Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford England



The Arrival - Driving

So this is pretty far out, I mean past farm fields, so it's the countryside. I drove up the M1 and then over the A41. To get to those is totally based on your location but in central London, it's a lot of driving down city streets until you get out of the built up areas.

You can also either take the Overground or the National Rail to Watford Junction where they have a shuttle bus to the studio, but when I was there, it was a strike action, hence the car and trying to drive my way around.

The Beginning

You enter the experience at your time slot and go through many queues that I feel are kind of designed to slow down the flow of people into the experience. There are so many posters and the one where it says "The beginning of the end" on #7 was a bit emotional honestly. Sad that it's reached its conclusion.

After a couple of waits and different displays, you enter a sit down theatre that goes through some spoiler warnings and more emotionally charged narrative from the actors playing Harry, Ron and Hermione about their experiences making the films and living here.

Then the real magic does begin and I won't spoil this part at all; after this bit, you have access to the world of Harry Potter in a quite unexpected manner.
Are you ready?  Of course you are! At least I did not receive a howler from Ron's Mom here

The Familiar Places

After the Great Hall, you enter the main soundstages with so many sets that are the core of the movies. I was literally walking on air and partially light headed, no lie. This was pure magic in every sense of the word.
Seen moving all the time, apparently only one was created and reused Gryffindor Common Room, scene of many interactions of the main characters
The office of the grand wizard Dumbledore.  So huge and many areas were never used in movies Over 1,000 bottles filled for the shelves to make this set
The spot of safety, Hagrid's hut

Non Hogwarts Areas

They did such an astounding job bringing in the entire experience. The sets encompass the entirety of the world in the movies, and they are quite astounding to behold; walking around them defies belief.
A real train, so very very imposing It looks like it's hundreds of feet long instead of 5 feet, great illusion at the Leaky Cauldron
This was a firm 'Nope', and Rob exited the forbidden forest area rapidly Hanging out with Voldemort
The most secure spot in the world, Gringotts bank And then wrecked Over 30,000 items for this particular set.  All for 7 minutes of film
Many sets, next to each other along your journey A full house built for the Dursleys, inside and out, used for countless scenes Seems cozy if not a bit cramped.  Where it all started
Ahh, constant vomiting candy, of course by Weasleys Amusement Shop

Movie Magic

Some places were too large to create for real, and computer animation only looks so good, so the age-old tricks of models, makeup, and other items for a much more believable experience are also represented extensively.
The massive model of the castle and grounds, this is so impressive and is actually much bigger than it looks in this picture Every external shot of the Weasleys Burrow was this model, pretty big but obviously not life-sized So many goblins, it seems all portrayed by Warwick Davis
Thousands of wand boxes, with the names of all involved to make Harry Potter

Food

There are two locations to acquire food and drink, one deep in the tour and one just at the entrance. They have butterbeer if you are interested in that experience, and regular type food. There is a dinner in the great hall too, but wow, it wasn't cheap. Maybe next time.
Now, if you're thirsty or hungry or just resting, the Backlot Cafe is the place during your tour

Shops

Interspersed and definitely a major feature at the end, the shops of all things Harry Potter. So many things that I didn't even know existed, and others I have dreamt about (ok, I'm a big kid, there is no crime in that). I need an unlimited credit limit and 2 days here.
So full of Christmas items, I don't have a tree big enough for my wants from here A smaller shop at the King's Cross set with an array from train items to things like journals and clothing, it's quite a lot of stuff Clothes
Clothes Items! So many rooms of all things Harry Potter.  The only thing missing was a letter from Hogwarts. (It might be in here too; I couldn't even begin to look at every item)

Summary

Located well out in the country, yet still inside the London bypass road, this is an amazing experience, and really tugs on your heartstrings if you have any affection for the movies at all.

I could live here for a spell. The sheer quantity of items you can acquire from the shops would almost fill out sets to shoot your own movie. Astounding place, and I cannot recommend this enough.