Looking for some useful tips for visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London? We are here to help!
If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, a trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London is a must-do.
Located in Watford, the WB Harry Potter Studios are where the Harry Potter movies were filmed.
Here you will find everything that was used to make the films. This includes some of the sets (such as the Grand Hall), the props, the costumes but also many interactive attractions.
It’s important to note that this is not a theme park like you would find in Orlando. These were the actual studios and they were turned into more of an exhibition for visitors to learn more about the movies and how they were made.
So, are you ready to discover all our Harry Potter studios tips? Let’s get started!
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Table of Contents
1. Book your tickets in advance
The Studio Tour is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, and tickets often sell out.
There are two ways you can book tickets for the Harry Potter Studios.
The first one is to book your ticket directly on the Warner Bros studios website. This is ideal if you are booking well in advance and don’t want transport included.
The second option is to book a tour from London. This will include the entrance to the studios as well as transportation from central London.
As a general thing, it is advisable to book at least 2 or 3 months in advance if you are booking direct.
As previously mentioned, tickets sell out fast! Also, it’s important to take into consideration the season since some periods are busier than others.
The studios are open most days but they do close for a few days in November and around Christmas time so make sure to check this beforehand.
2. Book a tour from London if you are looking for last-minute tickets
If you’re looking for tickets last minute and none of them is available on the website, don’t worry! You can also book a tour from London that includes the entrance to the studios and transportation.
You can book these tours even if they are tickets on the website since they include transportation so they work out about the same price as paying for everything separately (Ticket, tube, train and shuttle) but they are particularly convenient when you want to score some last-minute tickets.
The fact is that we can’t always plan months or weeks in advance so if you are already in London or are going soon and really want to visit the Harry Potter studios, make sure to book one of these tours.
3. Book an early slot and arrive early to maximize your time at the Studios
When you book your ticket, you will be asked to choose a timed entrance.
The studios open at 10 AM so you can book anytime from then.
In average, visitors spend 4 hours in the studios however, you are actually free to stay as long as you want.
This means that if you want to get there at 10AM and stay until it closes in the evening, you can do so!
For this reason, I highly recommend to book an early slot (10AM, 10:30AM and 11AM are ideal).
That way, you will have loads of time to explore, take your time for lunch and will have more than enough time.
If you are a huge Harry Potter fan, this is the best tip you’ll find!
Regardless, even if you don’t want to spend more than 4 hours, you can always leave whenever you wish and will have the afternoon to enjoy your time in London.
If you take a midday slot, you will need to dedicate the entire day to the Harry Potter Studios since it will take a couple of hours to get there and back.
3. Plan your journey from London
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is located in Leavesden, which is about 30 miles from London.
While this doesn’t seem too far away, you will actually need between 1 and 2 hours to get there from central London.
There are different ways to get there but the most convenient is by taking a tour that includes transportation.
This way, you don’t have to worry about anything and will be taken straight to the studios.
If you want to do it yourself, then head to Euston station and take a train to Watford junction (you can use your Oyster card for that but it’s one of the furthest zones so the cap will be a bit high).
From Watford Junction, simply walk across to the carpark and you will see the Harry Potter buses. They are impossible to miss since they are entirely decorated.
The shuttle will take you straight to the studios and costs £6 return.
Make sure to keep your ticket for the return!
READ MORE: 20 Best Harry Potter Things to do in London
4. Consider driving (if you have a car and are not in London)
If you are not in London and have a car, driving is definitely a good way to go. You can easily get there and the area is not busy. It’s actually pretty remote.
There is free parking at the studios so that’s definitely a plus!
If you’ve been on the website, you may have seen that there is a closer carpark for £10 but the free carpark is very close. It only takes 1 minute (if even) to get to the entrance so unless you or one of your passengers can’t walk 100 yards, you can simply use the free carpark.
When you get there, follow the signs to the carpark. You will be asked to show your ticket to enter so keep it handy.
If you get there before 11 AM, it should be pretty empty too.
5. Dress appropriately
Since you will be walking around a lot, it’s advisable to dress comfortably.
The studios are air-conditioned so you might feel cold in the beginning but once you start walking, you will warm up.
It’s also important to take into consideration that there might be some rain and since some parts of the studios are outdoors, you may want to take a good jacket.
There is a fair bit of walking around so make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Finally, I would advise you not to wear straight or short skirts since it could be uncomfortable if you are trying the Quidditch activities.
6. Wear your Harry Potter clothes and accessories!
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re dressing up for the occasion, why not go all out and wear your Harry Potter clothes and accessories?
You will fit right in and will feel like you are a part of the magic!
Also, you will be taking a lot of photos and they will look even better if you are a bit dressed up!
Rest reassured, you don’t actually need to rock your cape but don’t hesitate to wear your Hogwarts house scarf or a hat.
7. Ask loads of questions!
The staff working at the Harry Potter studios are really friendly and they love answering questions.
There are people in each room and although it may look like they are watching everything, they are actually here to answer your questions and tell you more about what you see.
Don’t hesitate to go see them and ask your questions. If you don’t have any questions, then just ask them if they have any interesting facts to share with you. They will have loads!
For example, if you are in the Gringotts Bank, they will tell you how it was built. They may also mention the Harry Potter reunion since it was filmed in the studios and Tom Felton was sitting there for parts of it.
They will also show you some hidden gems.
Basically, they have extensive knowledge and talking with them will make your experience even better.
They all speak English but a lot of people also speak other languages. Make sure to look at their badge to see which language they speak.
8. Take loads of photos!
This is another no-brainer. The Harry Potter Studios are a paradise when it comes to photo opportunities.
You will want to take loads of photos and you should not refrain.
This is your one chance to get loads of Harry Potter themed pictures!
There are so many photo spots in the studios including Platform 9 3/4, the Great Hall, the Gringotts Bank and more.
Take your time and if you need someone else to take a photo, don’t hesitate to ask one of the other visitors.
Everyone is here to enjoy the studios and nobody would run with your phone. Also, they may ask you to take a picture of them in return. Win-Win!
9. Take your time
This is probably the most important tip I can give you.
The Harry Potter studios are a lot to take in and there is so much to see!
I would advise you to not rush through it and to take your time. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should enjoy it!
As previously mentioned, you are not being rushed for time here. You can stay as long as you want so take your time and enjoy.
If you are scared you are taking too much time and will then have to rush, here is a tip.
The restaurant is located halfway through the tour so as long as you don’t reach it, that means you haven’t done half.
Once you do, you can consider it will take you as much time to finish.
10. Get a Harry Potter passport and the stamps!
The Warner Bros studios were built in a very interactive way. They did everything they could to make sure that visitors would have fun and would bring back loads of memories
If you want, you can get a Harry Potter passport and the stamps of all the places you visit!
You can get them at the entrance or by the first stamp station.
You will find different pages with stories and games as well as a spot to get your stamps.
The stamp stations are located all around the studios. You can see where is the next one by simply turning the pages.
It’s very fun and you will enjoy looking for the stamp stations. Also, it’s free and you get to take it back home!
11. Do a Harry Potter Quiz
If you want to add a bit of fun to the experience, you could consider playing a bit and doing a Harry Potter quiz!
You can find a free Harry Potter quiz here. Get it on your phone or print it beforehand and ask your crew the questions.
This will test your knowledge of Harry Potter and will create a fun atmosphere during the visit.
12. Get food at the Harry Potter Studios or bring your own
The Harry Potter Studios have a restaurant located on the premises. This is a great opportunity to get some food and relax for a bit, especially since it’s located about halfway through the tour.
The restaurant has a wide variety of food, including vegan and vegetarian options. It’s also really affordable! Your meal should cost under £10 and can be paid cash or on card.
This is a pleasant surprise since usually restaurants are very expensive in this kind of things.
Since it’s so easy and affordable, I recommend to get food there.
However, it’s important to know that you are allowed to bring food in. If you are travelling with kids, this will be a cheaper option.
You can find picnic areas outside, just next to the knight bus and the bridge.
Please note that you will also find a Starbucks and a snack place at the entrance (once you went through the security control but before starting the tour itself).
You can fill out bottles of water as well so I would highly recommend to take a bottle beforehand.
13. Try a butterbeer
It doesn’t get any more Harry Pottery than a good butterbeer.
Butterbeer is the ultimate wizarding drink and you can’t get it in many places since the recipe is secret. The Harry Potter Studios in London are one of the rare places in the world where you can get a real butterbeer.
Getting one is a must-do! You will either love it or hate but this is not really the point. It’s just a cool thing to do and to experience at least once.
Also, if you get it in the butterbeer mug, it will be a great prop for photos!
The butterbeer bar is located right by the restaurant (Backlot Café). You can get it in a regular plastic class or in a butterbeer mug (it costs £3 more but it’s a nice souvenir).
Since it’s right by the knight bus and the Dursley house, you can take beautiful photos holding your butterbeer.
Please note that a butterbeer is alcohol-free and therefore suitable for children.
That having been said, it’s very sweet so you may want to share it with someone. You may not manage to finish it on your own.
14. Use the Harry Potter Fan Club App
The Harry Potter Fan Club App is a great way to get extra content and make the most of your visit.
Available on both Android and iOS, it includes a map of the studios, videos, photos and more.
15. Do all the green screen attractions
A lot of scenes in the Harry Potter movies were created using special effects and CGI. Amongst them, you will find all the Quidditch scenes.
Basically, and without being spoiler, the actors would ride their broom in front of a green screen and the images in the background would be added in post production.
You will find these green screen sets in the studios and not only do you get to see them, but you can also try them!
There are two of them, the Quidditch and the train carriages right by the Hogwarts Express.
As you get there, you will realise that photos are being taken and you have to pay extra to get them. While this is true, it’s important to note that you can do them and not buy the photos.
The photos are nice souvenirs but there will be no pressure to buy them.
Knowing that, you might as well make the best of the experience and get in line to play some quidditch!
This is important to note because these attractions are very good fun and super interactive. You will have such a good time doing them but yet, a lot of people skip thinking they have to pay.
You do not have to pay to do it. You simply have to pay if you want to buy the photos but once again, there is no obligation to do so.
16. Get a digital guide if you speak another language
The Harry Potter Studios are all in English and while this is not an issue for some, if English is not your first language, you may struggle with some of the explanations or even names (all names were translated differently).
For this reason, it could be a great idea to get a digital guide. They can be hired at the entrance for less than £5 and provide information and facts in many languages including French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and more.
You can book it with your ticket beforehand or simply head to the reception desk and ask for one. You will be provided a small digital screen and headphone and can go around the studios while learning even more about the world of Harry Potter.
17. Use the free Wi-Fi
The Harry Potter Studios offer free Wi-Fi which is great because it means you won’t have to use your data roaming while you’re there!
Also, the coverage is not always great in certain parts of the studios so it comes very handy to have free Wi-Fi available.
18. Use the cloakroom
Located at the entrance, the cloakroom is free of charge which is perfect if you want to leave your bag or coat.
They will be safe and sound at the cloakroom and you won’t have to lug things around.
That having been said, it can be a bit cold in certain parts of the studios and of course outside, so I wouldn’t leave everything there.
19. Watch the movies before you go
If you want to make the most of your visit, watching the Harry Potter movies is a must.
As you know, the Harry Potter Studios are entirely dedicated to the movies. This is not about the books.
Of course the movies were based on the books but the WB are very much about the movies.
If you want to learn more about the books, make sure to visit Edinburgh. It will be a much better place for that.
Knowing that you will discover everything about the movies, it would be much better if you watch them before going.
Not only will you recognise many of the sets and props but you will also understand more of the references.
It will get you excited and you will have the images very fresh in your mind which will enhance your experience.
20. Get some souvenirs
The gift shop at the studios is great and it’s definitely worth leaving with a few souvenirs.
There are many different items available, including clothes, wands, prop replicas and more.
While they are not cheap, they are definitely worth buying as they will remind you of your amazing day at the Harry Potter Studios!
You may also be interested in:
- The Ultimate Guide for visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London: tips, tricks & Review
- 20 Best Harry Potter Things to do in London
- Harry Potter in Scotland: 13 Harry Potter locations & experiences you can only have in Scotland
- Harry Potter Train in Scotland: Ultimate Guide to riding the Jacobite train in real life