lifestyle, travel

Warner Bros. Studio Tour review

I’ve probably mentioned it here and there, but for those of you who haven’t caught on, I’m quite the Harry Potter fan. Not in a creepy way (I haven’t turned my bedroom in to the Gryffindor common room…yet) but I have always been in complete awe of the world J.K. Rowling created. Call me a fan girl, but it amazes me how one woman’s imagination can create something so huge. 

Aged 11, sat on velvet purple armchair (at a holiday cottage! The velvet armchair wasn’t ours, although that would probably be deemed pretty cool and quirky these days), my mum handed me the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I’ve always been a bookworm and spent every holiday with my head in a book, but nothing had ever gripped me to the point where I couldn’t put it down…until Harry Potter came along. I stayed up late and woke up early to snuggle back in that armchair with my book (well, snuggle as well as you could on something velvet). The day I finished the first Harry Potter book, I put it down and begged my mum to find the sequel.

Being a bookworm, the books will always win over the film for me but I do adore the films and I think they’ve really done the books and characters justice. Visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour was definitely on my last of things to do. I had visited about three years ago and loved every minute, but last weekend I got to go again with my family for my dad’s Christmas present (he also happens to love Harry Potter!) And oh my, it’s even better second time round.

They have a few new areas such as the Hogwarts Express and platform 9 3/4 (which is absolutely epic by the way. I literally felt like I’d just stepped in to the station). And they have the Forbidden Forest opening in March! Is it acceptable to go for a third time? Asking for a friend…This time round I spent more time reading the facts and paying way more attention, rather than running round like an overexcited child (although there was a little bit of that involved). The detail is absolutely insane – from 500 handwritten labels on the potion bottles to writing the names of the crew on all 4000 wand boxes as a tribute to them. Every little detail had been planned to perfection and looked so realistic. From the troll masks to the animatronics, screaming mandrakes and of course my absolute fave, little Dobby!

I’m trying not to give too much away but the full scale Hogwarts model is something to behold. Probably helped by some dramatic lighting and glorious triumphant music! My brother isn’t the biggest fan of Harry Potter (I know, shame on him) but he loved the tour so don’t worry if you’re not obsessed. If you love films and behind the scenes stuff, you’ll probably still enjoy it! Have a read about my brother’s a muggle’s take on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour over on his blog, Sam Squire.

Top tips for visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour:

  • Take a camera! And make sure it’s charged (that’s a dig at my dad, who ran out of battery halfway round!) (EDIT: he didn’t run out of battery, his camera did…)
  • Dress accordingly – it’s a fairly decent temperature in there but there is an outside area so if it’s cold (or snowing like it was for us!) take some layers.
  • Allow yourself plenty of time! We took about 2 and a half hours. Although apparently one person took 13 hours. It’s amazing but c’mon, 13 HOURS?!
  • Plan your meals ahead – there’s a cafe in reception and a small cafe about halfway round which are great for a cuppa and cake (gluten free cake too!) but I’d probably take my own lunch next time.
  • Be comfy – you’re going to be walking around for a few hours. I wore my heeled boots which probably wasn’t my brightest idea.
  • Get there early! They recommend getting their about 20 minutes early. We arrived 45 mins early and had a cuppa and some cake. To be honest, any day that starts with cake at 10am is going to be good.
  • DO. NOT. TAKE. A. HEAVY. BAG. My arm had nearly dropped off by the time we had finished. 
Enjoy! Have you ever been? And if so, what did you think?
Katie x