13 March 2014

Day Trips from London: London to Harry Potter Studios

Day trips from London: London to WB Harry Potter Studios

I thought I would do something different this week and take you to a different world. Its a bit of a cheat as the Harry Potter Studios are not really that far from London but still, for the Harry Potter fan, you could easily spend a day there.

Welcome to Hogwarts

Hogwarts Castle exterior

While I have not included photos of everything and especially avoided spoilers, maybe give this post a miss if you really want to be surprised when you go, as it is a bit photo-heavy. By the way, bear with the photos, a lot didn't come out as good as id like.

Other than that, grab your broomstick, pinch of floo powder, Hogwarts express ticket, flying motorbike, hippogriff, thestral or whatever your wizardly mode of transport and come along.

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley - Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Eeylops Owl Emporium

Diagon Alley - Flourish & Blotts, Madam Malkins
I went to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in September 2012 and I loved every minute. There is so much to see. The Great Hall, Griffindor Common Room, The Burrow, Hagrids Hut, Dumbledores Office and more. I could not get over the amazing attention to detail in every set.

Harry Potter Sets
The Burrow kitchen
Griffindor boys dorm
Hogwarts Great Hall
Harry Potter - The Cupboard Under the Stairs
Tom Riddle's Gravestone
Dumbledore's Office
Hogwarts Great Hall
And lets not forget to mention all the props, costumes and other bits and bob that went into creating JK Rowling's world of Harry Potter. Seeing them up close is a treat, they are usually so tiny on screen you don't always appreciate the detail. Oh, and did I mention, you can try butterbeer, flying your own broom, visit Privit Drive, see the Knight Bus and walk across the Hogwarts bridge?

Triwizard Cup and Golden Egg

Time-Turner, Rememberall, Golden Snitch, Deluminator, Crystal Goblet and Philosophers Stone
Hogwarts school books, Quibbler, Daily Prophet and QwickSpell
Daily Prophet newspaper, Harry's Photo Album, wizard coins, Hogwarts Express tickets, Howler and Gringots bank slips
Harry Potter wands for all the actors
Its incredibly amazing to see the work put into the creation of the creatures and the detail put into planning a set before creating the life size version. Dobby is one of my favourites - I totally choked up when he died. The feathers of Fawkes and the lifelike centaurs were among many of the brilliant creatures on display.

Thestral, Dragon, Fawkes, Mermaid, Dobby
Scale models of the different sets and buildings used for the Harry Potter films

Tips for visiting Harry Potter Studios
  • Tickets can only be bought online, no tickets are sold at the studios. Also, they carry an entry time which is to stagger visitors through the experience, so make sure you are there early as you will have to line up.
  • Book well in advance. This is a popular attraction and tickets can be sold out months in advance.
  • To get there by public transport, catch a train from London Euston [EUS] to Watford Junction [WFJ] (duration 15 - 47minutes) and then hop on the shuttle bus which is only £2 for a return trip.
  • The London Overground (orange line) can get you to Watford Junction too though, depending on where you are starting out from, it may take a little longer than using the rail network.
  • Another option is to go by car - parking is free
  • Read the information on the WB Studio website - there is a lot of useful information there.
  • Pace yourself as you go through the tour, there is a lot to see.
  • Remember to put the camera down and just take in the details with your own eyes
  • A great free souvenir for kids are the Harry Potter Activity Passport booklets - just ask one of the Studio team members when you arrive (before you go in to the tour!)
  • Go with fellow Harry Potter fans - its that much more enjoyable when you can geek out with your friends
  • Learn lighting modes on your camera - a lot of the sets scroll through different lighting modes so its a good idea to know the settings on your camera so you can still take good photos
  • Make sure your camera is fully charged, i guarantee you that you will be taking loads of photos.

Visiting the studios can be pricey but for the avid fan it really is a great experience. I'd love to go again myself despite the price - what can I say, I'm a big Harry Potter fan.

Have you been? What was the highlight for you?

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