Husband and Son are big fans of the boy wizard Harry – they have read all the books and seen most of the movies. I am in the “if you can’t beat them join them” camp meaning I am a bit of a late convert to Harry Potter – I’m getting there! I can hold my own at this stage, so although not yet a true diehard fan, I did still enjoy the Harry Potter themed activities at Alnwick Castle.
The first two Harry Potter movies were filmed here – so were Elizabeth and Robin Hood Price of Thieves but nobody mentions them much. At Alnwick it is all about Harry. The grounds are instantly recognisable as Hogwart’s quidditch pitch – Harry learned to fly his broomstick here, frenzied excitement in this family when we realised we too could undergo broomstick flight training. Tickets were sorted as soon as we arrived, this was a must.
You join the resident wizarding professors – a rather bossy lady and her sidekick both dressed in Hogwarts uniforms. They conduct the broomstick training session at the very spot where Harry had his first flying lesson in The Philosopher’s Stone. The session took about 20 minutes, involved much hilarity and running around with a broomstick between your legs, but look at them – after 20 minutes they could fly!!
Next up was a magic show – a (seriously good) Harry Potter lookalike stumbled around the courtyard followed by a crowd of people, set up his bits and pieces and started a little magic show. It was great and even better when Hagrid appeared. Lots of humour, some magic tricks and an introduction to Ron Weasley’s cousins! The whole thing was so funny and clever, made better by humour on two distinct levels for adults and children. Just what I like.
We finished off with the Harry Potter guided tour. A costumed Hogwarts guide took us around the castle and grounds, regaling us with behind the scenes anecdotes from the days of filming. She pointed out places we could easily recognise from the movie and all the stories she told were absolutely fascinating. The only negative was it finished far too soon.
Husband and Son left buzzing, I left with a renewed interest to get on with the books and schedule some screen time for a few more of those movies. You don’t have to be a Potter mega-fan to enjoy this side of Alnwick, you just might find you become one having had your appetite well and truly whetted.