Hogwarts in the Snow is an annual Christmas feature at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. This festive season, Hogwarts in the Snow London is running from 11 November 2023 to 14 January 2024.
The Harry Potter studio tour offers a behind-the-scenes look into the incredible work that went into making the films, and during Hogwarts in the Snow, visitors have the chance to see several of the film sets dressed up for Christmas and draped in layers of filmmaking snow. In this post, I’ll share the highlights and what to expect when visiting Hogwarts in the Snow London.
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Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
The Harry Potter studio tour is one of our favourite attractions in London. Visiting the Making of Harry Potter tour is a fascinating experience for the whole family, from seeing the authentic film sets to exploring behind-the-scenes secrets to discovering the magic behind the props and special effects. I have visited with my son five times since the WB Studio Tour London opened in 2012, usually during the Hogwarts in the Snow Christmas feature.
The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is actually located in Leavesden, 20 miles north-west of London, where the Harry Potter film series made its home for more than ten years. The idea behind the Harry Potter studio tour was to preserve and showcase the iconic props, costumes and sets and celebrate the incredible craftsmanship behind the films.
The Studio Tour is set adjacent to the working film studios where all eight Harry Potter films were made and visitors can explore two soundstages and a backlot filled with original sets, animatronic creatures and special effects.
In addition to the Hogwarts in the Snow Christmas feature, WB Studio Tour London runs special workshops and themed events at other times of the year, such as “Behind the Seams” sessions on costume design and a popular Dark Arts at Harry Potter Studio Tour feature during the Halloween season. Check their What’s On page for what’s coming up at the WB Studio Tour.
Related: Halloween in London with kids
Hogwarts in the Snow London
For the 2023 Christmas season, the Hogwarts in the Snow feature at WB Studio Tour London will be running from 11 November 2023 to 14 January 2024. The iconic film sets that visitors will see decorated for festive scenes – with wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees – are the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room and boys’ dormitory and the Burrow.
The film sets that are transformed for wintry scenes and draped in layers of filmmaking snow during Hogwarts in the Snow, include Diagon Alley, where the cobbled stones and shop fronts are dusted with ‘snow’, Hagrid’s Hut and the Forbidden Forest.
One of the highlights of visiting Hogwarts in the Snow London is seeing the snow-covered miniature scale model of Hogwarts castle at the end of the Studio Tour. Each year, filmmaking snow is meticulously applied to the Hogwarts castle model, just as it was during filming with a crew member sprinkling the ‘snow’ mixture by hand with a sieve from an elevated work platform.
The Great Hall
The Harry Potter Studio Tour begins with a short video introduction about the studio and Harry Potter films. The next moment is one of the best parts of visiting the WB Studio Tour London, when the doors to the Great Hall are opened and visitors can step into the enchanting Great Hall, which, during Hogwarts in the Snow, is beautifully dressed for the festive season with wreaths, garlands and trees.
There are so many amazing details to look out for in the Great Hall and you’ll have a short amount of time to take it all in before the hall is cleared out for the next timed-entry group. This is the only part of the studio tour when time is limited, but you are welcome to come back in again once the next group has entered.
Each of the long dining tables have a seasonal feast laid out, as they did in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, complete with prop versions of the roast turkeys and hams studded with cherries.
Look for the Christmas trees topped with witches circling on miniature broomsticks and the SFX flaming Christmas puddings on each table. When we visited, one of the crew members demonstrated how the Christmas puddings are lit.
Each of the Great Hall torch holders is a carving of one of the four house animals.
During Hogwarts in the Snow, fireplaces throughout the Harry Potter Studio Tour, including those in the Leaky Cauldron and Great Hall are ‘lit’ with special effects fire, created by John Richardson and the SFX team using a combination of water vapour and lighting effects.
At the top section of the Great Hall, visitors will also see the stage transformed for the Yule Ball, with snow-covered Christmas trees, icicles and an orchestra of magical instruments that were painted to match the silver of the Yule Ball.
Once you step out of the Great Hall, the rest of the Harry Potter Studio Tour is self-guided and visitors can take their time exploring until closing time. The magnificent ice sculpture created for the Yule Ball (in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) is on display just outside of the Great Hall.
The unique gowns and robes worn by staff and students, including Hermione, Viktor Krum and Ron, in the Yule Ball scenes of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were created by costume designer Jany Temime.
Gryffindor Common Room and Boys’ Dormitory
While exploring the next section of the Harry Potter Studio Tour, visitors will see some of the interior sets decorated for festive scenes. For Hogwarts in the Snow London, the Gryffindor Common Room and Boys’ Dormitory are decorated with the original props including handmade Christmas cards, some of which were created by the cast members during production.
The Set Decoration Department chose the tapestries in the Gryffindor Common Room for their medieval look and prominent use of Gryffindor colours – scarlet and gold
The interior set of the Burrow is decorated for Hogwarts in the Snow with a Christmas meal and decor.
The Special Effects Department created several magical household items that physically operated on camera, such as the self-washing frying pan and self-cutting knife shown on, both of which can be switched on by visitors through an interactive display panel at the Burrow interior set.
Diagon Alley is one of the best sets to see at the Harry Potter Studio Tour and during Hogwarts in the Snow, the cobblestone paths and magical shopfronts are lightly dusted with filmmaking snow.
Hogwarts Castle Model
The final part of the WB Studio Harry Potter Tour is seeing the intricately-detailed model of the Hogwarts castle. The castle model’s every courtyard, tower and turret were filmed and enhanced with digital effects to create the realistic views of the exterior of Hogwarts seen in the films, starting from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
During filming, a member of the crew climbed aboard an elevated work platform and sprinkled the ‘snow’ mixture of granulated paper and grains of salt onto the model by hand with a sieve – like dusting sugar onto a cake. Every festive season, the same process takes place at the Harry Potter Studio Tour for the Hogwarts in the Snow feature.
I hope you found this Harry Potter Studio Tour review helpful for learning more about Hogwarts in the Snow! For more from WB Studio Tour London, view my Instagram reel of Hogwarts in the Snow London and discover more inspiration of things to do this festive season in my post on Christmas in London with kids.
Warner Bros Studio Tour Address
Address: Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden WD25 7LR | The Warner Bros. Studio Tour is located 20 miles north-west of London and less than three miles from the M1 and M25 motorways.
Opening Times: The Studio Tour building opens at 0830 and the Harry Potter Studio Tours run from 0900 – 2200.
Tickets: WB Studio Tour tickets must be booked in advance. 2023 tickets cost from £51.50. Under 4s go free.
This post was updated on 14 September 2023 with details on the Hogwarts in the Snow London feature for the Christmas 2023 season.
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