/ 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
Guest
Gerard Phelan says:
18 March 2012

A family ticket for Madame Tussauds is £108 or £97.20 booked on-line, so Harry Potter at £83 looks like the bargain of the century as well as being original! Given that one is permitted to take photographs of what ARE the original sets then a dedicated fan will struggle to get round in just a single day as they strive to take in every small piece of the never ending depth of detail.

Guest
ssb says:
21 May 2014

yes, but you can get bogof for Madame Tussauds, but not for Warner Bros, so personally, I think it’s ripoff.

Guest
ssb says:
21 May 2014

By the way it’s now £30 an adult, and £89 for a family of four.

Profile photo of ogeron
Guest

£83 is major purchase territory for us. Fortunately, for most of these places there are countless two for one and similar offers around, and fingers crossed this will go the same way after the initial rush of die hard enthusiasts. I shall wait for it to be available on Tesco Clubcard!

Profile photo of rarrar
Guest

Normal pricing method of setting it as high as the market will stand .
When bookings start to drop , along will come the offers and eventually lower prices.

It is a commercial venture and thus designed to make as much money as possible over the life of the asset.

Guest
JamesAard1 says:
19 March 2012

All of these attractions are only ever visited if there’s a great deal available, which is seldom. They are all far too expensive. A great (and cheap) day out for the family is only a short walk or drive from ones own door.

Profile photo of Martyn Saville
Guest

I’m going in a week or so with my niece and we’ve been hit by a different ‘rip-off’.

If you book directly the tickets are £28, which I thought was fair enough. The studios have also partnered up with a coach company offering return travel from Victoria to the studio near Watford. These package tickets cost around £45. Again, fair enough.

However, when I came to book, the studio-only tickets had sold out until late April, while the coach company had loads of tickets for almost any date you like. I live in Harrow, which isn’t all that far from Watford – but to get tickets for the dates I wanted, we now have to travel into central London, just to get a coach out again. And we have to pay almost double the price for the privilege.

It’s like those impossible-to-buy-unless-you-go-through-a-pricey-travel-agent Olympics tickets again…

Guest
Ravi says:
29 April 2017

I fully agree with you. I do live near Watford and was trying to book tickets and each ticket is £129 pounds including transport. When I called the trip advisor contact saying only ticket, I am told it’s not possible. It,s a scam and I am sorry that Harrypotter studio is encouraging this! This is unacceptable and everyone should boycott and name and shame these touts encouraged by Leavesdon studio

Guest
Gerard Phelan says:
29 March 2012

Melissa, web mistress of the Leaky Cauldron fan web site has just written an article which captures the excitement that fans will experience and explains far better than I did above why FOR THEM, the entry cost will just not be an issue.

Guest
Hoo-me says:
3 April 2012

We also enjoyed our day out at the tour and i loved Diagon Alley and the Triple decker Knight bus.
In terms of money – heres my thoughts to help others plan ahead –
Photos are not allowed to be taken in certain areas and of course these are the best things you want pictures of. The staff then take the pictures ‘for you’ and then you have to pay a lot of money if you want the pictures afterwards. This is just mean considering how much youve paid to get in. They also bark at you if you try to use your phone or camera to take pictures in these areas.
Why do they not include at least one photo per person in the entry price? This would make it more reasonable. Just charge for the extra ones.
For the price they charge for the photo, a dvd or video link to the green screen experience would have been more of value, not one cheesy photo.
***As a heads up – outside (youll get to the outside bit eventually- its where the triple decker knight bus is…) is the little blue harry potter car you can get in and take pictures of yourselves/ your children in for free.
A sandwich in the cafe is £2.95. A wand from the shop is nearly £30 eek!

The digital guides (another £5!!!) aren’t really needed. Really! There are information boards everywhere. There are tour guides every two feet and they come and talk AT you with all their well rehearsed facts/eagerly hoping you’ll have questions for them (LOL) and videos playing on a repeat cycle everywhere explaining what you are looking at.

On the whole we had a really good day and i recommend it for all ages in terms of what there is too see.. – but when you add the digi guides and photos – it was a really expensive day out. If they added a free photo and even a free coffee and it would feel more friendly rather than money grabbing.

Enjoy it! : )

Guest
Laura says:
3 July 2014

The two times I have we were allowed to take photos at every part of the studio tour expect when you go in to use the green screen experience of riding a broom or the ford anglia car which you don’t have to do. The staff were on hand throughout the tour to take photos for you too on your own camera or phone and not once was I told off for taking photos or videos.

Guest
Jennifer says:
1 July 2012

Myself and my family went last weekend and I intend to go again maybe next year as I felt I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t take everything in. It is expensive but if you’re a fan it’s worth it to see original items and sets from the film. It was a good idea to have timed entries so we didn’t have to queue at all. I did think that the price of the sweets and chocolate were a bit ridiculous (Bertie Botts beans were about £8 and so were the chocolate frogs) although the beans flavours were brilliant. Can’t wait to go again.

Guest
Mark V says:
16 August 2012

I took my 2 young sons on the tour and they loved it making it good value but the main issue was the shop at the end…the most outragous prices I’ve ever come across and ended up spending £42 on some chocolate and some cheap HP glasses…none of this should have cost more than £15 tops so I felt robbed and it certainly took the shine off a great tour. Some freinds have already made a point of avoiding this tour as they have 3 kids so a shame Warner are being greedy.

Guest
Marisa says:
25 April 2015

I will have to drop the trip too. It’s way too expensive, and I won’t even be able to buy any souvenir because it equals the price of ticket (my bf is like “ill wait for you in the studio entrance”, for the damn 3 hours, cause he is not interested in HP and 33 pounds is a robbery price for just a companion..) And i feel so sorry, because I love the book and 3 first games, and the studio looks just alike what they show.. But c’mon, i live in country where a person earns 300 pounds/month, so 1/3rd of the earnings would be just entering the studio. I could buy many souvenirs in London and cool things for that, or entry every multiple museums I want.. It’s nearly the price of flying ticket to London that I paid, both in and return ticket for 2 adults. This is ridiculous.

Guest
Marisa says:
25 April 2015

I wish I could buy that wand.. time turner.. If you people earn 1500 pounds and have it for 30 pounds, then I would love it and call it quite cheap.. But, counting to my currency, it’s 300 pounds earnings, 66 pounds enatrance, 25 pounds for a decent souvenir.. I can’t fill up their pockets and I’ll have to enjoy this money elsewhere cheaper..

Guest
Sarah says:
16 November 2012

I have just come back from Florida and have spent a bit of money in the wiz adding world of Harry potter, I compared the prices as I thought I may get my things cheaper but they are the same as the studio tour gift shop even the robes were 70 pounds, I do think they should have the rides in the studio tours in London it would make it a full day. It would be a long day coming from Yorkshire for a three hour tour, so buying an overnight package. Gonna have to save for the extra soveniers I couldn’t fit in my case.

Guest

Im a single parent of two children and we are all huge harry potter fans. Have been looking at taking kids to studio tour as half term treat but at £85 this is beyond my budget. Thats without the cost of as petrol and poss an over night stay as we live a long way from studio. Any one found any discount vouchers for tour?

Guest
Topper says:
2 February 2013

We’ve just been to the experience this week and we loved it. What a great time, seeing all the original stuff was fabulous. The dorm, common room, Great Hall and Dumbledor’s office were terrific. We opted for the all in one price for the ticket, digital guide and the book. Although the guide was interesting, we felt that we could have learned the same from the well displayed info boards. However, the book is lovely and a great souvenir. At the end of the tour – loved walking on the bendy bridge and the butterbeer was frothy – we returned our digi guides so that we’d have free hands for the gift shop. We’d brought plenty of money for momentos but walked out empty handed. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay the rip off prices. Where were the pocket money priced toys/gifts? There are usually cheap pencils, etc,. but a plastic pen and bookmark was £12.95! One sheet of paper for the Marauders Map was an eye watering £34.99!!! We wanted wands, snitches, time turners, fridge magnets, Potter jewellery, jumpers or cardigans, books but the prices were ridiculous. Surely it shouldn’t be beyond Warners to work out that if they have plenty of stuff under a tenner then people would walk out laden. There were parents trying to find something for their kids who were desperate for a gift, and we could see that they were struggling to find things. We were willing to buy some nice decent jewellery at a more expensive price but felt that if a bag of cheap sweets cost £8 then what was the mark up on the rest of the stuff? We were so disappointed. However, we’ve since bought lots of great stuff from eBay and Amazon at proper prices. Still, that was all that spoiled the day out as the rest of the tour was fabulous and we’ll go again, sometime. Unlike one of the previous posters, we were told to take as many photos as we liked so we did. It was a super experience and we couldn’t stop talking about it when we got home. Just as an aside, we travelled from Euston to Watford Junction – easy – but the chap in London told us wrong and we nearly got on the wrong train. Seems there is a slow train to Watford Junction or an express. Make sure that you get the express or it’ll take you ages. As it was, the journey was about 15 mins and the service ran regularly. The Hogwarts bus was waiting for us and it was about 10 mins – just as well as it was crowded and we poor pensioners had to stand. Can’t wait to go again. In the meantime, we’ll settle for rewatching all the films and reading the books.

Profile photo of Nadulak
Guest

I’m not an economist, but logic tells me that if you charge affordable prices, more people will come. I remember when Granada Studio Tours started to hike their prices and guess what, they had to close because families couldn’t afford to go. Surely logic must dictate as to how the pricing structure should be and I wouldn’t have thought it was beyond the skills of Harry Potter to cast a spell on the decision makers to make this outing more affordable

Profile photo of AnD
Guest

I hoped you would be right, Nadulak, and prices would have fallen by now but the best I can find at the moment is £127.50 for one child and two adults and that doesn’t include any transport (although I don’t live too far away). Sadly, they are doing so well with it and it shows no sign of slowing. According to yesterday’s Guardian, profits tripled in 2013 and the studio tour “accounted for £57m of £83.4m in revenue, which was up 68% on 2012”. I’m pleased it’s such a success but I’m not sure why they need to charge so much when their profits show that it’s not just to cover running costs!

Guest
vickyg says:
22 March 2014

The price is dear, if you consider people living outside of London, where you have to take in train fares or petrol, hotel rooms,as it is a long tour according to there website,(6 Hours) so as well as £80+ FOR TICKETS , Hotel at £ 120 for 2 nights, And i was quoted £77 for the train ( we have a freiends and family rail card) thats a dear couple of days out. this is with out added extras.

Guest
Laura says:
3 July 2014

I’ve been to the tour twice now and I think the price of the tickets £30 for an adult is pretty decent compared to the price of other attractions I’ve been too in London. I’m going back again in October as well. what i loved about the tour is that, you can spend as long as you like at it. think I spent about 4 hours both times I’ve been and even then I didn’t manage to see everything so I do think £30 isn’t bad at all especially as its the actual movie sets, props and costumes. fair enough the professional photos on the broom are expensive at £12 and are some of the gifts in the shop. I think the wands are resonably priced at £24.95 and they are collectable items which could a lot of money in years to come.

Profile photo of AnD
Guest

Laura, how did you get tickets for £30 please and what did you get for that? I can only find £45 for adults and £37.50 for kids online.

Guest
Maureen Taft says:
26 September 2014

Went with a friend last week, I think the entry price isn’t too bad for one adult, but the price for a family could well be lower. I was not impressed with the catering, I really objected to Starbucks as I pay my taxes,and don’t have the advantage of the big multi national’s tax breaks, and anyway, the coffee tasted insipid and uninteresting. Had a hotdog, which any seaside food booth would have been ashamed to serve, and at fourteen pounds for two hotdogs and two coffees, my friend and I thought we should have at least ENJOYED the experience! I have sent feedback to Warner, and I did get a very long, detailed reply, whereby they explained why they have to charge so much for items in the shop,which is rubbish, (even the National Trust are cheaper for venue specific items),and after many years in retail, I know a rip off when I see one! A jar of sweets costing nearly thirteen quid, with the only venue specific part of it being a printed label should never have been more than a fiver. So I bought nothing in the shop, and I suggest that parents buy some souvenir for the kids before they go, keep it for when they get home, and save yourself a fortune, I am sure you can buy Potter stuff online at a much cheaper rate. The good news is that Warner told me that they are hoping to expand their catering facilities on site, and this should help, as the present arrangements don’t cut the mustard. My friend and I noticed that a specific number of people are let in to the venue every twelve minutes or so, and that the average price of tickets would mean approximately six thousand pounds paid to Warner with each batch of visitors. These were all full, at least during the middle of the day when we went, so I don’t see any signs of it becoming less popular any time soon. A well known foreign student organisation that brings kids over from Germany and operates in my home town use it as one of the optional venues to visit on their itinerary, and I am sure they are not alone. It would only take a couple of these companies to swell booking numbers every week considerably.So I would not expect to find this tour on your Tesco Clubcard deals anytime soon. That all said, it is a wonderful tour, and we were there for about four hours, the kids will absolutely love it, but you will have to steer them away from the merchandise!

Guest
Jessie Sneddon says:
17 July 2015

how much is it for 3 adults ?? Please

Profile photo of Andrew Collins
Guest

Hi Jessie – You can find ticket prices for the Harry Potter Studio Tour, here:

https://tickets.wbstudiotour.co.uk/webstore/shop/ViewItems.aspx?CG=HPTST2&C=TIX2

Have a brilliant time when you decide to go! 😀

Guest
Jessie Sneddon says:
17 July 2015

Can someone tell me the prices of the extra stuff, like the train rides so I can save up please ???

Guest
Jessie Sneddon says:
17 July 2015

Prices to get in places like the train or broom photos or ride photo prices, sweets, key rings anything just so I can save thanks

Profile photo of malcolm r
Guest

Suggest you email them through their website.

Guest
Mark says:
10 June 2016

We’re thinking of going but can anyone tell me the difference between the studio tour and a normal ticket ?

Guest
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?

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

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.