We follow Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione into the Forbidden Forest and test our nerve among the creatures who live there
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
What is it?
A night-time trail through the ‘Forbidden Forest’, known from being in the grounds of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books and films.
You walk at your own pace around an illuminated route, seeing and hearing some of the iconic forest scenes as well as magical creatures from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts such as Hippogriffs, centaurs and spiders.
Where is it?
At the gorgeous Arley Hall & Gardens, in Northwich, Cheshire, England.
What did we think?
This is a magical trail as befits a magical world. The experience is carried out on an impressive scale – it was created by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment, in partnership with Thinkwell.
It is very atmospheric and spooky, with Harry Potter music, sound effects, characters talking and eyes watching you pass, which could be a bit too scary for some younger children.
It would make a great Halloween or pre-Christmas treat for fans of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts.
*Conjure a Patronus – choose your wand, point it and utter the words ‘Expecto Patronum’ to cast this spell, which sees off Dementors.
*Bow to a hippogriff and it will bow back.
*Try some Butterbeer (it’s alcohol-free), the wizarding drink loved by Harry Ron and Hermione.
*The food is delicious.
*Try out a deluminator – to put out the lights like Dumbledore.
*Hear Harry and Ron crashing in the flying Ford Anglia and see the car lights sweeping through the forest.
*Catch a glimpse of a white unicorn slinking through the trees.
*Spiders: Aragog and other big spiders lived in the Forbidden Forest and scare Ron in the Harry Potter books and films. They lurk in this forest too but those with arachnophobia don’t have to see them. You will walk through a section with ‘webs’ in the trees, then can choose to divert from the path if you DO want to see the spiders. Those who don’t, stay on the path. If you do divert, you will see large spiders drop down from overhead, stopping just above your heads.
*It is an outdoor trail in the dark so dress warmly with sensible shoes.
*You can buy Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise.
Access and restrictions
It is a woodland walk so can be uneven so is not the best terrain to push a wheelchair. Motorised wheelchairs can be hired.
All ages are welcome, younger children may be frightened in places.
Allow about an hour and a half to do the trail and eat at the end.
There are places to buy food along the way or you can stop at the magical village at the end where our highlights included big marshmallows on sticks you can toast and smother with chocolate sauce , fish and chips, Cornish pasties and a roast dinner in a Yorkshire pudding. My son also enjoyed an edible wand.
When is it on?
It runs from Mondays to Sundays, from October 16 to December 15, 2021.
Sessions start at 6.30pm (October 16 to 31), 5pm (November 1 to 9), 4.30pm (November 11 to 28) and 4pm (November 29 to December 15). All sessions finish at 10pm.
Ticket prices vary by date and time, starting from £19.
Children under five are free and from five to 15 are a reduced price.
Buy tickets here.
Arley Hall & Gardens, Arley, Northwich, CW9 6NA.
*We were given complimentary entry for the purposes of this review, all views are our own.