Harry Potter fans and families will love this enchanting woodland walk

·3-min read
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow

The Forbidden Forest, home to many magical creatures from unicorns to centaurs and even giant spider Aragog, is one of the most fascinating locations in the Harry Potter world.

And now, just in time for Halloween and the festive season, fans can follow the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione and see the magical forest for themselves in the woods at Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire.

Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow

Until early next year, the gardens will be home to an enchanting woodland walk that brings to life adventures and creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.

Unlike the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford, which allows visitors to discover the filmmaking magic behind the movie, the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience enables guests to fully immerse themselves in the wizarding world and experience it through the characters' eyes.

And we can safely say the experience is well worth the trip, especially for fans and families!

Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow

Designed with both adults and younger visitors in mind, the self-guided tour, which only operates at night, can be magical and even spooky at times but never scary.

Few things warm the winter nights like an illuminated light trail and the woodlands lit up with atmospheric lighting are simply stunning to look at. Plus, it means younger guests are never walking in the dark.

Truly bringing the magic of the Potter world to life thanks to an exceptional attention to detail and technology, we come face to face with nifflers, talking centaurs, a beautiful unicorn and – to my dismay – a spider lair.

Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow

Young (and older) Harry Potter fans will enjoy competing in wand battles, learn to cast their own Patronus and exchange bows with a Hippogriff.

The walking trail takes from 45 to 75 minutes but those who get cold will find a welcoming Hogsmeade-inspired village at the centre of the walk serving sweet treats, mulled wine and actual butterbeer.

The spookiest or most thrilling highlight of the trail – depending on your fear of spiders – is the confrontation with Aragog and his eight-legged children as they drop from trees. Although, do bear in mind that if you have arachnophobes in your group, the family-friendly trail allows you to avoid it.

Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow
Photo credit: Matthew Rumbelow

Our personal favourite was the spectacular final that sees Harry Potter fighting off dementors by casting his stag Patronus over a lake.

Once you've completed the trail, a small village packed with stalls selling hot drinks, candies but also substantial meals such as roasts dinners as well Harry Potter merchandise, of course, awaits.

With the woodland being a key role in the whole experience, it's worth noting that organisers have partnered with Forest Carbon allowing guests to make an optional donation of the price of a tree (£3.95).

This will contribute to unique project especially developed to support the creation of new woodland areas in the UK. Over thirteen 13,000 have been planted for "Give a Tree, Grow a Tree", so far.

At a time when we have been starved of magical experiences, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is sure to delight fans of all ages and is the perfect outdoor activity to be enjoyed by family and friends during the darker, colder winter months.

The Forbidden Forest Experience in Arley Hall & Gardens is open now until early 2022. Off-peak tickets cost from £19 and standard are from £24.

We hear they are selling fast, so grab yours quickly !

Book tickets here

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