Lonely Planet Writer

Celebrate Harry Potter Day with these new magical experiences

In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, 2 May is a poignant date and 2018 is set to be even more special. In the literary canon, it is the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts and has been named by some as the unofficial International Harry Potter Day. There are excellent magical spots all over the UK that can satisfy even the most ardent Potterhead but if you’re looking for something new, here’s some new wizard-inspired attractions to try.

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Image by Brian Moran / CC BY 2.0

Edinburgh has strong links with Harry Potter; its winding lanes were the inspiration behind Diagon Alley and JK Rowling wrote part of the saga while living there. When you’re done soaking up the magical atmosphere of the beautiful city, it’s also the home of the first Potter-themed escape room.

The Department of Mysteries describes itself as inspired by magic and fantasy stories, although Harry fans will see some similarities. Your group will have to collect a series of prophecies before entering the final chamber to defeat the Dark Lord, all within a 50 minute timescale. If you want to relax before or after your quest – or if you’d just like to check it out – there’s also the Three Cauldrons Tavern for witches and wizards to enjoy, complete with butterscotch beer and pumpkin pasties.

The alchemy-inspired afternoon tea. Image by Cutter and Squidge

For something a little more refined, a Harry Potter-themed afternoon tea is coming to London. Starting from 3 May, the Soho bakery Cutter and Squidge will be hosting the Potions Room. Described as an immersive foodie experience, guests can drink galaxy juice and nibble on rock cakes.

To learn how to brew bubbling – and alcoholic – potions yourself, book an experience at the Cauldron. With the help of a magic wand, a lot of magic and a bit of science, you can create smoking cocktails that change colour and test out a very special craft beer. The Four Cauldrons brew is made up of four of magic’s key ingredients – oak, coriander, ginger, and vanilla – and comes with fantasy fans’ seal of approval.

Learn to brew potions yourself with the help of magic and technology.

If you can’t make it to the UK for any of these experiences, Wannabee wizards from the USA might be in luck; JK Rowling confirmed on Twitter recently that a doorway spotted in Chicago’s Damen train station was indeed a pathway to Hogwarts, used specifically for North American exchange students.