We recently visited the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour. We are huge Harry Potter fans (Craig not so much) Read on to find out if it is worth all that money to get in!
Firstly I just wanted to point out that we went on a press trip with Caledonian Travel and as part of that trip Harry Potter Studio Tickets were included. If we were to pay for our own tickets it works out at around £210 for a family ticket of 2 + 2 and an extra adult ticket (Adam is now 16) Under 4's go free. You can read about our London trip with Caledonian HERE
Outside the entrance there are some huge chess pieces, which make a great photo opportunity. We only waited around 5 minutes in the queue, which wasn't too bad, but we did arrive for one of the earlier tours at 10:30am. You will find a toilet block in the car park next to the coach park, which was handy.
Make sure you grab a passport to take around with you. Predominantly these are for the kids but adults can get them too and they make a fab souvenir. These are to take around the whole tour with you and you can collect embossed stamps at different points. There are also clues for you to find the golden snitch (there are 17 altogether to find)
The Harry Potter Studio tour is a fantastic experience for those who love Harry Potter or even for those who just have an interest film production. I have always been a Harry Potter fan, so has Elliot and we enjoyed looking at all of the sets. Craig, Adam & Toby are not big fans but they did enjoy the production side of things.
When you finally get in to the tour, you join a line that takes you through some props and photos and you then come into a room with 3 big screens, once you have watched the presentation in this room head for the front of the room to the door straight ahead. This is where you will head into the cinema room. You can then decide if you want to sit at the front of the cinema or the back. We choose to sit at the back because of Craig's shoulder and this stopped him getting knocked. It was a good decision because we got some pretty good photos of the Great Hall doors closed once every one was in. You are ushered out of the Great Hall but you still get a few minutes to grab some photos (Look up, its not what you expect) When you are done in the Great Hall you are free to make your own way around the tour, as quickly or as slowly as you wish.
Everything you see on the tour is from the original sets
On the tour expect to see
The Gryffindor Common Room
The Potions Class room
Dumbledore's Office (The detail in here is unreal)
Platform 9 3/4
The Knight Bus
The Forbidden Forest
Lots of original costumes
Hair and make up (check out all of the wigs and beards)
Many faces of Warwick Davis (super creepy)
and so much more
You can also find some interactive sections and some live magic demos.
Lots of guides who will happily answer any questions you may have, they were great and super friendly except for one who was on the broomstick. She just seemed like she didn't want to be there. And the guy on the wand interactive was keeping spaces in the queue for people who had disappeared to watch a magic demo, which I thought was a bit silly because he could have just let those who were waiting go first. The second half of the tour is really good, you get to see some impressive sets, original set design models that were made from cardboard, lots of beautiful sketches and art work and a little surprise at the end that I wont spoil.
We didn't do Butter beer because I have never met anyone who actually likes it. They all say the same, it is too sweet and pretty disgusting. We decided not to try it this time. You can get it in a plastic tumbler which I think was around £4 or you can get it in a souvenir tumbler which was around £7
Before I get into where you can eat I will say this.. If you are on a budget I would definitely recommend taking your own food. You can eat it outside at the picnic tables.
In the Main entrance Lobby
The Chocolate Frog Café - Here you will find lots of lovely cakes, Ice Creams, Milkshakes etc. We had a tasting tub which was supposed to have 4 flavours in but only had 3 and some chocolate frogs £8 (to be honest it wasn't anything special) The boys had an Ice Cream Cone each, which in fairness were fairly big but these cost £4.95 again nothing special. Adam had a mint milkshake which was £6.95 and to be honest not worth the money it was more squirty cream than anything else. They also had a list of milkshake flavours but were only actually making 2 flavours. I found the older lady who was serving to be quite rude too not just to us, but also to the younger staff.
The Hub Café - This is a Starbucks themed café. We didn't buy anything here
Food Hall - This is where we ended up eating lunch, the food was quite expensive and took so so long to come to the table I actually thought we would have to leave it because we had to be back on the coach for a certain time. We ordered 3 kids pizzas which were £6.50 each a side of small chips was £4.50 each. Craig and I shared a pizza because we wanted to save money but this was still £10.75 and not that big
Other items on the kids menu included
Burger & Chips £6.75
Sausage & Mash £6.50
Cod & Chips £6.50
Pepperoni pizza £6.95
Margherita Pizza £6.50
See the photo below to see more on the menu
At the half way point you will find the Backlot Café which is at the half way point and serves the same food as the food hall.
We did stop at the backlot café but after 15 minutes in the queue and it not moving we decided to wait until the end to get food. You will also find the kiosk serving Butter Beer and Butter Beer Ice Cream.
You end the tour through the gift shop which is the biggest store I have ever seen dedicated to Harry Potter! It is absolutely huge. We didn't buy anything because we are budgeting to save up for a big holiday next year and to be honest we probably wouldn't have bought anything anyway. We did have a look about and the prices were just stupid to be quite blunt. A cushion that felt quite cheaply made was £60! Small teddy bears were £20, wands started at £32 and I did hear from someone that robes were £90 which is just crazy. Elliot took his own cloak and wand which he got for his birthday and the older two are not that into Harry Potter so weren't that bothered about buying anything anyway. If you do wish to buy things I would suggest set a budget for each child otherwise you will need a bank loan.
We did the whole tour within 3 hours which left us an hour for food. You can do this quicker if you want or you can really take your time to read everything, take part in the activities, watch the demos and enjoy all of the photo opportunities. We only had 4 hours allocated to us and then we had to be back on the coach otherwise we probably would have stayed a bit longer.
Good to know
You can only go if you have pre-booked and you will be turned away if you do not have a booking.
Book early - months in advance because this places gets super busy and booked out quickly. I think there's still some August dates left but these are late entries after 6pm
Free passport to collect stamps
Lots of EV Chargers
Cafes on site
Toilets with changing room
Toilets in the car park
Lots of Photograph Opportunities
Massive Gift Shop
Staff everywhere to answer your questions
Opportunities to buy photographs (handy for the green screen opportunities as you are not allowed to take your own photographs) however again, expensive.
Guide book for £10 available upon entry
So is it worth the money?
If we hadn't gone through with Caledonian Travel then to be honest we probably wouldn't have gone, spending over £200 on a day out (just for entry) is just a bit crazy for me to get my head around, especially when you cant really spend a full day in there (you can',t go back through again) . Plus you have all of the extras on top such as parking costs, guide book, gift shop, food, ice cream and photographs if you decide to buy them.
Don't get me wrong, it is an amazing experience and the sets are amazing but for me, no it is not worth the money for those who like to budget. We won't be going back anytime soon. However if you are absolutely Harry Potter crazy, then maybe it could be a special birthday treat.
If you fancy making a few days out of it
Have you seen the deals Caledonian Travel have? Check them out because they are amazing and save you so much money. Our trip included travel to London, 4 hours free time in London, overnight hotel stay with evening meal and breakfast included and then entry into The Harry Potter Tour. The trip should have cost £159 check out more HERE