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Billy Eichner’s “Bros” & 17 Best Queer Films by LGBTQ+ Creatives
Before Billy Eichner’s Bros hit screens, another gay rom-com made some waves after being greenlit by a major Hollywood studio. The wide release of Love, Simon (2018) — the film adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s bestselling young adult (YA) novel — was a landmark moment. Although the film depicts a fairly sanitized (and white and privileged) coming out story, it is a gay rom-com (with a healthy dash of drama), and the first to be released in theaters by a major studio.
Now, Eichner, who created the always-spot-on-yet-full-of-nuanced-comedy Billy on the Street , is the lead in Bros , a film he also co-wrote. And Bros is history-making, too; it’s being touted as the first adult gay major studio rom-com to get a wide theatrical release.
The canon of LGBTQIA+ films made by — and for — queer and trans people is certainly growing. And although it’s frustrating that mainstream, and immensely lucrative, Hollywood studios have taken so long to take even the smallest step forward, there are numerous must-watch films by queer creatives — all of them infused with the nuance that only lived experience can bring — that have laid the groundwork for future stories to be told.
The best way to provide uncompromising representation for the myriad queer people and their varied experiences is to broaden the scope, to keep telling more stories, and these 18 movies are a great place to start.
While making waves as the first adult gay rom-com made by a major studio (Universal Pictures) is already achievment enough, Bros also stars two out gay actors. Aside from Billy Eichner’s script — and starring performance — the movie also boasts a producer credit for Judd Apatow ( Bridesmaids , This Is 40 ), while Luke Macfarlane ( Single All the Way ) stars opposite Eichner’s Bobby as love interest Aaron.
Touted as a “boy meets bro love story,” Bros centers on Bobby, a tell-it-like-it-is, bitingly cynical gay man who hosts a podcast, wins a GLAAD-like organization’s Gay Cis White Man of the year award and, for most of the movie, is spearheading the effort to open the first national LGBTQ+ history museum.
At a launch party for the new dating app Zellweger — like Grindr, but for gay men who just want to talk effusively about actresses — Bobby meets Aaron, the “bro” of this rom-com. Bobby’s friend (Guy Branam) describes Aaron as “boring” — he’s a cross-fit loyalist who helps people write their wills. But, once Bobby and Aaron get to flirting, they realize they have a mutual dislike for shallow, not-too-bright people.
The only problem? Despite being smitten, neither of them “do relationships”; plus, Bobby fears he isn’t Aaron’s type (that is, not a ripped bro), while Aaron struggles to be proud about being gay. It’s not that Aaron is closeted — he just doesn’t want to stand out. For Bobby, though, owning who he is and being loud about it has helped him weather the highs and lows, especially after years of being told to “tone it down” — the code for “be less gay and be more palatable for straight people.” Aaron admires Bobby’s confidence and wishes he’d chased his own dreams; it’s an incredibly sweet dynamic.
But, aside from its dial-moving representation, Bros is also a really fun time. And legitimately funny. If, like me, you still have a Difficult People -shaped hole in your life, you’ll be thrilled to reacquaint yourself with Eichner’s particular brand of humor. It’s self-deprecating, cynical, dark and incredibly sharp. Whether he’s observing something in a nuanced way or making a biting pop cultural reference, Eichner proves his uncanny knack for making jokes that just feel so wildly and absurdly accurate.
Case and point? Kristin Chenoweth presenting an honor at the GLAAD-adjacent LGBTQ+ award show, all while wearing an enormous rainbow dress and a hat that portrays the Stonewall riots. This one hilarious moment is the perfect encapsulation of so many things; it’s both delightfully unhinged and exceedingly believable.
Not to mention, Bros pays homage to two of the best rom-coms of all time: You’ve Got Mail (1998) and When Harry Met Sally… (1989). Seriously — what’s not to love?
Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki’s (Sheila Munyiva) budding romance is at the heart of Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki . The drama is set in Kenya — where being openly queer is dangerous and, in some instances, criminal. And there’s something special about this movie in that, despite the backdrop, these two queer characters are full of joy and able to fall in love.
Ask contributing writer Dani Rollins spotlighted Rafiki and, in particular, Kena in a love letter to Black queer film characters earlier this year. Rollins points out how Kena, a more masculine-of-center character, must learn to navigate male-dominated spaces as well as her relationships, and that the film handles it with such nuance. “Seeing Black queer people in films like Rafiki is crucial,” Rollins writes. “These stories are a balm for people aching to see their realities reflected back to them on screen.”
Fire Island (2022)
One of the best movies Hulu has to offer , Fire Island is also one of the year’s best films so far . (Not to mention, a redemption for the streamer, which backed the controversial, queer — and alleged — rom-com Happiest Season in 2020.)
Star Joel Kim Booster ( Big Mouth ) wrote Fire Island , which is directed by Driveways filmmaker Andrew Ahn. Set on the titular New York island (and long-standing gay vacation destination), the movie is a modern-day, queer retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice .
Written with a lived-in authenticity, Fire Island is an illustration of what it’s like to be queer, to be Asian — what it’s like to not be chiseled, white and overtly masculine (in that binary sense). A lot of that prejudice — almost like a gay class system, a la an Austen novel — comes from other gay men, so seeing that dissected in a sharp, insightful way is powerful.
Booster’s Noah, the film’s Elizabeth Bennet, is joined by SNL ’s Bowen Yang, who plays Noah’s best friend and hopeless romantic Howie; Conrad Ricamora ( How to Get Away With Murder ) as the perfect Darcy stand-in, Will; and stand-up legend Margaret Cho ( The Flight Attendant ), who plays the Mrs. Bennet of the film.
Long before the Wachowskis gifted us Sense8 , there was Bound , their 1996 directorial debut. Generally, The Matrix (1999) overshadows all else on the directors/writers’ combined roster. And for understandable reasons: The Matrix is one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time, and it’s also been lauded as an incredibly deft trans allegory, a reading Lilly Wachowski appreciated in that it’s “an excellent reminder that art is never static.”
The thing about Bound , though, is that the film wasn’t an allegory — it was very openly queer. You certainly need both kinds of stories — the metaphorical and the ones that eschew all subtext and plainly reflect people. But let’s give the much-deserved space to the Wachowskis’ 1996 offering.
In this neo-noir crime thriller, Violet (Jennifer Tilly) is dating Caesar (Joe Pantoliano), a Mafia lackey. Eager to escape her relationship, Violet has an affair with ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon), and they plot to steal millions from the Mafia — and drive off together. The Wachowskis brought in sex educator Susie Bright to coordinate the sex scenes; even beyond these intimate moments, Bound is one of the best early examples of queer women at the center of a mainstream film.
Am I Ok? (2022)
Standup and writer Tig Notaro and actor, writer and comedian Stephanie Allyne — who are spouses — first teamed up on screen in One Mississippi , a dark, offbeat comedy-drama series that’s somewhat autobiographical for Notaro. This year, Am I Ok? marks another professional team-up for Notaro and Allyne; the two co-directed the film, which was written by Lauren Pomerantz ( SNL ).
Starring Dakota Johnson ( The Lost Daughter ; that Ellen clip ) and Sonoya Mizuno ( Devs ), Am I Ok? debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January of 2022, but it hasn’t hit theaters or streaming — yet. HBO holds the distribution rights, so it’s set to premiere on HBO Max on an undetermined date in (hopefully) 2022.
Johnson’s Lucy, a 30-something Los Angeleno, realizes that her dating history with men is so abysmal for one definitive reason: she’s a lesbian. This truth about herself is something she didn’t quite know — though she did kind of know — and couldn’t quite face. Luckily, Lucy’s lifelong friend Jane (Mizuno) is around to help her navigate coming out “later” in life.
Happy Together (1997)
Starring the late Leslie Cheung ( Farewell My Concubine ), a singer and Hong Kong cinema actor, and the legendary Tony Leung ( Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ), Happy Together is a quintessential part of the New Queer Cinema movement . Not to mention, it’s directed by Hong Kong cinema icon Wong Kar-wai; Leung actually won Best Actor at Cannes for starring in the director’s In the Mood for Love (2000), one of the greatest films of all time.
But back to Happy Together , which came out a few years before. In the film, Ho Po-Wing (Cheung) and Lai Yiu-Fai (Leung) are a gay couple with a tumultuous relationship. Although they fight and separate often, something always draws them back together. When they visit Argentina and break up after getting lost on a tourist excursion, the couple realize they can’t afford airfare back to Hong Kong.
While Fai works as a doorman at a tango bar, Po-Wing hooks up with several other men, until he’s found stealing from one of them. Although Po-Wing seeks refuge in Fai’s apartment, it’s clear that the couple can’t just go back to how things once were.
Dirty Computer (2018)
Dubbed an “emotion picture” by Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer is a companion piece to the musician and artist’s album of the same name. In this sci-fi masterpiece, Monáe plays Jane 57821, a woman on the run from a totalitarian, near-future society that has dubbed humans “computers.” If you don’t conform to the bleak dystopia, you’re dubbed a “dirty computer” in need of cleansing — a.k.a. getting the total Eternal Sunshine treatment.
Backed by the album’s incredible electro-pop sound, Dirty Computer threads together the album’s seemingly disparate music videos, punctuating them with a queer Black feminist retelling of the dystopian genre and, at the same time, crafting a sharp commentary about present-day America and what it means to be othered. And, as seen in the music videos for “Pynk” and “Make Me Feel,” much of the emotional heft of the emotion picture hinges on the wonderfully queer relationship between Jane and Zen (Tessa Thompson).
Plus, if you want to know more about the world of Dirty Computer , you can check out Monáe’s The Memory Librarian , which she wrote alongside some of the genre’s best authors.
Appropriate Behavior (2014)
Appropriate Behavior marks writer and director Desiree Akhavan’s ( The Bisexual ) feature directorial debut — and it’s just one of two of her films that nabbed a spot on our must-watch list. The film centers on Shirin (Akhavan), a bisexual Persian American Brooklynite who’s struggling to get her footing post-breakup.
As Ryan Gilbey of The New Statesman points out, Akhavan’s writing is so stellar that she crafts “characters whose life seems to extend beyond their brief screen time.” There’s a whole lot more to like about this irreverent take on the classic rom-com, too. Mainly, unlike other flippant stabs at the genre mold, Appropriate Behavior is filled with incredibly poignant moments — and a protagonist you’re wholly rooting for.
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt (one of the first lesbian novels to have a seemingly happy ending), Carol had been in the works since 1997 and, thanks to the tireless efforts of screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, it finally came to fruition in 2015. Against the backdrop of Christmas, the story centers on aspiring photographer Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), who, while working at a department store in Manhattan, meets an entrancing woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett).
Carol leaves her gloves behind on Therese’s counter, Therese sends them back and the two meet for lunch. Carol reveals that she’s gearing up for a divorce (and custody battle) — so she and Therese gear up for the queer-roadtrip-meets-slow-burn-romance we didn’t know would become our favorite Christmas movie.
Directed by the acclaimed Todd Haynes, the film looks like an oil painting in motion. So out-of-this-world good it must be “flung out of space.”
Another queer Christmas film — technically. Sean Baker’s 2015 film Tangerine follows protagonist Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez), a transgender sex worker, who meets up with her friend, Alexandra (Mya Taylor), at a donut shop in Hollywood on Christmas. Alexandra reveals that while Sin-Dee Rella was serving a 28-day stint in prison, Chester, her boyfriend and pimp, has been cheating on her, which motivates Sin-Dee Rella to search the neighborhood for her ex.
Tangerine was shot on three iPhone 5S smartphones, which gives the film a very in-the-moment, thrilling feel. Additionally, Baker cast transgender actresses, Rodriguez and Taylor, to play transgender characters — something that’s still a frustrating rarity in Hollywood. Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregate review summary perhaps puts it best, noting that Tangerine is “an old-fashioned comedy at heart — and a pretty wonderful one at that.”
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018)
Based on Emily M. Danforth’s YA coming-of-age novel of the same name, The Miseducation of Cameron Post was written and directed by Appropriate Behavior ‘s Desiree Akhavan. Set in 1993, the film follows Cameron Post (Chloë Grace-Moretz), who is involved in a secret same-sex relationship with her best friend Coley Taylor.
Cameron is outed when her beard boyfriend discovers her hooking up with Coley at the homecoming dance, which causes Cameron’s very religious aunt to send her to God’s Promise, a gay conversion therapy center.
Despite the heavy material, Cameron Post isn’t without some real biting humor and warm moments, much of which can be attributed to the queer pals Cam meets at God’s Promise, Jane Fonda (Sasha Lane) and Adam Red Eagle (Forrest Goodluck). The trio make it through because they have each other, underscoring the importance — and power — of chosen family.
The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Romantic comedy-drama The Watermelon Woman was written, directed and edited by its star, Cheryl Dunye. The film centers on Cheryl, a young Black lesbian who navigates her video store day job while trying to make a documentary about Black actresses during the 1930s, who were relegated to stereotypical and racist roles.
Considered a landmark in New Queer Cinema, The Watermelon Woman is essential viewing for innumerable reasons, including Dunye’s drive to make the film. “Cheryl Dunye’s first feature is so important to me,” Drew Gregory writes for an article on Autostraddle . “When Dunye didn’t see her story, she made it herself. But The Watermelon Woman isn’t just her story on screen — it’s also the searching, the wanting, the necessity of that story.”
Portrait of a Lady on Fire ( Portrait de la jeune fille en feu ) (2019)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells the story of Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young woman commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of reluctant bride-to-be, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). Directed by Céline Sciamma, Portrait won the Queer Palm at Cannes, becoming the first film directed by a woman to do so.
This beautifully shot, slow-burn romance is also about the act — and art — of looking, and the painting becomes an act of collaboration and love. Quelle Movies notes that the film’s leads, Merlant and Haenel, “bring an intensity that is simply awe inspiring” to this already “mesmerizing” film. Also, besides a few indulgent moments of musical performance, the film doesn’t have a traditional soundtrack, which certainly adds to its rawness.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also shout-out Sciamma’s Water Lilies (2007), a queer coming-of-age story that stars a young Haenel.
Saving Face (2004)
Saving Face marked Alice Wu’s directorial debut and, honestly, a filmmaker couldn’t ask for a better first outing. The rom-com focuses on Dr. Wilhelmina “Wil” Pang (Michelle Krusiec), a successful (but closeted) surgeon. Wil’s mom (Joan Chen) tries to set her up on dates with men, all the while navigating her own (frowned upon) out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Meanwhile, Wil finds herself drawn to Vivian (Lynn Chen), a woman who’s looking to embark upon a career in dance.
At the time, Saving Face was the first mainstream Hollywood movie centered on Chinese Americans since The Joy Luck Club (1993). Joan Chen ( Twin Peaks ) noted that, before Saving Face , “I was always this tragic woman, and Alice gave me this opportunity to play in a comedy… Saving Face came along and gave me the opportunity to get the authenticity that I was craving for.” The positive and diverse representation didn’t stop there: Saving Face is also one of the few lesbian romances with a happy ending.
Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, the coming-of-age drama Moonlight is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue . Taking from its stage roots, Jenkins’ film is told in three parts, each representing a different stage in the main character Chiron’s (Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert) life and explores his struggles with sexuality, identity and past abuse.
Often, Moonlight is heralded as one of the best films of the 21st century. The film won top prizes at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars and nabbed additional Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, who plays Chiron’s father figure. By exploring the intersections of masculinity, queerness and Blackness, Moonlight , as the Los Angeles Times ‘ Justin Chang puts it, is both “achingly romantic and uncommonly wise.”
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Although it may seem like it’s all camp and games, Jamie Babbit’s satirical rom-com But I’m a Cheerleade r also has a lot of heart. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to True Directions, a residential inpatient conversion therapy camp, to “cure” her lesbianism. While there, Megan struggles to adapt to gender roles and norms — and falls in love with the effortlessly cool Graham (Clea DuVall).
Although some critics have called its depictions of queerness “stereotypical,” that’s also kind of the point. The film is made by and for queer folks, so when Megan’s parents decide she’s gay in large part because of her recent vegetarianism — and when a True Directions counselor played by RuPaul comes to take Megan away — it all feels like a big in joke.
Like the John Waters films that inspired it, But I’m a Cheerleader has also become a cult classic. “I was very closeted when we made this film,” co-star Clea DuVall tweeted in June 2020. “Countless people over the years have told me how this movie made them feel seen and helped them come out. I want them to know their words and strength did the same for me. Thank you.”
Executive-produced by Spike Lee , Pariah marks acclaimed director Dee Rees’ debut feature-length film and was adapted from her award-winning 2007 short of the same name. The film stars Adepero Oduye ( Five Days at Memorial ) as Alike, a 17 year old from Brooklyn who’s eager for her first sexual experience — and to discover what it means to be her whole queer self.
Alike’s parents (played by Charles Parnell and Kim Wayans) love their daughter deeply, but mistrust — and fail to really understand — her in the wake of her self-discovery. This raw, tender film captures the difficulty of code-switching — Alike pivots between rising to her church-going parents’ expectations and frequenting gay nightclubs. A coming-of-age film anchored by a moving, remarkable performance from Oduye, Pariah is, undoubtedly, one of the best queer films on offer.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Based on Sarah Waters’ lauded 2002 novel Fingersmith , this psychological thriller trades Victorian-era Britain for Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Split into three acts, the first third of the film sees a man nicknamed Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo) devising a plan to marry Japanese heiress Lady Izumi Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and steal her fortune. To do so, he hires Nam Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri) to be Hideko’s maid — a position that’ll allow her to convince Hideko to marry the Count.
There’s a lot of double-crossing and twists and turns on display here; director Park Chan-wook ( Oldboy ) knows how to keep you hooked and on the edge of your seat. More likely than not, you’ve probably heard some rumblings about the film’s sex scenes, which are very explicit and filmed at length. While they certainly lean into tropes that stem from the male gaze and lesbians as they’re depicted for men in pornography, we’re constantly reminded that the film is all about control.
In fact, that struggle for control — and the betrayals and reveals that punctuate what’s ultimately a slow-burn con — is what makes The Handmaiden so good.
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Warner Bros Studio London Harry Potter™ Tour
Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter Tour with Transfers from London
- Unlock the door to Harry Potter’s world! Experience behind-the-scenes magic at Warner Bros. Studio London.
- London's maze made easy! Get round-trip transfers from 4 prime spots like Victoria or King's Cross, straight to the studio in Watford.
- While wandering the ancient cobbles of Diagon Alley, you'll spot famed shopfronts! Fancy a wand from Ollivanders or a peek into Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes?
- While stepping into Gringotts Bank, keep a sharp eye out; goblins are known to be a tad protective of their treasures!
- All aboard the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾! Pose with the luggage trolley and relive that iconic moment, a scene shot right at these very studios.
- Schedule your journey around Halloween for a Dark Arts spectacle, or during Christmas to relish in the Yule Ball's shimmering charm.
- Entry to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio
- Round-trip transfers from Victoria/Baker Street or King's Cross
From London Victoria/Baker Street:
- Victoria: Bus Stop 1, Bulleid Way, Victoria, London SW1W 9SH.
- Baker Street: 144 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5PH – Near Baker Street Station
From London King's Cross:
- King's Cross Station, Pancras Road, Bus Stop T, NW1 2SD.
- Tip: Don't pass up the Backlot Cafe without trying Butterbeer. For a twist, try the Butterbeer ice cream too!
- Note: It takes 1.5 hours to travel from the pick-up point to Warner Bros.
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is wheelchair-friendly, but the coach isn't. This experience is suitable for wheelchair users who can board the coach.
- These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
Harry Potter Studios Tour with Walking Tour of London Film Locations
- Step into Harry Potter's magic-filled universe with this day-long tour of filming spots and Warner Bros Studio.
- This experience is a mix of London's real-life filming locations and behind-the-scenes studio tour.
- Worry less, explore more with round-trip transfers to the studio aboard a luxury AC bus with an expert guide leading the way.
- Unveil movie secrets with access to real sets, costumes, and special effects, and a visit to the famed Platform 9¾.
- Walking tour of Harry Potter filming locations
- Expert English-speaking guide
- Round-trip transfers to Warner Bros Studio
- Entry to Warner Bros Studio
- Tip: Don't forget to try Butterbeer at the Warner Bros Studio, it's a must-have for any Harry Potter fan.
- Facilities: Pram/Stroller Accessibility.
- You can cancel these tickets up to 72 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
The Making of Harry Potter Timed Entry Tickets with Escorted Train Transfers
- Unleash your inner wizard with this self-guided tour of Warner Bros. Studio – The Making of Harry Potter!
- With escorted round-trip train transfers from Central London, your journey will be as smooth as a dementor-free Hogwarts Express ride.
- Admire the leatherbound books and astrology charts at Dumbledore's office, and stroll down Diagon Alley, home to the beloved Ollivanders. Fancy a wand?
- Get a peek into the Gryffindor™ common room, and snap a photo at the magical Platform 9¾, where the Hogwarts Express awaits the next batch of wizards.
- Timed entry to Warner Bros Studios
- Round-trip train transfers from Central London
- Guide during transfers
- Guide in the studio
- Tip: Don’t miss spotting the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor at Dumbledore's office!
- This experience is not suitable for wheelchair users.
- You can cancel these tickets up to 24 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
Small Group Expert Guided Warner Bros. Studio Tour with Transfers
- Explore the enchanting world of The Making of Harry Potter with a fully-guided tour. Discover film secrets with an expert!
- Enjoy round-trip transfers from Central London and explore the world of wizardry in an intimate group of 8 or fewer.
- Walk the storied cobblestones of Diagon Alley, step onto Platform 9¾, and brave the Forbidden Forest with its cinematic wonders.
- From the cozy Gryffindor common room to Dumbledore's office, here is your chance to explore it all with an expert English-speaking guide.
- Plan your trip for Halloween to delve deep into the Dark Arts, or bask in the Yule Ball's festive shimmer during Christmas.
- Guided tour of The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studios
- Train transfers to/from the meeting point
- Small group of 8 people or fewer
Euston War Memorial outside of Euston Station
- Tip: Make sure to grab your free Activity Passport for a Golden Snitch hunt, puzzles, and trivia during your visit.
- Note: Expect 4 hours inside the Studio. Travel to/from London takes 1-1.5 hours one way. Plan roughly 7 hours for the entire tour experience.
- This experience is wheelchair accessible.
- You can cancel these tickets up to 48 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Tickets
- Step into J.K. Rowling's magical world and witness Harry Potter's story continue on stage in 'Harry Potter and The Cursed Child'.
- Harry is all grown up and a Ministry of Magic employee, yet past and future collide as his son, Albus, faces legacy-laden struggles.
- Be a part of this immersive theatre experience at the historic Palace Theatre where top talent from Broadway and West End conjures a spellbinding performance.
- Muggles are welcome too! Even if you're not a Potterhead, the enchanting spectacle of this 9-time Olivier Award winner, hailed as a 'game-changer', will dazzle you.
- This is your chance to revisit Hogwarts in a way you never have before. The twists, turns, and magic are simply too irresistible to miss.
Entry to 2 part performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Tip: Wearing your house colors might not get you extra points, but it sure does add to the excitement. Don your Gryffindor red or Slytherin green and show some house pride!
- The play is recommended for individuals older than 10 years.
- A parent or legal guardian has to be present with any customers under the age of 15.
- Infants are not permitted in the auditorium.
- Tickets are non-refundable, exchanges can be requested up until 48 hours in advance of the production.
Top things to do in London
Harry Potter™ Studio Tours London
Years after the release of the final book and film in the Harry Potter series, the magic lives on. Fans of the series now have the opportunity to visit the famous sets and go behind the scenes on a Harry Potter Studio Tour at the Warner Brothers Studios in London. Examine character costumes, visit Diagon Alley™, ride Hagrid™’s motorbike and do so much more!
While you wait for your acceptance letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, embark on a magical Harry Potter tour in London.
All About Your Harry Potter™ Studio Tour Options
Duration: 6-7 hours
- Witness the magic of filmmaking with this Harry Potter tour that includes transfers from London.
- Walk through iconic locations and get a chance to see actual props and costumes from all the Harry Potter films.
- Travel to central London on a Warner Bros. Studio Tour London branded bus with the opportunity to watch Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone during your journey.
Flexible Cancellation Policy : You can cancel these tickets up to 72 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
Guided Tour of Harry Potter Studios
Duration: 2-3 hours.
- There’s no better way to explore the wizarding world than by opting for a guided walking tour.
- Your Harry Potter Studio tour includes a visit to the costume, art, and prop departments, along with sets of all eight films , including the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, Platform 9 ¾™ , and Dumbledore’s Office among many others.
- Your professional tour guide will accompany you along the way, enlightening you with interesting trivia about the film-making process.
Flexible Cancellation Policy : You can cancel these tickets up to 48 hours before the experience begins and get a full refund.
Explore Warner Bros Harry Potter™ Studios in London
Here's all you will get a chance to discover and explore during your Harry Potter studio tour in London!
- Sets: Discover the Great Hall, the Forbidden Forest and other iconic sets from the films of Harry Potter during these tours.
- Props : Get a chance to witness the major props used by Harry, Ron, Hermione and more during filming.
- Costumes : Yule Ball, Quidditch, and Beauxtons are some of the many costumes you'll witness during your tour.
- Special Effects : Uncover the secrets behind the spectacular special effects from the Harry Potter films.
- Creature Effects : Learn about how the mystical creatures in the Harry Potter films were brought to life.
- Art Department : A behind-the-scenes look of how the art department creator the wonders of the world of Harry Potter.
Harry Potter™ Studios Tour London: Your Experience
A tour of the Harry Potter Studios is the perfect escape from the muggle world. Sip on some delicious butterbeer and grab a wand before heading to explore the beautiful sets of locations like the Great Hall, Platform 9 ¾ and Dumbledore’s office, along with getting an up-close, personal look at props, popular character costumes and creation of magical creatures like Buckbeak the hippogriff. Each location is designed to bring iconic moments from the movies to life -- a thrill for every true fan.
The Great Hall
- The Great Hall at Hogwarts is a pivotal location for Harry and friends; their first sorting ceremonies, the Yule Ball, essential conversations over meals, O.W.L examinations and of course, the battle of Hogwarts took place here.
- Walk the same steps as your favorite witches and wizards and soak in the fine details of the location design and props in the Great Hall.
The Forbidden Forest
- The Harry Potter Studios have created a remarkable version of the Forbidden Forest; walk around and examine the imposing trees that have been designed to represent an eerie atmosphere.
- Meet Buckbeak and Aragog, and take photographs with a life-size Hagrid costume who would be waiting to welcome you in.
- Dotted with shops selling books, potions ingredients, robes and of course wands, it’s a one-stop location for all essentials a witch or wizard needs.
- The Diagon Alley set was redone to shoot scenes at Hogsmeade Village for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film.
Platform 9 ¾
- For filming, most scenes were shot at King’s Cross Station in London, while remaining parts were recreated at the Harry Potter Studios to shoot the famous scene between Harry and Dumbledore at the end of The Deathly Hallows Part II.
- You would get to see the actual Hogwarts Express and picture gliding dementors, or Trevor the Frog hopping about.
What’s On at the Harry Potter Studios in London?
On a Harry Potter Studios tour, visitors can further indulge in the wizarding world by engaging in specifically curated seasonal experiences.
Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Step inside the bank of the wizarding world as you take a tour of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Decorated with three magnificent crystal chandeliers and marble pillars, walk through the bank hall and explore the gallery of goblins, the Lestrange vault, and more. Always On.
Climb aboard the train’s carriage to grab your chance to recreate the iconic scene where the luggage trolley disappears through the platform wall, and grab a glimpse of how the iconic scenes were shot. Always On.
Stroll through the wizarding street of the movies- Diagon Alley to admire the beautiful shops and the carefully crafted props on their windows. Step inside the iconic shops that played a key role in the series like the Ollivanders wand shop, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Madame Malkin’s shop, and more.
At Magical Mischief, get to know how they filmed some of the famous mischievous moments shown in the movie. Find out about the camera trickery behind the disappearing scene with the invisibility cloak, and much more.
Ongoing . Dates : 22nd January to 1st May
- Participate in the Dark Arts experience at the Harry Potter Studios in London to find yourself at a darker Platform 9 ¾, and a spookier Diagon Alley and Great Hall.
- Follow the Dark Mark trail and try your wand combat moves as you engage in duels against Death Eaters.
Dates : 15th September – 5th November 2023
Hogwarts in the Snow
- At the Harry Potter Studios, visitors can participate in the Hogwarts in the Snow experience and re-live scenes from the films.
- Conclude your year with Yule Ball for Hogwarts in the Snow and enjoy the moment as you live the iconic Yule Ball scene.
Note: This attractions takes place during the holiday season only.
Harry Potter Studios opening times : 8:30 AM to 10 PM. Your tour timings and duration will depend on the type of tickets you have purchased.
Typically, a Harry Potter Studio Tour takes about 3-7 hours, depending on your ticket. If you choose to attend an experience, shop, or dine, your time at the studios would increase accordingly. For details regarding your tour's duration, please check your tickets before purchasing.
Owing to its popularity, a Harry Potter Studios tour is always bustling with fans. However, since their intake capacity is limited, you would be able to comfortably explore. Comparatively lesser crowds can be found outside of the summer season (June to September). A highly recommended experience is visiting during Christmas, owing to the magical decoration and atmosphere.
You can get to Harry Potter Studios by using public transport like bus and train, or by car. You can also opt for Harry Potter Studio tours that include return transfers, preventing the hassle of having to plan your commute to and from Leavesden.
The closest train station to Harry Potter Studios is Watford Junction. From here, you can take one of many shuttle buses to reach the studios within 15 minutes.
Yes. You can avail the free parking services outside the Harry Potter Studios by simply displaying your ticket. Priority parking is also available for visitors next to the studio entrance; however, you would have to book and pay for your spot in advance.
The Harry Potter Studios are located about 20 miles (32 km) from London at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR.
Yes. All Harry Potter Studio tours are wheelchair-accessible. Some locations might be difficult to navigate like Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Bridge; we recommend approaching with caution.
Yes. A cloakroom is available on the premises where visitors can check-in bags, strollers and coats free of charge.
The Harry Potter Studios are home to several eateries like the Hub Cafe, Food Hall or Chocolate Frog Cafe. Meals are served here for lunch and dinner till 08:00 PM on weekends and till 05:00 PM on weekdays.
Frequently Asked Questions About Harry Potter London Studio Tours
Guests can visit sets created for all eight Harry Potter films, including, but not limited to the Great Hall, the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, and Platform 9 ¾ among others.
Not all Harry Potter Studio tours include a guided tour. You would have to purchase tickets that specifically include guided tours.
Most Harry Potter Studio tours include return transfers. Ensure that you check before purchasing your tickets.
No. Owing to the limited number of visitors at the studio at any given time, pre-booking your tickets is mandatory.
Located about an hour’s drive from the London city center, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour offers several bus tours operating that offer hourly return transfers from central London and Birmingham directly to the studio tour. Here's more information on how to get there.
A Harry Potter Studio tour books several months in advance so to maximize your chances of getting tickets, we recommend going on a weekday for better availability of slots.
From Diagon Alley to Platform 9 ¾, The Great Hall and the Forbidden Forest, the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio is brimming with exciting experiences and attractions. Here are all the attractions on the tour.
- Travel Information >
- Getting Tickets when Sold Out >
Get Tickets to Harry Potter Studio Tour If Sold Out
There are several ways of getting tickets to the Harry Potter Studio Tour if sold out. Since tickets offered directly from the Warner Bros Studio Website normally sell out months in advance, we’ve come up with a lifesaving guide with links to all the companies that offer Harry Potter Studio tickets with or without transportation from Central London. You can also get in touch using the form at the bottom of this page. Tell us your travel dates, and we’ll let you know if any tickets become available through the suppliers we work with.
So make sure to carefully check all options to get your Harry Potter Studio Tour tickets….
How to Find Tickets:
The first place to look is here , here and here
You can choose your meeting point on the booking form. Some options include the possibility of collecting the tickets from the Studio Tour without taking the transportation. Please note that the ticket price will remain the same, even if you do not take the transport.
This is one of the major providers of Harry Potter Studio tickets and your tour includes entrance to the studios plus transportation from Central London. There are several departure times at 08.30, 10.30. 11.30 and 13.30. Price is £105 per adult and £100 per child.
The second places to check for tickets are here and here
These are two Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio tours that also include a visit to Oxford.
Tours are available in smaller and larger groups and depart from Central London in the morning. There are often tickets available for these tours when other providers are sold out. On these tours, there is sometimes also an option to visit just the Warner Bros Studios without visiting Oxford. In this case, you would have to return to London from the Warner Bros studios independently. The ticket price is the same whichever option you choose.
The third places to check for tickets are here , here and here
Use the search functions and include all possible travel dates to maximize your chances of success. GetYourGuide is a website where many different companies market Harry Potter Studio Tour tickets at varying prices and conditions. Some include transportation by bus, others by train and some with a private transfer. Some companies offer guided tours of the Warner Brother Studio whilst others simply provide a ticket which is self-guided.
The fifth place to look is here , here and here . This option includes pickup from Victoria Station.
Make sure to check tickets for all the different entrance times, and especially at 5pm or 6pm . This is a major provider which might just offer a good way of getting to the Harry Potter studio tour when sold out. Tours are offered with return transportation to Central London and with departure times every hour from 9am to 6pm from London Victoria. Make sure to check this option regularly as last minute tickets do become available.
The fifth place to check for tickets is here
Get a ticket and a hotel room from £99 per person.If you are planning on staying in a hotel during your trip, this is a very good way of getting tickets with transportation, which are normally sold out first. Hotel prices are very competitive, can be booked for up to 3 nights, and you’ll pay the regular cost of a studio ticket. It’s possible to stay in a number of 3* and 4* hotels located in Central London. You can see full terms and conditions on their website.
If you are visiting London and have already booked a hotel, you may be able to cancel your reservation for free. You could then book a hotel that’s included in this package.
Get In Touch:
Leave us your travel dates in the form below, and we’ll let you know if any Harry Potter tickets become available through Tourist England. Rest assured, our dedicated team is here to help!
Thanks a lot!! You are a lifesaver ! Got the required tickets for one of my dates 🙂 🙂 – Kirshna, Germany
Thank you so much! We have booked in for the 13:30 slot for 2 adults and 2 kids. I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful service! – Esther, UK
You guys are amazzzzzziiinnngggggg – Mike, USA
If you’ve tried all the above options and still see that all Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour tickets are sold out then try the Warner Bros official website . We’ve left this suggestion to last because they are normally the first place to get sold out, but it’s worth a go! (This option includes just the ticket to the studio tour, with no transportation to and from London.) If you find a ticket, you can buy return bus transportation tickets to the Studios from Central London here .
Step 7 – without transport
The seventh place to check for tickets is here .
These deluxe tickets are part of a VIP trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour which sometimes has availability when other places are sold out. The VIP package includes a transfer from your hotel in Central London, a 2-hour fully-guided tour of the Warner Bros studio and re-entry into the studio for a self-guided visit. It also includes lots of extras such as a meal, Butterbeer and video of you flying a broomstick.
This voucher package starts at £99 per person. It includes a stay in a hotel and Studio Tour tickets. You can choose from a selection of different 3 and 4-star hotel options, and stay for 1-3 nights. Please note that only after purchase can you select specific dates. If the date you are looking for is sold out, you can cancel your voucher within 14 days to receive a 100% refund.
Similar Harry Potter Tours:
We understand that you might have planned your whole holiday around visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London only to discover that tickets are sold out. But Tourist England offers several Harry Potter themed tours which are a great way to spend a day or two with the family!
- Harry Potter Bus Tour of London Locations takes you around some of London’s most famous Harry Potter attractions. Highlights include the Ministry of Magic, Platform 9 ¾, the Knight Bus and the Leaky Cauldron
- Our Oxford & Cambridge day tour from London includes a visit to Christ Church College in Oxford. This is where Hogwarts Dining Room was filmed and gives you a good feel for the Harry Potter magic. The tour also goes to the university town of Cambridge.
- 2 Day Harry Potter Tour of England is a two day fully customizable private tour which goes to the many places in England that were used in the filming of the Harry Potter movies. Highlights include Gloucester, Lacock, Oxford and London. The tour can be adjusted according to your tastes and wishes.
For more information about the Harry Potter Studio Tour from London, including descriptions of the attractions and sights, then check out our dedicated page here .
All Harry Potter Studio Tours from London include entrance tickets. From here, each provider will offer a slightly different product.
Some tour operators provide a shuttle bus transportation service from London Victoria Coach Station. This tends to be the cheapest way of getting from London to the Warner Bros Studio Tour. However, since it’s the cheapest, tickets also tend to get sold out first!
You might consider a more expensive option, which is to take a fully guided Harry Potter Studio Tour which includes escorted train tickets from London Euston Station. The great advantage of this option is that not only is it a fully guided tour, but you also get to stay on as long as you want after the official tour has ended, with time perhaps to check out the café and souvenir shop.
Another alternative is to purchase a hotel package , whereby tickets are included as part of a deal that includes a hotel pickup service directly from Central London. The service is offered for anyone staying in a hotel, apartment or accommodation within zone 1.
If this option is also sold out, then by far the most expensive option (and so with the best chance of success!) is to take a private taxi service from London. This service picks up from Baker Street and you get to enjoy the pleasure of a private car to and from the Studios. The price, of course, includes entrance tickets to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios.
One final option to consider is a full day tour that combines a visit to the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios with a tour of Harry Potter locations in the university town of Oxford. The tour is not that much more expensive than the shuttle service and tends to get sold out only a week or two before the date of departure. The advantage of this tour is that you get a great full day out for all the family! The tour is available every Saturday, with Wednesday and Sunday departures available from April to October.
About Harry Potter Tour:
The best-selling Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour is a treat for any Harry Potter fan! You’ll get to go behind the scenes and discover how the 8 Harry Potter movies were created and came alive with special effects, incredible props and amazing sets! Make sure to plan your trip well in advance as Harry Potter Warner Studio Tour tickets are sure to get sold out well in advance!
- Be swept away into the world of Harry Potter with behind the scenes spectacular displays of how the movies were made
- Ride a broomstick!
- Discover the props and displays that were used in the movies
- Stand on platform 9 ¾ and take a selfie in front of the luggage trolley
- Go onboard Hogwarts Express