Ever since they announced the opening of the Warner Bros Studio Tour I knew I wanted to visit. For years I waited, until finally this year Jack got us tickets for my birthday! We visited just the two of us, as we knew we wanted to enjoy it fully - but have already decided we cannot wait to take them, when they're old enough to appreciate it.
We had an 11.30 time slot, but the place was already packed when we arrived. I'd definitely advise arriving in good time - although don't come too early, as they were only letting in people depending on their time slot. Make sure to have your cameras at the ready, as the experience begins even before you enter the Great Hall. Speaking of the Great Hall - if you're celebrating don't be shy to step forward when they ask, as you get to help open the doors yourself!
The Great Hall is the only place you're timed in, although you can come back in once the next group of people have experienced it. After that you're left to self-guide yourself through the tour. There is so much to see, and I honestly think you could go back again and again and see something new.
I loved reading the little information boards that explained more about the props, sets and characters. Although I did find that you had to wait around for a little while, to be able to see them. If you don't want to spoil the magic too much, maybe avoid these!
We wandered around slowly, taking in as much as we could. They have special events on throughout the year, and we visited during 'Finding The Philosopher's Stone'; Number 4 Privet Drive was also still open to go inside which was extra special. We got to see how they created the unicorn blood and played with Fluffy's drool and troll bogies.
We didn't do the wand training, or the broomstick flying. These were both really busy, and to be honest they were far too expensive - £14 for one photo, or £40 for two photos and the video. We were happy enough taking our own, but I think just one or two brooms where people could take their own pictures would be a good idea.
The Hogwarts Express was a huge highlight, and something I was really excited to see! They had the music playing, and the train gave off smoke so it was really realistic. I was a bit disappointed that you couldn't go into the carriages and get pictures though. They had a photo spot where you had to pay again, which I think is very cheeky.
The tour is split with a spot for food / drink after the Hogwarts Express. There's plenty of tables and seats whether you buy food or have brought your own. We regret not bringing food as the food there is very pricey - I had a hotdog for around £5.50 and Jack had a baguette which was almost £5 too! It was tasty, but definitely over priced and not really enough for a proper lunch.
Of course we had to try the Butterbeer though, which I still can't decide whether I enjoyed or not. The froth on top was really yummy, but the actual drink itself had a odd taste. You have to give it a go though, as it's not something you can buy everywhere!
The second half of the tour starts with the outside backlot, including Number 4 Privet Drive, Hogwarts Bridge and The Knight Bus. After this you head back inside to experience more of the magic. I loved the animal animatronics, and walking along Diagon Alley was such a surreal but exciting experience.
The absolute highlight of the day though was the scale model of Hogwarts. Pictures honestly don't do it justice, or show just how huge it is! The amount of detail and work that went into it is incredible, and just shows how much the makers cared about the films.
Overall we had the most incredible day at the studios. We spent a good 5 hours there, and could have happily spent longer if we came prepared with our own food. It was 100% worth the wait, and I honestly cannot wait to visit again in the future!