Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford England
The Arrival - DrivingSo this is pretty far out, I mean past farm fields, so it's the countryside. I drove up the M1 and then over the A41. To get to those is totally based on your location but in central London, it's a lot of driving down city streets until you get out of the built up areas.
You can also either take the Overground or the National Rail to Watford Junction where they have a shuttle bus to the studio, but when I was there, it was a strike action, hence the car and trying to drive my way around.
The BeginningYou enter the experience at your time slot and go through many queues that I feel are kind of designed to slow down the flow of people into the experience. There are so many posters and the one where it says "The beginning of the end" on #7 was a bit emotional honestly. Sad that it's reached its conclusion.
After a couple of waits and different displays, you enter a sit down theatre that goes through some spoiler warnings and more emotionally charged narrative from the actors playing Harry, Ron and Hermione about their experiences making the films and living here.
Then the real magic does begin and I won't spoil this part at all; after this bit, you have access to the world of Harry Potter in a quite unexpected manner.
The Familiar PlacesAfter the Great Hall, you enter the main soundstages with so many sets that are the core of the movies. I was literally walking on air and partially light headed, no lie. This was pure magic in every sense of the word.
Non Hogwarts AreasThey did such an astounding job bringing in the entire experience. The sets encompass the entirety of the world in the movies, and they are quite astounding to behold; walking around them defies belief.
Movie MagicSome places were too large to create for real, and computer animation only looks so good, so the age-old tricks of models, makeup, and other items for a much more believable experience are also represented extensively.
FoodThere are two locations to acquire food and drink, one deep in the tour and one just at the entrance. They have butterbeer if you are interested in that experience, and regular type food. There is a dinner in the great hall too, but wow, it wasn't cheap. Maybe next time.
ShopsInterspersed and definitely a major feature at the end, the shops of all things Harry Potter. So many things that I didn't even know existed, and others I have dreamt about (ok, I'm a big kid, there is no crime in that). I need an unlimited credit limit and 2 days here.
SummaryLocated well out in the country, yet still inside the London bypass road, this is an amazing experience, and really tugs on your heartstrings if you have any affection for the movies at all.
I could live here for a spell. The sheer quantity of items you can acquire from the shops would almost fill out sets to shoot your own movie. Astounding place, and I cannot recommend this enough.