Review : Harry Potter A Forbidden Forest Experience, Arley Hall
The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is giving Muggles the chance to have a taste of the Wizarding World this Christmas, see what we thought in our review here.
Based in Arley Hall in Cheshire around 40 minutes from Manchester, the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience has been brought to Arley Hall by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment, Thinkwell, Unify and Fever offering an evening of wizarding fun and magic.
We were invited along to check out Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience for the purpose of an honest review and you can discover what we thought here.
This post contains affiliate links (see here).
Review Of Harry Potter A Forbidden Forest Experience, Cheshire
As a family of big Harry Potter fans, we were very excited when we were invited along to Arley Hall for the new Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in 2021.
The event is located at the pictures Arley Hall which is well signposted, but you will need to drive along some small country unlit roads to get there.
On arrival, we were greeted by staff who directed us to the large car park. There are actually a couple of onsite car parks so it is worth noting which one you are in and where you are actually parked (we used the lamp posts as an indication). The car parks are also a bit muddy so it is worth wearing suitable footwear.
The entrance to the Forbidden Forest Experience is located a short walk from the car park and there are a couple of photo opportunities on the way.
Before you enter there are toilets, food and drink huts and a little emporium shop all fitting in with the Harry Potter theme. You will also find more facilities halfway through including the chance to try a bottle of Butterbeer.
After a small introduction and a little magic trick, it was time to start our nighttime trail through the forest. As we walked we could hear scenes from the film which sparked our excitement and before we knew it we spotted Hagrid and Fang lighting the way.
As we made our way through we encountered a whole host of magical creatures from both the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast films such as Centaurs who moved and spoke, escaped Blast Ended Skrewts Newts, pesky Nifflers with their stolen treasure, and unicorns walking in the distance.
We also came across a Buckbeak the Hippogriff who we of course bowed to and was relieved when he bowed back; spotted Grawp hiding in the trees who was more than happy to pose for a picture in between burps and discover Hedwig perching patiently.
Throughout the trail, there was something new to see and hear with little warning signs to set the scene. From illuminated symbols which magically appeared on the trees, a field of flashing toadstools and Arthur Weasly’s enchanted For Anglia.
We were also given the chance to try our hands at magic. We duelled with wands where my nine-year-old daughter showed us all that she was ‘the smartest witch of her age’ beating us all.
Then were tasked to summon our very own Patronus with happy thoughts a wave of the wand and a clear ‘Expecto Patronus’. My 12-year-old was delighted to discover that his Patronus is a dog, his favourite animal and my daughter was over the moon with hers – a cute bunny that bounced around in the air.
We did have to queue for both of these experiences but the queues move quickly. They are also located near to the food huts so ideal to grab a quick treat.
For those who are brave enough, you can also step into Aragog’s lair where you can meet the infamous spider and maybe even one or two of his children as they drop down from the trees. Although there is an alternative route if spiders are not your thing.
The trail ends in a spectacular finale, which I won’t reveal here as not to spoil the surprise but you can have a sneak peek in our Instagram Reel here.
Food At Harry Potter : A Forbidden Forest Experience, Cheshire
As mentioned previously there are stalls at the start and in the middle of the trail selling hot and cold drinks including lovely looking Hot Chocolate with cream, marshmallows and chocolate flakes at £5 and sweet treats including magical themed doughnuts.
Once you have completed the trail you enter a Hogsmead Style village scene. Here you can enjoy English Fish and Chips with kids meals at £8.95 and Adults at £12.00; sample the Cauldron Feast, a huge Yorkshire Pudding filled with a choice of roast meats, vegetables, roast potatoes and gravy (£12.00) and try an array of pasties and sausages (from £4.50) at The Cornish Pixie Pasty Stall.
As well as at the stalls in the trail Butter Beer is also available from the village from £6.00 along with a range of alcoholic drinks including mulled wine.
Those with a sweet tooth will find a traditional sweet stall with a huge selection to choose from costing £3.19 per 100g. You can also purchase toffee apples, sweet wants and huge marshmallow sticks (£5.75) which can be toasted on the village campfire. Plus you will also find a selection of traditional desserts such as Jam Sponge and Spotted Dick for £4.50.
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience Gift Shops
It will come as no surprise that there is some great Harry Potter merchandise to purchase at the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. There are small gift stalls at the start and halfway through the trail selling a selection such as wands, Harry Potter themed sweets etc.
There is also a huge ‘Forbidden Forest Emporium’ in the village where you will find a much bigger selection of gifts, from Christmas decorations, clothing, goblets, soft toys and lots more.
How Long Does The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience Take?
The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience website indicates that it takes 60 to 90 minutes. However, as the trail is self-led you can complete it as slowly or quickly as you wish.
From leaving to the car and arriving back at it, it took us two and a half hours. We definitely took our time around the trail, enjoyed the food in the village and had a good look around the emporium.
What Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast Films Do You Need to Watch Before Attending the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is a lovely immersive experience which we are sure even non Harry Potter fans will enjoy, but to get the most out of your visit some knowledge you will need some knowledge of the Wizarding World.
There are elements from most of the Harry Potter films during the experience. However, it would be of some benefit to have recently seen the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as some of the bigger attractions focus on these.
There is also some reference to the magical creatures from the Fantastic Beasts films but if you have seen these yet it will not spoil the experience. We would recommend looking up Nifflers though so that some of your treasures don’t end up in their hoard.
Having said all that, if you haven’t watched any of the films you need to look at your priorities ;).
What We Thought About The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
I am sure you will have guessed by now that we had a great time at the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
All attractions were really well executed and definitely lived up to our expectations.
Around every corner, there was a new surprise to see and both my kids couldn’t wait to see what was in store next. They both particularly loved the immersive installations and to be honest so did I.
On the way home my daughter said it was like being in one of the films and hasn’t stopped telling friends and family about her Patronus since our return. It was also lovely to see such a magical experience in the Northwest.
The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is a must for any Harry Potter fan and we would highly recommend it.
Book tickets to The Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
Plus you can have a sneak peek on our Instagram reels here.
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