Tips for Visiting The Making Of Harry Potter with Children (Warner Bros. Studio Tour London)

A visit to the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour is an absolute must visit for fans of the Harry Potter films. You get to explore sets, see props from the films along with discovering countless behind the scene facts. With tickets starting at £53.50 per person you'll want to make sure you get the most out of the experience with these tips. Find out whether it's worth visiting with young children, important things to know before your visit and how to have the best visit. 

A model of Hogwarts School at Harry Potter studio Tour London
Find out the magic behind Hogwarts at Harry Potter World

Tips For Visiting Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter with Children

What To Expect From A Visit To The Making Of Harry Potter Tour

Harry Potter World as we like to affectionately call it (because lets face it the official name is a mouthful) is essentially a museum. It has interactive parts and lots of photo opps but it is not a theme park or specifically designed for children.  There are a huge number of the actual props, costumes and sets from the film and for obvious reasons you can't touch these. 

It is a great place to visit if you like the Harry Potter films or if you are interested in behind the scenes aspects of films generally as they explain how the characters were brought to life. 

What Age Children Is The Making Of Harry Potter Suitable For?

You will get the most out of a visit if you take the time to look at the displays and read or listen to descriptions, visiting with young children can make it difficult to do this. The tour is also going to be more interesting to anyone who has seen the films. With the films starting as a PG and the later films cover some very dark subjects reflected in the PG-13 rating they are not suitable for most young children to watch. 

We went with my 5 and 8 year old.  They were both super excited to visit, so much so that I was worried it would be an anti-climax, but we all had a great time. My 8 year old definitely got more out of the visit though. 

Can You Take Babies And Toddlers?

Children age 4 and under can get a ticket for free, but for most families I don't think it makes sense to bring them. They are likely to get bored and at busy times it is difficult to get around with a pushchair. If you have a chilled baby you can maybe put in a sling and you really don’t want their sibling (or yourself) to miss out on a visit then it is worth the risk. 

Do You Need To Have Watched The Harry Potter Films Before Visiting?

No, but I think it is worth watching at least one film before going. My youngest has only watched the first film so while he has an understanding of the world of Harry Potter he only know the early characters and concept. My 8 year old has seen all the Harry Potter films (and every YouTube analysis video she can find).

Watching the one film was enough for my 5 year old, but knowing so much more about all the films made it a lot more interesting for my daughter. There are a lot of spoilers for the later films as well so if they are going to watch the films in the near future, before visiting would be better.

Having said that the reason my youngest has only watched the first film is because he found it too scary to watch any more. My daughter has gradually watched the films as I have been confident that she is able to cope with them. 

A model of Grawp (Hagrid's half brother) at the Making of Harry Potter and other creatures
Creature effects and secrets of Harry Potter

Diagon Alley at The Making of Harry Potter
Walk down Diagon Alley at Warner Brothers Studio Tour

Professor Trelawney and Divination class at The Making Of Harry Potter
See costumes and props from Divination class as part of the Return to Azkaban exhibition 

Tips and FAQ For Visiting With Young Children 

My Number 1 Tip For Visiting The Making Of Harry Potter With Children

My number one tip is to make sure your children eat before you start the tour. It took us nearly 3 hours to do the first part of the tour at which point you can get food. While some families will go round faster, especially if not stopping for the green screens, we actually rushed the last areas a little because my children were hungry and getting cranky. 

In this first section you are not meant to eat or drink and you can’t go back to this area after leaving (ie you can't eat and then go back) so making sure children aren't hungry will stop you having to rush. 

When to Arrive

The website recommends you arrive 20 minutes before the time your booked tour starts. I think 20 minutes could be a little rushed if you have young children. You need to walk from the car park, pick up digital guides and possibly go the toilet. Plus there are a number of places to buy food and drink, but you can’t bring it into the tour so if you buy a coffee, snack etc make sure you have enough time to consume it. 

You can pay for priority parking to be nearer the entrance, but this probably isn't worth it as you are going to be walking around lots anyway so if you can't walk an extra few 100 metres you will probably struggle anyway.

Should You Get A Digital Guide?

We prebooked the digital guide, but my partner and I didn’t really use it at all. There are lots of information display boards to read and staff who give talks and will answer any questions so you don’t need the extra information in the digital guide. If I was on my own I would probably have listened to them, but with children it was enough to try and keep track of them and keep up. Having said that, I am glad we got them. My daughter listened to lots of the sections on the guide and they give some great geek facts so she enjoyed it. The main reason I thought they were worth it though was because they kept my children entertained in the queues. 

Listening to the digital audio guide while looking at the actors wigs from the Harry Potter films
See the real wigs worn by the cast of the Harry Potter films

Two children looking over a railing into a recreation of the bedroom of Harry Potter with Dobby
Go inside 4 Privet Drive to see recreations of scenes from the Harry Potter films

Children on a bridge from Hogwarts school
In the Backlot you can explore more parts of the set from the Harry Potter films

Should You Prebuy the Photo Pass?

Other than in the green screen areas and the cinema areas at the beginning of the tour you are welcome to take your own video and photos so if you want to skip the expense of the official photos you won’t miss out. 

I didn’t realise when buying, but the Digital Photo Pass you can buy exclusively online is just for one person so you would need to buy one for each child you visit with (at £20 each). There were also 2 green screen photo points and it is only valid at the first one. It entitles you to a number of still digital images and the video of them flying on the broomstick. 

You can buy photos and digital prints when you are there. If are more interested in physical photos you might want to hold off buying the digital pass online. Prebuying the pass also commits you to queuing for the green screen experience regardless of how long the queue is and children might not be so keen on this. On the other hand if you are buying the pass months in advance with your tickets it helps spread the costs.

The first green screen area allows you to have a still photo (as a single or group) which is put onto a poster with “No 1 Undesirable”, "Have you seen this/ these wizard/s?" or "Have you seen this/ these witch/es?". You then continue in the queue to have a video on a broomstick which my children found quite fun to do.  The pass gave us the digital images of my daughter, and we could upgrade and pay another  £20 to get my son's digital images too. And then we wanted one of the wanted posters which are printed on A3 brown paper which was another £20. 

The next green screen area is opposite the Hogwarts Express where you get to sit in a carriage mock up, pose for some photos and and have a video. We chose not to get this footage because at the tills you could also get a Ministry of Magic ID card which my daughter wanted (they cost 2 for £20) so we didn’t want to spend even more on top (and to be honest I thought it was a cheek that the digital pass we had bought didn’t cover it). They take photos for the Ministry of Magic ID card at that photo desk so you don’t need to queue for the train green screen if you just want this. 

Oh and if you do want photos or videos, don’t wear green. My Slytherin children have some weird patches on the videos because of the green on their tops.

Green screen quidditch photo from The Making Of Harry Potter
One of the digital images from the first green screen area

Plan Your Toilet Breaks

There are toilets in the car park and in the lobby area before you start the tour. It is worth encouraging young children to use these. Once you start the tour the next toilets are near the end of the first section, next to the entrance of the Forbidden Forest. 

There are toilets just off the outside area (The Backlot) and then I don’t think there are any more before you finish the tour so take advantage when you can.

Walk through the greenhouse and see what happens when you pull the young mandrakes
Pull Mandrake's in Professor Sprouts Greenhouse

Looking at the set of The Burrow at The Making Of Harry Potter
See the magic of The Burrow and help chop carrots, iron and more

The Hogwarts Express ready to depart for Hogwarts
See the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 3/4s

The Shops

While some of the merchandise is available online or in other Harry Potter shops there is more Harry Potter merchandise here than you can ever imagine. The main shop is HUGE and the tour ends here so you can’t avoid it. You can visit the main shop before the tour if you want, but you have to have a tour ticket to get into this area (the same applies for the afternoon tea and food places). 

In addition to the main shop there is also a small shop as you come out of the Forbidden Forest and another on Platform 9 3/4s. There were items in the Forbidden Forest shop that I don’t remember seeing in the main shop and in the Train station shop there were shelves with signs saying items were exclusive to that shop. I would assume if items don’t have that sign you can get them in the main shop. If there is something you love though don’t risk leaving it.

If you don’t want to spend an absolute fortune I suggest giving children a budget before you go. I checked a few prices of items against online prices when I was there and while some were a little higher, most were comparable, however not everything can be bought online. 

You can get posters, lollipops and postcards for under £5s so you can buy some items for pocket money prices. 

Do People Dress Up For Visiting The Making Of Harry Potter?

If you or your children want to dress up then that is totally ok. I saw quite a few (admittedly only young people) wearing full house clothing eg gown etc. For a more subtle nod there were quite a few wands and scarfs and a lot of people with Harry Potter themed clothing. Plenty of people were in normal clothes though so don’t feel under pressure to dress up your children if they don’t want too. 

I didn’t see anyone dressed in a full costume of anyone other than the students on our visit, but I suspect it happens and I can’t see anything to say you can’t. 

Is it scary?

My son finds a lot of things scary (he's only 5), but for some reason he was ok with everything, even the supersized spiders in the forbidden forest which come down in the dark (there is a shorter path you can follow to skip these though). In fact the only time he really struggled was in the cinema at the beginning where they show a short feature which he found really loud and had to cover his ears. 

If children are particularly nervous speak to the guides and they will help direct you.

Giant spiders descending from the ceiling at Harry Potter Studios
Watch out for the spiders in the Forbidden Forest

Do you need to bring a coat?

There is a cloakroom where you can leave bags and coats if you come by public transport, but there is also an outside area so should you take a coat if it’s likely to be raining or freezing cold? You can avoid going in the rain by using the covered walkway so you don’t need to get wet if it is raining, however the bridge, Knight Bus, Harry’s House and the Greenhouse are all in the outside area and you would get wet walking to these and you are likely to need to queue in the rain too. So you need to balance out coats with your desire to see these bits. 

How long does the tour take?

The tour starts with you in a group where you get an introduction, a short video in the cinema and a walk through the Great Hall. After you leave the Great Hall you are free to explore at your own pace. Our tour start time was 10.30am and we left about 5.30pm. We spent quite a while queuing and eating both at lunch and at the Chocolate Frog afterwards. We also spent time queuing for green screens and interactive elements (some times these were really short, the longest was about 10 minutes). So you can easily spend a whole day there and it is worth getting a morning ticket if possible. If your children want to rush round though and you don’t eat you could get round in a couple of hours. You would miss seeing a lot if you go round that fast though so leave longer for your first visit. 

Despite staying for 7 hours I still don’t feel I saw everything fully. I would happily go back, but I would expect to take less time on a repeat visit. 

Potions Class set at The Making Of Harry Potter
All ready for potions class

The current display in the Great Hall is the choir from the Prisoner of Azkaban film
Something wicked this way comes

The Slytherin Common Room set at The Making of Harry Potter Studio
The Slytherin Common Room set

Eating at Warner Bros Studio Tour London

You are not meant to eat or drink in any of the inside tour areas. There are places to buy food before you start your tour, then there is the Backlot Café half way (ish) through the tour. There are places you could eat your own food in these areas too.

Backlot Cafe

Even if you eat just before going in there is a good chance children will be hungry by the time you get to the Backlot cafe. The bad news is everyone else is going to be hungry too. The queue for food was really really long when we were there. 

There is a separate quick service queue for the counter where you can buy Butterbeer, Butterbeer ice cream or tray with both and a cupcake. We quickly got two Butterbeers and my children sat down drinking these and playing on the digital guides while my partner queued for food. I don’t know how long we waited but I would guess at least 45 minutes. We visited on a Saturday and arrived at the Backlot area at lunchtime so this is obviously a peak time, but even if the queue is short, tired and hungry children are likely to struggle with waiting in the queue. 

If you don’t have one adult to queue while the other entertains the children I strongly recommend you bring your own food. There was also a small outlet selling hot drinks and a few snacks in the corner of the outside area which had short queues so that might be another emergency option, but it looks like it is only open at peak times. 

The lunch food is mainly burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries and there are four children's options. The food was ok and the sort of price you expect from a monopoly food venue at an attraction, you can find the menu on the official website if you want to prepare yourself.

Children going "cheers" with two cups of Butterbeer at Harry Potter cafe
Enjoy a Butterbeer and take your cup home

Other Food Places

At the end of the tour and after you have negotiated your way through the shop, you rejoin the Hub area where you started the tour. There are a number of food options in this area for light or more significant eating.  

After the tour we got a delicious vegan milkshake and vegan cake from the Chocolate Frog cafe. Even though the queue was really short at the time it took a while for the milkshake to be made and brought to us, but it was worth it. 

The Food Hall has a much wider range of food options including pancakes and breakfast muffins at breakfast and pizza and salad later on. The website says this closes at 8pm weekends and holidays and 5pm other times, so if you have a late tour start time it will probably be closed by the time you finish. 

If everywhere is closed when you finish the tour then there is McDonald's, Harvester and TGI Fridays about 5 minutes drive away off the A405, as well as many other food places.

Where to get food at Harry Potter Studios
The Food Hall and location of Afternoon Tea at Harry Potter Studios

Water refill points 

There was somewhere to refill water bottles in the Backlot cafe area (on the wall as you walk in) and on the back wall of The Chocolate Frog Cafe. 

How To Spend Less At The Making Of Harry Potter Tour

If you feel you have already spent a fortune on your tickets and you don’t really want to spend any more then it’s possible to do this without missing out. Make sure to bring your own food and drink so you don’t have to buy those as they aren’t cheap.  Your biggest challenge is going to be shops, but you’ll know the best way to negotiate your children through them (good luck!). 


You can do the green screens without paying as you only pay to buy the images or video. The videos are quite fun to do, but I personally find the temptation to buy the digital images too tempting so if you are the same I would recommend skipping these sections. 

Take plenty of your own photos and videos on the way round. There are lots of special photo points that are worth keeping an eye out for including: the magic broom you make move up, holding the sword to get the Hufflepuff cup and with a forced perspective point to make someone look like a giant.

A special photo point at Harry Potter Studio to give the illusion of a giant in Hagrids Hut
Enjoy the photo points to capture special memories for free

Rescue The Helga Hufflepuff Cup From the Lestrange Vault
Grab the Hufflepuff Cup with the sword Gryffindor at Gringotts Wizarding Bank

Enjoy the free activities

  • Pick up the passport before you start the tour as it has places to stamp as you go round and other things to look for. As part of the Return To Azkaban theme our map had a special version of the Marauders Map to find Scabbers. 
  • At Platform 9 3/4s there was a table where you could fold up a piece of printed paper to make a 3D Buckbeak.


If you are going to spend money my suggestion would be to buy the Butterbeer. It’s not cheap at £7.45, but you get to keep the plastic cup it comes in so you have a momento of the visit as well as the experience. If you haven’t tried Butterbeer before it is basically a butterscotch flavoured soft drink, at the special bar though you get a creamy froth on top of it which makes it more exciting that the stuff you can buy in bottles. 

There are sinks you can wash out your cup (or the ice cream bowl) so you don’t carry sticky cups around with you. Not everyone chooses to take their cups with them though and if you are quick and sneaky you might find an abandoned empty cup on a table or at the sinks before staff whisk them away. 

The Ukrainian Ironbelly in the entrance hall to the Making Of Harry Potter tour
The impressive Ukranian Ironbelly dragon at the entrance to the tour at The Making Of Harry Potter

Whatever age children you are going with I hope you have a great time, try to spend less than we did! (I have no regrets though).

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