Visiting the Warner Bros Studio in London | Harry Potter Movie Set
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The Harry Potter franchise was such a huge part of my life growing up. It was one of the first real chapter books I read as a child and being so close in age to the film actors, I literally grew up alongside my favorite characters. So during my last trip to London visiting the Warner Brothers Studio - the place where the Harry Potter movies were filmed was an absolute must on my list.
I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. And when I say huge I don't mean I've read or watched the movies a couple of times. I am such a huge fan that I would legit dress up as Harry Potter characters for the midnight movie premieres. I also own a large collection of wands & movie memorabilia and in 2011 I achieved my goal of meeting Tom Felton - the actor that played Draco Malfoy.
This was the first and only time I cried at a tourist attraction. You can judge me all you like, but when you've devoted a large portion of your life to a book/movie series, it's hard not to get the feels when you have the opportunity to see and experience the real deal. The Warner Bros Studio Tour is the ultimate Harry Potter experience. You can stroll down Diagon Alley, walk through the Hogwarts Express and see hundreds of authentic props and costumes. With 8 movies filmed over 10 years, the studio is a beautiful tribute to such a magical collection of films. If you consider yourself a Potterhead, then I highly recommend taking the time to visit this incredible location.
Before leaving for London, I made sure to book beforehand because all tickets must be purchased in advanced. When you buy you're tickets you are are given an entrance time, which I understand because this helps alleviate long lines and over crowding. The studio is technically located in Leavesden, a suburb outside of London so we had to take a bus to get there. But don't worry about the bus cost, the round trip transportation is included in the price.
As the bus pulled up to the curb and I stepped off the bus, I was greeted by this massive building. We entered the lobby and immediately got into line. Before entering, we were ushered into an auditorium theater to watch a short movie beforehand. I don't remember much about the movie except the very end where Daniel Radcliffe said how they spent over 10 years of their lives in the studio and how we were about to walk where they walked. Cut back to me completely freaking out because that's when it really hit me - I was about to experience the place where my favorite series of all time was brought to life. The movie ended and the screen went up revealing a large hidden door behind it. This door led us into The Great Hall.
The reveal of The Great Hall was impressive, but honestly the Hall seemed so much larger in the movies. And although it was clearly missing the floating candles, it was still amazing and I was blown away by the attention to detail. As we walked further inside I realized that it was filled from floor to ceiling with props and costumes. The best part about this tour is you can go through it as quickly or as slowly as you like. This was great for me because I didn't want to feel rushed.
Almost every main characters costume could be found in The Great Hall. Along the walls were student house attire including: Draco, Neville and Harry Potter. The front section was dedicated to the professors including: Hagrid, Dumbledore, Snape, Mad-Eye and many more.
The next leg of the tour was dedicated to costume design, hair and makeup and the Hogwarts Gates. Some of the notable attire included costumes from the Yule Ball and Harry and Voldemort's clothes from the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2.
The next room was a large room containing sets of the Gryffindor Common Room, the Boys Dormitory, Dumbledore's Office, the Potions Classrooms, The Leaky Cauldron, the Ministry of Magic, Umbridge's Office, Malfoy Manor and so much more!
There were hundreds of props, costumes and detailed sets dedicated to each particular scene. There is even a special effects section which also allows you the opportunity to ride a broom set against a green screen.
Once you've explored every nook and cranny (which can easily take up to 2 hours), you will have the opportunity to try Butterbeer - the authentic drink sold at only 4 locations Worldwide. If you haven't had a chance to try it don't miss your chance! I didn't drink any at the studio tour because I usually enjoy my Butterbeer frozen from the Orlando, Florida location and they didn't offer it there. Dang.
After you've tasted some Butterbeer, your next stop will be the Hogwarts Express. This is the authentic Hogwarts Express used in over 10+ years of filming. We were allowed to walk onto the train itself and explore each individual compartment. This was extra special because each compartment has been redesigned to represent key scenes from the films in chronological order.
The next portion of the tour led us outside to the backlot which was home to the Dursley's House, the Knight Bus, the Hogwarts Bridge and more. We went on a particularly busy day so this was a great chance to get outside for some fresh air and extra elbow room.
And just when you think you can't handle any more excitement, the last part of the tour is probably the most impressive: it consists of Diagon Alley and a model of the Hogwarts Castle. Diagon Alley was gorgeous and there was so much detail put into the set design. After walking through these beautiful sets I promise it will take your breath away.
The Warner Bros Studio is located about an hour outside London and is 100% worth the trip. After visiting the studio and experiencing it myself, I can not emphasize enough how magical and amazing the tour was. You will feel as if you've been transported into the Harry Potter films and it's incredible to visit the actual location where our favorite magical world came to life. If you were on the fence about visiting the studio, I really hope this convinced you to experience it for yourself. I would love to hear from you if you plan on visiting or if you've already made the trek yourself.
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