Has anyone gone to the Harry Potter Tour outside of London? My husband and I are thinking about going but we would have to sacrifice some London sightseeing to do so. (We'll be in London 3 days--it's our first time) So, what we want to know is, is it worth it?
Even if the Harry Potter tour is fabulous do you really want to sacrifice your precious 3 days of sightseeing in one of the world's most historically significant cities to see a set where imaginary characters play with their non-functional magic wands?
Savannah, Tim must be a relation to the Dursleys. I have only read good things about the tour, but haven't been on it . . . yet. We probably will check it out on our next trip, but we've been to London a number of times (for which we are very thankful). It will take an investment of time to get there so it may eat up most of one of your days. If I could offer an alternative, take one of the Harry Potter walking tours in London itself so you can see Diagon Alley and Gringots Bank. It won't take near as much time and it is fun to see (and you'll experience the fictional along with the real and historic). Given your limited time, save the studio tour for your next trip. If you are a Harry fan, you likely will want to go back to London again. Bottom line, though, it is your trip. Do what you think would be interesting to you. FYI, we went to Edinburgh on one trip and went to the cafe where J.K. Rowling was supposed to have written much of the first book. It was so hot that day, however, and the cafe didn't have any air conditioning, that all we could do was walk in for two seconds and then turn around and walk out. We were glad we hadn't made a special trip just to see it.
Not a fan of Harry Potter (no teenage kids). i cant see how it could be worth taking a precious day away from london. But you must make that decision
Amazing that there are Trolls on this page. ;) Paul, Can you recommend a specific tour company for a Harry Potter tour in London? Thanks,
Savannah, Check out Trip Advisor. There is a thread there with all sorts of info on the studio tour. It sounds wonderful! We're headed there in June ourselves -- can't wait! Have fun!
Oh, and Marty, London Walks has a few Harry Potter themed walks that sound good. Hope this helps!
I second the recommendation of London Walks (walks.com). They have several ones tied to Harry Potter. We haven't taken one of those, but I suspect we will in the future. We have taken a Pepys, a Shakespeare & Dickens, and a ghost walk plus maybe one or two others I haven't thought of at the moment. In our experience, the walks are well worth it and have been well done. Walks by London Walks or others are great ways to experience new places.
A note of caution about the London Walks Harry Potter walks....they are very, very crowded. We did 3 London Walks last July, and I would recommend this one the least, even though our entire family is crazy about Harry Potter. There had to be more than 100 people who showed up for this walk. There were two guides so they divided the group in 2, but then more and more people showed up, so there were certainly more than 50 on our walk. It is very hard to walk the streets of London with 50 people. It was hard to keep up, and sometimes hard to hear. Our guide actually lost half the group for about 10 minutes in a busy area. If there are other options (especially any that advertise "small groups" I'd explore them.
I don't know about the tour but my wife and I were tracking down a few other items. We did see the special Platform 9-3/4 setup at the Kings Cross train station. All they did was cut up a luggage cart and cement it to the wall. They didn't do a lot of work on it. It's also hard to find. The walkway over the tracks where Hagrid met Harry Potter in the first movie has been demolished. We did see a large cauldron at Lacock Abbey that was supposedly used in the Harry Potter movies. Also note that some scenes were filmed at this abbey. Switching movies, we also visited the Temple church that was featured in the Da Vinci Code move. A lovely church. You can get to it from the river but if you can find it, there's a really old wooden door right on Fleet Street that will lead you to the church.
Larry, according to our London Walks guide, the location used for Platform 9 3/4 was actually between Platforms 4 and 5 at King's Cross (OK, so we did learn a few interesting tidbits on that walk). Coincidentally, the morning after we learned this, we were at King's Cross to board a train to York....on Platform 5, next to Platform 4. We saw the place where the barrier was filmed in the movie, and snapped a photo. It wasn't until we got home that we noticed that the digital clock on the wall between the platforms read 9:34. Pretty wild!
I met several groups on the train yesterday who had just returned from the Studio Tour in Watford. One was parents with a boy that was about 8 and girl about 6. All 4 loved it, were excited and thought everything was about right. Kids gave it 10 out of 10, the parents 9 out of 10. A second group was 3 teenagers, two girls and a boy. All loved it, gave it 10, they did the flying car activity because they said the flying broomstick was a bit crowded and were really glad with their choices. They thought that they had completed the day a bit earlier than they had expected. The third group was two mothers and two 12 year old girls. They were maybe even the most keen, all giving it 10 except one girl who insisted on 12. She also got out her new wand (He Who Must Not Be Named's wand) and was keen to try out spells! She failed but nothing turned into a turtle or pincushion. Whew!
Just to put everything in one place, here are some recent message threads (the past 12 months) that discussed how to get to the Tour. getting to watford junction Leavesden Studios Harry Potter Tour Here are some threads about the London Walks Harry Potter Tours. Harry Potter Walking Tour of London Harry Potter London walk
I can't speak about the studio tour itself, but as far as the location of platform 9 3/4 mockup it actually has migrated around over the last couple years and I am posting a link that has available a map of Kings Cross from Network Rail (owner of the station) as National Rail Enquiries STILL has not done the resurvey required to account for the recent renovation of the station http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/867.aspx
I just returned from the Warner Bros - Harry Potter tour outside of London. As a middle-aged fan, I thought it was worth 2-3 hours at the studio. It does take quite a while to get there via the train. For non-Londoners, I want to alert you that not all trains from Euston are direct -- some have stops. We had a number of stops today, and the trip took at least 45 minutes. The return, however, was a non-stop. This can throw off your schedule.
Also, the studio wasn't crowded in the late morning but was mobbed, even in winter, by early afternoon. And, even though they tell you you must meet your specified time, when we arrived right around our start time, they said we could relax and get breakfast first if we wanted (there were no lines yet). Keep in mind that this is the off-season (though, as I said, it was quite crowded by 2 p.m. -- lots of private school kids).
My husband and I spent the better part of a day at the studio tour. I am an avid fan and my husband like Harry Potter, but can certainly live without it. He enjoyed it quite a lot. We did have 10 days in London, so it would be a tough call for me to make if I only had 3 days in London. there is so much to do that I think you need to really weigh your priorities. I think for me, I would probably have still gone to the tour and given up some time in London if I hadn't been before and didn't know what I was missing. But again, I'm a big HP fan. I don't think you can do the studio tour in less than half a day. We did spend about 6 hours there, but we were in the first entry of the day. If you decide to go to the studio tour, try to get the earliest tour of the day. You can leave from London early in the morning and not take up time that places in London will not be open. Does that even make sense? Anyway, there are several options for trains, just pick on that is more direct (as someone already mentioned). You can probably get through the tour in 3 hours, I would not want to spend less than that as there is much to see. You could be heading back to London by 1:00 and still have the afternoon for sightseeing. The studio tour is much less crowded in the morning so you can see more faster since you won't have to battle as many people to see things.
We also took a London Walks Harry Potter tour, which I also recommend. In fact, we took 5 different tours, they were all great. The Walks tour does visit some filming locations and is great fun, but the Walks tour and the studio tour really do not compare. The Walks tour is really more of a tour of parts of London and you can see places where the movies were filmed. The studio tour has sets and lots of props and costumes and information about the movies. If you want more info about either, I'd be happy to share further. Really, I think it depends on how big of a Potter fan you are and what your other priorities in London are, but I don't think you will regret going to the studio tour. It is an experience unlike any other I have had.
Went on the studio tour this Sept. and had a great time. Has anyone said that you need/should reserve and pay for your tickets on-line, www.wbstudiotour.co.uk. I booked a tour to the studios through Golden Tours, price includes price of ticket into the studio and a round trip coach/bus ride to the studio. I choose to go through the studio the first morning tour and the bus returning to London about 2pm, giving the rest of the afternoon to see more of London. Have a great time.
Savannah, it depends on how big a Harry Potter fan you are. My kids and I are big HP nerds and it was a highlight of our trip. It was their first trip and my 3rd to London. It's easy to do on your own and you can save alot of money that way. The website gives excellent directions on how to get there by public transport. We took a direct train from Euston station and the Knight Bus is waiting to pick us up and take us to the studios. It really depends on you and what you want to do since it's your trip. If you do go, get an early start so you can be back in London by early afternoon. We had an 11 am booking and stayed till about 4:30...you don't have to stay that long. The tour itself is mostly self guided. We got back into London around 6 pm and had theater tickets booked that night. On a separate night, we made a special trip to King's Cross to take our pictures at Platform 9 3/4. As others have mentioned, it's half a trolley glued to the wall with the sign up above. It was very easy to find. We were there around 11:30 pm and the station was pretty empty. This one girl that was there told us that during the day, there's usually a long line to take pictures. My kids really wanted to do this so off we went. Now, if you're also a Dr Who fan, I can tell you where there is a tardis you can take a picture with!
Replies are welcome but do note that Savannah's question was in April of 2012. She probably has her answer by now.
Darn it! Nigel, I wish i was as observant as you. I thought I gave great advice, too :(
It is wonderful advice. Valuable. Just a bit late for the OP. I'm sure others will benefit. And you will be the go-to person for the next time the question pops up.
Claudette: OK, where is the tardis? I will be in Edinburgh and London next summer but not Cardiff.
If you do streetview on that Tardis you can go inside. Everything is so much bigger...
Yes, the Tardis is right outside the Earl's Court tube station. My kids also went to 'The Who Shop' which is like a shop/museum with lots of memorabilia in London. I asked them where it was but they can't give me the specifics but they found it via Google. Enjoy your trip, Geor! We were there in May 2012 but I think the Tardis is there permanently.