There’s no getting around it: I am a massive, dorky, embarrassingly huge Harry Potter fan. When E. suggested that we visit Leavesden Studios an hour outside London in Watford for the Harry Potter Studio Tour (where they filmed all 7 Harry Potter movies), I was all in, immediately. The only problem was figuring out how to fit the trip out to Watford into our schedules, since I knew that we’d want to spend several hours there.
Indeed, the trip was lengthy and we were at the studios all afternoon. There’s so much to see! But it was so worth it.
Not only do you get to walk through iconic sets like the Hogwarts Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, Diagon Alley, and the Gryffindor common room, but there are also thousands of original props from the movie–and the attention to detail is staggering.
Be prepared, because this post features about 4000 photos. Here we go!
About to enter into the Hogwarts Great Hall
Uniforms from Ravenclaw, the house I’d be in, obviously
The actual Gryffindor uniforms worn by the cast in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as it’s known in England)
The Gryffindor common room
E. and I in front of the Mirror of Erised
Books and bottles using in the films as props
Inside the potions classroom
Potions, and the Snape uniform worn by Alan Rickman
Various paintings (as well as green-screen spots for CGI) featured in the movies
A prop from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
A Golden Snitch prop
The giant swinging clock pendulum as featured in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Here’s an interactive Marauder’s Map: you touch it (while saying, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” of course) and the map unfolds to present you with images and trivia
Another shot of the Gryffindor common room, with costumes worn by the cast
This door, inside the Gryffindor common room, leads nowhere
Outside the Gryffindor stairwell
The flying car and Hagrid’s motorbike, in front of green screens
Interior of the Weasley house
Death Eaters costumes (including Bellatrix, Voldemort, Lucius and Draco)
Part of the sets from the Ministry of Magic
Part of literally hundreds of Harry Potter mock-newspapers
Scores of letters addressed to Harry at Privet Drive from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Dolores Umbridge costumes
Dolores Umbridge‘s office (complete with kitty teacup sets on the walls)
Drinking a Butterbeer. It tastes gross!
With E. on the Knight Bus from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
In front of Harry’s aunt and uncle’s house, 7 Privet Drive
A behind-the-scenes sign welcoming you to Diagon Alley
So very, very excited to be on Diagon Alley!
A Dementor prop
One of the Voldemort props – creepy!
A merperson from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
In front of a giant replica of Hogwarts. We are happy.
Trains run every 20 minutes from London Euston out to Watford Junction, but you’ll want to make sure to catch an Express train. E. and I accidentally took a non-direct train, with about 15 stops in between Euston and Watford, and it took us an hour to get there. On the way home, we hopped the Express, and we were station-to-station in 20 minutes.
Once you’re at Watford Junction, look for the giant Harry Potter shuttle bus (you can’t miss it, as Harry’s face is emblazoned on it) and have £2 ready for a round-trip ticket. The Watford station is about 10-15 minutes away from Warner Bros. studios, so give yourself enough time to get from Point A to B. Our entire journey, from the time we left the hotel until we returned to the room, was about 5.5 hours (although, obviously, you could do it more quickly if you’re close to Euston and catch that all-important Express train).
It was such a fun experience, and as soon as we left, I was jonesing to see the movies and read the books again. If you’re also a Harry Potter fan, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! Next time you’re in London, go, go, go!