04 Jun A Quick Guide to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London
I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all seven books countless times, especially the first four which came out around the time I was still holding out for my acceptance letter, and I’ve seen the movies more times than I’d like to admit. And while I’m a really big fan, I don’t geek out as hard as many people do. One person being my younger sister.
She’ll probably kill me for saying that she geeks out because she’s way too cool to geek out about anything. But I promise, she geeks out, especially about the movies. She’s seen them even more times than I have and knows basically everything about the making of the films and weird things about the actor’s lives to the point where I wonder if she’s obsessed.
Well, when my family came to visit me in the UK last summer after my MFA residency it was over her birthday and she got to pick a few things that she specifically wanted to do. At first the list was just “no museums, no churches, and no weird natural wonders or ancient sites.” Fair enough. We’d dragged her to plenty of those things before and with her turning 15 I can understand her wish to do something else.
So she finally picked to do the London Eye and the Harry Potter Studio Tour while we were in London. The whole family went on the London Eye, and I was secretly super excited to go because that meant my mom was paying for the admission (hey, I’m poor), and my sister and I were going to Harry Potter by ourselves.
We took a bus from our hotel to Euston Rail station, got on the train to Watford Junction that took forever because we didn’t realize it was stopping at every station between London and Watford, and picked up the shuttle from Watford Junction to the Studio.
It’s safe to say that this journey was filled with anxiety because we were minutes from missing our booking window. But after rushing in, waiting in more lines, and finally see some awesome props, we were fine. My sister was in heaven, spouting unknown facts she’d found online about the making of the films, while I went back to elementary school when I read the first book.- I still want my letter!
The overal experience was great, because they make you choose an hour window that you can check in it cuts down on the amount of people inside the studio at a given time. Even in the middle of summer it wasn’t too crowded, giving us opportunities to check everything out close up, and take pictures in front of props without waiting in a long line or having people staring daggers at us as we posed. (I already feel uncomfortable while having photos taken of myself, but especially when I have a million anxious onlookers.)
We tried Butterbeer, something I will never try again, but that my sister loved, and bought a few souvenirs. I was more than temped to buy every single version of the books in all of their different copies, but with a few more months of solo travel after, I didn’t have the space or the cash for that.
All in all I really liked the studio tour. It was packed full of stuff from all of the movies and we got a close look at some things we’d seen on screen hundreds of times like the sorting hat, Harry’s broom, and Dumbledore’s office. We also saw props we were really paid attention to, but were fantastic close up, like all the papers, the costumes, and some of the sets themselves. It’s amazing how much goes into making movies, Harry Potter especially.
Have you been to the studio tour? What did you think?