Wouldn’t it be amazing if Hogwarts was real? We’re still waiting for an owl to deliver our acceptance letter, even if it is quite a few years overdue now. It’s amazing how thoroughly the Harry Potter craze swept the globe, and how obsessed so many millions of people still are with the wonderful wizarding world. With demand for Harry Potter still high, some establishments in the UK and Poland have tried to bring the magic of the franchise to life. This is what they look like.
Harry in Herstmonceux Castle
Considering that Harry Potter was created and set in the UK, it’s no surprise that the country has its own event dedicated to the young wizard. In August 2017, Herstmonceux Castle, a 15th-century building in East Sussex, welcomed the public for a three-day magical event. The intention of the experience was to recreate as much of the wizarding world as possible in the short space of time.
Upon arrival, members of the public were sorted into one of the four houses which they were a part of for the three days. Throughout the event, people attended lessons where they learned spells and made potions, all the while earning points for their respective houses. Visitors were provided with meals and accommodation during their stay, with a big banquet on the final night to celebrate the winning house.
Organisers of the event have likened it to taking part in a murder mystery, with all participants provided with a character role and a story that plays out around them.
Following the success of the event last year, two more were announced for 2018. The first of these happened at the end of April, with the following scheduled for August once again.
To participate, people must be at least 18 years old and have several hundred dollars readily available. The first event set people back £450 (which is just over $625), although if you’re a huge fan of the series, then the money is surely worth it.
Potter in Poland
The UK isn’t the only country to have its own Harry Potter related events. Czocha Castle in Poland hosts The College of Wizardry, a role-playing event not too dissimilar from the one in the UK. It’s been going for several years now with multiple events throughout the year, starting at 440 Euros (roughly $530). Participants have the opportunity to take on the role of a staff member, or even the headmaster, if they’re not playing a student.
The location certainly plays the part of a castle that would exist in the Harry Potter universe. Stone staircases, statues and carved columns adorn the exterior, giving visitors the feeling of going back in time. Although it creates the impression of being Hogwarts, the Polish school isn’t actually meant to replicate the castle from the series. The organizers wanted it to be another school within the universe, similar to how Beauxbatons and Durmstrang were in The Goblet of Fire. As a result of this, they have their own set of houses that are unique to the experience.
The three-day event offers lessons in all manner of wizarding subjects, from alchemy and herbology to beastology and magical theory. All you need to do is make your way there, and the school will provide you with everything else. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Polish either. Everything is conducted in English to make the experience more welcoming to international visitors.
No matter how many people tell you that magic doesn’t exist, events like this remind us that it doesn’t matter. Sometimes you just need to have an open mind. That way, anything is possible.