If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter and Forbidden Beasts films, then you won’t want to miss out on a visit to the illuminating wizarding world of Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience at Arley Hall in Northwich.

The after dark experience has been created by Warner Bros Themed Entertainment in partnership with theatrical designers and creators Thinkwell, as well as their partners Unify and entertainment discovery platform Fever.  

My eight-year-old and her dad are huge fans of Harry Potter, but the whole family was immediately mesmerised by the lights, music and lifelike mythical creatures (including hippogriffs, centaurs, unicorns, and nifflers) we met in the Cheshire woodland.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. Credit: Lisa Wood

It was wonderful to see so many people of all generations donning their wizard hats and waving their magic wands (which you can buy on site for around £22 or borrow at various points) and immersing themselves in the experience.

We enjoyed casting magic spells, trying to wake the sleeping giant, bowing to the hippogriff, making our way through a giant spider’s web, and trying to spot the many creatures lurking in the beautifully lit woodland. Meanwhile, my eldest daughter and I had fun going head-to-head to see whose house power was the strongest, which I am sure was mine.

There are various eerie moments as you walk through the forest, and my two-year-old wasn’t best pleased by the noises and eyes we spotted as we made our way along the dark path. But what is a Harry Potter experience without some strange happenings?

There are plenty of rest points to sample Harry Potter-themed food and drink, including edible wands, donuts and the popular Butterbeer (which I thought had a sickly taste, but had to be sampled). There is a seasonal village right at the end and I was instantly drawn to the sweet stall with eyeballs, jelly frogs, and the world’s sourest sweets. There is also a fire pit in which to toast marshmallows.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. Credit: Lisa Wood

At the end you’ll find a shop packed with branded Harry Potter merchandise including hoodies, T-shirts and, of course, an array of wands.

At a time of year when tickets for all sorts of experiences are on sale, this turned out to be one of our best family experiences.

The trail takes about 60-90 minutes and is located about half an hour from Manchester city centre.

By Lisa Wood


Limited tickets are still available, please click here for more information.