The Making of Harry Potter (Studio Tour)

Don’t forget to bring your wand and spellbook and step straight into JK Rowling’s world of wizards and witches at The Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Ride a broomstick over the streets of London and take a stroll through the Forbidden forest - who knows what creatures are lurking there….


What is the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

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The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter at Leavesden Studios and was created after the culmination of the filming of the Harry Potter series.

For consistency throughout the film series, the majority of the props and sets that were made were kept in case they were needed in later films.

This hoard of incredible memorabilia which includes original interior sets, props, costumes, animatronics, vehicles and original designs and ideas were amassed over two soundstages and a backlot.

This set up allows Harry Potter fans of all ages to explore and discover how the films were made, how ideas were developed and see in person the original items that were actually used in the films.

Crammed with information as to how the films were made, the sets developed, the incredible detail that went into the productions and even some backstage secrets, it is a true fan’s ideal day out!

Making of Harry Potter studio tour


A Brief History of the Making of Harry Potter Tour

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The first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) by J.K.Rowling was published in 1997 and over the following few years (and with subsequent books being released) the popularity of Harry and his magical world exploded.

Filming began in September 2000 for the first film before the last books had even been published.

The Great Hall was the first set built out of the 588 that were created in total across all the film series and although some scenes were filmed on location across the British Isles, the majority were filmed at the studios adjacent to where the Tour is located now at Leavesden.

The filming of the last film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II) ended in 2010 and after production and reshoots were complete the Studio Tour began to be constructed by many of the original crew.

The Studio Tour opened its doors to visitors on the 31st March 2012 and had a royal opening in April 2013 which was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. It has since gone on to become one of London's most popular attractions.


Harry Potter Tour photo montage

Key Features

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With so many sets to explore and items to inspect it can take time to see it all! Here is a guide to ensure you don’t miss any vital aspects of this amazing experience.

Make sure you take a moment on your way around to speak to staff members who can impart some lesser known details and backstage secrets that will enhance your experience.

The Great Hall

Entering the Great Hall through the enormous wooden doors really takes you straight into the heart of the Wizarding world with a number of the scenes from the films being filmed here such as the Yule ball and the House Sorting.

The long tables are set for dinner and surrounding these are costumes used from each of the four Hogwarts houses.

The top table also shows costumes from the teachers along with Dumbledore’s lectern and the House Points Counter chock full of colourful beads.

Interior sets (including the Dark Arts)

Moving from the Hall into a soundstage crammed with interior sets, props and costumes (including make-up and hair).

Take time here to ensure you take in every set and absorb all the details - there are tv screens with cast and crew telling their stories about the sets there and many information boards detailing all you could want to know about the design, construction and use of everything displayed.

Sets include:

  • Dumbledore’s office
  • Gryffindor common room
  • Hagrid’s house
  • The Burrow
  • Potions classroom
  • Gryffindor dormitory
  • Umbridge’s office
  • Ministry of Magic
  • Malfoy manor
  • Slytherin common room

Props and costumes that make up specific scenes, such as the Yule Ball, can also be seen.

Interactive activities here include a broomstick lesson, becoming a wand master and the green screen thrill that can show you flying a broomstick over the streets of London (extra charges for this apply)!

The Forbidden Forest

Walk through the boar-topped gates and into the dark of the Forbidden forest reconstructed to create an eerie experience (takes approximately 5-10minutes to walk through) - see what creatures you can find lurking within the trees...

Platform 9¾

From the forest you arrive onto Platform 9¾ and are greeted by the scarlet Hogwarts Express in all its glory! Have a picture taken while you attempt to pass through the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 or in front of the iconic steam locomotive itself.

Have a browse in the shop or maybe even use the green screen experience to show you on the train itself (extra charges for this apply).

The Backlot

After a snack or even a traditional Butterbear in the cafe, move outside to the backlot to see and explore some of the outdoor scenes such as:

  • Privet Drive
  • The Knight bus
  • Hogwarts bridge
  • Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia
  • Hagrid’s motorbike and sidecar

This is the only outside section of the tour so don’t forget appropriate, weather dependent clothing to ensure you can enjoy this part fully whatever the time of year.

Creature Effects

Back inside the studio there is a treasure trove of creatures and special effects that were created for the films.

Showing the stages of design, production and final versions that were used along with details of all the individual beings, animatronics and prosthetics for the actors. Numerous magical beasts and creatures can be seen here from the numerous goblins in Gringotts to the mandrakes used in Herbology lessons!

Gringotts Bank

Step into the imposing Gringotts’ banking hall and take in the marble columns, chandeliers and goblins waiting to serve you - even the banking books are filled out with individual wizard’s monetary deposits and withdrawals!

Round the corner a different view of the banking hall can be found with a few surprises in store….

The Vaults

Moving onto the vaults contained underneath the wizarding bank, see the treasure contained within the Lestrange vault and the vault cart used to transport Harry along the dizzying track.

Get your hands on Godric Gryffindor’s sword and see if you can hook Helga Hufflepuff’s cup!

Diagon Alley

Stroll along the cobbled wizarding street named Diagon Alley which is the immediately recognisable lane that was used in many films although over the years of filming it was changed and expanded.

Explore the shop fronts and have a picture in front of your favourites, taking in the details of the window displays. In particular have a look at what Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (with over 100 individually designed products) has to offer a fun-loving wizard or witch!

Art Department and Model Room

Containing original designs and artistic impressions along with an extraordinarily detailed scale model (1:24) of Hogwarts that was used in the first film.

Wand Room

Containing wand boxes for every credited cast and crew member involved in making the films - can you find the wand box of your favourite cast member? Take a look around or test the staff members memory as they show where they are!


Fun Facts About the Harry Potter Tour

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  • Look out for flying snitches around the tour and also ensure to get your Wizarding passport (collect one from Information Services in the Lobby before entering or a staff member as you go around the tour) stamped at the stamping stations along the way for an interactive souvenir!
  • The books in the library in Dumbledore’s office are actually telephone directories that are bound in leather.
  • The Knight bus was actually filmed driving through the streets of London but it had to be carefully planned due to the bus being a triple decker - it wasn’t able to go under any bridges.
  • Europe’s largest underwater filming tank was built at the studios for the filming of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire which holds over 2 million litres of water.
  • An operational Hungarian Horntail dragon was built but never used in the film production (the dragons were created by CGI in the end) - it contained a 35 foot flamethrower!
  • During filming, Ollivander’s Wand Shop contained over 17,000 wand boxes that were all individually labelled.
  • The Ministry of Magic was the biggest set built for the film series and took 22 weeks to build.
  • Five 32 ton trucks worth of polystyrene were used for the rubble in the destruction of Hogwarts in the final film.
  • Daniel Radcliffe ended up using 160 pairs of Harry’s famous glasses and over 70 wands during the course of filming.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter - Visitor Information

visitor info

The Tour is generally open everyday of the year apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day and certain weeks before and after special events (see online calendar).

Special event days open 8.30am until 10pm. On normal weekdays the Tour is open from 9.30am until 8pm and weekends, 8.30am until 10pm.

Tickets must be bought in advance either online at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk or by phone (0800 640 4550). The date and time of all visits are pre-booked.

Ticket prices

  • Adult (16 years and upwards) - from £47
  • Child (from 5-15 years old) - from £38
  • 4 and under - free but a ticket must be purchased
  • Family tickets (either 2 adults, 2 children OR 1 adult, 3 children) - from £150
  • Adult Complete Studio Tour Package - (includes entrance ticket, paperback souvenir guide and digital guide) - from £59.90
  • Child Complete Studio Tour Package (includes entrance ticket, paperback souvenir guide and digital guide) - from £49.90
  • Carer tickets - free when obtained alongside a full paying ticket purchased by a disabled visitor

Priority parking can be purchased as an extra for £10

It takes approximately 3½ hours to go round the Tour (there is no time limit on your visit) but it can take much longer if you are interested in the finer details of Harry’s world!

Security

Bags are checked upon entry to the Tour and there is a cloakroom to use to store bags and coats if required.

Guides

A digital audio guide with headset is available to hire in the Lobby for £4.95. This is available in English and subtitled in another nine languages if required.

A souvenir paperback guide in English can be bought for £9.95.

Toilets

There are mens and womens toilets available at a number of sites around the tour:

  • The Lobby
  • The Food Hall
  • Next to the entrance of the Forbidden Forest
  • The Backlot Cafe

Disabled Access

Wheelchairs are welcomed on site and in the Tour however only a limited number can be allowed into the Tour at each timeslot.

There are a small number of places that are difficult to navigate (the cobbled street of Diagon Alley for example) or impossible to access (the Knight Bus or the Hogwarts Express) in a wheelchair. There are two green screen areas that are fully wheelchair accessible.

Motorised wheelchairs are welcome (with the same time-slot issue as a manual chair) however there is a width restriction due to accessing the tour. The maximum width is 86cm and there are manual chairs that can be borrowed (on a first come, first served basis) from the Lobby if a visitor’s chair is wider than this.

There is seating at various points around the tour but there are lightweight foldable stools that can be borrowed from the Lobby to use if required.

There is Blue Badge parking available (a limited amount of non-reservable spaces) close to the entrance of the Tour.

Accessible toilets are available at all toilet locations as above. In addition there is a Changing Place located in the lobby (visitors will need to provide their own sling) - a RADAR key is needed to access this or speak to someone at the Information Desk in the Lobby.

Guide and hearing dogs are allowed on site.

Baby Info

Baby changing facilities can be found at all toilet locations mentioned above along with an extra site near the Backlot Cafe. Buggies and pushchairs are welcome in the Tour with all parts accessible for wheels, however only a limited number can be allowed per timeslot. It is preferable therefore, that if possible they are left at the free cloakroom.

Cafe

The Chocolate Frog (serving sweet treats), The Hub Cafe (serving hot drinks, sandwiches and bakery items) and The Food Hall (serving hot and cold dishes and drinks including breakfast) are all situated in the Studio Hub before you enter the main part of the tour.

The Backlot Cafe is approximately two thirds of the way around the tour and this serves hot meals, sandwiches, bakery items, drinks and the obligatory mug of Butterbeer!

Gift Shop

The main gift shop is located at the end of the tour selling everything any Harry Potter fan could want. There is also a small gift shop on Platform 9¾ selling mainly Hogwarts Express related memorabilia.

Smoking

There is no smoking or vaping at all at any point in the Studio Tour,

Photography/Filming

Taking photographs and short films for personal use is allowed in all parts of the tour apart from the pre-tour cinema and any green screen areas. Using flashes, tripods and other specialist photographic equipment is not permitted at any time.


Location

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Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter is located in Leavesden, Hertfordshire (WD25 7LR) which is approximately 20miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways.

The nearest town is Watford

How To Get There

By Train
The nearest train station to the Studio Tour is Watford Junction. Direct services from London Euston (approximately 20 minutes) and Birmingham New street (approximately 1hr) arrive here. There are other non-direct services from London but these generally are a longer journey time. Oyster cards can be used between London Euston and Watford Junction.

By Bus
Hourly bus transfers from the centre of London are available via the company Golden Tours. These can be accessed from either London Victoria or London Kings Cross stations and can include the entrance ticket or just transfer only.

Shuttle buses from Watford Junction railway station take approximately 15 minutes. Cost is £3 for a return journey and can only be used alongside a valid ticket for entry to the Tour for that day of use.

By Road
Parking is free at the Studios although priority parking can be purchased for £10 which is located next to the main entrance (a window sticker will be provided). Both the M25 and M1 motorways are around three miles away.

From the Airport
Both London Luton and London Heathrow airports are within 25 miles of the Tour.


Where To Stay

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The towns of Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans are all close and there is a variety of accommodation in the area from budget hotels to high end lodgings. There are also a number of campsites also in the area.

Alternatively, the Making of Harry Potter attraction is easily accessible from accommodation in central London.


Other Things To Do Nearby

things to do near The Tower of London

The towns of Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans are all in close proximity with a number of attractions such as Cheslyn House and gardens (Watford), the Snow Centre (Hemel Hempstead) and the Verulamium Museum (St Albans).

London is a 20 minute train ride away with many famous attractions such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Was Harry Potter filmed at Warner Bros Studios?

The majority of the Harry Potter interior scenes (and some exterior scenes using green screen and CGI) were filmed at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden.

How long is the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Tour?

It takes approximately 3½ hours to complete the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios tour although it can be much longer depending on how much detail you are wanting to take in!

Is there a ride at Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Tour?

There are no rides to experience at the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Tour.

Is Hogwarts a real castle?

Hogwarts is not a real castle however Alnwick Castle in Northumberland was used as a set for exterior Hogwarts scenes in the first two films.

Is the Harry Potter Studios Tour indoors?

The majority (approximately ¾ ) of the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Tour is inside with the Backlot being outside. This covers sets such as Privet Drive, The Knight Bus and Hogwarts Bridge.

Is parking free at the Harry Potter Studios Tour?

Yes, parking is free at the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios Tour although priority parking can be paid for if required.

How much is a butterbeer at Harry Potter Studios Tour?

Current prices for a Butterbeer at the Harry Potter Studios Tour are £4 for a standard glass or £6 which includes a souvenir tankard.

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