Hi everyone! First off, I hope you’ve all had a nice holiday and an extremely happy new year with your loved ones. Without further ado, here is my post about when I went to the Warner Bros. Studios in Watford, England for the Harry Potter tour. Now, this wasn’t my first time going to the studio tour, but it felt like it was with how emotional I got, from beginning to end as a huge Potter fan.
Getting there was fun in itself as well. If you’re coming from central London, the best route to go was from Euston station and funnily enough, it’s right next door to the iconic Kings Cross station, where young Harry took some of his first steps into the magical world. There’s even a little area in the actual station where you can take a photo with platform 9 and 3/4, complete with your House scarf and a trolley between the walls. I didn’t stop by this previous trip, but I did for my trip two years ago which I will attach the photo below. Keep in mind though, if you will be stopping at Kings Cross before your scheduled time at the studios, that there’s always a line so plan accordingly.
There’s always someone standing on the side with all the House scarves so whatever your House is, you can proudly represent it. Obviously as you can see, I’m a Hufflepuff.
Once I got to Watford station (the station where the studio is,) it wasn’t hard finding where I needed to go. At the exit of the station, there was a double decker bus that kind of represented the Knight Bus.
This takes you directly to the studios, with a little teaser of the making of the films playing in the bus while you’re on your way.
Once I got to the studios, I was in awe of how big it was on the outside, even having some of the billboard posters of some of the films displayed by the entrance, as well as a sign with that familiar font we Potterheads are more than familiar with. Once inside, photos of the cast can be seen overhead, along with a few props you might recognize.
After walking through the entrance, the workers led us into a room where they showed us a brief glimpse into just how big this story is all around the world, with interviews from the woman herself, J.K. Rowling along with others who helped the story come to life. Later, we were led into a room that looked like a movie theater and they played another short film. This time with the golden trio (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) explaining a few things from their perspective. Then to my surprise, the screen was lifted and it revealed the door of the Great Hall. It was this moment that I started to get shivers down my entire body.
Some of the workers even pick out a few lucky members to push on the doors, opening it to reveal the iconic Great Hall. I won’t lie, I got a little tears eyed as I walked down the Great Hall, seeing all the costumes and tables from the films. The photo below is of the Hogwarts staff up at the head table and also the Hufflepuff section of the table and since I went in early October, it was decorated for Halloween.
The entire studio tour after entering the Great Hall was self guided, so everyone was able to take their time with photo ops and just admiring all the props. Throughout the entire studios, there were also little activities for kids and people who were interested. There was even a table where they show you how they made unicorn blood and a bunch of other things from the films. There was also an area where you can ‘fly’ on a broomstick in front of a green screen, which can be seen below.
Next to this quidditch area was also Malfoy Manor, where Voldemort and his Death Eaters devised a plan regarding Harry. Also in the area was the Burrow, Hagrid’s Hut and Professor Snape and Slughorn’s potions classroom.
Let’s not forget the iconic Gryffindor common room.
This year, there was a new addition to the studios that I never got to see, and that was the Forbidden Forest. There was a lot of mist effect, which was pretty cool. Once you walk in, you’ll be greeted by Hagrid, and then you’ll see every creature in the dark forest that was in the films. I’ll admit, it was still really cool to see, but wasn’t really to die for.
From the Forbidden Forest, the pathway led directly into Platform 9 and 3/4 and it’s actually one of my favorite exhibits in the studios. There’s just something about it that makes me feel like I’m actually at King’s Cross station, waiting to board the Hogwarts Express.
You can actually step onto the train itself, hence the line of people in the background of this photo. Inside shows each compartment that we’ve seen in the movies, from the moment where Harry and Ron first met to the infatuation Lavender had with Ron in the Half Blood Prince where she drew their initials on the compartment door. Nearby, they also had an interactive experience where you can sit in a ‘compartment’ right next to a green screen window and shows you how those filming processes were done. To add another note, there is also a ‘barrier’ to enter Platform 9 3/4 so if you didn’t get a chance to stop by the real Kings Cross station for a photo, you can take one at the studios like I did this time around.
Now obviously I could go on and on about the part of my trip, but I think this would be the longest blog post ever written. But I think I’ll end this post here with quite possibly one of the greatest views: Hogwarts. This was what they used to film all the aerial views of the castle that we see in the films and it’s pretty big in person. It spanded from the second floor down to the first floor, and the lighting always changed, showing us how it would look during the ‘daytime’ and ‘nighttime.’
And this is the last view that you see before exiting towards the gift shop, along with some parting words from J.K. Rowling herself.
Not gonna lie, I got a teensy bit emotional at this part. But anyway, that concludes the studio tour and one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. But I also want to know: are you a big Potterhead like me? If so, I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions on the books and movies. And what’s an experience you’ve had that’s memorable to you? Let me know! Bye for now!