Top 10 things to do at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, London

The making of Harry Potter logo

After seven books and eight films, the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour is a must for any Potter fan. From the Great Hall to the Gryffindor Common room and Privet Drive to the Potions Classroom, there’s so much to see and do. Don’t miss anything on our top 10 Harry Potter Studio Tour ‘must-do’ list!

1. Unleash your inner Harry Potter geek

There’ll be no worries about coming across as geeky on the Harry Potter Studio Tour – everybody is!  From the enthusiastic staff who know the stories inside out to the groups of children who dress as their favourite characters (including occasional fans of Dobby wearing nothing but large pillowcases), you’re sure to be in like-minded company. Get your robes out, dust off your pointy hat and draw on your best lightning bolt scar!

Great Hall2. Relive the feasts, duels and howlers of the Great Hall

After a short welcome movie from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the luxurious cinema, visitors are introduced in spectacular style to the enchanting Great Hall of Hogwarts. As the three stars of the films introduce you to the enormous doorway in the film, the cinema projector screen retracts to reveal the actual doorway behind.

The film is true to life, too – the entrance doors really are that huge. The moment in the first film where Harry enters the Great Hall for the first time was in fact the first time Daniel Radcliffe had seen the set, so the look of wonder and amazement on his face was genuine!
Once inside, the setting for so many famous Hogwarts scenes is left completely intact, though more perceptive visitors will notice the ceiling isn’t enchanted in real life. The guide is quick to point out that the ceiling was finished with CGI special effects! Beyond the fascinatingly intricate detail of the tables, uniforms and sconces adorning the walls, Professor Dumbledore takes centre stage, flanked by other professors and staff. Be sure to have a look at the House Point Counter used to sort new pupils at Hogwarts’ annual Start of Term Feast. Which house would you be hoping for if it was your first day?

3. Be the seeker on foot…

Ever wanted to be a champion Quidditch seeker? There are fifteen Golden Snitches hidden throughout the studios. The guides will help you with the first one as you leave the Great Hall, but can you find the other fourteen?

4. … and in the air!

You can’t call yourself a true seeker if you don’t fly a magic broomstick from time to time, so don’t miss your chance to climb aboard your very own Nimbus 2000 or Firebolt. Using the same ‘green-screen’ technology that the studio used to make the Harry Potter films, budding seekers will see themselves soaring above the Hogwarts Express, the River Thames and through the streets of London. Photos of your flight are available to purchase afterwards, too. Just a little hint – there might be a golden snitch hiding round here somewhere!

Wands5. See the wands of your favourite characters…

Even more essential than a broomstick in the day to day life of a witch or wizard is, of course, a wand! The Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour features magnificent displays of all the main characters’ wands. Check out the crooked, bone-like handle of Voldemort’s.

The wands are just one of hundreds of tiny details to enthral you on your way around the tour. Visitors on the tour can get close and see the meticulous detail of props and photographs from the films including hand-written letters, old copies of the Daily Prophet, photos and details of the different animal actors with different ‘personalities’, and the amazing graphic design of all the sweets and tricks from Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.

6. … then make some magic of your own

There’s only one place to go when it’s time to get a wand of your own, and that place is of course the esteemed Ollivanders wand shop. You might see one that you like but remember, you don’t choose your wand – the wand chooses you!

If you want to put your wand skills into practice, just follow the cries of ‘Locomotor!’ to the set of the Weasley’s fascinating home. With a laser-like wand, budding witches and wizards can make an iron steam press some clothes, kitchen knives magically chop vegetables and some knitting needles put together the latest woolly Weasley creation. Unless you’re a fan of household chores, it will be hard to resist trying to take a wand home.

The wands aren’t the only magical tools to make light work of the household chores. If you dream of Madame Glossy’s Silver Polish and Mrs Scower’s All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover so beloved of Hogwarts’ caretaker Argus Filch, you’d do well to stop by the Potions Laboratory. Wait long enough, and you might need to mix up some Calming Draught when you see the stirrers magically come to life.

Butterbeer

7. Drink Butterbeer…

Take a pit stop next to the enormous triple-decker Knight Bus and enjoy some Hogsmeade-style refreshment with a glass of of delicious butterbeer. Served in decorative tankards that you can keep as a souvenir, you’ll certainly want to savour the sweet, butterscotch-like taste.

Every Flavour Beans8. … and try the best and worst of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans

In contrast to the creamy, mouth-watering butterbeer, the Every Flavour Beans include some tastes that you definitely won’t want to savour, such as Black Pepper, Earwax, Cherry, Soap, Rotten Egg and even Vomit. Consume at your peril! Available in the gift shop, the Every Flavour Beans are just one of hundreds of items available in this Harry Potter fans’ paradise, standing alongside replica wands, robes, bags, puzzles, clothing, scarves, badges and many more. Make sure you’ve made a withdrawal from Gringotts before you stop by!

9. Visit Diagon Alley…

London is home to some of the most prestigious, unique and quirky stores in the world, but nowhere in the city compares to the shopping paradise for witches and wizards, Diagon Alley! From the animated giant of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to the subdued but intriguing exterior of Ollivander’s wand shop, there’s no finer place to spend your Knuts, Sickles and Galleons.

10. … Before heading home to Hogwarts

The Harry Potter studio tour perhaps saves the best for last, with the fantastic model of Hogwarts. Understandably described as the ‘jewel in the crown of the art department’, the 1:24 scale model was constructed by a team of 86 artists and crewmembers; if it was constructed by just one person it would have taken more than 74 years! The gradually descending walkway surrounding the model allows visitors to appreciate the breathtaking detail and see how the model was brought to life for the screen.

Buy your Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour ticketsfrom the VisitBritain Shop, including return bus travel from central London.

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