The UK’s best film and TV studio tours

There’s something about stepping into the world of a film or TV show that feels strangely familiar. Perhaps it’s the local pub in a soap you’ve watched since you were a kid, or a grand old hotel that served as the backdrop to your favourite movie. Whatever the location, an immersive tour is a great way to take a trip down memory lane. 

You don’t have to go very far, either. The UK has its fair share of fascinating movie backdrops. From the cobbled streets of Corrie to Professor Sprout’s greenhouse in “Harry Potter”, these are some of the best film and TV sets to visit in 2024.

The Making of Harry Potter, London 

The gold standard of film tours in the UK is this behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio in Watford (about 20 miles northwest of central London). As the studio where all eight of the iconic films were made, it’s home to an array of breathtaking sets spanning everything from the whimsical streets of Diagon Alley to the grand hall at Gringotts Wizarding Bank. 

During the tour, visitors are given the chance to see countless props and costumes, discover how special effects were used to bring the magic on screen to life, and marvel at the art department’s intricate miniature scale model of Hogwarts. Tickets for the standard day tour start at £53.60 and go right up to the £250 Deluxe Tour, which includes a souvenir guide book and a bottle of Butterbeer. 

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The Friends Experience, London

Fans of the much-loved TV series “Friends” will be pleased to hear they don’t need to venture across the pond for this next tour. To celebrate the show’s 30th birthday, Warner Bros. has teamed up with Original X Productions to create “The Friends Experience: The One in London” (tickets are currently on sale ahead of the opening in August). 

Set within the waterside ExCeL centre in east London, the experience will be packed with full-scale re-created sets, costumes and props. Among the highlights is the chance to play foosball at Joey and Chandler’s; take a photo behind Rachel and Monica’s purple door; and sink into the orange couch at the show’s iconic coffee house, Central Perk.

The Paddington Bear Experience, London

Set across a series of rooms at County Hall on the South Bank in central London, this activity-packed “multi-sensory” experience takes guests on an adventure to help the Brown family prepare for the Marmalade Day Festival. 

Written by Katie Lyons and directed by creative collective Immersive Octopus, the experience was crafted to celebrate the 66th anniversary of Michael Bond’s first Paddington book. 

Kicking off at Paddington Station, you’ll jump aboard a “full size train carriage” and journey through the capital to the Brown’s house at No. 32 Windsor Gardens. Here, you’ll explore multiple rooms before being transported to the jungle of Peru. The experience ends with a party at Windsor Gardens with Paddington himself where you’ll be treated to, you guessed it, a delicious marmalade sandwich.

Coronation Street, Manchester

For dedicated Corrie fans, this 90-minute tour of the set in Manchester is a real treat. An expert guide will take you through the cobbled streets of Weatherfield – the biggest single TV production site on the planet. 

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Tickets also give you access to the permanent exhibition, which includes a collection of intricately designed replica sets (including the much-loved Rovers Return and Roy’s Rolls), props and costumes from the show. There’s plenty of opportunities to take selfies along the way, too.

Game of Thrones, Belfast 

Located in an old linen mill from the 1900s that went on to become the studio behind “Game of Thrones”, this tour gives a remarkable insight into the making of the hit HBO series. The studio is a half-hour drive from Belfast and around 90 minutes from Dublin. 

Over 150 costumes are on display from Emmy-winning costume designer Michele Clapton, including Daenerys’s white fur coat and Cersei’s coronation gown. Other highlights include early sketches by the art department detailing the meticulous scenery, and an expansive collection of studio sets (including the interiors of King’s Landing), props and weapons (don’t miss the dragon eggs).

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