We paid for entry to the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in Cheshire. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
When you hear about a new Harry Potter experience opening right on your doorstep in this house you quickly learn to investigate! We have visited the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio a number of times, and have also planned and enjoyed our own Harry Potter day so we were intrigued to see what this new offering would be.
As you might expect from an attraction with the Harry Potter name; this is not a cheap experience. Based in the grounds of Arley Hall and Gardens, the Forbidden Forest has been created in the surrounding woodlands. For two adults and two children on a random Wednesday in October it cost us £128. Tickets are being released on a regular basis and prices do vary depending on the day and the time that you choose to attend but although the website advertises that ticket prices start at £19 I was unable to find any that low. We got ours for £29 each plus a ticketing fee of £12.
On entry your ticket is scanned and you are ushered towards a small section where a short explanation (and a magic trick for the little ones) is given before you make your way to the walk. Tickets are sold in blocks and although you set off with your group, you are very much able to go around at your own speed; drop back and wait for photos or push on ahead. For us it was busy on arrival, and there were a few places were we had to queue; places people wanted to take particular photos or the interactive elements but it never felt crowded which was good. There’s a clever section with Aragog and his children which can be bypassed and a rather spectacular finale which had our whole little group gasping. In a small number of sections (the start, Aragog and the finale) they do gather people in groups so be aware of that if you are particularly wanting to avoid the crowds.
Halfway around the walk there are toilets, a small gift kiosk and a refreshment stand (where we spent our first £20 on 3 drinks and a doughnut) along with a great photo opportunity. For further refreshments and toilets, you head to the end of the walk which is ‘the Village’ where there are lots of places to choose from if you want something to eat or drink, and a much larger gift shop.
The trail is muddy and uneven in places (and difficult to see with low lighting) so I would advise wellies or strong walking boots. Depending on your walking speed / size of your group / number of times you stop for photos it could take anywhere between 45-90 minutes to walk around. Something to consider for the cost. It is entirely outdoors so is very weather-dependant although there are a couple of undercover places to sit in the Village.
I’d also add in that we spent a further £40 on two rounds of drinks, a doughnut and a small bag of sweets from the refreshments stands and a further £100 in the gift shop. The latter two items could be avoided – I didn’t see any signs preventing bringing your own items in with you – but they are costs to consider when planning your visit.
Overall however, for Harry Potter fans it is definitely something you won’t want to miss. I will share some more photos with you below (scroll if you want to remain spoiler free) but it is truly something to see. There are sounds, lights and props from the Harry Potter movies along with the Fantastic Beast films and a couple of different interactive stands which kids and adults alike can enjoy.
Is it worth it?
It’s a beautiful and enjoyable trail which has clearly been well thought through and there were some lovely touches which made the whole thing quite magical. Whilst we wouldn’t necessarily rush to book a return visit, it was definitely worth doing and we would recommend it for any Potter fans out there. They’ve just released some Christmas dates and although I imagine they will have a £££ price tag…I can also imagine it being an incredibly special visit.