I really resented not being able to book tickets to the Harry Potter/ Warner Bros Studios directly through them and instead being forced to book these more expensive tickets through Golden Tours. That is on Warner Bros, though. They deliberately only sell a small portion of tickets, which sell out immediately, and pass most of their tickets off to tour companies, doubling the cost to consumers. Shame on Warner Bros for this. Customers really don't have a choice.
After reading reviews here, I was extremely worried about booking through Golden Tours. We spent approximately a zillion pounds for our 6 family members to visit the studios, and I really did not want to deal with transportation issues. Fortunately, all went smoothly, and it will for you too, if you read the details ahead of time, get where you are supposed to be early, and plan your day appropriately. Tips:
1- This is an ALL DAY excursion. I thought this was a reasonably quick in/out situation. No. It's 90 min each way to/from the studios, and the space at the studios is vast. We were in there for 4 hours enjoying the exhibits, and that was without a ton of time in the gift shop. We left our hotel in London at 9:30am and were not back until 6:30pm. Plan to be gone all day.
2- Google map the pick-up location and be there early. For the Bulleid Way pick-up, you will leave Victoria Station and walk a couple blocks to the pick-up spot. The bus leaves on time, and it will leave without you if you are late.
3- Yes, the TVs are fairly terrible on board. The sound goes in/out. My kids did not care whatsoever. They would watch Harry Potter on mute all day. Adults, plan to look out the window or spend time on your phone.
4- I was surprised at the number of families with little kids (like way too little to have read/watched Harry Potter). Invariably, the little ones were uninterested and cranky, thus leading to cranky parents and tears all around. I would say that the studios are great for ages 7+, and if your kids are younger than that, give it a miss.
5- For kids of the appropriate age and all the Harry Potter adults (guilty!), the experience is magical. The tour is so much better than I was expecting. I loved it. I could not believe all there was to see and do.
6- The food situation is not great, however. There is only one dining area, about 2/3 of the way through the tour. My elderly parents were very hungry and thirsty by the time we arrived there, and then we had to wait in a 30 min line to order. Bring water and snacks to tide you over. The food was pretty uninspired and the serving staff were 100% over it all. I don't know what they pay those poor food workers, but it's not enough.
7- If you somehow race through the tour and are done before your assigned return bus time, you can wait in the standby line for an earlier bus. It just depends on how full your bus is as to whether you can get on. Our bus, on a Saturday, had some extra spaces, but you never know. We were honestly more worried about finishing everything in time to make our assigned bus-- there was so much to see and do in the time we had.
8- There is a lot of upselling inside the studios, in the form of photos. Do you want photos/video of your kid riding a broom with a green-screened Hogwarts in the background? Yes, you definitely do. That'll be 50 pounds. Bring your credit card.
My family loved this whole experience, which was good because we spent an absurd amount of money doing it. Come prepared and you'll have a great time, too!