Whether you are house of Gryffindor or Slytherin, a muggle or a wizard, everyone’s welcome on the magical Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden. Located opposite the film studios where eight of the Harry Potter films were made, the new studio showcases a variety of iconic props, costumes, intricate artefacts and mind blowing sets used in the real life blockbuster films. Full of memories and magic, fans can now see the wonders of filmmaking right before their eyes with opportunities to see special effects, animatronic creatures, the Hogwarts Express and not to mention Ron Weasley’s flying car! Not just a studio tour, there are ticketed exhibitions running too, allowing you to delve further into J. K. Rowling’s land of fascinating Hogwarts and beyond.
While the Hogwart’s Express is unfortunately unable able to pick you up from Watford Junction station, other public transport is on hand to pick you up and take you back to wherever you need to be.
If you’re using a sat nav, the postcode WD25 7LR may not work, so punch in ‘Studio Tour Drive’ instead.
Parking is free, just make sure you have your booking confirmation hand to show the attendants.
Looking for door to door service? Golden Tours offer pre-booked studio tour ticket and bus transfer packages. The air-conditioned buses pick you up from either London King’s Cross or London Victoria and take you right to the studio door entrance. Return coaches leave every hour, too.
The closest station to the Harry Potter Studio is Watford Junction. From London Euston, the journey will take you around 20 minutes. From here, a shuttle bus service is available (costing £2.50 for a return ticket) hosted by Mullany’s Coaches. The bus ride will take around 15 minutes and you must have your studio tour ticket or confirmation before you board. It’s worth noting that only cash is accepted for the shuttle bus tickets.
Try and arrive at least 20 minutes before the start of your tour as this will give you ample time to collect any tickets (if you have an email booking confirmation) and have your bags checked. Plus, you’ll get the most out of your time slot if things are running a bit slow.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tour guides as many questions as you like. They really do know their stuff so don’t shy away from picking their brains - they know the most obscure facts!
Much like the books and films, there is so much to discover on the Harry Potter Studio Tour. Not only will you walk down Privet Drive and Diagon Alley like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley once did, you’ll also be able to marvel at costumes, props, special effects and even get to taste the famous Butterbeer!
After making your way through the famous doors to the Great Hall, you’ll be amazed at the number of props occupying every corner of the room. Look out for the teachers standing at the front of the hall, costumes from the school ball and Harry Potter’s first uniform. Moving on to Studio 1, make your way around Dumbledore’s office, Snape’s dungeons and the Gryffindor dorm before things turn interactive and there’s the chance to ride a broomstick and have a go in Ron Weasley’s flying car, all captured on green screen video. Other wizardly fun includes having a wand training session, watching the pots and pans magically come to life, photos opportunites on platform 9 ¾ and outside the Knight’s Bus all before boarding the Hogwarts Express.
Outdoors, there’s Privet Drive, the Hogwarts walk and Harry Potter’s house to explore as well as the bar selling the famous Butterbeer - apparently it’s a very sweet combination of shortbread and butterscotch. Head back inside to Studio 2 and discover all the creepy creatures come to life from the snake to the Beast Book and even the scariest baddie of all time - Voldemort. Probably the most fascinating part is the walk down Diagon Alley where you’ll be able to peer into the windows of all the shops and look down all the dimly-lit passages. Throughout the tour, there are a variety of special effects demonstrations going on including how the invisibility cloak works and how the Great Hall’s magical ceiling was created plus at the Creature Effects Department, touch the faces of goblins, house elves and more - but don’t worry, they’re just masks! With the tour taking around 3.5 hours on average to complete, there is so much to get excited about. Not only are there all the carefully designed props and costumes to marvel at, there’s the Hogwarts Castle and spectacular art department filled with sketches and handmade models. If you thought you knew Harry Potter inside out, prepare to feel like a super fan after this.
There’s nothing better than filling up your basket in a gift shop. And, the Harry Potter Studio Gift Shop doesn’t disappoint. From replica wands and chocolate frogs to official Gryffindor scarves, hoodies and baseball caps, you’ll be a wizard yet! A wonderland full of keyrings, magnets and of course the beautiful books by J.K. Rowling, there’s postcards, jelly beans and cuddly toys galore - it will be pocket money well spent for sure.
The Harry Potter studio has been designed to meet every visitor’s needs and there are friendly staff roaming the halls to help wherever they can, too. Pre-visit notice is required for wheelchair users as only a certain number of wheelchairs can be on the tours at one time. While the majority of the studio is accessible, there are a few spots that might not be suitable for wheelchair users such as Diagon Alley, (due to its uneven floor) Hogwart’s Bridge that’s only accessible via a small staircase and The Knight’s Bus that has a platform. Accessible and standard toilets are near the main entrance and various other spots throughout the tour. In the Studio Lobby, there is a cloakroom as well as a cash machine offering a free of charge usage to boot.
Did you know?
In the ‘room under the stairs’ where Harry Potter lived (in The Dursley’s storage cupboard), it was actually filled with real-life props from the set decorator's own basement at home!
Whether you want to grab a bite to eat before or after your tour (or maybe Butterbeer is the only thing on your agenda!), there’s two places on site to grab some food and drink.
Serving hot meals, sandwiches and snacks, The Backlot Cafe is located halfway through the studio tour. With Privet Drive and Hogwarts Bridge nearby, you can choose to sit inside or outside in the outdoor seating area where there are also spots to enjoy your own picnic. This is also the spot for Butterbeer fans to get their fill of the sweet-tasting non-alcoholic beverage before they head back on the tour.
The Studio Tour Cafe is open until 8pm on weekends and is the perfect spot to chow on something a little more substantial. Choose from jacket potatoes, soups and salads and little ones can enjoy children’s lunch boxes and desserts. Afternoon tea and a side of fizz makes the experience even more memorable. With scones, clotted cream and chocolate truffles, you’ll be wishing for a spell that whip it up again!