It’s every Harry Potter lover’s dream – to step into the Great Hall of Hogwarts, to climb aboard the Knight Bus, to see Professor Snape’s Potions classroom in real life.
And, at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – “The Making of Harry Potter,” these sorts of dreams become reality.
An hour bus ride from central London will bring you to Leavesden, which was the studio used to film the majority of the eight wildly popular Harry Potter films. In a stroke of genius, the sets, costumes, and props were all saved and preserved, and now make up what is perhaps the coolest movie museum anywhere in the world.
Your visit will start out in sound stage J, where you can see everything from the Great Hall to the Gryffindor Common room; from Hagrid’s Hut to Dumbledore’s Office; from the Ministry of Magic to The Burrow. Here you can also see a variety of costumes and props used in the movies, as well as watch a video about how the popular wizarding sport of Quidditch was brought to life in the films. If you have time, you can even hop on a broomstick yourself. No doubt the amount of detail in this part of the exhibit will blow you away.
Then it’s off to the outdoor sets, which include Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, and the Potter home in Godric’s Hollow. Grab some snacks at the outdoor cafe, as well as a glass of refreshingly sweet Butterbeer as you pose in Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia and Hagrid’s motorbike.
Next, you’ll head back inside to sound stage K, where you’ll learn more about the behind-the-scenes magic of Harry Potter. Watch an amusing video about the make-up, creatures, and animatronics used in the films (watch out for dragons and giant spiders!), walk through Diagon Alley, see some of the early conceptual art behind J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, and finish up by gaping at the miniature model of Hogwarts that has a whole room to itself.
The studio tour estimates you should be able to make it through all the exhibits (not counting the extensive gift shop) in roughly 3 hours, which is just about the amount of time that this Viator tour allows. Really, though, a true fan could easily spend twice as long getting lost in all the details.
If you find yourself in London and are a Harry Potter fan at all, then this is an absolute must-do. Grab your house scarf, slap on that lightening scar, and get ready to learn the secrets behind the magic.
Read more about Harry Potter tours
All photos courtesy of Amanda Williams.
- Amanda Williams
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