Reviewed by Claire Farmer
We have long been fans of the Harry Potter book and films, so when we had the chance to visit the studios in Watford, we jumped at it.
The studios are well sign posted and the car park is large. Alternatively you can park at Watford Junction and catch the shuttle bus in.
Nothing could prepare me for just how truly magical it all is! The attention to detail is spectacular – even the booking-in desk in reception is based on the counter from Gringotts Bank and is surrounded by props from the films such as suitcases and birdcages.
The tour began with a short film in a very intimate cinema. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint fondly recalled their years spent on set, which set the tone of the tour.
Then we entered the Great Hall… The place where the characters met the sorting hat, heard news that a troll was on the loose and the setting of the Yule Ball. The set is so well dressed that I instantly imagined myself attending Hogwarts as a pupil.
The tour continued with more sets and props; the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, Dumbledore’s office, potions class to name but a few, complete with beautiful portraits, books and individually labelled bottles. I could have spent an eternity here, marvelling at it all.
Although we were able to walk around at our own pace, there were plenty of staff on hand to answer questions and enthuse about everything on display.
The new addition to the studio tour is the Hogwarts Express. The platform is a recreation of King’s Cross Station – but the train is a real locomotive that was retired from service in 1963. Beautifully restored, it will enthral both Harry Potter fans and train enthusiasts alike.
Moving on to the back lot, we were treated to another iconic vehicle – the triple decker Knight Bus. Outside we also visited Privet Drive – where the Dursley’s house is located – the Potter House in Godric’s Hollow and the ancient Hogwarts Bridge.
Back inside there are masks and moulds, animatronics and models, creatures and animals. I was astounded by the sheer number of hours that went in to preparing each individual character.
As we rounded the corner, we entered Diagon Alley. True fans couldn’t help but be moved by this sight. Passing Gringotts Bank, peering through the window of the exceptionally stocked Ollivanders, Flourish & Blotts, Slug & Jiggers and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes was thrilling. It was just as I imagined – and more!
The last room of the tour left me breathless. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise – but you might want to ensure that you have your camera…
The entire tour was simply incredible. I want to do it all over again! And we’re already planning our next trip.
Individual tickets cost from £25.50 to £35.45. Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children) £101.
The Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour opens on 19 March 2015 with the addition of Platform 9¾ and the Hogwarts Express steam engine. For more information or to book tickets visit www.wbstudiotour.co.uk.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR