The Biggest, Most Popular Harry Potter Attractions Aren't Where You'd Expect

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour may lack theme park rides, but in London and Tokyo especially, it's a dream come true for Harry Potter fans. These two international versions of the immersive movie studio tour, which also operates in Hollywood (technically, Burbank in Los Angeles County), are devoted exclusively to "The Making of Harry Potter." They showcase three to four hours' worth of sets, costumes, and props from the Harry Potter films. The London version of the tour ranked as the U.K.'s most in-demand attraction in a 2023 analysis by the biggest British hotel chain, Premier Inn. The Tokyo version opened in June 2023, and it's now the world's largest indoor Harry Potter attraction.

Many tourists around the world might think of Universal Studios more for Harry Potter because of the four different global resorts with a built-in Wizarding World area. At Universal Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is even split between two parks, with visitors choosing between Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley (or a ride on the working Hogwarts Express train that runs between them). However, it was Warner Bros. that produced and distributed the Harry Potter movies, and on the self-guided studio tour, you'll have more time to enjoy things like the hippogriff animatronic than you would just breezing past one on the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster. Though not Potter-centric, even the LA tour has something to offer fans, with interactive exhibits like Newt Scamander's shed and the cupboard under the stairs where Harry lived.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

In Premier Inn's global analysis, The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter was second only to Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle and Peru's Machu Picchu, which tied for the world's #1 most in-demand attraction. The tour neighbors the functional Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, just outside London, where the Harry Potter movies were made. Consequently, many of the costumes and sets you'll see, such as the cavernous Great Hall, are the originals that were used during the filming process.

This is where the 2022 reunion special, "Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts," was shot for HBO Max. As you wind your way through the sprawling tour, you'll literally be following in the footsteps of stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Each physical environment, from the Forbidden Forest to Platform 9¾, provides photo ops and behind-the-scenes details.

The tour first opened in 2012 — the year after the 8-film Harry Potter series wrapped — and in 2019 and 2022, it expanded with the addition of two newly-rebuilt sets, Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Professor Sprout's Greenhouse. The goblin-run bank, which includes the Lestrange Vault, is a one-of-a-kind walk-through that you won't find at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo. And while the Hollywood tour includes a greenhouse exhibit, it's smaller in scale than the one in London, where you can have the hands-on experience of pulling a screaming Mandrake out by the roots. Best of all, there's a Butterbeer bar.

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo

Outside theme parks, Harry Potter is a natural fit for the U.K. since it's his home country and the site of the other, non-studio filming locations you can visit in real life. You wouldn't necessarily expect to find an even bigger shrine to his adventures in Japan, but the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo – The Making of Harry Potter is just that. Built on the site of a former amusement park in Nerima ward, it recreates many of the same movie sets as the tour in London, with a few minor and major differences.

You're more likely to see things like the toothy Monster Book of Monsters, for instance, at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. The huge Ministry of Magic set (pictured above) is unique to Tokyo. Centered on a "Magic Is Might" monument, it even has Floo Network fireplaces where you can stage mock teleportations with green smoke.

At the end of the tour, which caters to both Japanese- and English-speaking visitors, you'll arrive in the world's largest Harry Potter gift shop. The shop's towering shelves are stacked with spheres like those you would see in the Ministry's Hall of Prophecy. Just imagine venturing into a small warehouse of souvenirs to match some of the authentic costumes and props you've seen, including the Goblet of Fire. First, you'll need a ticket, however. Like the London tour, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo is popular and has to be booked in advance online.