I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. When I was a kid, I read each book over and over and had a slip of paper with tally marks showing how many times I’d read each one. I studied abroad in England so I could be in Harry’s homeland. I love to sort people into the houses (I’m Hufflepuff, Kevin’s Gryffindor). I have a Harry Potter quote tattooed on me. I kick ass at Harry Potter trivia. And I collect Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone books in different languages. I am a true Potterhead.
So when Kevin and I got a great flight deal to London, I made sure the studio tour would be worked into our schedule. No doubt in my mind. I give it the highest recommendation for any Potter fan.
Below you will find a few tips and then a photo dump. The tips are not groundbreaking – you might think “duh” on several or all of them. Really, if you have your tickets and travel set up, you could really just show up and have a great time. But if you’re like me and want to read up everything you possibly can before going somewhere, then this is for you.
1. Buy your tickets as soon as your plans are finalized
I went to the studio tour website shortly after we booked our flight, and was so glad I did. We had a week in London, and the studio tour was booked solid all except for our last day. I don’t think that was a normal occurrence, though, because the calendar showed openings in the surrounding weeks, just not that week. I would have cried if we hadn’t gotten tickets.
2. Know how to get there
Despite it being in the name, the Warner Brothers Studio Tour London is not really in London proper. The easiest way to get there is a 20-minute train ride and then the shuttle bus. Sounds complicated, but if you know the details in advance, you will be fine.
3. Give it a whole day in your schedule, and take your time
There is SO MUCH there that if you want to see all the amazing details, you will need to go slowly and spend several hours wandering around. If you go too fast, you will absolutely miss things.
4. Don’t bring someone along who isn’t into it
Considering how slow you are wandering through the tour, if you take along someone who doesn’t live for Harry Potter, they may get bored. This could make them resent you for taking forever, or will make you rush because you feel guilty for their boredom. Kevin has never read the books, and the tour was still interesting to him. But I think he would have preferred going faster and then doing something else later in the afternoon. I tried not to feel bad about taking too long.
5. Prep yourself and your camera in advance so you can take photos in low light
A lot of the tour is lit in a way to really show off the sets and props in a beautiful way. But that tends not to be very bright for a camera. If you want nice photos from the tour, you need to make sure they won’t all be blurry when you get home.
6. Set aside your self-consciousness for a day, and ask your travel buddy to take your photo
I don’t usually ask anyone to take my photo because it feels really weird in the moment. But when I force myself, I’m usually happy later. Being the photographer in most of my social circles means I’m not in a ton of photos, and if there was ever a background I wanted to be photographed in front of, it is a Harry Potter movie set!!
On to the photos!