Harry Potter fans have been flocking to the Warner Brothers Studio Tours in Leavesden since the attraction opened in 2012, and they’ve been going back time and time again. Why? Because the tour is constantly updated and adapted to offer new experiences and exhibits.
Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to do with Harry Potter, new glimpses into the making of the films are released, stirring up the excitement all over again. With some of the workshops, talks and features being seasonal, they seem just that bit more magical. There are plenty of permanent features to enjoy, but check before you book, as certain tour options are only available during selected dates, including the following:
1. Behind the Scenes
This amazing behind-the-scenes event happens in a workshop, where you can find out how the costume department tackled the mammoth task of making more than 25,000 pieces of clothing for the Harry Potter films. The chance to wear a genuine Hogwarts robe, in the house colours of your choice, makes this an extra exciting add-on to the regular tour, which you re-join after the presentation, so don’t worry that you’ll miss anything.
You can get more information before booking tickets. Be sure to check that the Behind the Seams event will be held on the day you are planning to visit the studios.
2. Introducing the Art Department
Running throughout most of February 2019, this fantastic talk is given by actual members of the original art department who were responsible for making the props, models and creating the design drawings for the films. Remember that these are the experts who brought the magic of the books to life, so they have a lot of knowledge to share.
Superfans will be interested to learn all about the wand-making process, which is explained by the people responsible for creating the countless magical sticks for Ollivanders Wand Shop. Film-making techniques will also be discussed, so if there are any budding directors in your group, this will be a thrilling talk to take them to.
3. Gringotts Wizarding Bank
An exciting addition is coming to the studio tour in April 2019 in the form of an interactive Gringotts Bank set that you’ll be able to walk around. A regular feature in the films, this fantastic set piece is going to be a new, permanent addition to the tour, and it’s not just the entrance hall that you’ll be able to take pictures in. You’ll also be able to stroll through the sinister Lestrange Vault, complete with huge amounts of cursed treasure, before taking in a goblin gallery and more.
The attention to detail in this exhibit promises to be incredible, particularly because original crew members were drafted in to ensure continuity with the films, so expect stacks of coins and gruesome goblin faces aplenty.
4. Dark Arts
Halloween is an extra special time at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour because it heralds the return of the Dark Arts feature, which runs from 27th September to 10th November in 2019.
The breath-taking floating pumpkins display in the Great Hall is a favourite starting point, with the long dining tables decked out in sumptuous prop food that looks good enough to eat. You can then take part in a live wand duel, pitting yourself against the scariest Death Eaters, before finishing up by taking a scary stroll down Diagon Alley, which will be lit in a far more sinister way than it usually is. There’s no better time to visit a magical destination than the creepiest time of the year, and Hogwarts looks sensational in October.
Hogwarts in the Snow
The final tour feature of the year, Hogwarts in the Snow, is a firm favourite, with many fans returning more than once to take in the festive spirit and fun.
The studios essentially get drenched in fake snow and Christmas trees line the Great Hall to ramp up the seasonal good cheer. Other favourite sets get the festive treatment as well, with the Gryffindor common room and scaled-down model of the Hogwarts Castle also becoming part of the festive fun. Past years have seen interactive displays included, where you can feel different types of fake snow and ask tour guides when and where they were used in the films. You’ll never appreciate a butterbeer as much as you will during Hogwarts in the Snow either. There’s something so Christmassy about it!
Hogwarts in the Snow runs from 16th November 2019 – 26th January 2020.
Which of these tour options appeals to you the most? Whether you’re itching to explore Gringotts Wizarding Bank or want to leave your footprints in the fake snow, be sure to book your tickets in advance and check that your preferred dates are available, as entry cannot be bought on-site.