Tuesday 20 March 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour - Gluten Free Information

bertie botts every flavour beans
Every Flavour Beans Are Gluten Free!
In just over a month I'll be going to the Harry Potter studio tour myself, I'm beyond excited, to the point where I have actually already practised my pose for the broomstick photo. It has to be perfect!

I've done some research so that us coeliacs and gluten intolerants know what options we have (if any) for eating during our visit. Here's what I found out:
  • There's a Studio Cafe and a Starbucks at the beginning of the tour.
  • The Studio Cafe will sell food that is gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 
  • There is no eating or drinking during the tour but half way through you can go out to the back lot where there will be a refreshments stand.
  • The Butterbeer is not gluten free.
UPDATE: I visited yesterday 26/4/12. Please see new details by clicking the link below and scrolling down.
This is as much information as I could get from the customer service team. They aren't sure which foods sold at the Studio Cafe will be gluten free but they assure me there will be options. The sad thing is the Butterbeer, I'll get over it but I'm an adult, I feel for the kids that won't be able to try it.

I wanted to know if the themed sweets in the gift shop will be gluten free but they couldn't supply me with any information on that, I was told to ask the gift shop staff when I get there. For those of you with kids, be warned that there may be some upset about this, hopefully not, but be aware just in case.

I wasn't overly impressed with the customer service for the tour, I had tweeted them about the matter with no reply and I had to wait 10 minutes to get through to customer service via a phone. With 5000 people expected to visit this tour every day I would have expected a little more knowledge about gluten free food as it is obviously going to be a requirement for lots of people. I guess once it opens we'll have more info on the matter as people with gluten free requirements visit and post about it online.

So there you have it, that's the Harry Potter studio tour gluten free information for now. I personally don't mind if I have to take food with me, I just can't wait to visit.

UPDATED: The first thing I can tell you is that if you have booked you are in for a really magical treat. If you are thinking of booking, go for it, seriously, it's an experience that you will never, ever forget.

Gift shop: First of all, the Chocolate Frogs and Every Flavour Beans are gluten free!

Starbucks and Studio Cafe: No obvious gluten free offerings. Canteen style service.

Back Lot: Butterbeer kiosk and small snack stand. Butterbeer is not gluten free and no obvious gluten free snacks on offer.

I would love to be able to report more findings but time was not on our side. Despite leaving at 10.40am for a 1.30 -2.00pm tour slot, it took us just under 3 hours to get there on public transport from East London. This should not have been the case. If you are getting a train from Euston to Watford Junction, make sure you get the direct one.

I thought I would have at least an hour to do gluten free research but as soon as we got there, got our digital guides and had a brief look at the gift shop, then we had to queue for the tour or else miss our slot.

What I can tell you is that if you decide to take your own food, there is a large seating area by the entrance where the Studio Cafe is. Make sure that you eat before you enter the tour (especially if with kids) because there is quite a long time between entering the tour and arriving at the Back Lot (the next eating and drinking opportunity) and once you have been through an area, you can't go back in.

An absolute must is that if you have an afternoon slot like we did, get your goodies from the gift shop first, especially the sweets. There were lots on offer on our brief look before the tour but by the time we came out there were hardly any sweets left. That's why I unfortunately can't give any more gluten free information about them. We did ask if they had more stock but they said they didn't. Highly disappointing for kids.

In terms of a gluten free experience, I would recommend that you take your own food. One consolation about the Butterbeer not being gluten free is that it didn't look terribly exciting. It came in those cheap clear plastic cups that were quite small, it didn't look anything special.

Though pricey at £8.95 per box, the gluten free Every Flavour Beans are a must try. You get 20 flavours, the 'interesting' ones being: Bogey, Earwax, Black Pepper, Soap, Vomit, Earthworm, Rotten Egg, Sausage, Dirt and Grass. The more palatable are: Banana, Green Apple, Marshmallow, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Watermelon, Candyfloss, Cherry, Sherbert Lemon and Tutti-Frutti. These are great fun and even the disgusting ones don't taste that bad.

I wish that I could provide more gluten free information but time just did not allow. It may not be very gluten free friendly on many levels but I would recommend the Harry Potter Studio tour 100%. Just eat before or take your own food, simple really.

I have my broomstick photo, in fact I have two! The green screen experiences are fantastic, make sure that you take the time to queue, it's so worth it.

Have a great time!

UPDATED 12/12/13: So last week we visited once again, oh how I love that place. Still seems like the cafe and back lot refreshment stands don't cater for us gluten free'ers BUT I checked out all of the sweets in the shop and at the time of writing, EVERYTHING, yes, EVERTHING was gluten free!

Seems that they restock the shelves now because I got my goodies before we went into the tour (there was no way I was missing out again) but when we went back into the shop afterwards (around 2.30pm) the shelves were full.

I am once again in possession of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans (when playing bean roulette the only 'nasty' I've had thus far is Soap) and this time I actually got my hands on a Chocolate Frog complete with Rowena Ravenclaw card. I kind of don't want to eat him though.

My favourite sweet is the Fizzing Wizzbees. Oh. My. Gosh. They're delicious! When I describe them they might sound a bit yuck, kind of like the lone chocolate that gets left in selection box but don't be put off. They're really chocolatey with a hint of strawberry and they have popping candy in them that does a little dance in your mouth. Totally moreish and so fun to eat.

The allergen information that I can relay is the following:

The Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frog and Fizzing Wizzbees all have the same allergy information: Contains Soya, Milk - Produced in a factory that handles nuts.

As I said, I checked out every single kind of sweet and I couldn't find any mention of gluten as an ingredient or factory contaminant. How cool is that?!

If you're visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour, lucky you. You are in for an absolutely magical day that you won't ever forget. Have fun!


  1. Hello! I'm reading this way too long after you wrote this, but I'm coeliac and I'm going to the studio tour this month and I wanted to know if anything was gluten free. I was sad because of the Butterbeer, but the Every Flavour Bean are gluten free and I'm extremley happy!
    Thank you very much for all the information,
    Love from Spain!

  2. Hi Cristina!

    Thanks so much for your comment, you're going to have an amazing time :)

    Lee, with love from England x


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