Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter is the behind-the-scenes one-way walking tour of the Harry Potter set where the films were made, which opened on 31 March, 2012. The tour features authentic sets, concept art, scale models, costumes and props from the Harry Potter series.
The tour is located 20 miles from Central London at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Watford, where the Harry Potter films were filmed. Tickets are not available for sale at the attraction; they must be booked online through the official website or via a site such as Brit Movie Tours.
The tour was opened in a grand event on 31 March 2012. It was attended by many of the Harry Potter films cast and crew members including Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Warwick Davis, David Thewlis, Helen McCrory, George Harris, Nick Moran, Natalia Tena, David Bradley, Alfie Enoch, Harry Melling, David Heyman, David Barron, David Yates, Alfonso Cuaron and Mike Newell.
When you enter the building to the main atrium, the first thing to see is various posters of characters from the films on the wall as well as the Weasleys' Ford Anglia hanging from the ceiling and parts of the Astronomy Tower. The shop is accessible before and after the tour. There is also a café in the atrium.
When the studio was opened, visitors used to be handed a booklet of the various things you can do on the tour such as finding 15 Golden Snitches in various areas, answering quick questions and locating stamps. As you line up to start the tour, you can view the cupboard from under the stairs at Privet Drive.
When you start the tour, you will enter a standing room containing posters of the films in various languages which will eventually change into clips of how the Harry Potter books were started and how the Philosopher's Stone became a film.
The tour guide will then lead you into a cinema to watch a small clip of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson explaining why Harry Potter was a success and what it meant to them. The film will end with the trio going into the Great Hall. The screen will then lift up, revealing the actual Great Hall.
Once you enter the Great Hall, the guided tour is ended and you are left to go through the rest of the tour on your own, in your own time. The tour should take you about three hours to complete.
The room following the Great Hall is a large room including props, costumes and sets. The major sets include the Malfoy Manor table, Umbridge's Office at the Ministry, the Ministry Atrium, the Magic is Might statue, the Potions classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Gryffindor dormitories, the Burrow kitchen and Dumbledore's office. There are also various other smaller displays including props from the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Leaky Cauldron, Borgin and Burke's, the Yule Ball, the castle gates, Quidditch, various portraits, the giant clock tower pendulum and key prop displays such as the Horcruxes and Death Eater masks.
In a small room, through a doorway off the prop room, is a green screen area where a member of staff can take a photo or video of you on a broomstick and appearing to have a drive in the Weasleys' Ford Anglia, which can be purchased in the room or later in the shop. When you ride the broomstick, you will be given a Hogwarts cloak to wear from one of the houses. Personal photos cannot be taken in this area.
The next room contains the Hogwarts Express, which was opened on 19th March 2015. There is a standing area at the front of the train, just to the side, where you may take your own picture. To the right of there, is three walls with a trolley half in it to represent the barrier to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. You may have your photo taken by staff, who will give you a Hogwarts scarf to wear. A shop containing Hogwarts Express themed things, such as sweets, is also placed in the room. Visitors may also board the Hogwarts Express and walk through to the end of the train, viewing various props from scenes in the films, which are placed in each compartment through a window. The only other thing in the room is some other compartments were you may sit, where you will see the window become a video of landscapes as though you are travelling on the train.
The next room is a large café where you can eat your own food or purchase sandwiches and cooked meals and a small Butterbeer café. This is where you can take a small break on your tour.
Following from there is a backlot which contains the set of 4 Privet Drive, the Potters' Cottage from Godric's Hollow, the Knight Bus and the Hogwarts Bridge which you may walk across. It also used to contain the giant chess pieces from the Philosopher's Stone. For a short time in early 2016, you were able to go inside Privet Drive which had a scene set up from when the letters were arriving for Harry from Hogwarts through the fireplace and flying in the air.
The next part of the tour takes you to the creature room where Dobby, Aragog, the animatronic Buckbeak, and various other animated props, masks and costumes are placed. There is a video on-screen by Warwick Davis who takes you through what each prop is. You then go to Diagon Alley, preceded by scale models of set and prop designs and concept art. Members of staff are there to give you talks and demonstrations should you wish.
The last part of the tour is down the corridor, where there is a large scale model of Hogwarts Castle used for exterior shots. You can go down the ramp which goes around the model. The theme "Harry in Winter" from the Harry Potter films soundtrack is played.
You are then in a small room like Ollivanders. Each box has on it the name of an actor who were even vaguely involved in Harry Potter, such as Dame Maggie Smith or Evanna Lynch, with a guide there to lend you his wand so you can have a photo of you pointing to your favourite.
The exit leads you to the gift shop, where you can buy anything. There is a wand section, books, tricks such as Extendable Ears, Pygmy Puffs, Honeydukes section where you may buy sweets such as Chocolate Frog Cards, merchandise in house colours and clothing section. New items are added regularly, and you can now purchase some of these on their online shop, accessible from their website.
On 31 March 2017, a new, permanent set was opened and added to the tour. The Forbidden Forest is accessed through the Hogwarts gates and contains Buckbeak, who visitors are able to bow to, Aragog, who appears from a lair with the spiderlings, Hagrid's original costumes and up to 19 trees.
Throughout the year various extra events are held with no additional price.
Christmas at Hogwarts is held from December to January, with decorations added to the Great Hall, Gryffindor Common Room and Dormitory, and the Hogwarts Castle Model. A large tree is also placed in the centre.
In the February half-term, various animal actors are invited in from the series for talks and photo opportunities.
In the summer, Summer Spells runs with various special effects shows in Diagon Alley and the duelling table in the Great Hall. Summer screenings of the films have also been held since 2014 during these months. In September, the Back to School feature is run, and the Hallowe'en feature in October. A Bludgers and Broomsticks feature has also been held in the past.
Privet Drive was opened from Friday 27 May to Monday 6 June 2016 to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. There were hundreds of letters suspended in the air as they were flying out the fireplace.
Hogwarts Castle model
Great Hall — Harry Potter Studios
Notes and references
|J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series|
|Philosopher's Stone||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Chamber of Secrets||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Prisoner of Azkaban||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Goblet of Fire||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Order of the Phoenix||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Half-Blood Prince||book||film||game||film soundtrack||game soundtrack|
|Deathly Hallows||book||film 1||game 1||film soundtrack 1||game soundtrack 1|
|film 2||game 2||film soundtrack 2||game soundtrack 2|
|Fantastic Beasts (film series)|
|Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||book||screenplay||film||soundtrack||game|
|The Crimes of Grindelwald||screenplay||film||soundtrack|
|Fantastic Beasts 3||film|
|Fantastic Beasts 4||film|
|Fantastic Beasts 5||film|