diamond geezer

 Saturday, May 31, 2014

This is a warning to any Harry Potter fans, or indeed anyone, thinking of going to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Watford. In particular, anyone thinking of going to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour from London. Don't take the bus from Victoria, the price is extortionate, you'll be wasting your money.

Getting into the Warner Brothers Studio Tour isn't cheap. Tickets currently cost £30 for adults and £22.50 for children - more even than for London's most expensive tourist attraction, The View from the Shard. But let's assume that the Harry Potter tour is worth the money and you really want to go. That's fine, but please think twice before you double the price by taking the direct bus.

The Warner Brothers Studio Tour isn't in London, it's in Leavesden in North Watford, which might sound like a particularly difficult place to get to. But don't let that tempt you to take the heavily-plugged "hassle-free" option, which is to get on the official bus at Victoria and let the driver take you there. And that's for two reasons. Firstly it's up to 50% more expensive. And secondly it's at least an hour slower.
"Why not make your journey hassle-free by travelling from central London direct to the Studio Tour by bus? Our preferred partner, Golden Tours, offers a convenient return transfer and ticket package on a special air-conditioned bus. Hourly departures leave from Victoria, central London, throughout the year."
Take away the price of your entrance ticket, and the cost of a Golden Tours bus transfer from Victoria to Warner Brothers Studios and back is £29. That's an outrageous amount of money, no matter what your currency, for a journey between two places less than 20 miles apart. OK, so you get an air-conditioned bus, and you get to sit and do nothing, and you get the opportunity to see what the M1 motorway looks like. But there's also a direct bus from Watford Junction station to the studios, and taking that route costs considerably less.

Here's the cheaper way to do it. Take the bus or tube to Euston station, not Victoria. Get a train to Watford Junction. Use your Oyster card, it'll be cheaper than buying a paper ticket. And then waiting outside Watford Junction will be another official bus service, this time run by Mullany's Buses, and this time the fare is only £2 return.



Here's how the fares add up.

With Golden ToursBy train and Mullany's Buses
Bus from Victoria to
WB Studios (return)
£29Train from Euston to
Watford Junction (return)
£9.40
(off-peak)
Bus from Watford Junction to
WB Studios (return)
£2
TOTAL£29TOTAL£11.40

I'm assuming that it costs the same to get from your home or hotel to either Victoria or Euston in the first place, so those fares cancel out. And if you have to travel before 9.30am or after 4.30pm on a weekday, then your train journey will cost more. But what's clear is that taking the train to Watford and then Mullany's shuttle bus costs up to £17.60 less per person than taking the official Golden Tours bus. That's £17.60 you could be spending later on a Gryffindor keychain and a Chocolate Frog, rather than donating to a coach company.

And what about the time taken?

The Golden Tours bus is slow because it has to make its way through Central London traffic and up the M1 motorway. The bus therefore departs two hours before your tour time, and passengers are asked to check in at Victoria fifteen minutes before it leaves. That's an astonishing 135 minutes in total, meaning you need to be ready at Victoria at 9.45am for a 12 noon tour.

Unsurprisingly, heading to Watford by train is considerably quicker. The train journey takes 15-20 minutes, and then the bus at the other end takes 12 minutes. Even if you time things badly and have to wait 29 minutes for the next half-hourly Mullany's bus, you're still going to complete the whole journey in under an hour. You could even leave Victoria at 10.45am, a whole hour later than the check-in for the official bus, and still attend the 12 noon tour on time.

So, the official Golden Tours bus for £29 in two and a bit hours?
Or the ordinary train and the other bus for £12.20 in one hour.
Harry Potter-going tourists, it's your choice.

See also...
• Don't take the Heathrow Express, take the Piccadilly line (save £16)
• Don't take the Gatwick Express, take the ordinary train (save £10)


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream