Friday, 18 September 2015
The Warner Bros Studio Tour, London
You may remember I mentioned in this post about my plans for September that I really wanted to go to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in London for my birthday; I've been a massive fan of Harry Potter since I was about eight and I'd wanted to do the tour since it opened. Now my birthday isn't actually until the end of the month but it falls on a weekend which was pretty much all booked up already, so we decided we'd go early. We booked our tour for 2pm on a weekday, and one four-hour drive later we arrived, like giddy children on a school trip! I honestly had an incredible day (despite a migraine which meant I wasn't able to use the digital guide thingy) and thought I'd share some of my photos in case you missed my obsessive snapchatting my way around... First, though, I will say that I'd avoided spoilers before I went which definitely added to the magic - so if you haven't been and do plan to, I'd maybe skip this post!! This is going to be pretty photo-heavy, I have done my best to whittle them down (I took hundreds) but there are still a fair few...
We weren't 100% sure on what we were in for; despite being described as a "tour", the website states that you can spend as long as you like in the attraction, which led us to think it wouldn't be a traditional tour with a guide. It turned out we were right - the building is laid out like a tour which you follow round, and you can pay extra to hire a digital guide which gives you more information and facts as you walk around. I did find that there was so much to look at and read that I was struggling to remember to watch/listen to my digital guide even before the migraine kicked in, but I think they're a nice addition to the tour and certainly, if you've been before, I think they'd be a nice way to get something new from the experience. The batteries obviously weren't up to how long we spent there, though, as my brother's died pretty early on and again almost at the end, by which point mine and my mum's had also given up the ghost.
I found that most of the staff were really knowledgeable and helpful - one girl spent about ten minutes showing us the special effects make-up and talking to us about the wigs, costumes and so on, which was so interesting. In all, we spent around six hours in the tour itself, and a further 45 minutes or so in the gift shop. We paid £33 each for our tickets which I do think is reasonable - there is so much to see! Once inside, you're not supposed to eat or drink apart from in the designated cafe, which we found to be very overpriced. You can take your own food and drink in with you, though you'd have to carry it round with you. I really wanted to try some Butterbeer but by the time we reached the cafe I was feeling pretty dreadful and something so sweet seemed like a really bad idea - so I'll definitely have to go back!
The gift shop was also amazing, with so many things to look at. Some of the items seemed really reasonably priced and others (namely the sweets - I would have loved a chocolate frog but wasn't up for paying £7 for one!) massively over-priced - I guess that's gift shops for you. I did think, though, that most of what they were selling seemed to be really good quality, rather than your typical cheap gift shop tat, which is nice - there were a few kids' bits and pieces that maybe weren't so great (fibre optic broomsticks?) but for the most part, things were quite nice. I didn't actually buy anything, but my brother did get me a Hogwarts scarf as an early birthday present ♥ I originally wanted a stripey Gryffindor scarf but they'd sold out, but then I think I like the Hogwarts one more anyway!
I have to admit to having got a bit teary-eyed a few times; when we first went into the Great Hall right at the beginning of the tour, at the Potters' cottage in Godric's Hollow and, without giving too much away, at the castle towards the end. I also found seeing Dobby in a little glass cabinet quite emotional - I've been told this is weird but hey!
We had an amazing day out, it was well worth the money spent and the ten-hour round trip to get there and back, and I'd definitely visit again in the future! If you're a Harry Potter fan then I really would recommend a visit, as it's so interesting to see how the films were made - not to mention the sheer volume of props, costumes and so on, all in one place. I don't think it'd be much fun for very young children but I know I'd have loved it aged eight, so I reckon if your kids are fairly good readers and like Harry Potter, they'd enjoy it, though you may not get away with spending six hours there... Have you been to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour? Is it somewhere you'd like to visit?