We’re finally done with the Paris leg of our trip and we’re now in the UK! I’m so happy about getting through my backlog, bit by bit.
Today’s post is about one of my favourite bits of our Europe trip in 2015. This happens in the middle of our London leg but I opted to write about it first due to two reasons: 1.) It will be easier to link it to different posts and 2.) The first one is something I just made up the real and only reason is that I’m just hella excited to write about this one. So prepare yourselves. This is going to be a lengthy post.
If you know me personally or if you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you probably already know that I’m a humungous Harry Potter fan. Yes, I’m a grown woman and no, I don’t care what you think. It came out when I was young, okay?!
It’s weird though how this isn’t my first time in Europe yet I only got to go to the studios during this trip. I guess timing really is one of life’s most important factors. That, and a companion (husband, in my case) willing to spend all day with you at a studio and watch you drool over things while being such an insufferable know-it-all (see what I did there?) and the ultimate fan girl.
Before I move along, I just have to thank Alvin for being such a great husband. We even marathon-ed all 8 movies prior to the trip just so he can be up to date with HP knowledge. I really can’t believe he only saw one of the movies and he can’t even remember which one! Forgave him for not reading the books though. His interests do lay in the non-fiction section of the bookstore.
Though I must say, he did look like he was enjoying himself in the studio in the end. Or… was he just humouring me?
The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour is often advertised to be in London but it’s actually in Leavesden – an area that is actually 20 miles Northwest of Central London.
We took a train from from London Euston station to Watford Junction and the journey took a little over an hour so do take this into consideration! Upon arrival in Watford, we took a double decker bus operated by Mullany’s Coaches to the studio. The bus stops right in front of the train station and is decked in Harry Potter decal so you won’t miss it. The bus ride takes about 10 minutes and will cost you GBP2.50 for a return ticket.
We booked our tickets through the official website months in advance to make sure we get slots. The studio does not sell tickets on-site. So, no walk-ins.
You will get your booking confirmation via e-mail which you can exchange for actual tickets upon your arrival. There are ticket counters right outside the studio. You also have the option to have your tickets mailed in advance to you for a hassle-free entry.
Our tickets amounted to GBP85.85 in total. The breakdown is as follows:
Adult tickets: GBP33.00 each (GBP66.00)
Paperback souvenir guidebook: GBP9.95
Digital guides: GBP4.95 each (GBP9.90)
Tip: If you’ve read most of the books, the digital guides may end up being useless to you. It’s pretty cool though. It has audio and video so you can watch some behind the scenes stuff. But it ended up being more useful to my husband. So reserve the guides for people in your group who are not that much of a die-hard fan. As for the paperback souvenir guide, get it. It’s a steal for the price and is an exclusive piece of merchandise from the studio. You can see me talking about it here at 20:30.
When booking your tickets, you get to choose what time you want to start your tour. This is the studio’s effort to do some crowd control since it can get pretty congested. I suggest you go in the morning since people tend to stay longer and the afternoons will most likely leave the studio full with all the people from the morning tours, still lingering and taking photos. Our schedule was at 9:30 and we arrived to this:
Not to worry. The line moves pretty fast. While waiting, you also get to see the cupboard under the stairs. It’s enough to get anybody who’s read the novels or seen the movies excited.
The Great Hall
You will then be ushered in to a theatre room where a message from the cast will greet you. Cameras weren’t allowed so sorry if there are no photos of that. After the short film, guests will be guided towards the doors of the Great Hall.
You can just feel the excitement in the air as kids dressed as Hogwarts students and adults who wished they could do the same and not be judged for it await for the doors to open.
Tip: Go on your birthday. They would normally pick you to open the enormous double doors and be the first to go inside.
Confession: I almost pretended like it was my birthday just to be the one to get to open the doors. Knowing that my husband may not look at me the same way again, stopped me. In the end, the privilege went to a kid dressed in Hogwarts robes with a Gryffindor scarf.
I did not scream nor run as I entered, I promise. I was able to retain my poise that’s normally reserved for diplomatic events that I attend with my husband. I was the perfect model of calm and cool until I saw these:
And that’s when I started gushing and pointing at stuff. The fake food supposedly prepared by House Elves, the costumes worn by the cast (Tip: Look for the one worn by Daniel Radcliffe while filming Sorcerer’s Stone), the utensils – everything just lives up to expectation!