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Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

What to Expect at Warner Bros. Studio London, A First Hand Account


Warner Bros. Studio - The Making of Harry Potter outside building

Warner Bros. Studio - The Making of Harry Potter

If you are a Harry Potter fan, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is not to be missed. You could spend several hours discovering how the films were made, going ‘behind the scenes’, seeing props, costumes and the amazing sets themselves.

 

As a Studio Tour, you will see the real sets used in the Harry Potter films, as well as countless props and special effects. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is not a theme park and as such will not feature rides, or experiences of this nature, though there are a few interactive features popular with both children and adults alike.

 

While the Studio Tour is aimed primarily at fans of the Harry Potter film series, if you have an interest in special effects and film sets more generally, there would be plenty to get out of this tour.

 

The level of detail gone into making the sets and the props is awe-inspiring and the information on offer as to the process of film making is very instructive. The guides are friendly and helpful and happy to chat if you want a bit of extra information. Some of them were extras from the films themselves so have a bit of insider knowledge.

 

Only the beginning part of the Studio Tour is guided; with two short films and into the Great Hall. After this you are free to take the tour at your own pace.

 

 

Arrival Procedure

The bus takes you to just a hundred metres or so from the entrance, and then you are left to walk inside independently. Upon entry you will have your bag checked and then you are free to walk inside into the lobby. Your arrival time will allow you about twenty minutes to queue, ready for your pre-booked entry time into the Studio Tour itself.

 

Please note, there is a bag check before you go inside. The toilets are to be found in the lobby, so it can be useful to use them before you queue up to begin your tour.

Lobby Warner Bros. Studio

Lobby Warner Bros. Studio

 

If you need somewhere to store any small suitcases (or coats and bags) you may have, you can do this free of charge in the lobby cloakroom. Pushchairs are also encouraged to be left here if possible due to the restrictd amount of space in the Studio Tour.

 

Before you even step inside with your tickets, the lobby is filled with great posters of the actors in costume up high, and set items like the blue Ford Anglia from the second movie suspended from the ceiling.

 

While in line to begin your tour, as you queue you can see Harry’s cupboard under the stairs from Privet Drive, complete with small props such as a pair of his actual glasses and tiny toy models.

 

 

Backlot Cafe Warner Bros. Studio

Backlot Cafe Warner Bros. Studio

Refreshments in the Lobby and at the Backlot Café

If you have any extra spare time before your tour begins, the lobby also hosts a Studio shop and a Starbucks Café selling hot and cold drinks and snacks. You can bring your own food with you but it must only be eaten in the Backlot area or outside picnic area.

 

Halfway through your tour, you can stop for a rest at the Backlot Café with a counter serving Butterbeer, where you can choose to eat and drink inside or out. Butterbeer is non -alcoholic and has quite a sweet froth to it, with a slight taste of butterscotch.

 

The Backlot Café serves hot food – both children’s and adult’s - from a daily specials board, sandwiches and salads, snacks and hot and cold drinks.

 


Digital Guide Hire and Souvenir Guidebook

If you wish you can hire a Digital Guide, with extra information on Studio Tour, for £4.95, from the desk in the lobby before you go in. You can also purchase a Souvenir Guidebook of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London for £9.95, with behind-the-scenes secrets and beautiful photography.

 

There is free Wi-Fi throughout the Studio Tour, and Warner Bros. Studio Tour London encourages you to share your photos with them on social media.

 

 

Photography and Video Footage

Enter the Great Hall Warner Bros. Studio

The Great Hall
Warner Bros. Studio

The cinema areas and the green-screen areas are the only parts where you are not allowed to take photographs or video footage. Otherwise, you are free to do so in all other areas of the Studio Tour.

 


Accessibility and Children

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London have done everything they can to make the Studio Tour accessible for wheelchair users. There is a lower window for ticket collection and step free access to the attraction. The Studio Tour itself, including the loos, gift shop and special effects green screen area, is completely accessible.

 

If you have small children or just need a break yourself, there are seats dotted around inside where they can sit and rest if needed. Fold up chairs are available for those who require one if you ask in the lobby. There are also toilets to be found around the Studio Tour.

 

There are some interactive things for younger ones to do but because of the nature of the Studio Tour and the amount of information on offer, it is probably most appropriate for children eight and up.

 

As you hand your tickets over, if you have any children with you, they will be given a Studio Tour Passport each. In this A5 size booklet kids are able to collect stamps as they wander around the Studio Tour, and even find the Golden Snitch if they follow the clues on each page.

 

 

Gift Shop Warner Bros. Studio

Gift Shop Warner Bros. Studio

Gift Shops at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

There are two gift shops at the Studio Tour. One is at the Railway Shop, a train-themed souvenir shop, and the other is the main Studio shop located at the entrance.

 

At both of these you can purchase such Harry Potter merchandise as the books by J.K. Rowling, Hogwarts T-shirts and robes, house jumpers, pens, key rings, postcards, sweets, wands and cuddly toys. Prices range from around £2 for a postcard to around £20 for a cuddly toy.

 


The Main Cast of Harry Potter Warmly Welcome you to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

When begin your tour you are guided into a large room with cinematography on the walls, and an introduction behind the original motivations for making the films. You will see interviews with the producer and the ‘discoverer’ of Harry Potter, the production consultant, and many others who were there from the beginning.

 

You are then guided into a cinema room, where you take your seat to watch a short film introduced by the three main actors themselves, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. They acknowledge all the hard work of the thousands of people who worked behind the scenes on the famous films and made them become a reality.

 

 

Great Hall Warner Bros. Studio

Great Hall Warner Bros. Studio

Step Inside the Great Hall at Hogwarts School

The magic really comes alive as you step in through the doors of the Great Hall, of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As you walk down the real stone floor, you enter the vast hall, with its high ceiling and tall gothic windows. You can see the long house tables, dressed with individual place settings, all hand created for the films. Around the edges of the hall you will see models dressed in Hogwarts robes, the great fireplace and winged beasts holding the lanterns.

 

At the top of the room is the high table where models of the staff stand; Dumbledore at his Owl Lectern, Professors McGonagall and Snape, in their robes, and a huge Hagrid. Here too is the famous Sorting Hat, sitting at the front, just as it did in the films. After about ten minutes you are told they have to close the doors to allow the next group to come through, but you are free to come back later if you wish.

 

 

Explore the Main Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter at your Leisure

You are then free to go at your leisure into the rest of the studios. There is so much to see here it is great to be able to take your time and wander at your leisure. One of the first things you see as you go in is the ‘ice palace’ used in the film The Goblet of Fire, for the Yule Ball.

 

Just beyond you will see the famous gates of Hogwarts, complete with winged boars, based on Il Porcellino, a bronze fountain of a boar, made in the 1630s in Florence, Italy. This is an ideal photo opportunity for you or your children.

 

 

See the Actual Sets from the Eight Harry Potter Films

In the studios, large sets intermingle with smaller props, all of which took months to create. You will see the boys’ dormitory complete with made up beds around the central fire-burner, and Snape’s Potions room with its racks of glass bottles and jars, and cauldrons ready for mixing on the table.

 

Dumbledore's Tower Warner Bros. Studio

Dumbledore's Tower
Warner Bros. Studio

At Dumbledore’s Tower there is one of the most expensive set pieces created – the telescope – only used in a background scene. Here you can see mannequins of Dumbledore standing in his robes, and shelves and shelves of books, as well as old magical artefacts, such as the mysterious pensieve.

 

At the Weasley’s Burrow you can wave your hands over various boards, making them ‘magically’ start performing mundane household chores such as chopping carrots, knitting and ironing! This is popular with kids and adults alike. You can see here the Weasley magical clock with its nine golden hands, each pointing to one member of the Weasley family and their whereabouts.

 

Nearby is Hagrid’s hut with its quirky roof; a cosy indoor scene complete with mannequin of Hagrid, table and chairs, furs, lanterns and cauldron on the fireplace.

 

In the Gryffindor common room, more life size mannequins stand, Ron, Hermione and Harry, and you see the actual chairs by the fire, with real tapestries and portraits (all created from scratch for the films) and the wireless with ‘moving lips.’

 

Around the corner you can view the portrait of the Fat Lady, the Mirror of Erised, and the giant clock pendulum from Hogwarts Clock Tower.

 

If you are interested to see the individual wands for all the characters, a wand dial features all the principle ones, and you can see up close how differently they are all crafted. More than 3000 were made for the films altogether.

 

Malfoy’s Manor features the long table with assembled Death Eaters, Voldemort at the head with Nagini the 20 foot long snake, slithering down underneath a suspended model of the victim in the stories.

 

You will see the area with the set of the Ministry of Magic and the giant Magic is Might monument of muggles being crushed in their rightful place by the statue, from the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

 

 

Wand Demonstration Warner Bros. Studio

Wand Demonstration
Warner Bros. Studio

Interactive Opportunities at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London –
The Making of Harry Potter

As well as the sets and props there are also a few interactive things you can do at the Studio. For example, there is a wand choreography demonstration (free), featuring a video demonstrating correct wand moves; very popular with the kids as they see themselves perform in front of two mirrors, much like the mirror of ‘Erised.’

 

If you wish ‘ride a broomstick’ you can pay extra (check the prices on the board beforehand), to perform in front of a green screen’, on to which a marvellous Hogwarts background is imposed, and as a memento take home with you your choice of photograph, DVD or HD USB. This attraction is a highlight so it is best to check out the queues and make your timings accordingly. Note, photography is not allowed in this area.

 

 

All Aboard the Hogwarts Express! Push your Trolley through Platform 9 ¾ and Step Aboard the Actual Train from the Harry Potter Films

Your next part of the tour takes you through to a recreation of Kings Cross Station, with its own ‘Platform 9 ¾’. Here you can pose for a photo, of yourself, pushing the model luggage trolley ‘through’ the wall, just like in the films.

 

The Hogwarts Express is a beautiful red steam engine, the original used in the films, and you can board it! This is a popular attraction, and there is normally a slight queue to board. Once on board, you can walk down the corridor, peering into the compartments complete with student belongings; sweet wrappers from the trolley lady, satchels and an owl cage.

 

Near to the train is the Railway Shop, a train-themed souvenir shop, where you can purchase Harry Potter memorabilia.

 

 

Knight Bus Warner Bros. Studio

Knight Bus & Privet Drive
Warner Bros. Studio

The Knight Bus, Privet Drive, the Hogwarts Bridge and Godric’s Hollow House

If you sit outside you have a nice view of the outdoor attractions, the Knight Bus, the houses in Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge, and Lily and James’ house in Godric’s Hollow, all sitting alongside one another, which you can view from the outside.

 

At the Knight Bus you can go inside the back door and look inside, seeing the shrunken head with dreadlocks from the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

 

The bridge itself is a highlight – you can wander along it yourself and imagine you are walking up to the famous castle. Outside there is the famous large scale chess pieces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the original Ford Anglia, in which you are free to sit and have your picture taken.

 

 

The Creature Shop, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

After leaving the courtyard area, you enter the second part of your tour, the Creature Shop, where there are displays of the animatronics used, and waxworks of main cast. Here you can see suspended up high the huge model of Aragog, the giant spider and the basilisk’s head.

 

There is also the animatronic Buckbeak, and Hagrid, masks of the Gringott’s Goblins, models of Dobby and Kreacher, and a moving Monster Book of Monsters.

 


Diagon Alley Warner Bros. Studio

Diagon Alley
Warner Bros. Studio

Your Chance to Walk Down the Actual Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter films

Following this is one of the highlights of the Studio, a walk down the actual Diagon Alley! Entering at Gringott’s Bank with all its wonky charm; next door is Ollivanders, the famous shop where Harry gets his first wand. Other shops include Eeylops Owl Emporium, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream shop, Flourish and Blotts Bookseller, and very overtly in its bright colours, the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Fred and George’s Joke Shop. This is a lovely set to take photos in.

 


Set Designs and Paintings from the Harry Potter films

Leading out from Diagon Alley you go through to a room where you can see lots of drawings and blueprints of all the set designs, such as Hagrid’s Hut, the Burrow, Hogsmeade and of course Hogwarts itself.

 

If you like artwork there is a white gallery with lots of beautiful paintings of the characters, with notable scenes from the books.

 

If architecture is of interest, here you will also see amazing scaled models of all the buildings featured in the films; such as Diagon Alley, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Hogsmead and classrooms in Hogwarts. The models themselves are highly intricate and fascinating to see.

 


Hogwarts Warner Bros. Studio

Hogwarts Castle
Warner Bros. Studio

Hogwarts Castle, the Original Scale Model Used in the Films

When you enter the next room there is, in a quietly blue lit room, a very wonderful scene: Hogwarts Castle, the original large castle used for the films, resplendent on its mountain side, with pine forests surrounding.

 

It is a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts; this is very large and fills a great space, allowing you to walk all the way around it. The lighting is very effective, changing through ‘day-time’ to ‘night-time,’ giving very different perspectives.

Every part was detailed so you can see the astronomy tower, the Owlery, the bridge and the courtyard as well as the Great Hall. Around the model castle are many interactive screens – great for kids – giving information on how it was constructed and how it was used in filming.

 

 

Wand Tribute Room, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter

Following the Castle room you exit via an impressive Wand Room, a room stacked high with thousands of pretend wand boxes. This is a lovely tribute room where each member of the cast and crew of all eight films has their name inscribed on a wand box. Appropriately, J.K. Rowling herself has a place here.

 

This room leads you back out to the lobby, through the gift shop where you can pick up a memento of your Harry Potter day.

 

And so ends your Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. A very memorable day out, with masses of opportunities to learn more about the films at every corner. Like Hogwarts, it might just be somewhere you wish to return to again.


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