We whisked our guests to the edge of the capital so they could experience some of that Potter magic for themselves
Words: Russell Cook Photos: Jenna Foxton
Tonight’s not about me, though. We’ve brought a busload of readers out to Watford to get a feel for how the famous sets from the film series work as event spaces. As they get off the Potter-branded coach (from King’s Cross), our guests are greeted with mince pies (the venue’s still hosting Christmas dos) and a glass of fizz. Drinks in hand, they’re whisked into the hall for a guided tour.
Pointing towards several huge Christmas puds, events manager Martin Brown tips me off, ‘We’re going to set those on fire!’ Within seconds, they’re ablaze. This is just the start: from now on, it’s nothing but special effects. And Death Eaters.
Finding some respite – and bowl food – in Dumbledore’s office and then the Gryffindor common room, I catch up with Martin properly. ‘We want people to leave excited about what they’ve experienced and with a sense of just how different a party here could be,’ he tells me.
Next stop, the green-screen experience, where guests don robes, jump on broomsticks and pose for souvenir photos and videos.
When everyone’s got what they want, we make our way to Platform 9¾ and grab dessert: a deconstructed After Eight with ice cream and chocolate ‘soil’. There are some excited readers here. ‘I love this place,’ Jenel Roper, a PA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, tells me, while staring at the actual train used in the films.
As the bell tolls for the end of the tour, I just have time to grab a butterbeer and to reflect that coming back for a sixth time wouldn’t be so bad either.
This article was first published in SquareMeal Venues + Events, Spring/Summer 2017