It had been two years since we had visited Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London and while it was as exciting and magical as ever, several things have changed. It is definitely worth another visit if you haven’t been for a while.
If you need to pick a time to visit then I would recommend going on your birthday. Tell the staff as you will get a cute birthday badge and also get the opportunity to open the doors of The Great Hall. This was hugely exciting for the twins, who were celebrating their 8th birthday on the day of their visit and really made the experience more memorable for them. This year we were invited to an event on a Friday evening. This seemed like a good time to visit because the queue for the last public entry was really short and the tour would be much quieter while you are in there. Once you get through the first entrance area there are only very short queues anyway.
The car park area has changed since our last visit. There is now a new entrance area with a large foyer with a big exhibit for Fantastic Beasts. You then have a few long corridors to get to before you come to the main entrance. This only takes a couple of minutes. In the entrance, there is a larger cafe and coffee shop. This is great if you have had a long journey as, once inside, it is quite a long way around until you get to the Backlot Cafe.
As well as lots of permanent exhibits there are often extra props and sets for special events. While we were visiting there was a special Goblet of Fire feature with lots of exciting things to see from that movie. I think every time you visit you would see different things, as there is so much to look at. There are lots of different sets and you can find your favourite part of Hogwarts. I love seeing the Gryffindor common room and the potions lab as well as Dumbledore’s office. Seeing it up close makes it feel more real.
One of the best parts of a trip to Warner Studio Tours is that you can actually try out the special effects. There is an area where you can make a broomstick fly but also you can go in a green screen and ride on a broomstick or take a trip on the Hogwarts Express. You can buy a photo or video of the day as the perfect memento of your trip.
The best thing is that now it comes with a code so you can get a free digital online version of your photo. I love the photo of the three girls together. This is a really fun experience even if you choose not to buy the pictures or video as you can see yourself flying through Hogwarts on the screen. It’s fun for your family to watch too.
Another new area is the Hagrid cam. This is a fun special effect where it looks like one member of your party is as big as Hagrid.
The girls were not sure if they wanted to visit the new Forbidden Forest area. While it was very creepy the fact you could press buttons along the way to make the special effects took some of the fear away. We loved getting to meet Buckbeak and the girls were thrilled when he bowed to them. They also loved being able to make a Patronus, you can see that in the video clip.
When we next visit we need to spend more time in the Hogwarts Express area. We are always a bit tired at this point and want to sit down for a drink. I think next time we will rush past and go to The Backlot Cafe and then come back as there is so much to see and I never get a proper video or photos.
This is a large area which really feels like you are standing on Platform 9 3/4. Steam rises from the train and it feels like you are in a working staton.
The Hogwarts Express is a working train and it is so much fun pretending the girls are off to school for their first year at Hogwarts.
Insode the Hogwarts Express each of the carriages is decorated for the films. It is fun to see how the different props represent the films.
One of my favourite parts was our dinner at the Backlot Cafe. there was something so fun and magical about eating next to the Knight Bus with Privet Drive in the background. We enjoyed huge burgers which really kept us going and were much more reasonably priced than I was expecting.
I would definitely recommend the Butterbear ice cream. It is such a tasty treat and just enough to keep you going.
Of course, no trip is complete without a Butterbeer. It tastes a little like an ice cream float and is a bit of an acquired taste.
You can buy it in a plastic cup but if you want a souvenir the Butterbeer mug costs under £7. We bought two last year and the girls use them constantly. They are a perfect size and made from hard plastic which washes well in the dishwasher. There is a handy flagon washing area in the cafe so you can wash out your mug before taking it home.
When we first visited Privet Drive was going to be a temporary exhibit. It was obviously very popular as it is now there all the time. Inside is the room with all the Hogwarts acceptance letters flying out of the chimney. You can see a photo in my previous post. Molly said it shows that Harry would never have survived without Hermione as he wasn’t clever enough to catch one of the letters.
The girls call this Dobby’s bridge and walked down it about five times.
Yoh can also ride some of the iconic vehicles from the movie. Hagrid’s motercycle was fun.
The Weasley’s Ford Anglia.
And of course the Knight bus.
The next area shows the puppets and has the models of some of our favourite characters. Charlotte was delighted to find Dobby, her favourite character. There are some clever screens which show you how the animation process works and where you can make Dobby move. Of course, Charlotte had to teach Dobby how to Floss. You can see it in our video.
You can also see a moving Hedgewig who looks so fluffy and even the freaky looking Voldemort baby.
We enjoyed taking a stroll through Diagon alley and looking in all the shop windows.
The girls would definitely choose to go in Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes if they could.
There was so much to see and do that I actually forgot that the last thing is the best of all. The scale model of Hogwarts itself. It looked even larger and more incredible than I remembered. Pictures really don’t do it justice.
Finally you leave through Ollivander’s wand shop. The girls had fun looking for their favourite character and actors name on the wands.
Make sure you save lots of money for the gift shop. It isn’t cheap but the items are high quality and are hard to buy anywhere else. If you have a small budget I would recommend the jewellery, which is really pretty. Molly has a charm bracelet and used her pocket money to buy a couple of charms for it, which only cost £5 each. Plus of course the iconic Bertie Bots Every Flavour Beans.
We spent over three hours on the tour and could have stayed even longer. A standard ticket costs £41 which is in line with similar days out. There is so much to learn for lovers of film in general even if you are not a Potterhead. If you love Harry Potter it is a wonderful tour with so much to see and do, we would have visited again the next day if you could.
Our merchadise haul from Warner Brothers Studio Tour