I jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon late. I worked in a Barnes and Noble bookstore when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released. Lines formed around the building. Being that person who goes against pop culture, I chose to not fall into the Potter trap. When the movie came out, I had no interest in seeing it. I watched it on an airplane, but still wasn’t interested. Later on, when I had kids, my oldest son, who was 10, asked if he could read the book. I checked it out from the library. One night, while sitting on the couch, I noticed the book on the end table. Curiosity took over, and I opened the book. This was in November. I finished the last book of the series in February.
After each book, I would watch the film version. Like most fans, I picked my house (I’m Slytherin). I also picked my favorite characters; Severus Snape, Luna Lovegood (greatest name ever), and Sirius Black. I read the books to all my kids, which means I’m currently reading Harry Potter books for the 5th time.
Out of all my kids, my 11-year-old is the biggest Harry Potter fan. While the two of us were in England, I looked at the top sites to see where Harry Potter was filmed. The best place in all my searches was the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour. We didn’t have time to drive out to the other locations, so we settled on the WB Tour. When I tried to book the tickets for the day I wanted, they were sold out. While perusing through available tickets, I couldn’t find anything. Then, I looked for tours that the WB Harry Potter tour partnered with. Luckily, I was able to book a tour with Golden Tours.
We met the bus in London and drove to Leavesden. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was playing on the bus as we drove. Tired from the night before, I closed my eyes. I awoke as our bus pulled into the Warner Brothers parking lot.
We entered the building and looked around at some of the movie props. Harry Potter wasn’t the only movie shot at the studio. Batman, Wonder Woman, and Mission Impossible are some movies filmed at Warner Brothers, and props are found in the first room you enter. We then made our way to the line, where we were ushered into a room filled with scenes from the Harry Potter movies. At the beginning of the tour, they play a video featuring Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe. After the video, doors open up to the Hogwarts’s Dining Room, where all Harry Potter fans officially geek out.
The Warner Brothers Harry Potter Tour is a Potterhead’s dream. Visitors get to visit where Diagon Alley was filmed, 4 Pivot Drive, the interior of many Hogwarts scenes, and thousands of props from the sets. There are also videos shown throughout the tour about the making of the Harry Potter franchise. Because of our tour, we only got 3 and a half hours of tour time. That’s right, I said, “only.” I could have easily spent 5 hours. I wish I had planned months ahead to buy tickets. That way, we could have taken our time throughout the tour.
There are places to buy souvenirs throughout the tour, but the largest Harry Potter store is at the end of the tour. If you want engraved items, that’s at a midway point next to the Hogwarts Express. If you are limiting your kids’ budget, wait till the end of the tour to buy things. There’s a much wider variety at the end.
Lastly, here are my tips:
- Book your tour way in advance.
- If you want a last-minute visit, look for tours. I had success with Golden Tours.
- There’s only one place to buy Butter Beer and that’s at the café.
- Buy your souvenirs at the end of the tour. There’s more variety.
- Give yourself at least 4 hours.
- The bottled Butter Beer isn’t as good as the fountain Butter Beer.
I feel the need to address the JK Rowling anti-trans debate. I do not agree with Rowling’s opinions on Trans people. I won’t get into what she said. You can Google her comments for yourselves. I believe, though, you can separate the artist from the art. We do it with actors, writers, and even with sports figures who play for our favorite team. I wish our artists and sports figures’ beliefs aligned with my own, but that’s not always possible.
Thank you to Made.Travel for the assistance in putting my trip together.
Read these Harry Potter posts:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child can now be seen as one show
Visiting the Harry Potter Store in NYC
Check out these England Stories:
Visiting Westminster Abbey
Lost on a Ghost Tour with my Son
Attending a Chelsea Match with My Son and Missing My Other Son
Walking in Shakespeare’s Footsteps: A Father/Son Story
3 Day Itinerary for Visiting Shakespeare’s England
Climbing Over the O2 Arena in London
Flying on The Thames in a Speedboat
How an Ice Cream Truck Saved the Day While Hiking Across England
Reliving the Dads4Kesem Hadrian’s Wall Hike