Touring the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios London on a Budget

I’ve always been an avid reader and if you ask me what my favorite book of all time is, I’m not ashamed to say: Harry Potter. I fell in love with the books as a kid, and remained in love with them as an adult. I’ve seen every movie several times, read every book several times and I’ve listened to the audiobooks.

My sister and I used to dress up and play witches, I dreamed that I too would get a letter from Hogwarts and I still love to dream about that magical world. There is something so wonderful about the universe of Harry Potter, so many layers to the stories.

But the closest I ever got to becoming a witch was visiting the Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. An amazing experience, which I highly recommend!

Universal Studios Osaka Japan Harry Potter Hogwarts castle

Until I went to London.

Because in London, or just outside London to be precise, lie the Warner Brothers Studios where most of the movies were filmed. The studios are huge and open to fans of the Harry Potter franchise to tour.

A dream come true for fans of the franchise and lovers of cinema.

Unfortunately, this comes with a matching price tag so it’s not a cheap activity in London. But in my experience it’s well worth the money, and with my tips you can tour the Harry Potter Studios in London on a budget!

What you can do at the Harry Potter Studios in London

Harry Potter Studio Tour London Warner Bros Griffindor Common Room

The Harry Potter Studio Tour makes for a great day trip for London. I suggest taking out half a day at least, because there is so much to see and do. The complex itself is enormous and it took me well over three hours to make my way through it.

It’s much more like an amusement park than a museum, and very interactive. You can walk through iconic sets from the movies and marvel at detailed props and costumes. At times, you can really imagine yourself being in the Harry Potter universe.

The Studio Tour has changing themes, depending on the season, so the displays differ slightly throughout the years. While I was there in December 2019, the theme was “Hogwarts in the snow”. So we got treated to a decked out Main Hall with Yule ball and Christmas decorations.

Harry Potter Studio Tour London Warner Bros Main Hall Christmas feast

It’s also incredibly interesting to learn about the making off the movies. All the work and love that went into bringing the books to the screen. And the special effects and CGI used to create that movie magic. It’s truly mind-blowing and educational, as well as entertaining.

Of course, there are plenty of photo ops and souvenir shops as well, where you can get your own Harry Potter Studios memento.

Touring the Harry Potter Studios was one of my favorite things to do in London

Hogwarts model Harry Potter Studios tour London warner bros

How to get to the Harry Potter Studios

Harry Potter Studios London Hogwarts Express Warner Bros

The WB studios are located in Leavesden and it takes less than an hour to get there from downtown London, making it a perfect London day trip out of the city.

You’ll find ads for organized tours online and throughout the city. And sure, it is convenient, but expensive. And really not necessary. With a bit of planning, you can get there and back for much less. An added bonus is that you are not bound to the tour itinerary and come and go as you please.

Unfortunately, you can’t take the Hogwarts Express, but the connection with public transport to the Warner Brother Studios is easy. And a lot cheaper than the organized tours.

Take the regional train from London Euston to Watford Junction, which takes about 20 minutes. A one way tickets costs about 11 pounds. You can use your oyster card or a contactless credit card.

From Watford Junctions, there is a special shuttle bus that takes you straight to the Warner Brother Studios. It costs 3 pounds, which you can pay by cash or card. You can only take the bus if you have a valid ticket for the Studio Tour. And they show a fun intro video on the bus!

Warner Bros Studio Tour London Making of Harry Potter

Where to buy tickets for the Harry Potter Studios

If you want to visit the Warner Brother Studios, you have to book your ticket well in advance. Due to the popularity, you can’t just show up but need to reserve a time slot.

These time slots only determine your entry time. Once inside, you’re allowed to stay as long as you want. Make sure you get there at least 20 minutes before your starting time.

I booked my ticket for the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making Of Harry Potter (try to say that three times fast) over a month in advance on the website.

There are several price categories, depending on what you want included in your ticket. A regular ticket for adults costs 47 pounds. But you can also book a “Complete Studio Tour Package” for 57 pounds. This includes a digital guide and paperback souvenir guide book with your ticket.

I don’t think a guide (digital or otherwise) is necessary, because there is lots of information available in the form of signs and videos throughout the tour.

You can get an e-ticket and show it on your phone, or pick up a prebooked ticket at the ticket desk. If all online tickets are sold out for your desired date, unfortunately an organized tour is your last option.

Harry Potter Studios Tour London

Saving money during your visit to the Harry Potter Studios London

Diagon Alley Harry Potter Studio Tour London

In short, a visit to the spectacular Harry Potter Studios is not cheap, but doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg. There are several ways you can save money and tour the studios on a budget:

  • Book your tickets in advance on the website.
  • Take public transportation instead of an organized tour.
  • Don’t give in to temptation and buy souvenirs (which is very hard to resist, trust me). But browsing, trying things on and taking pictures is free. All my Harry Potter merch is from Primark.
  • Forego the additional attractions and only make use of the free photo ops. If you’re solo like me, ask the friendly staff to take your picture (they’re very good at it).
  • Bring your own food and drinks.
  • There’s a free cloakroom and bag storage, use it. There is a small outside portion which is pretty chilly in the winter, but otherwise the studios are heated.
Harry Potter Studios tour London Warner Bros chocolate frog cafe

Other Harry Potter activities in London

Harry Potter Studios Tour Platform 9 3/4 Warner Bros ondon

The Harry Potter Studio Tour isn’t the only magical experience you can have in London. The city is filled with fun activities for Potterheads:

As you can see, it doesn’t have to be crazy expensive to visit the Warner Bros Studios in London and dive into the world of Harry Potter. If you’re flexible and plan you visit well, you can do it all on a budget.

Edinburgh is another amazing destination for Potterheads

Have you been to the Harry Potter Studios in London? What did you think? Tell me all about it in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “Touring the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studios London on a Budget

  1. I am not GOT OR Harry Potter fans, Yes!! But this looks quite fun to experience this while being in London. I am glad to know you could visit it as a day trip and could visit your favorite book characters. I always believe in experiencing the destination by not taking the tours because it gives flexibility plus saves money! Loved your tips like bringing food from home and always not to have temptation for souvenirs!

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    1. I think the Harry Potter Studios are also really fun when you’re not a big fan of the franchise. They show a lot about the CGI and special effects used in the film which is very interesting.

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  2. I can’t say that I’m a Potterhead but I like Harry Potter movies (i have no patience in reading its book, idk why!). However, it would be amazing to visit this studio and add to my Harry Potter experience. I can’t wait to travel again.

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  3. I am not a fan of studio tours, they tend of get really crowded but being a potterhead it will unfair if I avoid this place whenever I visit London. Thanks for all the information.

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  4. This is one of the studio tours that I would love to take. Fifty quid is quite steep, but I guess that’s what most of these tours cost anyway. It does look great, I’ll give them that.

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    1. It’s a fair bit of money, but very much worth it, I think. There is so much to do and see there. I spent a good three hours at the Harry Potter Studios, thoroughly entertained.

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  5. I am a big fan of Harry Potter and this place is perfect. Although a bit expensive it would be worth a visit for Harry Potter fans. I would surely visit the studios someday without fail.

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  6. Oh love this! Huge Harry Potter fan and baller on a budget. Always love embarking on a free walking tour – usually ends up more fun when you do it your own way and follow your own interests!

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