Christmas is easily one of the most magical times of the year, but visiting Hogwarts during the festive season is quite possibly the best thing to do in London.
For guests staying at the Lancaster Hotel London, it’s the perfect time to book a trip to visit the home of Harry Potter, just a short train ride away from central London.
Get your wands ready, dust off your brooms, and read on to find out what to expect from Hogwarts in the Snow and how to plan ahead for the best experience possible.
The studio tour
The Warner Brothers Studio Tour takes you into the world of Hogwarts, giving you a chance to step into the incredible sets that were part of the films, enjoy a closer look at the stunning props used, and learn how the magic was brought to life on screen.
The experience usually starts with a short-guided tour through to the Great Hall, after which you are free to explore at your leisure. You’ll be able to explore the different sets in your own time, read the information provided, try out green screen experiences or special photoshoots, and of course, hit the gift shop.
Most people spend around three or four hours, or even longer in there, and it’s worth getting there early so that you can spend as much time as you like, to really soak up the special atmosphere there.
It’s worth checking out London hotel deals with breakfast included so that you can start the day feeling energised and ready to go.
What to expect at Christmas
During the winter season, the Hogwarts set is given a festive makeover, and during your visit, you’ll be taken into a magical winter wonderland. Everything is covered with a layer of sparkle and snow, taking you straight into the winter season as depicted in the films.
You’ll step into the Great Hall at the start of your tour, to see it decked up in the Christmas spirit. Expect plenty of impressive trees, baubles, icicles, puddings surrounded by real flames and much more. Those with a keen eye might remember iconic scenes from the films, including the famous Yule Ball, and it’s an amazing opportunity to see the beautiful set dress that was created for those moments.
Winter at Hogwarts extends beyond the Great Hall too, though. The seasonal tour is a great way to learn more about the special effects used during filming, including how the films’ designers created snow that would never melt, special lighting effects and more. You can also see how other sets around the studio are transformed for the festive period, including the Gryffindor common room, Weasley kitchen, and the famous model of the Hogwarts Castle. Keep an eye out for original props around the sets from the actual films – including handmade Christmas cards, made by the cast themselves.
The Hogwarts in the Snow experience runs from November through to January, so there’s no chance of missing out on fulfilling your wintery dreams! Be sure to book in advance for the best experience.
Dinner in the Great Hall
If you’re extra keen on experiencing the full festive vibes at Hogwarts, then you might want to check out one of the special Dinner in the Guest Hall events. For serious fans of the books and films, it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the fictional world, with a night at the famous Yule Ball.
With the Great Hall transformed with all of its festive fineries, you’ll be able to dine at the famous House tables, surrounded by themed decorations featuring witches, broomsticks, golden snitches and more. There will also be a two-course meal to enjoy, a chance to dress up for the Yule Ball, drinks and dancing, and dessert at the famous train platform.
These events are extremely limited and will only be running for a few dates in December, so make sure you book tickets in advance. As the event runs into the evening, it can be helpful to sort out Lancaster accommodation ahead of time, so that you can experience a great day out in London afterwards.
Beyond the studio
After the tour, you’ll undoubtedly want to pick up some mementoes and treasures from the on-site gift shops, where you’ll be able to pick up clothing from each House, your own magic wand, themed stationery and more. You can also try out some magical themed food and drink in one of the many cafes and restaurants on-site.
One of the most popular picks for visitors is the chance to enjoy a tankard of Butterbeer, the frothy, butterscotch-flavoured non-alcoholic drink featured in the books and films. You’ll find this in the studio’s Backlot Café, and you can also get a souvenir glass to take away. Another top choice is the Chocolate Frog Café, filled with sweet treats and snacks inspired by the wizarding world, including, naturally, chocolate frogs, as well as delicious hot chocolate drinks, ice cream, cakes and more. If you need something less sugary, you’ll also find savoury snacks and sandwiches, as well as a selection of hot dishes, in some of the studio’s other cafés.
While there are plenty of snacks and hot meals around, you may prefer to have something a little more substantial. Try checking out a filling brunch London before you go, to keep any distracting hunger pangs at bay during the day.
The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is located in Watford, just outside central London. To get there, it’s easiest to get the Tube to Euston Station, before catching a rail service to Watford Junction. With regular shuttle buses provided from the station to the studio tour, you can get there within roughly one hour, making it easy to spend a day there easily, while still getting back in time for afternoon tea London.
Tickets for the studio tour are always popular all year round, but Christmas is an exceptionally busy time, so many sure you are not left disappointed by booking in advance of your visit!