I Travel for the Stars

London’s Harry Potter Studio Tour: a Magical Visit

Last updated on February 5, 2024

I love Harry Potter. I’ve been a huge fan since childhood, have seen all the movies in theatres (which at this stage is admitting how old I am), and a nice collection of Harry Potter plushies. I even once hosted a Harry Potter-themed Christmas.

But you don’t need me to tell you how much Harry Potter means to millions of people around the globe. I don’t need to convince you to visit London’s Harry Potter Studio Tour. You’re already planning a trip there and screaming “take my money!” to see props, costumes, and behind-the-scenes looks at eight movies that helped define our generation.

You’re here to gauge what you can expect at London’s Studio Tour. So, without further ado, here’s what you should know ahead of time.

The Studio Tour

The Great Hall, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Once you’ve gotten to the studio tour, there’s an introduction that starts at your assigned time. After that, you’re let into the Great Hall and from there can wander the studio tour. The tour has an incredible collection of props and costumes on display, and there are some parts where the staff will show you how certain effects were created for the movies.

You’ll also get a free “passport” which you can stamp at multiple areas and keep as a souvenir. It comes with some trivia. You’ll also be told that there are Cornish pixies and snitches to be seen around the tour.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the other magical things you can see:

(Just a note that this post is not all inclusive!)

The Harry Potter Sets

The sets were some of the coolest parts for me. Did you know I actually wanted to be a set designer when I was in college? Anyway, there are several full sets available for you to look at and it’s really cool to see inside Hogwarts, if you will.

The Great Hall, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Great Hall

The Gryffindor Common Room, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Gryffindor Common Room

Slytherin Common Room, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Slytherin Common Room

Potions Classroom, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Potions Classroom (years 3+)

The Burrow, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Burrow

Something I didn’t know until shortly before the tour was that many of the effects in the Harry Potter movies were actually not computer-generated but done on set. You’ll get to see some examples of how that was done when you visit The Burrow, but I thought it was even cooler that the movie staff decided to do things on their own and create actual magical contraptions. It’s a lot cooler than having an entirely computer-generated movie.

Dumbledore's Office, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Dumbledore’s Office

Bellatrix Lestrange's Vault, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Bellatrix Lestrange’s Vault

Yes, they actually created hundreds of “golden” pieces for the Gringott’s vault scene. Isn’t the amount of work put into the movies absolutely incredible?

4 Privet Drive, Harry Potter Studio Tour
4 Privet Drive

Corridor Paintings, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Corridor Paintings

Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Gryffindor Boys’ Dormitory

Seeing the Great Hall in person is such a weird experience. You realise you’ve had this idea of what the Great Hall looks like (in my case, for 20 years) and then actually seeing it is just so surreal.

Of course, you also get to visit the Diagon Alley set. This was also really cool! If you want a place to go into the shops, Universal Studios has a great recreation of the alley that’s completely interactive.

Diagon Alley, Harry Potter Studio Tour Diagon Alley, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Diagon Alley, Harry Potter Studio Tour

My favourite sets, in terms of style, have got to be the Common Rooms and the Burrow. What were your favourite sets in the Harry Potter movies?

The Harry Potter Costumes

I also love seeing costumes because you can see how big a person is and how they would’ve been next to you in real life. It was really cute seeing some of the earliest costumes for the young cast because they were so small when they started out. I have a book that says they were all about 4’11” in the first movie.

Cornish Pixie Scene, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Cornish Pixie Scene

Yule Ball Dress, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Yule Ball Dress

Snape's Wig, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Snape’s Wig

Snape’s wig is one of my favourite secondary characters in the movies.

Professor Costumes, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Costumes for Professors Snape, Dumbledore, and McGonagall

Professor Umbridge Costume, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Umbridge’s Costume Detail with Slytherin Locket Horcrux

I hate Umbridge but I need this cardigan.

Malfoy Costumes, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Malfoy Family Costumes

Cast Wigs, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Cast Wigs

Did you know Lucius Malfoy got all his money from modelling for L’Oreal hair products?

Just kidding 🙂

The Harry Potter Props

The props are really cool, too, and like everything else, the movie staff put a ton of work and attention into creating them. The difference is really in the details and that’s a big part of what makes the movies so magical.

Wands, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Everyone’s Wands

Time Turner, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Time Turner

Golden Snitch, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Golden Snitch

Yule Ball Drink Stand, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Yule Ball Drink Stand

Potions & Book Props, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Potions & Book Props

The amount of detail and the work that must’ve gone to creating the design and art of it all is astonishing.

Daily Prophet Papers, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Daily Prophet Papers

Black Family Tapestry, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Black Family Tapestry

The Monsters

I’ll be the first to admit that the monsters are not what makes Harry Potter special for me. But that’s something that’s also so special about the series, is that there’s so much to it. However it was really cool to see Buckbeak in person! (Buckbeak was actually mostly computer-generated in the movies)

Buckbeak, Harry Potter Studio Tour

There’s a part of the tour where you go into the Forbidden Forest. The lights turn off and Aragog pops up with his many children. It really felt like I was in the scene in Chamber of Secrets and I thought that was a particularly cool part!

Hedwig, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Buckbeak, Harry Potter Studio Tour

The Basilisk, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Basilisk

The Basilisk has got to be my favourite monster. I remember getting chills seeing it when I saw Chamber of Secrets in theatres (which is a bit of an extreme movie for a 7-year-old). I still think about that whenever I see that scene!

The Monster Book of Monsters, Harry Potter Studio Tour
The Monster Book of Monsters

Lupin's Werewolf, Harry Potter Studio Tour
Lupin’s Werewolf

Lupin’s rendition of a werewolf is also something I’ve found really creepy. Seeing this in person gave me chills. You can see from the camera angle just how tall the werewolf is!

Final Notes

The Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter Studio Tour

A little more than halfway through the tour, you can see the Hogwarts Express! What’s really cool is you can actually go inside! Each compartment is done up differently.

After that is the cafeteria where you can get a bite to eat and some butterbeer. The whole tour takes about 3 hours to see and this is about 2 hours in, so you’ll probably want to eat. The food isn’t Harry Potter-themed but it’s actually quite good and decently priced. A lot of people aren’t sold on the butterbeer but I really liked the foam. It tastes like butterscotch.

Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studio Tour Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studio Tour

One of the last stops is seeing the full model of Hogwarts itself. Again, it’s a bit surreal considering you probably have an idea of Hogwarts in your head. I loved seeing all of it in in person and placing events in relation to one another.

Going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour was definitely one of the most magical days and I can’t recommend it enough.

How to Get to Harry Potter Studio Tour London

The Knight Bus, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Before you go, make sure you purchase your tickets well in advance. Tickets are timed entry and can sell out months before, so this is definitely an activity you need to schedule.

Though the Harry Potter Studio Tour is located in “London,” it’s actually quite outside the city. Plan to spend a full day at the studio. The Studio Tour website has a breakdown of how to get there. One option is to drive, and that’s probably the easiest. If not, you can also go from Euston Station to Watford Junction. I took the London Overground from another station to Watford Junction and it took almost 2 hours (!!!). On the way back, I went to Euston Station and it was a clean 20 minutes. So if you’re not familiar with London transit, definitely depart from Euston Station.

When you get to Watford Junction, there is a bus there that departs “at least every 30 minutes.” Since there was no fixed schedule and I was running late, I opted to take one of the many taxis that are outside the station. This cost about £10.

Hogwarts, Harry Potter Studio Tour

Again, this post is far from being all-inclusive, but I wanted to give you a sense of what to expect when you go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It’s a magical experience and a must-do for any Harry Potter fan.

This post was also much less objective because Harry Potter is so personal to everyone – that’s what makes it so special. Leave a comment and tell me what makes Harry Potter special to you. Do you have a favourite book? Movie? Character? Let me know!

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. These are at no additional cost to you but I receive a commission if you make a purchase through the link, and the commission helps me run my blog. Thanks for your support!

About the Author
My name's Lilly and I'm a Baltimore-based travel blogger with a focus on art and history. I work full time and manage to get in several trips a year. Learn more about me.

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