The students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry may not have been allowed into the Forbidden Forest in the Harry Potter saga, but ‘Muggles’ are now being invited in through a new attraction at Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire, about 45 minutes southwest of Manchester, UK. By Rachel Chang
Opening this fall, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience will be a 60-to-90-minute encounter along a dark wooded trail with creatures from both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises. Created with a mix of sound, lights, and special effects, it’s a first-of-its-kind immersive outdoor experience for the Wizarding World.
But even magic isn’t immune to COVID-19, so the attraction was designed with government measures in mind, including a one-way route on the walking trail that should take about 45 to 75 minutes to enjoy. All ages are welcome, though they do warn that certain elements may be scary for some.
“Discover Centaurs, a Hippogriff, and other magical creatures before making a Patronus appear before your eyes,” the site says of the experience. In addition to the forest walk, there’s also the opportunity to buy food and drinks inspired by the Wizarding World, as well as take plenty of photos. An on-site gift shop will also sell merchandise from both movie franchises.
A countdown clock on the official site is ticking down to Thursday, July 29, at 10 am local time, when a limited number of tickets will be released for time slots in October 2021. Prices start at £19 (INR 1,969). Interested Potterheads can sign up for the waiting list here.
“The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience offers fans a new way to enjoy some of the most iconic and magical Wizarding World moments,” Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment’s Peter van Roden said in a statement of the collaboration with global experience agency Thinkwell, experiential consultancy Unify Productions Global, and entertainment company Fever. “We’re thrilled to be working alongside Thinkwell to bring this incredible light trail to life at Arley Hall & Gardens, a perfect location where the natural beauty of the forest trail and illuminated sets filled with familiar creatures from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, will make for a magical experience for fans of all ages.”
As of now, there aren’t plans to bring the attraction to other locations, with this being the only opportunity to take part in the magic in 2021.
The new attraction will open a month before the 20th-anniversary celebration of the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which opened in theatres back in November 2001. Other immersive Wizarding World experiences include the recently opened VR experiences at the new Harry Potter flagship store in New York City and Harry Potter: The Exhibition, debuting at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute in 2022.