Adventures await at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour London! Our family had a great time exploring the Hogwarts classrooms, seeing costumes used in the movies, and learning about wizarding world special effects. This tour of the Harry Potter studio sets in London is memorable for families of all ages!
Video: Harry Potter Studio Tour London
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A double decker bus brought us to the entrance of the Warner Bros. HP studio building. Evidently, this set was used for 10 years during the making of the 9 Harry Potter movies. Statues of figures from the game of Wizard’s Chess welcome visitors outside the doors.
Once inside the Harry Potter studio, we discovered all sorts of amazing things to learn, see, and experience.
We began the studio tour outside the immense doors of Hogwarts Great Hall. Armored knights decorate the stone walls, resembling the same knights which Professor McGonagall brought to life to protect the castle with “Piertotum Locomotor” in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Hogwarts Great Hall
Inside the Great Hall, we saw long tables set up for the students of the different houses, along with stone magical creatures holding lanterns on the walls. Costumes and robes from the movie are on display, next to rows of pewter plates and goblets on the tables.
The Hogwarts Great Hall is just as impressive as you might imagine! However, at the time of our visit, the ceiling didn’t appear to be enchanted to look like the night sky.
Up front, costumes worn by Professor McGonagall, Headmaster Dumbledore, and Professor Snape stand imposingly before the long head table. Beautiful leaded glass decorates many of the windows in this room.
Gryffindor Common Room
After the Great Hall, we headed into the labyrinth of studio sets, among which includes the Gryffindor Common Room. The fat lady greets visitors at the door, and the interior set of the common room looks just as cozy as it appeared in the Harry Potter movies.
Character outfits, well-worn furniture, and books look right at home next to ancient wall paper and austere portraits. I love how this set brings to life centuries of magical training in a homelike sort of way.
Also on display is this collection of characters’ wands seen throughout the Harry Potter movies.
It’s easy to imagine yourself learning under the strict instruction of Professor Snape in the Potions Classroom. Countless bottles of labeled specimens line the dark stone walls, behind a table filled with caldrons.
We got an idea of how the moving staircases worked with this example of green screen support beneath a fabricated stone stairway. Next to the staircase, a collection of portraits on the wall are fun to look at.
Yule Ball | Harry Potter Studio Tour London
Continuing on through the studio tour, we saw outfits on display which Harry Potter characters wore during the Yule Ball. Next to the costumes, an ice palace decorates a table filled with potions.
Of course, most fans will recognize Harmonie’s tiered ruffled lavender gown, next to Harry’s dapper dress robes. She wears this to the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Equally iconic, the Triwizard Cup stands on display; the grand prize of the Triwizard Tournament.
I especially liked seeing the dramatic castle accents like this swinging pendulum, used to give Hogwarts classrooms a sense of grandeur. Below, we saw Quidditch uniforms from the four houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw. Game equipment including a quaffle, two bludgers, and the golden snitch stand ready for use in the next Quidditch match.
In another section of the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour, we saw Dumbledore’s grand office. We could imagine the professor working behind his imposing desk, with Fawkes perched next to shelves of dusty books. It was so fun to see this full-sized movie set where so many important moments in the Harry Potter movies took place!
Next to Dumbledore’s desk, the cabinet of memory vials and Pensieve dish stands ready for a magician to review their memory of choice. The etched and corroded mirrors set behind the Pensieve look as if they’ve withstood hundreds of years of academic use.
Understandably wary a student should feel, who wanders into Professor Umbridge’s office. We saw her desk set up for ominous work, in front of somehow ominous-feeling pink tile and plates decorated with cats.
Additionally, we enjoyed seeing some of the fantastic props used in the movies, like these feisty monster books. We also saw examples of silicon faces and artificial hands used to create some of the interesting magical characters.
Outside the movie set studio building, the triple decker Knight Bus stands ready to pick up the next wizard in need of transport. An up-close view of this vehicle reveals just how tall the Knight Bus would be!
Hogwarts Express & Platform 9 3/4
Continuing on, our kids enjoyed pretending to board the Hogwarts Express at platform nine and three-quarters. The half of a luggage cart makes it feel like you could actually get onto the platform through the brick wall.
The Hogwarts Express stands billowing smoke and ready to depart, next to the train platform at the station.
Additionally, our kids enjoyed riding on Hagrid’s motorbike and pretending to fly over London.
Gringotts Bank | Harry Potter Studio Tour London
We also enjoyed exploring the sets used to create Gringotts Wizarding Bank. These sets were truly amazing, as the set architects put great detail into the vaults and piles of treasure.
According to the sign on display, thousands of pieces of fake treasure were created to fill the Lestrange vault. The multiplying pieces of treasure bouncing around the actors were made from rubber polyurethane, in the vault scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Our son Joshua did his best to nab the Sword of Gryffindor from the Lestrange vault in Gringotts Bank.
Buckbeak the Hippogriff
Further around the corner, we met an animatronic fantastic beast, Buckbeak the Hippogriff. Fortunately, Kiera knew exactly how to make a new friend. The designers spared no detail in the creation of this magical creature, from its soft griffin feathers to its sharp claws and powerful legs.
Buckbeak appears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and even helps Sirius Black make his escape out of the clutches of the Ministry of Magic.
Diagon Alley & Ollivanders Wand Shop
Last but not least, we toured a very cool collection of shops known as Diagon Alley. Books and wands were on display in the shop windows, along with owls, baubles, and fantastic treats. Of course, Diagon Alley is more amazing in the movies, but it was at least fun to see the sets where the movie magic began.
Ollivanders, makers of fine wands since 382 B.C. – Harry Potter Studio Tour London
Hogwarts Castle | Harry Potter Studio Tour London
The cobblestone street through Diagon Alley led us straight to the enchanting model of Hogwarts Castle itself. Evidently, this model was used for aerial shots, overhead views, and CGI scenes of the immense castle and its towers. Even as a model, the detail and complexity of the Hogwarts wizardry school is amazing.
Overall, we really enjoyed the Harry Potter Studio Tour London and the glimpse we got into movie making. Understandably, hundreds of talented people worked on creating the magical world surrounding the Harry Potter stories. Our family spent most of an afternoon exploring the Warner Bros. studio and learning about movie production, filming equipment, and special effects.
Letters being delivered by owl at the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour London.
Outside the WB studio, wanted poster for “Undesirable No. 1 Harry Potter.”
Hi, I’m Katie! I live with my husband and 3 kids in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I love Jesus, coffee, creative projects, taking photos and traveling. I’ve previously worked as a web designer, journalist and barista. I hope you enjoy our creative projects and family adventures!