Harry Potter obsessed fans in Yorkshire waiting for J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to be released (UK release 18 November 2016) will be spellbound to learn that the region has its own wizarding world that they can delve into right now.
Made-to-measure wands, potion lessons, Hedrig-like owls, broomsticks and the real-life Hogsmeade train station can all be found in Ryedale, North Yorkshire, where wonderful sights include a river that runs backwards, a Devil’s punchbowl, a real witch’s hovel, the Milky Way and the tomb of Richard III’s only child, Edward Prince of Wales. What a setting for a Harry Potter experience or to inspire budding writers!
Would-be wizards and witches can buy a handcrafted ‘magic’ wand from Ryedale’s answer to Ollivanders: Keith the Stickman in Helmsley. Keith made Nanny McPhee’s magical walking stick and uses a range of woods, eg hazel, ash, oak, etc, so no two sticks are the same and everyone gets their perfect match. Helmsley is also the place for owls. Adopt one (or any other raptor) at the National Bird of Prey Centre in Helmsley, the North’s largest collection of birds of prey – with possibly also the largest and cutest collection of soft-toy birds of prey in its shop!
Equipped with wand and owl, head to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and a ride on a steam train from Pickering Station to Goathland Station which became Hogsmeade Station, the final stop for the Hogwarts Express in the first Harry Potter film Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone . This is where young Harry stepped off the platform to start his first year at the world’s famous school of witchcraft and wizardry. Those with a yearning to learn more about how grown-up witches live will enjoy exploring the witch’s hovel at Ryedale Folk Museum, in Hutton-le-Hole, not far from Pickering.
Youngsters keen to follow in Harry’s footsteps can brush up on their broom making skills and stir up trouble in potion lessons at Castle Howard from Saturday 22 October to Sunday 30 October. Broom making classes will reveal the secrets of supernatural flight, as children build their own Supersonic Sweeper, before taking to the skies in a display of synchronised swooping and daredevil stunts. Class dates are: 22, 24, 26 and 28 October. Materials will be provided. In potion lessons on 23, 25 and 27 October, Professor Fumblefoot will reveal some of the recipes from his ancient book of spells, covering enchanted eruptions, wizardy whiffs and a few magical surprises! All equipment and ingredients provided. For more information visit www.castlehoward.co.uk/whats-on
To recreate a magical world at home, or find a magically-inspired gift, visit Antiques & Interiors in Helmsley. They helped with sets and props for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and sell eye-catching and quirky things that are perfect for anyone who’s hard to buy for at Christmas or whose Christmas list is full of Harry Potter related items.
For more information about Ryedale and details of things to do and places to stay, eat, and enjoy, visit www.visitryedale.co.uk