Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Suzy
The Harry Potter A Forbidden Forest Experience has returned to Arley Hall in Cheshire for 2022. We absolutely loved the whole experience and even if you haven’t seen the films you can’t fail to be immersed in the wizarding world. The trail is on now until the end of December and with limited tickets available it’s time to make sure you don’t miss out. Grab your wands and other wizarding paraphernalia and get ready for a magical experience.
On the nighttime trail, you can expect to see magical creatures and wizarding wonders from the Harry Potter films and also the Fantastic Beasts film.
PLEASE NOTE – THIS EVENT IS YET TO BE CONFIRMED FOR 2023
We were gifted tickets in exchange for an honest review.
Arley Hall is located deep in the countryside so late at night it would be hard to visit without a car. The good news is though that parking is included. We arrived at 6:30 pm and we didn’t leave until almost 9 pm. They recommend that the trail takes most people around 45-75 minutes. We immersed ourselves in the experience with a stop for Butterbeer, the large gift shop and hot food in the village at the end.
It is a good idea to arrive 15 minutes before your time slot and all tickets must be booked online in advance. There were toilets at the start of the trail, halfway around and at the end. They also had food and drink at the start, middle and end with lots of Harry Potter-themed goodies on offer. These included themed hot chocolates, slush with magic smoke bubbles on top, butterbeer and more.
You are sent through in groups of about 20 people to gather around and hear a briefing of what to expect on the trail. There are aspects of the trail where you can use your own wand, or your finger if you don’t own a wand. My son loved being able to take his and use it to cast magic spells.
We visited after a major downpour and it was muddy all the way around on the trail so make sure you take some boots or wellies just in case. You couldn’t really see what was underfoot as it was so dark so it was easy to ignore.
After the briefing, you are then free to wander around the trail as you please. There is never any pressure to ‘move on’ and we took the trail at our own pace.
The interactive aspects of the trail are so cleverly done. You can bow to a Hippogriff and he will bow back, cast spells to make lights turn out, water freeze, bring a serpent to life and more. The louder you shout the more chance your spell will work. You can even borrow some of their own magic wands and battle against an opponent with your magic.
The whole trail was so magical. Everywhere you went there were lights and sounds that brought the forest to life. One minute you were being watched by eyes, the next you’d see car headlights. There were dancing multi-colored mushrooms, Niffler alerts, Hagrid, voices in the woods and some truly magical lighting effects. It was truly mesmerizing and at times rather spooky.
If you suffer from arachnophobia there is a part of the trail you can miss out. I am an arachnophobe but I went in as I didn’t want to miss out. It’s not real so I coped and I’m glad I didn’t leave that part of the trail out.
At the end of the trail, there is a large shop selling all kinds of merchandise. There is then a large village where you can purchase food and drinks including marshmallows with a fire for toasting. This was the driest part of the trail for us and there were even benches undercover to sit at.
All ages are welcome although I honestly wouldn’t recommend the trail for toddlers. I think my son would have been terrified if he’d been younger than 4 or 5. The trail is quite dark and sinister at times and although it’s not necessary to have watched all the films it certainly boosts the experience.