So, even though it’s been a huge SIX YEARS since the final Harry Potter movie came out at the cinema, the magic still lives on. The HP fandom is absolutely HUGE, and you can’t pop into a Primark without seeing more and more Hogwarts Merch. I recently went to the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, and it was absolutely spellbinding. I am so glad to have finally seen the sets, props and I’m absolutely in awe of the amount of hard work that went into all of the productions.
We went to the great hall, battled some Death Eaters, and went on the Knight Bus, a bus I wish existed! If only I got my Hogwarts letter, (no thanks to Voldemort’s ministry for destroying all the Muggle-born records from the year I was born.)
It’s an absolutely fantastic day out, and I really recommend it to people who not only like the Harry Potter series, but to future filmmakers, people inspired by special effects and interior design.
But I know what you want to know (if the heading of this article isn’t enough of a giveaway)… CAN I EAT THERE?! IS THE BUTTERBEER GLUTEN FREE?
So a very easy answer is YES. We can eat there safely, as there are gluten free options available there! Woo!
About half way around the studio is a backlot food hall, and I asked the lovely server what food was gluten free. Unlike most people she STRAIGHT AWAY told me exactly what I could eat and drink! Please note, the information is correct at the time of publishing in October 2017. ALWAYS double check with your server beforehand to be safe in case ingredients change.
In the chillers, there is a chicken salad for you to eat. I think it was already sold out as I couldn’t see it, but it’s great for you if you’re on a weight loss journey or wanted a lighter option as well as being gluten free.
Hot food available was soup, along with hotdogs and burgers, which could be modified to be gluten free. I opted for the cheeseburger, since I have been craving them for weeks since starting my new job. You do have to tell them first, to be sure, and the wait time was very speedy. My burger wasn’t served on a gluten free bun, but a Schar ciabatta roll, which I didn’t mind at all, I was just happy to have a burger.
And the good news, Butterbeer is gluten free!! They also now have it in an ice cream version, but you will have to ask for it in a tub, not the cone, I assume. I had the Butterbeer and it did NOT disappoint. It was so hard to describe it, but I miss it already.
Around the gift shop, I was a little bit upset to see that the Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans had a “may contain” disclaimer with regards to wheat. As somebody who has Coeliac disease, and a following of gluten free people with various medical conditions that need a strict GF diet, I’m not going to a) risk eating them anyway; or b) be responsible for somebody’s explosive diarrhoea and vomiting because they’ve seen a blogger eat a may contain product.
Now that part is over, I have heard that chocolate frogs aren’t even that nice anyway. And they’re stupidly expensive, so, unless you can afford it, don’t bother.
We could safely eat the following gift shop treats:
Peppermint Toads – I bought these and they are like After Eight mints, but without the fondant. These are also dairy free, making them okay for vegans.
Fizzing Whizzbees – These are made with ‘Chocolatey Fizzy Fruits’ and have chocolate and popping candy. I don’t know if they actually make you levitate like they are supposed to, though, haha.
HoneyDukes All Butter Toffees – I imagine these to be a bit like Werthers toffee.
The Fudge Flies and Caramel Sea Salt Fudge both have no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ statement. To be honest, all of the products seem to exclude gluten from their ingredients list, but the ones I haven’t listed here either have the disclaimer to say that they may contain gluten and wheat, or they aren’t suitable for gluten/wheat allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods.
You can view the shop online and see all of the products and their ingredients if you don’t want to spend your time reading the labels of everything.
In terms of staying somewhere nearby, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at Watford Junction. It’s a 5 minute walk from the train station, and Bus depot where the Studio Tour bus departs and takes you to the Leavesden Studio. Not only this but you get a free breakfast, and the breakfast room has a selection of yogurts, fruit etc… and there are two toasters and a microwave in the breakfast room.
I would take your own bread and toastie bags if you are staying and want some toast, Nutella, jam, honey and cream cheese were all available in little sachets too. Bacon, egg and beans were on offer, but as it is help yourself, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of not knowing if the same tongs had been used to pick up the sausages.
The hotel is also very close to Watford town centre, and takes a 20 minute walk at most. The town centre has a Five Guys, Nandos, Wagamama, Pizza Express, Ed’s Easy Diner, Bella Italia and GBK, if you wanted to go somewhere nice for dinner. I also saw a really nice looking falafel stall on the outdoor market that was gluten free.
I absolutely enjoyed the whole experience, and the tour was absolutely amazing, I didn’t want it to end. I really recommend going, all the staff at the Harry Potter tour were super friendly too. To me, good service makes ALL the difference when it comes to eating somewhere unfamiliar.