The Making of Harry Potter

Back in September, I bought tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour as part of a birthday present for my youngest. Last week we finally got to go…excited doesn’t do justice to how we felt!! Be warned, there are a lot of photos on this post…I won’t apologise because there is so much to see, and given that I took over 450 pictures, these are the keepers 🙂

The front of the studio:

The entrance displays large pictures of the main characters, as well as various props used in the films. You also get presented with a Harry Potter passport!

Whilst in the queue for the tour, you get to see “The Cupboard under the Stairs” – Harry Potter’s room in the Dursley household, a small and dusty place, with lots of spiders.

The tour starts with a short promotional movie, which ends on a shot of the doors to the Great Hall, and then the screen goes up and there are the REAL Great Hall doors!! The Hall displays lots of props, school uniforms and the teachers’ outfits. It isn’t as big as I thought it was going to be, but it was fabulous to see all the details. There is a guide at this point who talks you through the various elements in the room, but after here the rest of the tour is self-guided.

You then go into a huge area which is partitioned into various small sets and other miscellaneous items dotted about. You get an insight into the film’s screenwriting, costume design and make-up.

Other miscellaneous items and sets include the ice sculpture from the Yule Ball, Hogwarts gates, the Leaky Cauldron, the Pendulum (from The Prisoner Of Azkaban), the Phoenix, the Chamber of Secrets door and the cloak of invisibility.

The Griffindor Dormitory and Common Room:

Dumbledore’s Office:

The Potions Classroom:

Hagrid’s Hut:

The Burrow; this had some fun interactive actions that enabled you to wash up, chop up vegetables, iron clothes and knit with the power of a wand:

Props from the Room of Requirement:

Golden Snitch:

Time Terner:

Horace Slughorn’s Hourglass:

Death Eater Masks:

“Magic is Might” Statue:

Dolores Umbridge:

The graphic design corner – this was one of my favourite parts of the tour (hence the number of pictures!):

The next part of the studio tour takes you outside, where you can see the Knight Bus, Hagrid’s motorbike and the flying Ford Anglia, all of which you can get on and pose for photographs.

There’s also 4 Privet Drive, Tome Riddle’s Grave, the Covered Bridge, the Potter’s Cottage and the Wizard chess pieces. You can also buy a Butterbeer (but we stuck to coffee!).

You then go back inside to the creature effects workshop which reveals the technology behind the beasts and the magical creatures, such as Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Fawkes the phoenix and the giant Basilisk head.

The next part is Diagon Alley, complete with cobbled streets! You can peer into the windows of Ollivanders Wand Shop, the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Flourish and Blotts, Gringotts Bank and Eeylops Owl Emporium.

The next few areas are dedicated to the art department. Dozens of concept artists, illustrators and art directors created every environment, prop and character of the Harry Potter series. Each design went through several different iterations as it was tweaked and finally perfected. Then the artwork went off to draughtsmen, model makers and digital artists to be developed and constructed for filming.

Technical Drawings:

Paul Catling, Concept Artist:

Andrew Williamson, Concept Artist:

Rob Bliss, Concept Artist:

Adam Brockbank, Concept Artist:

Dermot Power, Concept Artist:

Paper Models:

Probably the most impressive exhibit is the Hogwarts Model – a 1:24 scale model of the whole of Hogwarts. The model was built for the first film – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – and has been used for exterior shots in every film since. When you add all the time spent by 86 artists and crew members, it took an amazing 74 years to build. It measures 50 feet across and has more than 2,500 fibre optic lights to simulate lantern torches and students passing through hallways.

And the last part of the tour is a recreation of the interior of Ollivander’s Wand shop featuring thousands of wands and wand boxes.

The Making of Harry Potter is a fantastic exhibition – you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy it – the detail in the sets, costumes and props are quite amazing. I would definitely go again!

All photos taken with an E-PL1 (and no flash).

46 Responses to "The Making of Harry Potter"

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  1. Jane Packard

    October 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Oooh! I want to go. Really cool pics Amanda. 🙂

    • Amanda

      October 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      Thank you Jane…it really is worth it.

  2. Claire Penn

    October 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Amazing! I only got as far as book 3 but I still want to go after seeing these! Might have to load up the kindle and start again from book one… Xxx

    • Amanda

      October 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Ahhh, watch the films too!

  3. Sam Pommells

    October 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    This is definitely on my to do list next year. Amazing images Amanda. x

    • Amanda

      October 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you hunny

  4. Tracy Morter

    October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Looked like an amazing day out!

    • Amanda

      October 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      It was indeed…only an hour and 20 mins from Chelmsford!

  5. Alexandra Andrews

    December 4, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    You’ve made me want to go even more now ! Fantastic pictures, I wish I could use my camera like you use yours x

  6. Shelley

    September 1, 2013 at 1:47 am

    WOW! GREAT shots. I wish you had posted all 450+ photos. I MUST go here!!!!

  7. Pingback: Golden Snitch Replica (deathly hallows)

  8. Lindsay Kay

    April 14, 2014 at 2:56 am

    This is AMAZING! I am the biggest HP fan in the entire world. Where is this in England? London? Is there a website? I HAVE to go! Soooo coooool! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Lindsay Kay

    April 14, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Nevermind. That was pretty easy to find. Thanks again!

  10. MaryB

    April 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    This is incredibly amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! MB

  11. Marie

    May 3, 2014 at 1:51 am

    I LOVE THIS! I’m begging my husband to take me. He’s less than thrilled! haha.

  12. Cherrie May Nuez

    May 27, 2014 at 2:18 am

    Really cool pics! I did went to a HP Exhibit tour at Singapore in 2012, but the staff and crew are really strict and you can not take pictures.. 🙁

  13. Alisha

    June 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Love your overview! I was there Summer 2012 and they hadn’t yet opened the covered bridge – it was there but you couldn’t go onto it. Really this is the best exhibition ever. My travel companion wasn’t a fan of the books or films but she also had a fantastic time. It was one of the best parts of our trip that summer.

  14. Kathy Mlaker

    June 12, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Your pictures are wonderful! As I am from the States I am sure I will never see the awesome place in person. Thank you so very much for sharing with everyone.

  15. Samantha

    June 26, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Woah! Your photos are amazing! I’ve only recently read all the books and watched all the movies, and I’m almost 22 🙂 Late, I know! But now I want to go the WWOHP, and you’ve definitely convinced me to go here as well!! It looks fantastic.

  16. Slytherin

    September 11, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Beautiful resume and stunning pictures. I was at Watford on the 27th of august and offered myself a day at Warner Bros. Think it was the best moment of my life! I took loads of pictures but ran out of battery unfortunately! Best part of it all is I and two other ladies got to open the doors of the Great Hall since it was our birthdays… that was pure awesomeness!

  17. poleng

    September 30, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    this is so cool!

  18. Tina Wood

    October 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    I love these photographs. They really capture the magic of the Harry Potter experience. I have read all the books and have all the DVDs and loved them all. This August my daughter treated me to a visit to the studio to celebrate my 70th birthday. I loved every minute of it. Such an amazing experience.

  19. Jeriah Bautista

    November 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    This is really great! I really want to go there. 🙂 Done reading and watching all of it then it’s time to – FEEL IT 🙂

  20. Britta

    December 15, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I’m a 52 y.o. lady who is a kid at heart and I adore Harry Potter…I’ve read all the books several times and I’ve seen the movies more often than I can count. I would just love to go to this exhibit. It would be a dream come true! Your photos are awesome, even more so when you consider they were taken without flash. Thank you so very much! I would love to be able to go into all the stores on Diagon Alley and shop…I want a wand, an owl like Hedwig and some of the joke stuff from the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes! I want to go to Hogwarts and roll around in Harry’s bed (and Ron’s, too)! I want to hold the Golden Snitch in my hand and toss it around! I want to hang out at the Weasley’s Burrow and watch Molly magically knit (or maybe, knit with her…”Molly, you just dropped a few stitches there. Do you need a hand with that?”). Can I fly on a broomstick with Harry and Ron and try out for Quiddich (I’d fly about on a Nimbus 2000, of course)? Please, please, can I go???

  21. Rosa

    December 30, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I went there in July, 2013 and it was a great experience! I was so happy!
    Thank you for your post and your photos! You’ve made me feel like being there again.
    Greetings from Italy,
    Rosa

  22. Pauliine

    January 5, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    I think You have a mistake in the description of Hogwarts model – it couldn’t have taken 74 years to build it 🙂 But this place seems very cool and if I ever go to London I will surely visit it! You have nice pictures 🙂

    • min

      January 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Pauline, the 72 years refers to the combine hours of work by the people involved in making the model 🙂

  23. Alana

    February 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Hello Thank you so much for doing this! I am going to London for my 13th birthday and i have always wanted to go there! this really helped me know what to expect! Living in Massachusetts not many people i know have been so i was kind of just hoping it would be fun!

  24. Jaclyn

    April 6, 2015 at 3:53 am

    Hi there! I’m going to be in London for 4 days and am trying to pack as much in as possible. Do you remember how long it took to go through the whole studio tour? Was it a half-day thing or just a couple of hours?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • min

      April 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      It is definitely at least half a day, a whole day would do it justice.

  25. Janelle

    May 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Brilliant post!!! Thank you for all of the amazing photos.

  26. Donna Timmerman

    June 3, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Wonderful photos thank you for sharing! We are headed to London in Sept for a cruise. We will be visiting this the day we disembark. The other days we wanted were sold out. Can you tell me how long it takes to go through the Tour? Is it self guided or do they keep you on a schedule. I am just wondering how much time to allot for this. Thank you.

    • min

      June 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      It is definitely at least half a day, a whole day would do it justice.The first little bit is guided and the rest is at your own pace.

  27. Cindy

    July 6, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Thank You so much for sharing your pictures. They are amazing!!!! I would love to see that – but will probably never get there. Hopefully they’ll keep adding to Universal Studios in Florida. Thanks!

  28. Katie

    September 4, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I would love to visit this one day. It looks amazing.

  29. Víctor Albornoz

    September 7, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Where is it? Orlando, USA?

    • min

      September 15, 2015 at 9:03 am

      It is in the UK…located 20 miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways.

  30. Peter James

    September 15, 2015 at 12:06 am

    What a wonderful presentation Amanda…well done!
    I did go to go visit the studio’s before Warner Brother made their one hundred million pound buyout. http://www.elstreestudios.co.uk/News/news_232.aspx
    My daughter was worked on four of the HP films and gave us a private tour. we even got to see some filming where they were flying on the griffin. What was amazing was the griffin looked like a vaulting horse and the background was all green screen. The griffin -vaulting horse-was a mechanical contraption being operated on by a Spanish fellow and it was amazing to watch. They also had the animal farm there as well where they kept all the animals used in the movie. My daughter made up many of the items used in the The HogsHead Pub and when we went to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at universal studios we saw her beer advert on the wall -Pablito’s Pale Ale, named for her brother Paul.
    Your pictures brought back many fond memories Amanda, so thank you, thank you indeed.

    • min

      September 15, 2015 at 9:03 am

      That was wonderful to read – thank you for sharing, Peter

  31. AlicevstheWorld

    September 4, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I’m so jealous! I really have to visit the Harry Potter studios one day, it looks so amazing!

  32. Carole baker

    November 25, 2016 at 2:03 am

    Am going in 2 weeks as a xmas treat from my husband for myself and our 21 year old son. Once a hp fan you never grow op !

  33. Julie

    April 12, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Great shots! I’m taking my daughter in August and we are so excited!

  34. Eglantina

    June 3, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I am reading book 6 and i am 9 years old and i really wanna go

  35. Brandy M

    August 4, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    I have been an HP fan since the first book came out. It was read to me by my uncle when I was 10 years old, and read all the other books, saw all the movies, read all the kindles, and listened to all the audibles. One day I would love to go here, but for now, THANK YOU FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE PICTURES. They really are fantastic.

  36. Stacy

    August 16, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Your pictures are stunning.
    Your camera is fantastic, but what an amazing eye you have! Getting there would be an financial impossibility for me, but I can live vicariously through your “virtual tour.” Thank you all the way from the U.S.

  37. Bonnie

    October 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Hi! great post! We are going next month. Is it best to get tickets ahead of time or there?