Warner Bros began to plan an attraction that would pay tribute to the magic world of Harry Potter as early as 2001, following the huge success of the first movie. Hence, the props and items from the movies that were no longer needed on the actual set were carefully stored away. At last, towards the completion of the last movie in 2010, Warner Bros announced the purchase of Leavesden Studios and started working on the exhibit.
The Making of Harry Potter by Warner Bros studios officially opened to the public on 31 March 2012. The grand opening was quite an event attended by many members of the Harry Potter film cast. Some of the big names include Rupert Grint (Ron), Tom Felton (Malfoy), Bonnie Wright (Ginny), Evanna Lynch (Luna), Warwick Davis (Prof. Flitwick), David Thewlis (Lupin). Directors David Yates, Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell also attended.
Though, that is not the only opening worth mentioning. One year later (specifically on 26 April 2013), the studios were officially “opened” by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They visited the site along with Prince Harry and J.K. Rowling (who couldn’t come for the grand opening the previous year). Needless to say, the list of illustrious guests was endless.
This incredible Harry Potter experience features the enviable talent, imagination and artistic creativity that brought Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizards to life on the big screen. In short, the Harry Potter studio tour allows you to visit authentic sets, discover the art behind special effects and discover many behind-the-scenes secrets of the famous film series.
For instance, you will get to visit two soundstages and numerous original sets. Moreover, you will also experience and learn about green screen technology first-hand (you will see how complex prosthetics help in transforming actors into creatures).
The tour through the wizarding world usually lasts three hours and the site has the capacity to welcome 6,000 visitors per day.
Despite Warner Brothers being behind the Harry Potter movie series, the tour is not the official theme park. This is because Warner Bros sold the license to build the theme park to Universal Studios. Instead, this attraction allows watching the incredible amount of work, detail and effort needed to make a major feature film.
The Warner Bros Studio Tour is 20 miles (32 kilometers) north-west of London and just under 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from the M1 and M25 motorways.
The standard Harry Potter studio tour is self-guided. This way visitors have time to enjoy touring the sets at their own pace. However, many different guided tours with extra perks are also available.
There is a range of opening times depending on what day of the week and time of year you are visiting.
Typically the Studio tour opens at 8:30 am with the first tour kicking off at 9:00 am.
Closing times are more variable as they range from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Whatever the closing the time, the last entry is always 3 hours before that. So, when closing at 6:00 pm the last entry is 2.30 pm and 3:00 pm and when closing at 10:00 pm the last entry is between 6.30 pm and 7:00 pm.
You can only buy Harry Potter tour tickets online in advance. It’s not possible to buy them on location.
So, are you ready for the best Harry Potter experience London has to offer?