As some of you may know it’s not my first time visiting the Warner Bros Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter or my fifth *cough*.
Since my last visit, the Studio Tour has undergone a major refurbishment. The 16,500sqft Gringotts Wizarding Bank expansion is the largest addition since the Studio Tour opened on the 31st March 2012. I was expecting to see the changed exterior and the addition of Gringotts bank, but I was happily surprised to see the changed layout as you enter, including the Main shop and eating places.
I always recommend that you visit the tour when they have an event on, as there is always more to see. I visited in December for there ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ event. I love the Yule Ball from the Goblet of Fire, so was excited to see the Great Hall decked out in all it’s Yule ball glory.
I’ve included below the dates for the studios forthcoming 2020 events from there ‘What’s On’ page. Tickets must be booked in advance and for some events like ‘Hogwarts in the Snow’ you need to book tickets months in advance due to popularity.
|Adult – 16+ years||£47.00|
|Child – 5-15 years and must be accompanied by an adult||£38.00|
|0-4 Years old – tickets are still required||FREE|
|Family – 2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children||£150.00|
|Adult Complete Studio Tour Package – Tour Ticket, Digital Guide & Paperback Souvenir Guidebook||£56.95|
|Child Complete Studio Tour Package – Tour Ticket, Digital Guide & Paperback Souvenir Guidebook||£47.95|
|Carer – added to a booking by contacting the Visitor Services Team on 0345 084 0900 or email email@example.com||FREE|
The Warner Bros Studio Tour, have now made it easier to ask for a carer ticket, without losing your ideal day and time slot. In the past you couldn’t order your tickets online, you would have to call when the Visitor Services Team are open, and hope that the day and time you want are still available. But now when I want to book, I go online check availability, and select the day and time slot I want, and pay for my full price adult ticket as there is no disabled concession price. Once the ticket has been emailed through I call the Visitor Services Team once they are open, and give my reservation details and ask for a carer ticket to be added, they ask a few questions about proof of entitlement, and then they will send through a new ticket confirmation with the carer ticket included.
One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor. Carers must provide assistance to the visitor and proof of entitlement will be required on entry to the Studio Tour. They currently accept the following as proof of entitlement:
- Letter/notice of entitlement for Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Blue Badge or Freedom Pass
- DID card or Access card
- Letter from your doctor
One of the things I love about Warner Bros Studio Tour is how fantastic there staff are. Everyone is just so helpful and friendly, and they go out of there way to make sure you have a fantastic time.
When you arrive at the Studio Tour, staff direct you to available parking spots, if you have a Blue Badge just show it to the staff when they check your ticket confirmation and they radio ahead, so that staff direct you around to the Blue Badge parking spots near the tour entrance.
First of all you will need to take your email ticket confirmation to the staff at ticket collections, where they will check your confirmation, scan the barcode and print out your tickets. Then you will need to make your way over to the entrance queue, where you’ll wait for security to check your bags as well as use a hand-held scanner to scan you, before you can make your way inside.
Once through security, you enter the room where the cloakroom, information desk, digital guide collection point and toilets are located. The Radar key locked disabled toilet and changing space facility, is situated to the right of the toilets, past the bench on the left. If you have forgotten to bring your Radar key, just ask the staff at the information desk if you can borrow there’s.
The room has a hoist, height adjustable changing bench, toilet and washbasin. The room is easily large enough to accommodate a wheelchair user and two carers. You do need to remember to bring your own sling to use with the hoist as there are none available.
The Chocolate Frog Cafe serves a selection of sweets and treats, including specialty hot chocolate, ice cream and a range of cakes. The Hub Cafe serves Starbucks hot and cold drinks, grab and go bakery and sandwich items. Both cafes open at the same time as the Studio Tour and remain open throughout the day.
The Food Hall is a great place to grab a bite to eat if you fancy something more than a sandwich or cake. The Food Hall is open from the opening of the Tour until 5pm. On days that the Tour closes at 10pm, the Food Hall is open until 8pm.
The Studio Tour has three shops, the Main Shop pictured below, is located next to the tour entrance and cafes. The Forbidden Forest Shop is located as you exit the Forbidden Forest, and the Platform 9 3/4 Shop is located on the Platform opposite the Hogwarts Train.
I recommend that if you have time, look around the Main Shop before you start the tour, and leave any purchases in the cloakroom free of charge.
The Studio Tour is divided up as follows:
- J Stage
- Forbidden Forest
- Platform 9 3/4
- Backlot and Backlot Cafe
- K Stage
Once the double doors open you get your first look inside the Great Hall. For the Hogwarts in the Snow event, the Great Hall is transformed with Christmas trees and decorations, and at the end of the hall the Yule Ball trees, decorations and musical instruments are on display.
There is so much to see inside J stage, including the Gryffindor common room, the Gryffindor boys dormitory, Professor Dumbledore’s office, the Potions Classroom, the Burrow, Malfoy manor, and Hagrid’s hut. There are also opportunities to get a photo and video of yourself flying on a broomstick (if you are able to get onto it), and also a photo of yourself inside the Weasley’s Flying Ford Anglia.
Take your time to look around, as once you enter the Forbidden Forest you exit J stage and won’t be able to come back into this area again. Toilets can be found near Professor Umbridge’s office, before you enter the Forbidden Forest.
If you are scared of spiders 🕷 just like Ron, then it’s best not to look up and work your way quickly along the path, through the Forbidden Forest. It’s sad I know but I do love the floor of the Forbidden Forest, I was worried about how they would do the flooring, especially as I know how difficult it is to travel over the cobblestones of Diagon Alley in a wheelchair. But, alas they have created a lovely pretty smooth floor that still looks like a dirt covered forest floor.
Reaching Platform 9 3/4 symbolises the half way point through the tour, and means it’s definitely time for a spot of lunch. The Hogwarts Express is unfortunately not accessible any other way apart from the stairs, so do like I do and send a friend or family member onto the train with a camera, to take photographs of the insides of each carriage which display recreations of scenes from the different films.
My Tip: visit your local supermarket the night before or on-route to Warner Bros, and get yourself a meal deal. We always do, that way we don’t mind paying out for a Butterbeer and a naughty cake.
Make your way past the Hogwarts Express, but don’t forget to look inside the last carriage where you will see Harry and Ron on there first journey to Hogwarts, as well as the costumes worn in the final scene of the Deathly Hallows part 2, when Ginny, Harry, Ron and Hermione are seeing off there children on Platform 9 3/4.
You have the opportunity to sit inside a mock up of a carriage and get your photos taken. The last carriage nearest to the Platform 9 3/4 shop has a ramp and wheelchair space so that you won’t miss out. As you go around the corner there is a desk where you can view your photographs, if you have had them done. Carry on past the glass display shelves featuring a variety of props from the films, and you will arrive at the Backlot Cafe.
Reaching the Backlot Cafe to us, signifies lunchtime, and a lovely glass of Butterbeer 🍻. Be aware there are two queues, one for ordering food and drink and one for ordering just Butterbeer. So if you are like us, and have brought your lunch with you, and just want to treat yourself to some Butterbeer, then make sure you are in the queue on the right, otherwise you may be queuing for a while, especially when it’s busy. There’s plenty of sitting inside as well as outside if the weather’s decent. Hot food is served from the opening of the Tour until 5pm. On days that the Tour closes at 10pm, hot food is served until 8pm.
Butterbeer is suitable for those with gluten, wheat and nut allergies. It does, however contain trace amounts of dairy so it is unsuitable for vegans or anyone with lactose intolerance.
There is also a Sensory room located adjacent to the Backlot Cafe. The room provides a calming environment for those with autism and other additional needs, it contains a Sensory Shell Chair, interactive light box, mirror ball and tactile mirrors. If you want to access the room prior to reaching the Backlot Cafe, speak to a member of staff who will be happy to help.
Exiting the Backlot Cafe brings you outside to the Backlot where you can enter Number 4 Privet Drive (which is completely wheelchair accessible) and take a look inside the Dursley’s living room. If you can do the steps you can walk along part of the Hogwarts Bridge, you can also have a gaze inside The Knight Bus, sit inside the Weasleys Flying Ford Anglia and Sirius’s Motorbike. Take a walk past the giant Chess Pieces from the Philosophers Stone as well as James and Lily Potters Cottage in Godric’s Hollow, and you will arrive at the entrance to K stage.
The Creature Effects workshop kicks off the start of your tour through K Stage. Toilets are situated to the right as you enter K stage. There’s a lot to look at in this room so take your time.
As you work your way closer to Gringotts bank, you get shown the step by step process of how they make the goblin prosthetics, as well as get a closer look at costumes made for the actor Warwick Davis for his roles as Professor Flitwick and Griphook.
As you enter the Gringotts Wizarding Bank you can’t help but go WOW, the pictures don’t give it justice.
Take a look inside the vaults at Gringotts, including vault 713 and the Lestrange vault, but just beware of the Dragon! There’s also opportunities to get your picture taken in a mock up of the Lestrange vault, holding the sword of Gryffindor. It’s fully wheelchair accessible, there’s two to choose from depending on if you need the raised ramp of not to reach the sword.
If you manage to make it past the Dragon, and exit Gringotts Bank, you will now enter Diagon Alley.
The one thing I always dread and wish they would change is Diagon Alley. With my condition it’s painful to travel over the bumpy cobblestones regardless of if I am in my Manual Wheelchair or Powerchair. My Powerchair at least makes it easier to bare than the Manual, plus my Mum doesn’t have to struggle to push me uphill over uneven flooring.
Seeing as for the Forbidden Forest, they could make the floor look like a forest floor but actually be tarmac and easy to travel across, why can’t they do the same for Diagon Alley? I just really wish that one day Warner Bros would also change Diagon Alley so that it’s easier as well as a lot more comfortable to travel over in a Manual Wheelchair or Powerchair.
Travelling past the snow covered model of the Hogwarts castle, symbolises that you are reaching the end of the tour. Once past the castle and the hundreds of wand boxes, you end up like most tours exiting into the Main souvenir shop.
I hope you have found my review on the Warner Bros Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter interesting and helpful. I may be just a little bit biased in saying this, but it really is a great day out, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan, it’s definitely worth a visit.