Last Updated on November 24, 2023 by Suzy
As a pre-Christmas surprise for my Potter-head 9-year-old son, I wanted to book us a short break to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. In the winter it is transformed into Hogwarts in the Snow and becomes one of the most sold-out winter attractions in the UK. This event sells out weeks in advance and there were no tickets left when I looked at booking. The only available option was to book a Studio Deluxe Tour. This is not cheap, but then again neither is entry to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. The Deluxe Tour can be booked all year round.
What is Included With the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Deluxe?
- 2 ½ hour tour with one of their expert guides
- Breakfast with unlimited tea, coffee and fruit juice
- Priority parking next to the Studio Tour entrance
- All digital greenscreen photographs and videos from both the broomstick flight over London and the Hogwarts Express carriage, 1x A3 printed wanted poster and 1x printed Ministry of Magic ID card
- Butterbeer or Butterbeer ice cream in the Backlot Café, with souvenir cup
- Re-entry to the Studio Tour after the guided tour to proceed at your leisure
- Exclusive photo in front of the Great Hall doors
- Souvenir guidebook and lanyard
Deluxe Tours Vs Regular Entry
Before our account of our day out including the Deluxe tour I just wanted to weigh up the pros and cons. Regular entry costs around £53 for an adult and £43 for a child. The Deluxe tour costs from £250 for an adult and £225 for a child. This package has become increasingly popular and you may need to plan your visit some months in advance.
I paid £475 for the two of us. We didn’t get to park in the priority parking as despite telling the parking attendants that we were on the deluxe tour they still directed us in to park with everyone else. This may or may not happen to you. As your breakfast isn’t included you may also have to purchase lunch there to take advantage of your tickets for the day. It was a lovely breakfast but I feel that having lunch included would be better. You can take a picnic with you which you can eat in the Backlot area or the picnic area.
Is the Harry Potter Deluxe Tour Worth It?
Without the cost of a Deluxe Tour, a souvenir guidebook costs £9.95. The green screen photos and videos costs around £75. A butterbeer in a souvenir cup costs around £7. The lanyard is around £4. Plus entrance costs, that is around £200 already spent not including breakfast. When you look at it like that the added bonus of the guided tour of 2.5 hours, plus re-entry to wander around by yourselves and photos by the doors of the Great Hall makes the cost entirely worth it to me. If you can afford it do it! It’s such an expensive day out anyway and you get so many insights through the guided tour. Plus of course some great memories.
Another bonus of the Deluxe Package is that you get to skip all the queues. Simply flash your pass in your lanyard at the staff members and you will go straight to the front of the queue for the broomstick green screen experience. Which is more than worth it as it always has a huge queue. There was also a long queue for butterbeer and we were allowed to skip straight past this. You also go to the front of the queue for the Hogwarts Express green screen experience. Plus on the tour with the guide, we skipped the queue to board Hogwarts Express (this was very long) and the queue for Privet Drive.
Are The Green Screen Photos Worth It?
This is a tough one. The full package is included with your Deluxe Package so you don’t notice the cost as much. The green screen photos are incredibly expensive. There is a price for a photo of around £14 or you can upgrade to include a video and also extra photos. The all-in cost of the broomstick flying greenscreen is around £40. If I hadn’t been on the tour I’d have just bought a singular photo which would have just been for my son and not myself as well. The photos and videos we now have I feel are great memories to be cherished forever. My son has his Wanted poster framed on his wall. We also have photos and videos from the Hogwarts Express greenscreen which is slightly cheaper for the full package at around £35. You are given physical photos plus digital downloads.
Deluxe Package Warner Bros Studio Tour Review
As mentioned above we weren’t shown to the designated priority parking when we arrived which was annoying as it was part of the Deluxe Package. I had shown our deluxe ticket to the parking assistant so I’m not sure what went wrong.
Make sure you arrive with at least 30 minutes to spare before your meeting time for the tour. When we arrived at 9:30 it had already been open for an hour so there was a big queue for people to get their tickets. If you don’t have your tickets posted to you in advance you have to exchange your printed tickets at the box office. As part of the deluxe tour we also had to queue here and it was annoyingly long. After a few minutes wait we were met by our tour guide. We were then led to a small roped-off area in one of the cafes. Here we had waiter service for our included breakfast. This was actually very good.
There was just one other family on our tour which was a group of Americans with very little knowledge, it turned out, of Harry Potter. They loved the tour though. Once we had all finished our breakfast it was time for the guided tour to begin. We entered the Great Hall with a larger group of people with standard tickets. After some time in here, our guide led us secretly back round to the doors of the great hall. They then took photos of us by the doors. On a standard ticket, you do not get this opportunity.
We were then guided around all the sets and props by our guide. Because your tour takes place during opening hours there were quite a lot of people that were trying to listen in to our tour. Our guide actually mentioned a few times to people not to listen in as it was a private tour. We learnt so much from her. As you walk around most exhibits don’t have information stands. If you are visiting without a tour you may not have the opportunity to learn much. They do have audio-visual guides you can rent for a small charge but there is nothing quite like learning facts from a real guide and Harry Potter fan.
There is so much to see and I have so many photos I could share but I will try and keep it to our highlights. I will also not partake in any facts we learnt as I’d rather you learnt them on a tour. You will learn how sets were used in filming, how costumes were made, the use of props and snippets about many of the characters. A lot of the film’s scenes were filmed on location right there at the studios.
Our tour guide also went into Snape’s laboratory to give a talk which of course everyone could listen in on.
She also pointed out many things we may not have spotted ourselves. When you walk around there are some interactive elements including buttons you can press to make things move or happen.
One of my favourite areas is the square next to the cafe that’s about 3/4 of the way around. Here there is the Knight Bus complete with sound effect buttons, plus a recreation of number 4 Pivet Drive and the greenhouse with squealing Mandrakes. Our tour guide offered to take photos of us here on the famous Hogwarts Bridge and also sat in the blue Ford Anglia car. This is also where the butterbeer is. There is no time for this during the tour so you must re-enter later so you can use your voucher for a free butterbeer or butterbeer ice cream.
We certainly made use of our free re-entry after the tour and used it to take more photos, drink some butterbeer and pull up the mandrakes yet again.
Diagon Alley is dusted with ‘theatre snow’ during Hogwarts in the Snow. It’s almost impossible to take a photo of the whole alley without other people in. I think the only way you’ll manage this is if you arrive at 8:30 am but even then you’re not guaranteed as you don’t want to rush around just for a photo as you can’t re-enter with a standard ticket.
The large-scale model of Hogwarts is also given a dusting of snow. This is where our tour ended and where the tour guide took the last photos of us. Another reason to re-enter after the tour is to use your vouchers for the green screen experiences. Our actual tour over-ran and lasted for almost 3 hours. We had lunch after the tour before we used our free re-entry privilege.
All in all, it was a wonderful and memorable day out and I didn’t feel ripped off. What we experienced was well worth the cost and I’d do it again if money allows. It’s the ultimate experience for any Harry Potter fan. With the deluxe package, we had a lovely relaxed experience. I’m pretty sure the queues to spend more money and to look inside Hogwarts Express would have annoyed me otherwise.