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Harry Potter Studio Tour London: 12 Top Tips for “Grown-Ups”

By Matt Morelli

The Harry Potter Studio Tour on the outskirts of London is a truly magical place for children and adults alike. Whether you're a Harry Potter super-fan (or Potterhead to coin the correct term), a parent, a friend or a partner of someone with a Potter obsession (e.g. Matt), there is something of interest for you all. If though you're wondering whether you might be a bit too old for a visit, wonder no longer...

You're definitely not!

Read on for my top tips on how you can make the most of your visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and not miss out on anything.

Please note: Before you delve in, it's worth mentioning that the official name for Harry Potter Studio Tour is Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter. Since this is such a mouth-full though, we're going to be calling it Harry Potter Studio Tour in this post.


Exterior of Harry Potter Studios
From the outside, there's no hint as to the magic that awaits inside. (Photo: Karen Roe)

1. Take your time

This is an important tip. Be sure you make the most of your time at Harry Potter Studios. There is so much to see and experience, so allow three hours at the very least to soak it all in.

If there’s a particular exhibit that stirs something inside you, spend time with it and study it’s every detail.

Wand Boxes
Wand boxes labelled with the names of actors and crew

2. Ask lots of questions

The curators are there to help, so if you have any questions, ask them! Some of the curators might actually surprise you with their encyclopedic Harry Potter knowledge.

For example, a gentleman we spoke to in the wand shop area told us he had worked on the actual set during filming. He had plenty of stories to share and was able to explain the origin of every character name we threw at him.


Butter Beer at Harry Potter Studios
We love Butter Beer! You will too!

3. Drink Butter Beer

Yes, you too can pretend to be a regular at the Three Broomsticks Inn. A visit to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London really isn’t complete without downing a glass of sweet and creamy Butter Beer.

Be warned though, it's not quite to everyone's liking, so you may want to share a small cup to start.

Me and Matt riding Hagrid's Motorbike
Me and Matt riding Sirius Black's Motorbike

4. Jump on Sirius Black’s motorbike

This is a great photo opportunity! If there’s two of you, one can get on the bike while the other can get in the sidecar. There’s no official photographer, but when we were there, an unofficial queue and reciprocal photo-taking system had been set up by fellow visitors. Hopefully when you visit, things will be just as organised.

Plan your visit: There are two options for you to get to Harry Potter Studio Tour. The first is via public transport and the second is via a tour operator. You can find all the details on how to get there at the bottom of this post.

Broomsticks at Harry Potter Studios
Where else can you ride a broomstick against a green screen? (Photo: Rev Stan)

5. Get in robes and fly on a broom/magical car

Many of the world’s attractions now have official photo opportunities and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is no exception. Here you can ride a broom and/or pretend to drive in a flying Ford Anglia, both set against a green screen.

Our tip is to simply enjoy both experiences. There’s genuinely no expectation or pressure to buy anything, unless you really want to.

Defense against the dark arts at Harry Potter Studios
Learning to defend ourselves against the dark arts

6. Learn how to defend yourself against the dark arts

This guided, interactive tutorial will have you testing out your wand skills and associated moves to help ward off those pesky Death Eaters. You’ll be casting spells with a flick of your wand in no time. Don’t worry about making a fool of yourself. The only people watching will be those in the queue waiting to cast their own spells.

Harry Potter Studios Gift Shop
Don't go too crazy in the gift shop (Photo: Gary Bembridge)

7. Don’t get carried away in the Gift Shop

The gift shop is full of really wonderful stuff but it is expensive, so don't get carried away. While you’re browsing, feel free to try things on. We tried on the cloaks of our favourite houses and took pictures of each other. Staff didn’t seem to mind. If you know you’re likely to get carried away and run up a huge debt, you may want to set yourself a budget prior to going.

Model of Hogwarts
Spend lots of time at the model of Hogwarts. It's fabulous!

8. Take your time at the model of Hogwarts

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London has a huge model of Hogwarts that was actually used during filming for sweeping exterior shots. Elevated walkways allow you to see the model from all angles and heights, making for a truly breathtaking experience. The room the model is housed in constantly fades from day into night and back again, so take your time and admire this work of art in all its glory.

If you're visiting around Christmas, you'll get an additional snowy treat.

Plan your visit: There are two options for you to get to Harry Potter Studio Tour. The first is via public transport and the second is via a tour operator. You can find all the details on how to get there at the bottom of this post.

Prop Sketches
Look around for early sketches of background scenery items.

9. Take note of the fine details

Study the exhibits! Props, scenery and equipment are still daubed in scribbles and the level of care and attention that has gone into everything is quite staggering. From handwritten labels on bottles of potions, to clever and complicated animatronics - it’s all really wonderful to see it in person.

One more thing - look out for the conceptual artwork adorning the walls and galleries that inspired the design and conception of scenes and aspects of the films. They’re a really lovely addition to the tour.

Golden Snitch at Harry Potter Studios
If you're lucky, you'll be able to see a golden snitch (Photo: Karen Roe)

10. Find out what’s new

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is constantly evolving. Rare exhibits are often brought out of storage for limited periods and there are often themed exhibitions. The second time I went to the studios, there was a special Quidditch-themed exhibition. 

All the latest news can be found on the official ‘Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter’ website, so check it out before you visit. We have yet to visit again since they introduced the Hogwarts Express - just another reason to return!

Privet Drive
It could be a scene from any UK street, but it isn't - it's Privet Drive

11. Have fun in the courtyard

The outside courtyard area allows you to get a breathe of fresh air and some refreshments (including Butter Beer) before you head back inside. There’s also plenty to see and pose next to, including the Knight Bus, a wooden bridge, the exterior of Privet Drive and Sirius Black's Motorbike (to name a few things).

Harry Potter Studios entrance hall
Channel and unleash your inner child! (Photo: Gary Bembridge)

12. Ultimately, have fun and channel your inner child

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a magical experience regardless of whether you’re a Potterhead or not. Obviously, those who consider themselves mega-fans will get the most out of it, but even those with a passing interest will enjoy recognising bits and pieces that they’ve seen or heard about.

Our ultimate advice is to channel your inner child and immerse yourself in everything. Try stuff on, take photos in Diagon Alley, drink lots of Butter Beer, wave wands and shout spells at people and wander about with childlike wonder.

Only by doing this will you get the most out of your visit to the Studio Tour.

How to get to Harry Potter Studio Tour London

There are two main methods for getting to Harry Potter Studios London (known officially as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter). You can go via public transport (in which case, you'll need to pre-purchase your tickets from the official website) or you can book a combined ticket from a tour operator that includes your entrance ticket and a direct bus from central London.

Let's look at each option in more detail.

Option 1: Getting there by public transport

Getting to Harry Potter Studios London by public transport is pretty straightforward. This option is ideal if you're planning to or you've already pre-purchased your entrance tickets from the official website.

The nearest train station to the studios is Watford Junction.

From Central London

From central London, you can catch a train operated by West Midlands Trains from London Euston station. These services depart very regularly throughout the day with a journey time of 15-20 minutes.

You can use your Oyster card to travel, or you can buy paper tickets from self-service machines or from ticket offices right before you board.

Be sure to check departure boards or online before you board a train as services do vary considerably, with some services running non-stop to Watford Junction and other including stops in between. London Overground run services that terminate at Watford Junction, but these services stop frequently and are best avoided.

From outside London

The line from Euston runs northbound all the way to Birmingham New Street. West Midlands Trains operate multiple services between London and Birmingham and most of them call at Watford Junction.

How to Get from Watford Junction to Harry Potter Studio Tour

Bus company Mullany's Coaches operates a shuttle bus service between Watford Junction and Harry Potter Studio Tour London. Services run every 20 minutes throughout the day with a journey time of 15 minutes. Tickets are £2.50 and can be purchased from the driver, though only cash is accepted.

Important: The official website states that you must be able to show your booking confirmation to the driver in order to ride on the shuttle bus. Make sure you've printed it off or are able to show it on an electronic device.

Option 2: Getting there by tour operator

As you might expect, there are a large number of tour operators offering their services to get you safely to the studios from central London Most of the available options bundle an entrance ticket with a bus transfer from various central London locations.

We've shopped around and we think the best selection of options can currently be found on Viator.

See all the available tour operator options on Viator

Before you book, check that the deal you like the look of is good value.

To do this, total the following costs;

  • The current entrance ticket price on the official website.
  • The cost of a return train ticket from wherever you are in London to Watford Junction. You can use the National Rail website to find this out.
  • The cost of a journey on the shuttle bus (£2.50 at the time of publication).

Once you have this figure, compare it with the prices on offer from the tour operators.

We very much hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions or you have information to share about your visit, please let us know in the comment below.

Have you been to Harry Potter Studios? Do you have any tips to add to mine? If so, drop a comment into the box below.

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About the author

Matt Morelli

I've travelled to 38 countries across 4 continents, both independently and with my wife. I've been writing travel guides and making videos since 2007, all based on my real-life experiences. Here To Travel is a place for travel advice and inspiration that encourages us all to make mindful decisions. If you want to have life changing adventures that have minimal impact on the places and people you visit, Here To Travel is for you.

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