visit yourself, you can head to the website and buy tickets.

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