OK so here’s the deal.
I love Harry Potter. The books, the films, the whole shebang.
When I found out a couple of years ago that there was going to be a Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, I just had to go. So my mum, the wonderful human being that she is, took me for a surprise visit.
My trip was not long after the studio tour first opened, but that was back in 2012 before some other parts and props were brought in and added to the already vast collection (read: THE REAL HOGWARTS EXPRESS!!!). However, the overall tour is pretty much exactly the same now as it was then, so let me share my gallery of Harry Potter wonder so that you will all be extremely excited and go and visit for yourselves!
The studio tour is located right next door to where they actually filmed all of the Harry Potter films. Two soundstages and also a backlot have been filled with props, costumes and sets from the movies. From tiny items like coins from Gringotts to huge pieces such as the Dursley’s house on Privet Drive.
Now I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida, which is utterly amazing, but being around the props and sets that were made and designed as close to the books’ descriptions as possible is really, really awesome. Probably even better in fact.
I don’t want to rave on about every single thing in every single photo, because obviously it is all incredible, so I’ll just give a brief explanation of some of the photos and add any extra information I think might be necessary. And maybe I’ll get excited every now and again…but I’ll try and stay on topic!
Think of this as an illustrative post, rather than as a written one. After all, a picture tells a thousand words.
So hold on to your ‘portkey’ and let me transport you to the world of Harry Potter…
The tour begins in the queue, before you even enter, with Harry Potter’s humble abode.
His room in the cupboard under the stairs. Then, once you have been admitted you will be standing in front of the doors to the Great Hall.
So ridiculously exciting.
And here we are….. amazing!
I love the pig details on the jugs. Honestly, I would have loved to have been at a feast like the ones in the stories; tables just full of food.
Incredibly detailed carved lantern holders.
Here we have the four houses of Hogwarts carved into the fireplace. Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
The details in this room are unbelievable and this is just the beginning!
At the far end of the Great Hall, you may remember that this is where the staff sit for dinner. In the centre of all of them sits Dumbledore
How grand is that lectern?
Some of the other teachers are also represented here through their costumes. Hagrid, Filch, Professor Snape and many more.
…including Professor McGonagall. (The amazing Dame Maggie Smith).
The costumes are flawless, but it isn’t just the staff that are represented here, the students’ uniforms are on display too.
All four houses are represented but this is an example from the Slytherin house, including robes and winter cloaks.
There are many more examples of characters’ costumes from all of the films and from all occasions throughout the whole exhibition, and even the more formal of events are represented.
These are a few from the Yule Ball in The Goblet of Fire. Harry’s and Hermione’s are on the left, with their respective love interests’ outfits on the right (the Bulgarian Quidditch player Viktor Krum and Cho Chang).
Speaking of the Yule Ball….
….have a look at this incredible ‘ice’ sculpture that was made for the special occasion.
There’s even a dessert table to ‘feast’ your eyes on! Can you spot the little mice?
Another beautiful costume for the similarly beautiful Fleur Delacour.
However, there’s not just costumes and ice sculptures to be found, but also large set pieces too.
Like the ceiling of the Great Hall that changes with the weather and seasons, and often has floating candles.
I love this fireplace wall from The Leaky Cauldron.
This is Harry Potter’s Gryffindor dorm room. It looks just like a real one, clothes and all!
I found this under the bed. Guess who it belongs to?
The main trio in the Gryffindor common room. Those chairs look so comfy, perfect to curl up in in front of the fire don’t you think?
Let’s take a tour of the rest of Hogwarts, starting with an inside view of the huge timepiece at the top of one of the towers.
Magnificent. The design is just gorgeous.
But how about some more familiar sights. Perhaps this one?
That’s right. The entrance to the headmaster’s office. So grand and regal, much like the lectern we saw earlier.
And inside the office is no less grand. You can actually walk around in this section (not the photographed area though) so that you can see a lot of details and familiar props like the pensieve that Dumbledore, and Harry, uses to view his memories.
But how about the classrooms?
Why not take a look round Potions…
So many bottles and jars full of many different ingredients to brew your potion with.
And there are even cauldrons to make them in.
The sets literally look like people were just here maybe 5 seconds earlier and everything is just as it was. Books left out, clothes too, marks from potion bottles where the dust hasn’t even touched them. They look lived in. The attention to detail is phenomenal.
Here we even have a sneak peek in the window of Hagrid’s hut.
So the rooms and set pieces are amazing but what about all the little, but hugely important props.
Like the wands.
The unsung heroes, and villains, of the books and films. Every character has a different style and make of wand that suits them, after all the wand chooses the person. Lord Voldemort’s is super creepy, which I suppose befits his personality.
The Tri-Wizard Cup and the Golden Egg clue from The Goblet of Fire.
Tom Riddle’s (Voldemort) diary with the fateful basilisk fang from Chamber of Secrets.
Props do come in all shapes and sizes so let’s take a look at some bigger pieces.
This is the box from The Goblet of Fire that held a huge surprise. (no spoilers here)
Your money should be ‘safe’ behind this hugely elaborate vault door at Gringott’s bank.
One of my favourite pieces; the huge door in The Chamber of Secrets.
As we come towards the end of soundstage number one, we encounter some more costumes (both good and evil), the paper props that are found everywhere in the films, and also the Ministry of Magic.
Fancy a game of Quidditch?
These are the school’s Quidditch uniforms, with Harry Potter’s on the far left and his Hogwarts enemy Draco Malfoy’s in the middle.
On the subject of Malfoy, could this death eater mask belong to his father?
A more positive sight comes from the robes from The Prisoner of Azkaban, which although may be from the notorious prison, they in fact belong to Sirius Black, a hugely popular character in the stories.
Next up is the Ministry of Magic. The centre and hub of everything magic, but the power does not always lie with the correct people.
Here is one of the statues, or monuments, housed inside the MoM. The people being crushed by the huge piece of stone saying ‘Magic is Might’, are actually Muggles (human beings without magic).
The Ministry clearly viewed those with magic to be of a much higher status than those without.
Dolores Umbridge is one such person who views herself above almost all other people. She’s small, wears pink and seems very unassuming, however do not be fooled by these traits, including her love of cats (see below!). She is an awful person and cares very little about the lives of others.
Her office is absolutely ghastly!
This next piece is a little more toned down than the bright pink of the office above!
The Black family tree.
You may wonder why some faces have been burned from the tapestry. Well….you’ll just have to read/watch The Order of the Pheonix to find out!
The details included in the Harry Potter world are unmatched with things being made even if they only appear for a split second on screen. Paper items are one such section.
Some items are very important, like Harry’s letter from Hogwarts, but some, like the Quibbler magazine below, don’t always get much limelight but are nonetheless no less important when being created.
Even wizards need 3D glasses sometimes it seems!
A handful of the excellent Weasley products….
…including ‘Comb-A-Chameleon’; a favourite of mine from the display because the title is brilliant! Comb-a Comb-a Comb-a Comb-a Comba-a-Chameleooooon….
The famous Mr H Potter letters are floating in this case alongside piles of ‘Daily Prophet’ papers. These papers are incredible because all of the articles are actually written, not just the main headlines, which must have been fun for both the creators to write and the cast to read.
Can you spot the chocolate frog?
In between sound stages is the outside area where you can sit back and relax with… what else but a famous Butterbeer! A fizzy, sweet, buttery, caramely drink with a sticky, sweet, marshmallow foam top (probably not one for the diabetics…). It is how you imagine it to be in the books; slightly butterscotch flavoured with a thick foam that sticks to your upper lip.
You can enjoy your Butterbeer whilst looking around, and most likely photographing, some of the larger pieces of set.
The Knight Bus as seen in The Prisoner of Azkaban. (I believe they also have one in Florida too at the Diagon Alley part of Universal Studios)
Tom Riddle’s family’s grave, as seen in The Goblet of Fire.
The Dursley’s house at Number 4 Privet Drive. It looks so real, just like the houses in the road behind my parents’ house!!
The long covered walkway at Hogwarts as seen in many of the films, if not all!
However, this next piece is another favourite.
The giant chess pieces from The Philosopher’s Stone.
They had a selection, but the knight and the queen were the best for me.
Have you finished your Butterbeer? Let’s continue.
The second soundstage immerses you in the world of animals, magical creatures and make up; Diagon Alley (including Gringotts); a lot of artwork and models; and even a special surprise at the end.
The make up and model section is incredible, from Aragog the giant spider, to the goblin’s faces from Gringotts. There is a great selection of objects and characters from the films; even the somewhat aggressive Monster Book of Monsters is here!
Here we have one of the creepiest of all of the magical beings (or in this case non-beings). A Dementor.
These horrible creatures make the air go cold and they take away all the joy and happiness that you have ever known. I same cases they have even sucked out their victims’ souls.
Gives you the shivers, right?
But on a jollier note, we are now heading into the happy place that is Diagon Alley….
You can actually walk down Diagon Alley and peer into the windows of the different shops that appear on the street. Here is the famous ‘Ollivanders’, from which every witch and wizard comes to find their wands.
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes – Fred & George’s joke shop on Diagon Alley. The hat moves up and down to reveal a rabbit sat on the animatronic’s head!
Last but not least, the most important building on Diagon Alley. Gringotts Bank.
Run by goblins, Gringotts is a fortress for the money and belongings of members of the wizarding world. Gringotts is visited throughout the books, and the visits normally involve some kind of revelation or exciting event.
As we leave Diagon Alley, we head into a room full of wand boxes, just as appears in Ollivanders.
But the labels on these wand boxes are no ordinary labels, as some of them have familiar names…
Alan Rickman plays one of my favourite characters, Severus Snape.
You can spend ages in this room looking for the names of cast members!
After looking at artwork and models of the design of Hogwarts, we are intreated to a beautiful model right at the end of the tour.
The picture that follows is just a glimpse of the amazing surprise that awaits you. This picture in no way will spoil it for you, as it does the model absolutely no justice at all.
Stay a while, marvelling the design and what part it played in the films, and you will be entreated to so much more!
One part I haven’t shown is the interactive section part way through the tour. You can actually try on a robe and ride a broomstick in front of a green screen to see yourself flying over the landscapes around Hogwarts. It’s so much fun and you can buy a video or a photo of yourself afterwards to commemorate your achievement!!
Of course there is a gift shop at the end where you can buy all manners of Harry Potter related merchandise from food to wands to pyjamas. Take your pick!
As a fan of Harry Potter, I cannot recommend this tour enough. It is pretty pricey from £33 for adults (16+), but for me it really is worth it to see all these amazing sets and props. You really feel immersed in the world. You must buy tickets in advance from the website, as they are not available to purchase once at the studio.
These pictures are just a tiny fraction of what is available to see, so go and explore and find those magical details that you may have missed before or even the large famous pieces that jump right off of the page and screen.
Also, the Hogwarts Express is now there, so really that’s a trip worth making in itself!
Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR.
Opening times are from 10am-8pm with the last entry at 4.30pm.
Prices are from £33 adults (16+), £25.50 children (5-15) and children 4 and under can enter for free. Just remember to purchase your tickets before you go or your little wizards and witches will be really disappointed. There are also family discounts available and group discounts for more than 10 people.