Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The A to Z of Harry Potter Filming Locations tour has finally brought us to the biggest site of all - the Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden.

Leavesden wasn't the only professional studio used, with some scenes being filmed in ..., however Leavesden was the main studio used throughout the 8 films, and is the one that has been turned into The Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter.

It is incredible.  It is breath-taking.  It is awe-inspiring.  Even my non-Harry-Potter-fan friend loved it - particularly appreciating the behind-the-scenes information and displays: the special effects, prop making, robotics, costume design, etc.

So basically today's post is going to be one big photo-share fest, with a few trip-planning suggestions:

1. BOOK YOUR TICKETS! Tickets are not available at the door, they must be bought in advance.  A lot of the major hotels have tickets available for sale, including on-the-day, but you cannot buy them at the studio. I've heard of people who rock up thinking they can just get straight in.  Don' be those people.
2. The Studio is open all year round.  The first/last tour times vary so check the website for exact details.  The Studio itself doesn't close until 3hours after the last tour time so even if you are in the last group to go in, you will still have plenty of time to explore.  Also, allow time for the gift shop - it's almost like a whole other set.
3. On the gift shop note - the gift shop on the railway platform set sells different things to the main gift shop at the end of the tour.  I didn't realise this - there were a couple of things I though "oh, I'll get that at the end so I don't have to carry it around with me" but couldn't because the shop at the end didn't sell it.
4. It's a self-guided tour.  The tickets and times are used to space people out so you don't have a huge crush of people going through at once.  You can spend as little or as long as you want there - the three times I've been I've stayed at least 3 1/2 hours if not longer.
The tour guides holding my cross stitch figures :)
5. If you are going during the UK term time, remember that local schools do excursions to the Studio.  I didn't take this into account the last time I went.  It was a Monday, school had gone back a week or so earlier, I thought we'd be fine.  We weren't.  There were at least 4 large groups of over-excited 10-14 year olds.  A later session would probably be a good idea, as usually by then school groups have left and local parents are less likely to bring their kids in on a week day afternoon.  Of course, you still have to allow for the tourist kids... I don't think there is a "child-free" time.
6. If you speak English, don't get the audio guide.  There is so much written information available and video clips playing that you won't get a chance to listen to even half of the audio guide so it's not really worth it.
7. Check the website and social media pages - they regularly run different promotions and events, so it's worth keeping an eye out for what's coming up when you're planning your trip.  They do Halloween (Dark Arts), Hogwarts in the Snow, Animal actors (where they have the animal actors at the studio for you to meet), a Hagrid special... the list goes on.
8. Green screen shots - line up and have a go!  You get to sit on green screen sets to drive the flying car, and ride a broom stick.  There's a video portion to each - you can watch yourself on a TV monitor as you have a go so you can actually see yourself flying.  Also, if you know your House, ask for your House robes. 

*sigh* so much fun!

Apparently there are plans afoot to open up other stages with sets and props from other films that have been made at Leavesden, but I've been hearing that for 4 years and so far nothing more has happened (apart from the addition of more Potter sets).

Until tomorrow, happy travels!


P.S.  Don't forget - I'm also cross stitching for the A-Z challenge, over at Fangirl Stitches.  W today is Weezing and Mary Winchester.


  1. Your blog is brilliant! I love the tour guides holding your stitched figures :D Fantastic!

  2. Sounds like a fun place to go. It's a little to far from California though. lol


  3. Love the pictures. I would love to go check that out but alas not going to happen any time soon.