/ Travel & Leisure

Harry Potter and the High Studio Tour Price – is £28 too much?

The sets used in the magical movie franchise are about to open to visitors. But at £83 for a family ticket to ‘The Making Of Harry Potter’ studio tour, will even those people potty about Potter steer clear?

If Dobby, the Sorting Hat, and the Golden Snitch mean anything to you, the chances are you’ll be interested in the brand new attraction opening on 31 March at the Warner Bros. Studios near Watford, Herts.

‘The Making Of Harry Potter’ Warner Bros. studio tour enables mere Muggles to see up-close the sets where much of the eight Harry Potter movies were filmed.

Reviewing the Harry Potter tour

I visited the studio for a review in our Which? Travel magazine, and I’d rate the experience as a great treat for fans young and old(er), who’ll be enchanted by the range of sets and the thousands of familiar costumes and props on display.

Like a magician revealing the secrets behind all their tricks, the tour explains – often using clever multimedia techniques – how the blockbusters were produced. After an introductory film and guided tour of the majestic Great Hall, you’ll walk self-guided past the Potions classroom and Hagrid’s hut.

Highlights for me included Dumbledore’s grand study, the cobbled Diagon Alley, and a massive model of the multi-turreted Hogwarts castle used for filming.

Harry Potter tour costly by the hour

My own visit – at a relatively leisurely pace to take in most of the accompanying explanatory films – lasted two and a half hours. Even the biggest aficionados probably won’t need much more than three hours to see everything.

This makes the admission price pretty steep for the price – £28 for adults, £21 for 5-15 year olds, and £83 for a family of four. So adults will be paying around £9 an hour.

Theme parks like Alton Towers cost slightly more (currently around £32 per adult if pre-booking online), but people tend to stay there for six hours or more, which seems better value at just over £5 an hour.

Adding on all the extras

Then there are the optional extras. One of the few interactive experiences is the chance to don a robe and be filmed flying on a broomstick through London. It’s great fun, but if you want a photo, it will set you back £12.

And couldn’t the famous (non-alcoholic) Butterbeer have been part of the overall experience, rather than costing an extra £2.95 a cup?

The tour inevitably ends at the vast gift shop, where pester power could reach epic proportions, but there’s little for under £10. Temptations include 17 different wands to collect (£25 each), Gryffindor swords (£12), and Weasley toys like the Extendable Ear (£15). There’s even a Dumbledore replica robe for a mere £496.

You might resist the merchandise, but if you’re arriving by train to Watford Junction it will cost £2 per person for a return ticket to the studio on a shuttle bus. Including the bus ride in the admission cost would have been a nice touch, especially as the car park is free.

A price worth paying?

Maybe I’m just being a Moaning Myrtle about this. Try to book tickets for the Harry Potter studio tour and it’s already virtually impossible to find any available date in April or any weekend in May. Is this a sign that perhaps the entry price isn’t so prohibitive after all, or just that people are under the spell of a much-hyped brand?

Warner Bros. no doubt sat down and researched what potential visitors would be willing to pay, so perhaps £28 is to be expected. After all, it’s much cheaper than seeing all eight Harry Potter movies at the cinema, or even going to a West End show.

Are you enthralled by the Potter magic? Will the cost of this three-hour experience deter you from visiting?

Comments
Miss D Wright says:
22 March 2017

As h.p fans, iwould like to have treated my son to a visit for his birthday later on in the year, but being disabled and on benefits my minimal finances would no way stretch to a day out here. I have to allow for accomodation as its quite a way from where we live to make it a day trip. Then there woukd be extra spends for photos gifts and food. Im sure it would all be well worth it but not doable on the grounds of cost. Is there a cheaper option other than going hungry for the day and missing out on some of the experience, for those who are on benefits, or is it just a no go dsy?

Is your disability relevant to any particular charity or voluntary organisation? They can sometimes help in situations like yours. Some towns and local authorities have a Benevolent Fund that comes under the mayor’s office or some other civic position; they can sometimes make grants available to people who are prevented from having a normal life. Look in your local newspaper to see what community and voluntary groups are active in your area; there is quite wide range and they raise money specifically to be able to help people in their local community. Talk to other parents at your son’s school – it might be possible to organise a group outing to spread the cost. If you can get financial support, many local coach companies include the Harry Potter Experience in their seasonal excursions and make it possible to go there and back in a day [depending on distance – it might mean an early start!]. I hope you can manage to make the trip and give your son a good time.

Susan McDonnell says:
5 July 2019

We will be spending a few days in London in the middle of July and as I have an obsessed family member, thought we might treat the kids to a visit to the Warner Brothers studio. I looked it up, scrolled through the gallery and then went to book tickets. And immediately closed the page. It costs €97 per person. At that price it is prohibitive, and we are both employed in well paid jobs. €500 for 4 hours’ entertainment, not counting food or merchandise or anything else? No thank you Warner Brothers, not this time.

The location is some distance from London so you would also have substantial travel costs to get there and back.

Were you looking on the official Warner Bros website, Susan? I just looked and it said a family group ticket for two adults and two children [or 1+3] was £148 and the average visit lasts approximately 3½ hours.

Various other companies offer the studio tours with inclusive travel and other features.

If you want a bus journey from central London included a tour company charges £360 for a family ticket. As John says the official tour ticket is £148 and, of your travel from central London under your own steam, the rail + bus fare is around £93 for a family 2+2.

We just visited the Harry Potter studios- £45 each. 1 small plastic cup of butter beer was £7. The gift shop was incredibly expensive- tshirts £25, cushions £17 Poor quality.
It was also very busy making it hard to look at things, and apparently that was a quiet day and time. I think it is so sad that fans are exploited so badly, as if the films havn’t made enough money, and what’s worse is on the tour they try to imply opening the studio was inspired by wanting to give something to the fans when it was clearly more about corporate greed.