Day 3 of our London Vacation was a special day since Kristen and I took a trip to Hogwarts. Well not really, but close. We headed on a half-day trip to legendary Warner Brothers Leavesden Studios for a Harry Potter studio tour. It was worth every penny if you’re a fan of the books and movies!
We booked our day trip with Golden Tours, but if you have patience you can get there via Tube and buses. I’d rather just have a straight shot to the studios and have someone else take me there. Our tour was at 10am but we had to be at Victoria Station before 8am since it took an hour and 15 minutes to get there. Thankfully we got to the studio at 9:30am and didn’t hit any traffic. I highly recommend going to the very first tour, that way it won’t be crowded walking around and might be not hit a crazy amount of traffic.
As the bus arrived at the studios, we exited and waited a few minutes before the doors open. Then waited on another line to go into the tour. This all felt like being at Disney with the way the set was. I bet they would have loved something like this. You first go into a pre-theater room, and then into a theater and watch a short movie about the making of the movies and books. You’re then brought into The Great Hall and you’re mouth immediately drops.
You see all tables, costumes and lifelike mannequins on display. After that, you can walk freely throughout the tour as you go from one section to another. You see the Goblet of Fire ball costumes, the dorm rooms, gates, misc. things like Hogsmeade/Hogwarts signs, and many other things. They have all the different kinds of wands on display, and the huge working clock thing seen in Prisoner of Azkaban. I was particularly pleased to see Dumbledore’s office which has all those great paintings inside, including the Sword of Gryffindor! Seeing the door of Chambers of Secrets was also really cool. I always like looking at the bad guys stuff for movies. The costumes are better & cooler I guess.
After looking around for a bit, we went into the green screen area where you can have yourself filmed and photographed in the car from Chambers of Secrets and sit on a broom. This was about the only thing you couldn’t take pictures of, because they want you to spend money…which we did of course. We’re suckers when it comes to Harry Potter. They first stick you in the car and make you pretend to drive it and go all crazy. I was acting like a stupid idiot of course. The same for the broomstick picture and video. I was wearing Cedric Diggory’s robes…OMG ROBERT PATTINSON. hahahaha.
After that, we went outside where it thankfully wasn’t rainy but there is a roof on part of the area. You can buy some Butterbeer, which we were eager to try. I had no expectations but Kristen did, and she HATED it! She had a few sips and didn’t finish it. I drank my entire cup and hald of hers haha. It’s pretty much A&W cream soda. While outside, we took pictures on the Knight Bus, the Weasleys’ car, the Hogwarts bridge and Privet Drive. Then it was back inside for the second part of the tour.
Inside here was a lot of masks, creatures heads and bodies and a lot of awesome stuff! I enjoyed watching the mechanical Mandrakes and the Care of Magical Creatures book. You hit a button and they would move and do stuff. When you continue, you end up in one of my favorite parts of the tour, in Diagon Alley! I would just look around and was in awe of everything. I wanted to go into every store, get my wand and owl, and especially hang out in Fred and George’s store.
The very end of the tour, you come to a BIG room that has a “bigature” model of Hogwarts. My jaw dropped….I was simply amazed! Between Diagon Alley and that, those were my favorite parts of the tour. They saved the best for last I guess. Just seeing all the little detail that goes into these models is remarkable.
The tour concludes in a wand room where it has names of all the people involved with the movies on the boxes. I spotted JK Rowlings and Richard Harris’ boxes. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this isn’t to be missed if you’re near London!
The bus ride home was short and we stopped around Baker Street. He decided to go to the small Sherlock Holmes Museum and the Beatles store while we were in the area. We did a little shopping on Oxford Street again and headed back to the hotel. It was a long day but a great day!
If you’re interested in purchasing prints or licensing these photos, be sure to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’m currently trying to save up for a new camera so any little bit helps!
Tags: butterbeer, Diagon Alley, england, harry potter, Harry Potter studio tour, Hogwarts, JK Rowling, Knights Bus, Leavesden Studios, london, travel photography, uk, united kingdom, vacation, Warner Brothers, Warner Brothers studio tour