How to Get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London

How to use public transportation to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London

The set of Dumbledore’s office.

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Year Visited: 2022

Time of Year: May

The Harry Potter Studio Tour

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter movies, visiting the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour while in London is a must.

These are the actual studios where they shot the majority of the movies (there are other filming locations you can visit throughout the UK as well!).

The Harry Potter Studios are huge, and are therefore set 20 minutes outside of central London. If you have a car, you can drive there, but it is pretty easy to get to the Harry Potter Studio tour from London using public transportation (provided the Underground line you need isn’t shut down—like it was for us…).

  • Good to Know: If you don’t want to get to the Harry Potter Studio tour on your own, you can also book a tour with transportation from London, but this will cost more than doing it yourself.

How to Get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London

London to Watford Junction:

To get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London, first take the London Underground to Euston Station.

At Euston Station you will switch from the Underground to the Overground (unless you were close enough to Euston that you walked there). You will follow the signs leading up to the National Rail service (if you need help finding where to go, just ask any of TFL [Transport for London] employees who will be at the station).

From Euston, you can get a train to Watford Junction. This is a direct train, so you will not have to get off and change trains, but it may make stops at other locations along the route. The journey can take 15 min. to an hour, depending on how many stops the train makes.

  • We did not travel from London Euston, as the line was shut down for maintenance. I will explain what to do if a line is shut down in a later section.

You can also get on the Overground at any of the stations along the route between Euston and Watford Junction. Euston is the most easily accessible from central London, and you can get the fastest trains here, but if you’re near another station on the route, you can get to Watford Junction from there.

Can you use your Oyster card to get to Watford Junction from London?

Yes, you can use your Oyster card on the Overground from London to Watford Junction. You will not need to purchase a rail ticket for this journey.

The orange double lines mark the Overground route from Euston to Watford Junction in the top left.

Watford Junction to the Studios:

Once you arrive at Watford Junction, exit the train station and cross the parking lot to bus stop 4 on the far side of the parking lot.

There are posters for the studio tour at the bus stop, so you will know you are at the right one. Chances are there will also be someone dressed as a wizard…

This bus will take you directly to the studio tour.

Do you have to pay for the shuttle to the tour?

According to the website, you do have to pay for the shuttle to the studios. However, you do not have to pay to get on the shuttle. There is simply a tip jar if you would like to leave something for your driver. You do need a valid studio tour ticket to get on the shuttle.

The shuttle bus from Watford Junction rail station to the studios.

The Return Journey:

Once you’re done at the tour, head back to the bus stops where you were dropped off. Keep in mind that there are multiple bus stops here, so make sure you get in the line for Watford Junction.

Then of course you can take the Overground back to London from Watford Junction.

What if the line from Euston to Watford Junction is shut down?

It happens. In fact, it happened when we were in London, over a bank holiday weekend.

TFL will periodically shut down lines for maintenance work, typically on Sundays or Bank holidays, when there isn’t the mad rush into the office (yes, even in post-2020!).

If the line you need is shut down, there will be replacement buses available to get you to your destination.

The most important thing to remember if this happens is that it will take you a lot longer to get to the studios. It took us an hour and a half to get from London to Watford Junction. So make sure to give yourself enough time.

  • An easy way to check your route is on the TFL app.

  • You can also ask at a station in London, and they will help you figure out where to go.

To get to Watford Junction we took:

  • The Underground to Queen’s Park.

  • The Overground to Harrow & Wealdstone.

  • A rail replacement bus to Headstone Lane.

  • A second rail replacement bus to Watford Junction.

We followed this journey from the app, and asked each of the station attendants along the way to make sure we ended up in the right place.

The way back ended up being a lot easier. We got a bus at Watford Junction that went directly to Stanmore, an outlying Underground Station.

It is important to be familiar with the Underground Stations. We almost missed this bus because we didn’t recognize the name. Again, always ask the attendants, who will help you know exactly where to go.

The Harry Potter Studio Tour

The main lobby area.

Before Your Tour

When you first arrive at the Harry Potter Studio tour and pass through security, there will be a lobby with the restrooms, and the information booth.

There is a free coat check at the information booth, so you can leave anything here that you don’t want to have to carry around with you through the whole tour.

You can also get a free “passport” at the information booth. There will be stations throughout the tour where you can stamp the passport. It’s a super fun and free souvenir to take home with you, and no, it’s not just for kids! So be sure to go up to the information desk and ask for the passport!

After that you will pass into the main lobby, a large open area that will lead off to the Harry Potter tour, the gift shop, and three of the four restaurants. You can visit these either before or after your tour.

The passport you can get stamped at different locations throughout your Harry Potter tour.

During Your Tour

At the start of the tour you wait in a long line (basically the epitome of Disney World) until you get up to the theater where you will watch two videos and enter the Great Hall. After that, you can ramble through the tour at your own pace.

The tour showcases actual sets and costumes used for filming, as well as props/special effects and how they were made.

There are a lot of photo op stops where you can take pictures. These include on the Hogwarts Express and at Platform 9 and 3/4, so if you didn’t get a picture at King’s Cross Station, don’t fret.

There are several gift shops along the tour with specialized products, like the Christmas gift shop, so be sure to check these out before you exit the tour. The main gift shop is at the end of the Harry Potter tour.

Ron and Harry on the Hogwarts Express.

Eating on the Tour

You can eat in the main food hall either before or after your tour, but if you get hungry or thirsty during your tour of the Harry Potter Studios, you can eat at The Backlot Cafe. This cafeteria is about halfway through the tour, and there are also bathrooms available here.

  • Pro Tip: If you want to try a butterbeer, be sure to get one at The Backlot Cafe. This is the only place at the tour where you can get butterbeer.

See more of the Harry Potter Studio Tour in this video:

Harry Potter Studio Tour Frequently Asked Questions

The set of Gringott’s Bank.

Here are answers to all the questions I had before visiting the Harry Potter Studio tour from London:

Do people dress up at the Harry Potter Studio Tour?

Yes! There are definitely people at the Harry Potter tour in full on wizarding gear.

I just chose to wear my house colors, so I could still blend in with the muggles… But I wish I had worn my Hufflepuff scarf though!

So if you want to dress up, do it! You will not be the only one.

How long do you spend at the Harry Potter tour?

We spent 2 hrs. walking through the studio tour (not counting time spent eating). You can spend longer or shorter, depending on how much you want to see.

After the initial start of the tour, you wander through at your own pace. There are a lot of photo op stops which we did not take advantage of because we didn’t want to wait in line.

You could easily fill up three hours here, plus the cafes and gift shops.

Can you start the tour early if you arrive before your time slot?

Because transportation can be unpredictable, you should give yourself plenty of time to get to the studios. We arrived about an hour before our tour was scheduled to start.

We got into the line as soon as we arrived, even though our tour didn’t start for an hour. The employee let us in the line without even checking our tour time, although we then asked if it was ok.

Apparently this is not always allowed, but it depends on how busy it is. But again, we had no trouble starting the tour early.

Can you enter the gift shop, or eat before your scheduled tour?

Yes, if you arrive before your scheduled tour, you can get something to eat while you wait. There are three food options available in the lobby area before (and after) you go on the tour.

  • The Hub Cafe (Starbucks)

  • The Chocolate Frog Cafe (desserts)

  • The Food Hall

The food was surprisingly good, especially the ice cream at The Chocolate Frog Cafe!

I believe that you can also enter the gift shops, although the website still says with the “current 1-way policy” that this is not possible. I did not try to enter the gift shops, since we got in line for our tour right away, even though we arrived early, but it seemed like you could go in them before the tour.

Can you eat during the tour?

Yes, in addition to the three food options in the main lobby of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, there is The Backlot Cafe, about halfway through the tour.

Can you get Butterbeer at the Harry Potter Studio tour?

Yes, but be aware, you can only get butterbeer at The Backlot Cafe on the tour.

Is the Harry Potter Studio tour outside?

The majority of the Harry Potter Studio tour is inside, but there are a few things to see outside.

Just after the Backlot Cafe, there is an outdoor courtyard you have to walk through to get to the rest of the tour. You will see a few more sets in this courtyard, including the Knight Bus, the Hogwarts Bridge, and Number 4 Privet Drive.

If you don’t want to stay outside (if it’s pouring rain or freezing cold), you can quickly walk through the courtyard to continue on your way.

Can you sit under the enchanted ceiling?

If you look at the Harry Potter Studio tour website, there is a picture of the enchanted ceiling with floating candles at the main food hall.

This is only open for the afternoon tea, so if you are just eating at The Food Hall, you do not get to sit under the ceiling.

Do you need a tour ticket to do the afternoon tea?

Yes, unfortunately you cannot come to the Harry Potter Studios in London just for the afternoon tea, or even just to shop in the gift shop. They consider all of these things to be part of the experience, and thus you need an actual tour ticket to get in to the building. Then you will also need an additional ticket for the afternoon tea.

Does it cost money to check your coats?

No, you can check your coats and bags for free at the information desk when you first walk in! So be sure to take advantage of this.

Are the passports just for kids?

No! Pick up a FREE souvenir “passport” at the information desk when you first walk in. This is a fun activity, and it is not just for kids (although sometimes you will have to wait a while for your stamp, because children do not understand the concept of lines, and as a 30 year old it is apparently frowned upon to shove the 10 year olds out of the way, even if you were there first…).

The stamps in the studio tour passport.

Where to Get Harry Potter Souvenirs

The Shop That Must Not Be Named, in the York Shambles.

There are so many places to get Harry Potter souvenirs throughout the UK, that I wasn’t sure if I should buy something at the studio tour, or wait until I went to the gift shop at King’s Cross Station (where it might be cheaper, orrr they might not have it!), or wait until I got to the Shambles in York, where it would just be so much cooler to buy a wand!

So to help you decide, I’m reviewing the shops at the studio tour, as well as listing out ALL of the other locations I found where you can buy HP souvenirs, and if they’re worth waiting for.

  • Good to Know: There are more HP shops than the ones listed here. You can literally find one everywhere you turn.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The Harry Potter Studio tour is actually the best place to buy Harry Potter souvenirs in the UK. Their shops are definitely the most extensive, plus they are all themed. You can buy candy from Honeydukes, or a wand from Olivander’s.

I chose not to buy anything at the gift shops here, because I wanted to buy souvenirs from the Shambles (AKA the real life Diagon Alley—pictured above!), but I ended up regretting that decision. This is really the best place to buy souvenirs. They have an insane amount of variety, whereas all the other Harry Potter gift shops are fairly small.

Be sure to spend some time browsing around the shops at the studio tour.

Heathrow Airport

When you first arrive in London at Heathrow, you can visit the Harry Potter gift shop in terminal 5.

  • Please note: We arrived at terminal 2, and did not travel to terminal 5. You might need to go out of your way to visit this shop.

Platform 9 3/4

There is a Harry Potter themed gift shop at King’s Cross Station, the site of Platform 9 3/4. There is also a photo op of Platform 9 3/4, but it is not on the actual train platforms (otherwise, you would need a ticket). Look for it in back of the main rail station lobby.

The York Shambles

The Shambles are arguably the coolest street in England. They definitely have a Diagon Alley vibe, which I think makes it the perfect place to buy a wand.

There are several Harry Potter themed gift shops here, the largest one being The Shop That Must Not Be Named. Keep in mind that, even though it is a larger shop, there are still a lot of things you can find at the studios that you can’t find here.

The Jacobite Steam Train

If you choose to ride the Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland someone will come push the souvenir cart around so you “get something off the trolley.”

Of course they do not have a lot of options, as it is just a little cart, but you can get some unique steam train (Hogwarts Express) themed items here.


This is where the steam train stops off at, before returning to Fort William. We found a fun little shop here, hidden away down a secret alley.

Again, it was mostly the same things you will find at other gift shops, and because it is a smaller shop, the selection will be slimmer. It is fun, however, to find secret hidden shops that make buying Harry Potter souvenirs more special.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

You can visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct to watch the steam train go by! And then of course, you can find buy Harry Potter souvenirs in their visitor center.

This is not strictly a Harry Potter shop though, and the selection is small. But you will find more Hogwarts Express themed merchandise, if you are not able to go on the actual train.

Literally Every Street in Edinburgh

Everywhere you go in Edinburgh, you will find stores advertising the “birthplace of Harry Potter.” It’s all the same merchandise, so there’s no need to wait to find something better somewhere else, if you do find something you want.


After traversing the UK in search of all things Harry Potter, I would conclude that the best place to buy souvenirs really is at the Studio tour in London. So go ahead and consider this permission to blow all your vacation fund at their gift shops.

However, it is especially fun to buy Harry Potter souvenirs from Diagon Alley (the York Shambles) and the Hogwart’s Express (the Jacobite Steam Train).

But if you find something special, buy it at the studio. You can always buy chocolate frogs and every flavor beans at any of the shops you come to, but you might not find the same merchandise that they have at the large studio stores.

The set of Diagon Alley.

Any more questions?

Don’t hesitate to email me or comment below with any other questions you may have about visiting the Harry Potter Studio tour from London.

Planning a trip to London?

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