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Thoughts on the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden?

We're in our 60s planning an 8 day trip to London and will concentrate on major sites, and thought perhaps a day to Windsor and a day to Harry Potter studio. Has anyone done the Studio tour and if so what did you think of it? We've done Universal tours in Florida and California so that's our comparision. We weren't sure if we should tube, train and shuttle to go there and buy admission tickets on our own, or just take the GlodenTours Bus trip? Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated.

We also saw a Harry Potter London Walking tour and wondered about that as well?

Posted by
38 posts

Hello Boomers -
In 2013 I signed up for RS's best of London tour, arrived three days early to visit sites that were not a part of the tour. One place I went was Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Leavesden. I encourage you take the tour. Take your time going through the two studios and the back lot, there's lots to see. If you take the Golden Tours bus ride to the studios there are now two ways of getting to the studio. In 2013, I booked the tour and ride with GT, the cost included the studio ticket and the round trip bus ride. Now you are able to only book the round trip bus ride with GT. And you will have to book and pay for your tickets to the studio on the studio's web site in advance. There are no ticket sales at the door. Have to pre buy on-line.

Now this year, 2015, I'm returning to London with my 15 year niece who wants to go to the studio. I already have the two tickets bought and the studio has mailed them to me. We will be traveling there by the tube.

It's "Wicked", Cathy

Posted by
21 posts

Hi Cathy,

I'm also planning on going to the studio this year with my daughter. Do you happen to know if we decide to book the tour and the bus separate whether we are still limited to 3 hours before we get back on the bus to London or if we can choose a later return if we'd like to stay at the studio longer? We will only be in London 4 days, but daughter being such a big HP fan felt this side trip would be worth the day away. Just can't decide if we want to do transport on our own or get a pkg deal (Golden tour station is so close to our hotel, the convenience is tempting)

Thanks!
Gail

Posted by
8889 posts

Catherine,
Just to put the record straight, you can't get to the studio by tube. The nearest tube station is called 'Watford', the end of the line, but that is some miles away.
Instead you need to catch a commuter train from Euston station in the centre of London, to 'Watford Junction'. A shuttle bus service runs from there. For details see here: http://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/your-visit/getting-here#shuttle

Posted by
4684 posts

The Golden Tours bus from central London is overpriced and liable to traffic delays. I would strongly recommend taking the train to Watford Junction and catching the bus there.

Posted by
4685 posts

You can get a long way towards Watford Junction on the underground by taking the Bakerloo Line to its end at Harrow & Wealdstone and then taking the Overground or other train from there to Watford Junction. This may be a slow service, but possibly more convenient from some parts of London. Those in the west of London can also take the Southern service to Watford Junction from West Brompton, Olympia or Shepherds Bush, although this runs only once an hour off peak.

Posted by
340 posts

Hi Boomers,

The first thing you need to do is log into the Warner Brothers Studio Tour website and see what it's about - it is not an amusement park like Universal. Once you decide it's for you, see what dates and times are available. Then determine the nearest tube stop to your hotel, go to the underground website and use the journey planner to find the various routes to the Watford Junction rail station. As Marco pointed out, it is easy to take the tube and trains to Watford Junction. Once you figure out your route and the time involved, then go back to the Warner Brothers website and purchase your tickets. That way you can be sure and plan for breakfast before heading out.

My husband and I (also boomers) went there last Fall. We had tickets for Noon, so figured out that we needed to catch the studio shuttle bus at Watford Junction about 11:30, the cost for it is £2 round trip. Since we were staying near the Earls Court tube stop, we took the District Line from Earls Court to the West Brompton station, and caught the 10:47 Southern train that arrived at Watford Junction about 11:20. The shuttle buses are waiting right outside the station - and you can't miss them. Then to return in the afternoon we just reversed it and made sure to catch the shuttle bus in time to catch one of the hourly trains back to our tube stop. The whole process sounds more complicated than it really is, and it's a lot smoother if you're using either an Oyster Card or travelcard for payment.

And finally, YES!!!, the tour is totally worth it. If you want any more info, PM me.

Mary

Posted by
994 posts

I definitely recommend it for Harry Potter fans. The tour includes props, costumes, sets, etc from the movies. My kids and I are big HP geeks so were there 2 years ago and we stayed about 4.5 hours. You get to go through the actual Diagon Alley set as well. Its not an amusement park with rides though, it's a studio tour. Not having been to Universal Studios I cant compare the two. I do recommend taking public transport as it is fairly simple and the shuttle bus will be waiting for you when you arrive at the Watford Junction station. We arrived about 30 min late for our 11 am arrival and we had no problem getting in. You do have to buy tickets in advance, not at the door.

Posted by
99 posts

My family did the HP Studio Tour last year. We spent three hours there and would have stayed longer but had to get to the airport. My husband and children, who are HP fans, LOVED it. I'm not a HP fan, and the tour made me want to read the books and see the movies. I recommend it.

Posted by
53 posts

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is the best tour my daughter has ever been on. Our family did the tour last August and we are planning another trip to England this fall. She wants to do the tour AGAIN. Even if you aren't a huge Potter fan, it is a fantastic experience. To top it off, we were there (not planned, just by coincidence) on Harry Potter's "birthday" so we got extra buttons and goodies.

Posted by
57 posts

Hi! My twin sister and I are also Boomers, and huge Harry Potter fans. We just returned from the Harry Potter Celebration Event at Universal Orlando for our second time. We are departing the US and heading to England just two days from now, on March 1, 2015. Naturally, the WB Studio Tour will be a big highlight of this trip. I did not see what dates you are planning to travel, but hopefully it will be AFTER March 19th when the new Exhibit is revealed of the original Hogwarts Express at WB Studio! My husband and I spent exactly eight hours on our first visit to WB Studio in Leavesden in 2012. The thing is, you cannot really compare Universal to WB Studio, since the first is an enormous amusement park, and WB is simply two enormous sound-stages plus a back-lot, crammed full of every incredible detail from the Harry Potter movie sets. There is no HP experience in the world like stepping into The Great Hall.

So, my recommendation is to buy the first time-slot available on the WB Studio website for the day you have completely open on your trip. We had a rental car and found it very easily without having to rely on anyone's schedule but our own. Which means I cannot help you with connections. But I would like to mention that many, many HP movie sites can be found in London simply by walking around on your own with a good guide book, including Rick's! We saw the entrance to the Ministry of Magic, the Australia House which was Gringotts Bank, Cecil Court which is an original Diagon Alley, the Millennium Bridge (watching for Death Eaters to blow us up), and the original Leaky Cauldron front door in Leadenhall Market, as well as the Leaky Cauldron from Azkaban at Borough Market. We also crossed the Lambeth Bridge where the Knight Bus squeezed through traffic during its manic race to the Leaky Cauldron.

I agree with posters above who warned against the Golden Tours Bus. You can do this all on your own! First step, log onto the WB Studios Tour website and buy those tickets! HAVE A FABULOUS TIME!

PS The email address of mine is at work, and I will NOT be there for the next 3 weeks. England here we come!

Posted by
85 posts

We ended up taking the bus trip, because there were no ticket-only reservation times available on the day we needed to go. It was over $20 each more than the train/shuttle would have been. You can take a later bus back to London, if you want to spend more than 3 hours there.

Reserve your tickets on line as soon as you know the day you want to go, especially if it is on a weekend, as those times sell out quickly and well ahead.

We had an amazing time. Spend the extra couple of pounds and get the audio tour -- it was particularly good, was very well-designed, and had a lot of interesting information. Once you are past the dining hall, you are free to wander, and take as much time as you like. You get to see the actual props, costumes, models, and sets. Highlights for us were Dumbledore's office, Daigon Alley, and the model of Hogwarts. We shared a cup of Butterbeer, because we just had to try it. It was better than I expected (I thought it would be really sweet), kind of a butterscotch soda that is foamy like root beer. Of course there is a gift shop where we bought wands, our favorite purchase of the trip.