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We have tickets for the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio for 10 AM on a Thursday (April, 18 2019 to be precise).

I've read that shuttles leave every 20 minutes from Watford Junction but I can't find any official info or reviews about how well-used this service is. Can we expect to get the first shuttle upon our arrival to Watford Junction or should we calculate some extra time to queue for one?

  • I believe the answer depends on which week in the year you are going there as well, as it will be more busy during school holidays. Can you please refine the question? – B.Liu Mar 21 at 13:49
  • @B.Liu thanks, I've just added the exact date. – Ewige Studentin Mar 21 at 14:01
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    Be aware that the bus costs £2.50 per person (or at least per adult) for a return ticket, and can only be paid in cash. Also, try to get there a bit earlier so you can collect tickets, get through the queues, and put any belongings in the cloakroom. The walk from the bus to the start of the tour is around 5 minutes, so factor that in to your times also. – gabe3886 Mar 22 at 11:12
  • @gabe3886, thanks! – Ewige Studentin Mar 22 at 11:21
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This depends on the time of year, day of the week, holidays etc.

But, generally, yes there will probably be a small queue. When I have been before it was during a week day, we arrived about 10 minutes before the bus left and there was maybe 5-10 people ahead of us, when the bus left on time it was mostly full.

To be on the safe side I would include some time to allow you to get from the platform to the right bus stop (a few minutes at most), and then some time incase the first bus to arrive does fill up, but for the time you have chosen as long as it is not a school holiday, you should be fine.

Edit: due to it being the day before easter, and easter holidays for many schools, I would arrive early and be prepared to take the second shuttle as there could be queues.

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Summary: One should be prepared to wait for the second bus if they are visiting during school holidays, Easter being one of them. There are other options to get to the Warner Bros Studio from Watford Junction though.


Why might one need the second bus - a capacity calculation

According to the official booking website the allocated time slots come in half-hour intervals, and according to this tour review, each slot takes in around 150 people:

The tour works like this – once your allocated time-slot arrives, you join the queue to go into a presentation room, about 150 people at a time.

... which matches my personal experience on how many people that room can fit.

The shuttle bus operates every 20 mins from Watford Junction:

Buses run every 20 minutes from 9.20am (with additional services available from 8.15am when the first tour is at 9am).

The coach operator uses the two-axle variant of Enviro400s, which has a capacity of 70-90 people judging from the neighbouring London buses of the same model. While such arrangement means the capacity of the shuttle bus would roughly match the demand per hour, the unaligned timetable means there will be more people queueing at certain minutes past the hour.

The situation is more pronounced during school holidays (when the OP planned to visit) and one should be prepared that they might need to take the second shuttle bus.

Other Options

There are other options to get to the Warner Bros Studio from Watford Junction station, in case of unforeseen situations:

  • Buses 8 and 10, operated by Arriva bus, departs from Watford Junction and passes near the Warner Bros Studio.
  • Taxis between Watford Junction and the Warner Bros Studio cost around £12-13 one-way based on personal experience travelling to nearby places, and minicab hires cost less (which is a viable option if you have a e.g. group of four).
  • Wow, you've put a lot of though into this answer! Kudos for mentioning the other public transport options, too! – Ewige Studentin Mar 21 at 14:31
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    One question with the maths is what are the operating policies of the service. The figures you quote are for seated pasengers, if standing is allowed (it normally is on local buses in the UK, it normally isn't on long distance coaches, i'm not sure what the situation is with shuttle buses like this) the capacity would be quite a bit higher. – Peter Green Mar 21 at 16:48
  • @PeterGreen Your question is indeed valid. I believe the shuttle bus are of the mixed standing-seating type, which could take an extra 20, 25 standing passengers but necessitates removal of a handful of chairs in the lower deck. The quoted number is admittedly based on London buses routes with this fleet (e.g. Bus 29, which has 55-65 seating + 24 standing + 1 wheelchair = capacity of 80-90 according to the sticker on the bus) instead of the one on Wikipedia, which also include the seating capacity of the longer Enviro400s buses used elsewhere in the world. – B.Liu Mar 21 at 19:35

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