What to Expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London has been named one of the top-rated tours in the U.K. by a variety of travel websites and by the thousands of participants who have experienced the magic of the tour firsthand.
The Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour London offers visitors the unique opportunity to explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures, and breathtaking special effects used in all eight of the iconic Harry Potter films.
Although the tour is often sold-out, there are ways to get tickets for the coveted experience through Ticket Here with guaranteed tour date availability. Keep reading to learn what to expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.
The History Behind the Studio Tour
The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London is beloved by visitors and residents of London alike and is a real treat for Harry Potter movie fans.
Since the Harry Potter books were still being written and released as the films were being made, the film production crews at Warner Bros. Studio Leavesden saved many of the movies’ costumes, props, and sets in case they were needed for future films in the series.
Set adjacent to the working film studios where all the Harry Potter films were made, the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London showcases thousands of intricate artefacts for book and movie buffs to appreciate.
In fact, many of the original cast and crew of the films returned after filming wrapped up to reassemble the sets and share memories from their time working on the movies. On March 31, 2012, the Studio Tour opened its doors and offered a never-before-seen glimpse into how the Harry Potter films got their magic.
The Tour Experience Itself
Most visitors take 3-4 hours to experience the full Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, although many others make a day of it and scour every inch of the Studio Tour to their heart’s content.
Participants are encouraged to ask questions and can interact with knowledgeable in-studio guides, gain insights from the handheld digital audio-visual guides, and may explore the many sets, props, and costumes from the Harry Potter films.
The Studio Tour begins with a short introduction from a guide, followed by a brief film leading to the Great Hall set. Once visitors have had their fill, they can experience the rest of the tour at their own pace and see everything that the Harry Potter Studio Tour has to offer.
The Studio Tour also has a cloakroom for storing bags, buggies, and prams, a cash machine in the Studio Tour lobby, toilets, a souvenir shop, and many facilities for food and drink – including themed menu items molded after treats from the Harry Potter films.
The Studio Tour begins at different times throughout the year, depending on the season, with most tours beginning between 9 A.M and 10 A.M and running until 8 P.M.
Transportation For Getting There
There are a few different options for getting to and returning from the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.
For a private ride to and from your central London-based hotel, consider purchasing a ticket + private transportation in a sedan/saloon car with a driver. This package option provides you with private return transportation in a standard sedan/saloon car with entry tickets to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.
A private car is a great option if you’d rather avoid going to Victoria or King’s Cross Station and don’t have the ability or desire to drive yourself. It’s also a great way to enjoy the tour experience in style and makes a great addition if tickets are purchased as a gift.
Another way to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London is via the specially branded Harry Potter bus. These double-decker branded buses depart from Victoria Station and King’s Cross Station, picking up groups of passengers and returning them after they have concluded the Station Tour at set intervals.
Visitors can also purchase a combined Studio Tour ticket and branded bus transportation ticket to save on costs and for added convenience. Branded buses feature onboard screens showing the first Harry Potter movie and are a great option for large groups.
Finally, there is the option to drive yourself and park in the onsite parking lot of the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. Several blue disability badge parking bays are available close to the main entrance for the convenience of eligible visitors.
What You Can Expect to See
From hand-built sets based on the Harry Potter book series to movie-inspired costumes, prop designs, and animatronics, there are plenty of Harry Potter Studio Tour wonders to see along the way.
If you’re wondering what to expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, expect to see plenty of movie sets and famous in-universe Harry Potter locations.
In addition to seeing sets that take place in Hogwarts, view sets in magical London, and the unique Hogwarts Express train that connects the two locations.
The Great Hall is host to some of the Harry Potter films’ most iconic events, such as the student sorting with the sorting hat, the Yule Ball, student meals and festivities, Dumbledore’s famous speeches, and the Battle of Hogwarts.
The Great Hall movie set includes costumes of students in each Hogwarts house, professors’ costumes, two of the traditional four large tables set for dinner (giving visitors plenty of room to walk around), and intricate wall details and props that were created for use in the Harry Potter films.
Although forbidden to Hogwarts students, the Forbidden Forest movie set is open to tour visitors! Home to the giant Acromantula spider Aragog’s lair, 19 massive trees that measure over 12 feet in diameter, and creatures such as centaurs and Buckbeak, this movie set has grown since it was first used in the Harry Potter films.
View scenic artist backdrops created for the Harry Potter films, see animatronic creatures, and immerse yourself in the chilling atmosphere of one of the franchise’s most-loved sets.
Platform 9 ¾
The Hogwarts Express is an essential part of the Harry Potter film series. It is the set of the first shot ever captured for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as well as the set of the last shot of the entire series in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Tour the Hogwarts Express on the famous Platform 9 ¾ to see where thousands of students set out to make Hogwarts their new home.
While most scenes in the film that feature Platform 9 ¾ were shot at King’s Cross station, part of the station platform was recreated on a soundstage in Leavesden with a complete track and train.
Just like you would expect the real Diagon Alley to change as wizarding world shops come and go, the Diagon Alley set changed throughout the Harry Potter film series.
This set is home to the wizarding bank of Gringotts, Olivander’s Wand Shop, Flourish and Blotts Bookstore, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, and Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary.
Visitors can get a closer look at the shops and set design first-hand, while later picking up souvenirs that are inspired by Diagon Alley businesses such as wands, sweets, apparel, and more from the Harry Potter Tour Studio Shop.
In addition to showcasing the magical sets that were created for the eight Harry Potter films, the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London offers the chance to see authentic movie props and memorabilia. Get a closer look at everything from potions bottles to the innerworkings of the headmaster’s office.
Potions Classroom Props
Whether you’re looking to bottle fame, brew glory, or put a stopper on death, the potions classroom is the place to do it.
Once occupied by Professor Snape and then the much more approachable Professor Slughorn, the potions classroom is filled with authentic and creative props of all kinds.
With almost 1,000 hand-labeled potion jars and various contents such as dried leaves, baked animal bones, herbs, and (prop created) shrunken heads, the Harry Potter films’ props department created a truly unique set filled with unimaginable sights, smells, and possibilities.
The source of Headmaster Dumbledore’s memories of Tom Riddle and many other essential memories, the memory cabinet features over 900 hand-designed memory vials and labels.
Visitors can view the famous memory cabinet and catch a glimpse of familiar characters’ names such as Professor McGonagall and Argus Filch, among others.
See where Harry Potter began his search for Horcruxes and discover the memories of the boy that would later become the darkest wizard that ever lived.
Professor Umbridge’s Office
Like Professor Umbridge herself, the office is both unnerving and not what initially meets the eye. While Professor Umbridge took up a post at Hogwarts to “teach” Defense against the Dark Arts for one year, she was a ministry worker both before and after she was Harry’s teacher.
The deep pink office that is located inside the Ministry of Magic includes Dolores Umbridge’s collection of watchful cat and kitten plates, along with her various office props, and the all-pink wardrobe she wore in the films.
View over 130 plates created by the films’ props department which feature real photographs and videos of kittens.
Fred and George Weasley created some of the most astonishing magical maladies for student and commercial use – including the infamous Puking Pastilles.
The “joke shop” Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes features a 20-foot mannequin over the main entrance to entice customers and is just as funny as it is gross.
The 120 different shop products were designed by concept artists to as a nod to the in-movie items developed and sold by the Weasley twins. View the props that serve as incredible feats of wizardry and are sold in the films as the best way to get out of class!
Wondering what the cast was wearing during a certain scene or want the see some of the Harry Potter films’ most iconic looks?
Check out the movie costumes used for a variety of characters, including hand designed and stitched special costumes, uniforms, and clothing for the Harry Potter cast.
If you were wondering what to expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London in terms of the wizarding world’s favorite game of Quidditch, you’ll be pleased to know there is a full display showcased.
The iconic Harry Potter Quidditch uniforms are on display, from the initial costume design of thick players robes to the sportier robes used in the later movies with players’ names and numbers on the back.
In later films as Harry Potter becomes Quidditch Captain and Ron Wesley joins the team as Keeper, more padding and helmets were added to illustrate the violent and dangerous aspects of the sport, along with tracksuit-style uniforms.
As one of the most elaborate costume design opportunities, fans will be delighted to see costumes from the Yule Ball held to celebrate Yule and Christmas during the Triwizard Tournament.
With over 300 costumes designed and created for the Yule Ball, there is plenty to appreciate in this display.
View Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s Yule Ball outfits, along with costumes created for the other Triwizard champions and their dates. From striking military dress suits to romantic gowns, there are a plethora of gorgeous costumes from the fourth Harry Potter film.
As one of the two magical schools that visit Hogwarts as part of the Triwizard Tournament, the students from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic were outfitted in a “French blue” fabric to stand out from the other school students.
The whimsical costumes were created with warmer weather and French fashions in mind, including Headmistress Madam Maxime and French Triwizard champion Fleur Delacour’s costumes as well.
19 Years Later Epilogue
The final scene in the Harry Potter series shows an older cast taking their children to King’s Cross station and sending them off to Hogwarts. View the costumes used for the final scene for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny.
See what the costume designers chose to dress the cast in to show off their characters’ growth and fit a more modern aesthetic of the 21st century.
SFX & VFX
The Harry Potter films had no shortage of special effects and visual effects to enhance their storytelling.
View some of the most impressive feats of effects, including fan favorites such as Harry’s invisibility cloak, the Whomping Willow that is so notable for its vicious branches, the Chamber of Secrets automatic door, and Green Screen effects that help put it all together.
Chamber of Secrets Door
Creating a secret door hidden for hundreds of years beneath a school, housing a monster of unknown origins was quite a task for the SFX department in the second Harry Potter film.
This special effect is actually a fully operational door powered by an electric motor, with carefully timed retractable snakes. As one of the largest special effects in the films, this serpentine door is definitely worth seeing!
Harry receives his father’s invisibility cloak as a Christmas gift in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and finds use for it plenty of times throughout the film series.
From sneaking around Hogwarts castle after dark to discovering the truth about some of the darkest wizards and creatures, the invisibility cloak was essential to many of the films.
The cloak features a velvet fabric with Celtic symbols and green-screen color inner lining to make Harry and friends invisible in post-production editing.
The infamous Whomping Willow was originally a sketch that turned into real mechanically operated branches that would ‘whomp’ anything in its path – including the flying Ford Anglia car in the second film, and plenty of birds and potential intruders in the third film as the tree disguised the entrance to Sirius Black’s hideout.
A full-sized tree trunk was built on set for the Whomping Willow’s appearance and branches were added digitally in post-production for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
With so much magic action taking place in the Harry Potter films, using a green screen was an opportunity to go above and beyond the capabilities of practical effects.
By shooting visual effects scenes on a green screen, filmmakers were able to replace the green background with a computer-generated set.
Wondering what to expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London? Expect to fly on a broomstick over London without ever leaving the ground using the unique green screen flight experience.
All sorts of creatures can be seen in the Harry Potter films, from the majestic Buckbeak to the terrifying Basilisk, and more. Learn how these creatures came to life and get a picture or two taken with them to commemorate the experience.
Something slithering and lurking in the pipes is the stuff of nightmares, but the resulting Basilisk was created using a combination of Visual Effect and Special Effects.
The final snake model measured up at 30ft long with jaws 3ft deep and was able to slither up a track. Get a picture with the great monster of Slytherin used in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Give a bow to this incredible creature creation from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You may be surprised to learn that there wasn’t just one Buckbeak used in the films, but three!
Buckbeak the Hippogriff was made in three animatronic forms for the films – one standing, one rearing aggressively, and a third lying down. Each feather was individually inserted and glued, making this creature one of the most detailed in the entire series.
As the notorious bankers at Gringotts in Diagon Alley, goblins were created using a combination of make-up artistry and creature design prosthetics on 60 real actors, by 140 make-up artists.
Each goblin head has distinctive features, including protruding chins, ears, and noses to set each actor apart and make the goblins look as lifelike and unique as possible. Take a look at some of the goblin heads on display from the films!
The giant Acromantula spider Aragog is perhaps one of the most terrifying creatures in the Harry Potter films (except perhaps to his original caretaker, Hagrid).
Get an up-close look at the spider with a leg span of over 18 feet that made its debut in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
With hand-inserted hairs and a 15-person operation team, Aragog is just one of the larger-than-life creatures that can be seen at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.
The art department for the Harry Potter films is the behind-the-scenes team responsible for everything from concept drawings to full scale color models of buildings, castles, and designs that made it into the movies.
Discover how some of the most iconic props, designs, and art made their way into the films and the work that it took to put all the pieces together.
Hogwarts Castle Model
Hogwarts is home for Harry Potter and the rest of his classmates for most of the film series, and its magical presence has left an impression on all Harry Potter fans.
Standing several meters tall, this intricately detailed scale model of Hogwarts castle was combined with digital effects to create realistic views of the school which were used in many of the Harry Potter films.
Graphic Designs, Drawings, & Models
The Art Department was responsible for designing and creating thousands of props to bring the visual world of Harry Potter to life on screen. Graphic designs included an array of props such potions textbooks, wizarding candy packaging, issues of the Quibbler magazine, and over 40 editions of wizarding world newspaper, The Daily Prophet.
Prior to set construction, the Art Department created white card models of various sets and locations to help the director and production designer determine scale and camera angles.
Art was an essential part of helping the world of Harry Potter come together on film. Every prop, environment, costume, model, building, and design of the Harry Potter series was created by dozens of skilled concept artists, art directors, and illustrators – resulting in 588 sets across the entire film series.
In addition to the sets, costumes, and special effects that are permanent fixtures at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, there are also seasonal quarterly displays and special events throughout the year.
As of 2022, the new themed sets and special effects are Magical Mischief, Mandrakes & Magical Creatures, Dark Arts, and the beloved Hogwarts in the Snow. Choose your visit based on these seasonal events and displays or go back for each “What’s On” feature to get the complete Harry Potter Studio Tour in London experience.
Get Your Tickets Here
To learn even more about what to expect on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, buy your tickets from Ticket Here!
Check out our Harry Potter Studio Tour ticket, purchase a combined tour and bus transportation ticket, or explore more options like tour tickets coupled with popular London attractions to experience the magic behind the making of Harry Potter firsthand paired with the incredible sights that London has to offer.