The Harry Potter movies were made at the Warner Brothers studios outside of London. They have turned two of the large buildings into a tourist attraction for millions of Harry Potter fans to flock to in order to continue their love affair with the wizard boy.
I didn’t read all of the books, but I saw all of the movies. I enjoyed the movies. I was especially impressed with the first two movies and how closely they aligned with those books. I can’t make that comparison with the last few books since I haven’t read them yet.
I jumped at the chance to visit the studios during my recent trip to London. The studios are outside of London, but fairly easy to reach. Note, the following is in addition to the tickets you need to buy ahead of time in order to visit the studios. First you need to get to London Euston train station. You then take a train to Watford Junction. Right outside of that train station is a bus stop. It isn’t difficult to find the bus that will take you to Warner Brothers as it is wrapped in a Harry Potter advert – plus there is a huge poster noting the correct bus stop. The bus was 2£ for the round trip. I think the train was about 15£ round trip. You could also drive there, but as an American that is too scary. I like the train!
I got the audio guide and highly recommend that as part of the tour. There is great information to listen to as you make your way through the exhibits. I especially liked learning about the challenges of training the animals (owls, cats, etc.) and the number of dogs they used for Fang.
The tour starts with a large queue. No surprise there, and Brits are much better at standing in line than Americans. When it is your turn you start by standing in a room that gives some background on making the attraction. The next space has movie theatre seating and the guide jokes that you get to see all of the movies in 10 minutes. Instead, it is more background on the making of the movies.
Ready, start…go. Next you are guided into the Great Hall. This is the space – reconstructed as closely as possible to the movies – where they ate meals and gathered for the sorting hat to do its job. You won’t see dancing, lit candles though. You will see mannequins wearing some of the clothing worn by the actors.
After the Great Hall you wind your way through many exhibits with featuring recreations and actual props used during the movies.
Gryffindor boy’s dorm
Two of the classrooms have been recreated for the tour.
Weasley’s kitchen is part of the tour.
Professor Dumbledore’s office
Yes, there really are lots of plates with cat pictures. They used real kittens who were then adopted to families that may have never realized their pet was featured in the movie.
Large-scale models of Hogwarts
I loved the tour. I recommend allowing about three hours to work your way through all parts. There was an outside part also where you could see 4 Privet Drive, the Hogwarts bridge and the triple-decker bus – but it was raining so I don’t have pictures of that part.
Also, the outside area is where they sell “butter beer,” which can also be consumed (enjoyed?) at the Harry Potter section of Universal Studios in Florida. Butter beer is extremely sweet – a little goes a long way.
There is a section where photo taking was forbidden – the Quidditch experience. You can get a picture of yourself taken while riding a broomstick. Very cool, but extra $$.
If you enjoyed the movies, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t enjoy the Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brothers studios outside of London.