Warner Bros London The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour

School holidays can drag if you don’t have carrots to dangle in front of your kids – but I’ll tell you this; booking a place on the Warner Bros Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour is one heck of a carrot.

Thanks to the fab folks at Visit England (a fine website to check out if you’re stuck for “stay-cation” ideas during the hols), I managed to squeeze El and I on the tour yesterday so I can spill the beans on what a fan-flippin-tastic day out it is. Although it’s geek heaven for fans of the books and films, I fail to see how anyone could leave the two huge movie lots, both dedicated to Potter and his pals, without becoming spellbound.

As ever, the pictures speak louder than words, but do beware: There are spoilers contained within. If you’ve already booked your tour, and you want to be completely surprised, perhaps you should avert your eyes now. But if you just can’t resist a preview, take a peek inside the studio with me to see costumes, sets and actual Butterbeer…

No sooner have you stepped into the reception and queueing area than the fun begins: It’s the flying car!
And my first sighting of Sirius Black. Hmmmmmm
El gets to grips with the digital guide (an extra at £4.95, but Draco Malfoy does the commentary so whatcha gonna do?) – it’s tres modern and El loved it, blinding me with factoids all day
Another little treat as you queue up: The cupboard under the stairs. When you visit the tour you book a time slot and join the queue at that point – it’s not a long wait
Our first glimpse of the Great Hall – rah!
The Slytherin corner
And the Gryffindor table
This is soooo sweet – the first Hazza Potter costume
Not quite famous faces, but they need no introduction: So exciting to be close to the real costumes
There’s always a fashion angle: I loved the dresses from the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire “Yule Ball”
You can actually buy a replica of Hermione’s pink dress in the gift shop for £245 – I was tempted to try it on
I would have been more inclined to buy a Luna Lovegood dress though
Luna’s quirky accessories
You know who wore that suit, right? *Swoon* (My Gary Oldman obsession knows no bounds)
Tonks wore a pretty hot coat
And you know that Helena Bonham-Carter is one of my style icons
Loving the Bellatrix goth look
And who would wear a brooch like that?
My style is somewhere in between Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange
If they sold those cat brooches in the gift shop, I would have bought one
El hangs out with Snape in the potions classroom
Hocus pocus Hogwarts-style
Who would sleep in a bed like this? There’s something of the Doctor Who about Ron Weasley’s corner
The Ministry of Magic firepaces: I got goosebumps when I saw them…
…but it wasn’t as spinetingling as peeking into Dumbledore’s office
El grabs some facts about Hagrid’s Hut
It’s only the Knight Bus!
The space between the two movie lots is full of exciting Potter artefacts
Creepy: It’s Tom Riddle’s tomb
Dastardly headquarters of the Dursleys: No4 Privet Drive
We had to try a real life Butterbeer (in a souvenir glass, no less)
We’d tell you what it tastes like, but then we’d have to kill you (the Potter “passport” El is clutching is a fab – and free – activity book that the kids can fill in as they do the tour. Ask for one at the info point when you arrive)
Drinking and driving – tut tut
The Mandrake is one of my favourite Potter creatures: I want one
The entrance to Gringotts bank in Diagon Alley (have I lost any Potter virgins yet?)
Good to see they’ve got copies of Lockhart’s book in (wonder if they stock Fifty Shades of Grey?)
I don’t want to spoil Diagon Alley too much for you (it rocks, basically), but here’s a glimpse of the Weasley’s thriving business enterprise: Don’t squint when you look at that bucket, by the way
And as you leave, check out Ollivander’s collection of wizarding wands, each one bearing the name of a real life member of the Potter family
Everyone wants a photo of the Daniel Radcliffe box (!) – but I wanted Gary Oldman’s, obvs
The Hogwart’s Castle Model brought tears to my eyes. I’m keeping the pics under wraps so you *have* to go see for yoursef (you can take pics of the model and pretty much everything else in the tour) – but the gates are impressive too, don’t you think?
My pick of the gift shop offerings
And if that isn’t enough excitement for you, grab a coke and a coffee afterwards in the shade of Batman and friends: It’s the Warner Bros Studio cafe – phew!

For more info and to book visit Warner Bros Studio Tour London and for more fab holiday ideas go to Visit England.

With thanks to Visit England

Written by Johanna Payton