I, Potions Master

I’ve never had a problem admitting I’m a bit of a Harry Potter fangirl (I have an entire category of this blog dedicated to it), and recently two new magical potions class experiences opened in London, so I just had to robe up and try my wand-hand at both.

Cutter and Squidge Potion Room Afternoon Tea

When my MIL was visiting in June, I took her to the Cutter and Squidge Potion Room in Soho for an afternoon tea potions class.

When we first walked into Cutter and Squidge, which does sound like it could be the name of a dodgy pub on Diagon Alley, I was surprised to discover it was a brightly lit bakery blasting Britney through the speakers. It wasn’t exactly the atmosphere I expected. That all changed, however, when it was time for “class” and we descended the stairs.

potion class staircase

The basement level has been completely outfitted to resemble a creepy dungeon potions classroom, with lots of amusing details.

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We sat two people to a desk, which was set with everything we would need.

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Then the potions professor arrived. She was fabulous. She stayed in character the entire time, and interacted with each and every one of us throughout the 2.5-hour experience, which followed a light plotline. She was a very entertaining witch.

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After choosing our wands (or rather, letting our wands choose us), we ordered our tea. I went with a goblet of pumpkin juice, which was delicious, and my MIL had the unicorn tears tea, because one should never let those precious drops shed by such a melancholy mythical beast go to waste. Our professor pointed out that unicorn tears should smell of sadness, to provide everlasting protection; if they smell of happiness you might end up with everlasting giggles. “It’s funny at first, but I’ve known people to lose their jobs over it,” she deadpanned.

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A squeeze of orange in unicorn tears tea can have a colour-changing effect, but of course everyone knows that.

Then we got to make our first potion: Galaxy Juice. I don’t want to give away any secrets, so I won’t go into details here, but it did make a lovely layered concoction.

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Galaxy Juice

Next we got to make a Crackling Cauldron treat, and it was a very strange taste at first, but then got better and better, and I ended up loving it. I could go for a Crackling Cauldron right now, actually.

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Bubbling, fizzing, crackling cauldron

Then our food arrived in bird-cage tea trays, which was a clever touch.

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When you book your tickets online, there are several options for special diets and allergies. I had the dairy-free afternoon tea, and my MIL had the regular. Honestly, the dairy-free/vegan treats were some of the best I’ve ever had. I ended up ordering my birthday cake from there because I liked their vegan chocolate cauldron cake so much—and I’m not even vegan!

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As the menu says, leave room for the surprise ending… which I am going to keep a surprise. I will say I was a bit disappointed we weren’t all given pet owls, but I suppose I shouldn’t have had my hopes up.

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Overall, the Potion Room afternoon tea at Cutter and Squidge was a delightful experience, and I definitely recommend it for Harry Potter fans (who like to eat, especially if you have a sweet tooth!), if the £50 per-person price tag doesn’t put you off.

The Cauldron

Just a week later, M’s brother and his wife visited us, and our SIL is an HP fan like me, so I got tickets for all four of us to go to The Cauldron potions experience, which consists of making magical cocktails (there is also a non-alcoholic option for each drink).

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I just looked at the website and discovered it’s currently sold out, but the site says they plan to reopen in a new location in London in September. Maybe this location will be a bit more centrally located, because we had to go to Stoke Newington, which is not the easiest part of London to get to.

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The Cauldron

Once again I descended below street level and was outfitted with a gown and a wand. We were led to our reserved table, and then shown to the Tree of Life, which dispenses drinks with a swish-tap of a magic wand (choose between a cocktail, a mocktail, or a specially brewed beer).

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The Tree of Life

Back at our table, everything was set up to make our first potion, and we were given printouts with very specific step-by-step instructions.

our table at the cauldron

Unlike at the previous experience, this was pretty DIY; the bartenders/servers made sure we had what we needed when we needed it, but otherwise left us to make the potions on our own. They wore robes but there wasn’t any role-playing (which suited M just fine).

Our first drink (Transfiguration Toniq) was a lavender-flavoured gin cocktail that we could light up with our magic wands and then change colour. Ooohh

Our second potion was a rum-based drink, which involved grinding some herbs and botanicals with a pestle and mortar, and using “fairy dust” (aka dry ice) to make an impressively smoking cauldron.

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Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… good thing there’s a fire extinguisher nearby

lavender gin potion

The experience was exactly 1 hour 45 minutes, and then they kick you out to make way for the next group.

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If you’re a Harry Potter/fantasy/magic fan coming to London, I recommend both potions classes. If you want more of the role-playing, interactive, immersive experience (and food), go for the tea. It’s also better for people going in pairs of two, as you sit two to a desk. If you want more of a drinks-at-a-pub experience with a bigger group of friends, go for the Cauldron (though I’m not sure where it will be when it reopens).

Just don’t forget to return your wand at the end—both places take a credit card to ensure you do… and then He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named might steal your identity and run up a big bar tab. And that would be riddikulus!

{Note: I paid full price for these experiences; all comments are entirely my own and not swayed by being offered something in return for a review. Not enough people read this blog for that, ha.}

Cheers!

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