Hold onto your pointy hats! York’s cauldron is overflowing with experiences for young wizards on a trip to York, from potion making to wizard minigolf. Put your cloaks on, grab your wands and enjoy some fantastically enchanting things to do with children that you’ll only find in York.
1. Discover Diagon Alley (aka Shambles)
Popular with Harry Potter fans the world over, York’s famous medieval street, Shambles (an old word meaning meat market or open-air slaughterhouse), is said to have been the inspiration for Diagon Alley. Formerly a street of butchers’ shops adorned with hanging meat and with raw sewage running along it, it’s a street that could tell a story or two. Although it retains its original charm, the modern-day Shambles is a sweet-smelling experience with many a treat for Potter fans or for anyone who wants to soak up a magical medieval atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.
2. Cast a spell at The Potions Cauldron
At No. 9 ¾ Shambles, The Potions Cauldron is a fun, immersive shopping experience like no other. Stock up on chocolate frogs, exploding bath bombs and Butterbeer. You can even book a fun potion-making experience – just watch out, they might just pop! The Potions Cauldron, 9¾, Shambles, York YO1 7LZ – Visit the website >
3. Fly down to The Shop that Must Not be Named
Also on the Shambles is The Shop that Must Not be Named, complete with official Harry Potter merchandise, a cast of Potter-mad staff and even space to park your broomstick! It’s the ideal place to pick up a new wand or replace your old cloak. 30 Shambles, York YO1 7LX – Visit the website >
4. Play wizard-themed golf at The Hole in Wand
The Hole in Wand is a marvellously magical world of mini-golf, based in Coppergate near the JORVIK Viking Centre. The attention to detail is excellent, it’s good value and you can even just pop in for a drink or something to eat. Shorter clubs are available for younger children, and every player gets a potion to take away at the end. The Hole in Wand, 14-16 Coppergate Walk, York YO1 9NT – Visit the website >
5. Visit York Railway Station to cross the King’s Cross bridge from Harry Potter
Apparently, the bridge that Harry and Hagrid cross is at York station! There’s some debate about it, but why not take a pilgrimage to York’s main transport hub and watch out for steam trains that are Hogwarts-bound? While you’re there, swerve the major chains and indulge in a wand dog or pick up a potion at The Potions Express at platform ⅝, part of the Potions Cauldron family, for a more magical experience.
6. Keep an out for fairies at Northwood Trail, England’s Fairy Sanctuary
Escape to the woods and listen out for fairies at this lovely woodland attraction. Spot the fairy doors, get lost in the maze and enjoy some off-grid time together in a stunning location. Northwood Trail has been voted Best Magical Experience in the Little Vikings Awards. Northwood Trail, Buttercrambe Moor Woods, Buttercrambe, York, YO41 1AP. Visit the website >
7. Spot weird and wonderful characters on the Little Vikings I Spy Trail of York
There are weird, wonderful and magical creatures to spot along the way of the Little Vikings I Spy Trail, a free, self-led walking trail of York that we’ve designed especially for children. It’s even been recommended by The Sunday Times! Pick up a free map from the Visit York Information Centre (21 Parliament St, York YO1 8SG) or download it from our website and see how many things you can see. For little legs, just do the first ten!
8. Go on a wizard walk
The Magic Hatter brings his award-winning entertainment to the streets with The Wizard Walk of York – the most magical ticket in town! Join The Wizard of York on a quest to find magical creatures as you wand-er the snickelways of this enchanting city. A wonderfully whimsical tour that wizard fans will go Potty for! Selected evenings, starting from The Shambles. Private bookings are also available for spellbinding birthday parties, school groups and more. Follow @WizardWalkofYork on Facebook and Instagram. Pre-book on The Wizard Walk of York website >
9. Hop aboard the North Yorkshire Moors Railway
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a truly unforgettable experience with a Harry Potter connection. Goathland Station transformed into Hogsmeade Station in the first Harry Potter film, and they even run special events from time to time. Visit the North Yorkshire Moors Railway website for more information > .