For Christmas just gone, my present for my husband was a trip to London to go to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour. I am a fan of Harry Potter too, but not as much of a fan as he is, and so I planned in a trip to see Aladdin in the West End (and we ended up going to see Phantom of the Opera too, discounted last-minute tickets) because that's more my passion. But for anyone looking to go to the HP tour, here's ten things I learned about the whole process:
1. If you can, stay near Euston station in London. It makes the journey out to Watford easier. The studios are about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from central London, give or take.
2. When you arrive to Watford Junction, there's a Harry Potter-themed bus for £2 return that will take you directly to the studios. It's hard to miss, it's a double decker with Harry Potter decals from top to bottom.
3. There aren't many food options there - a cafe and a restaurant - so if you're picky or don't have much food budget, pack a snack. But like, be sound to yourself. Have a butter beer.
4. You have to arrive at a certain time, which will be the time slot you booked your ticket for. It's definitely a good idea to book in advance, because it's very busy and PACKED with children, naturally (just in case kids don't jive with your worldview)
5. Photography is encouraged, which is cool. It's an awful pain in the hoop when you go to something like that and can't take a picture.
6. If it's at all possible, watch all the films before you go. It's so much more awe-inspiring if you've recently seen all the sets, props and characters. Also, if you happen to be going with my (super fan) husband, it'll be easier to go 'oh yeah' and mean it when he says "REMEMBER THAT?!!!" for the thousandth time.
7. Don't do too much googling. You don't want to ruin the surprises or the features for yourself.
8. Don't bother with the digital listening guided tour thingy - it's only £5 but it isn't really worth it in my opinion. I preferred to guide myself, there was too much listening and not enough juice IMO.
9. I try to take my own advice on this, but don't see the tour through your phone camera. Enjoy it with your real life eyes! It's way better that way.
10. You will have no choice but to exit through the gift shop, where it is possible to spend thousands on HP merch. I bought a t-shirt that I now sleep in, so the inside of my duvet knows that I play Quidditch for Gryffindor.