My love for Harry Potter knows no bounds, although it did waver slightly with the whole Johnny Depp saga, but that’s a post for another day. So last month when an email popped up in my inbox regarding an afternoon tea potions class at a School of Wizarding Alchemy, I couldn’t refuse.
Cutter and Squidge are an all-natural, family run bakery that have been in the business for a long time. They have also been throwing themed afternoon teas for quite some time so they know how to put on a good show, and I for one couldn’t bloody wait!
You have to book online in advance and you can choose one of three timings – 12pm midday, 3pm and 5pm. The whole event takes about 2.5 hours and you’re instructed to arrive about 10 minutes before because you need to register and the whole class has to enter together.
On the ground floor, Cutter & Squidge looks like an ordinary cake shop but it’s downstairs where the magic happens. The underground dining space has been transformed into a potions classroom, where fires burn and cauldrons bubble for this new immersive afternoon tea experience.
On the day of arrival, you sign yourself in on an ipad and are then issued with seat numbers. I was wondering what they’re for but then I later realised that this comes in handy if you have pre-ordered dietary requirement such as vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free. Once the whole class has arrived you are led downstairs to where a cauldren is bubbling away and broomsticks are resting. There was a real buzz of excitement in the air but it was about to just get better and better. We were all asked to replace our coats with real wizarding cloaks, complete with hood.
Once you’re dressed the part, you’re taken into the potions class which is breath taking. I’m a huge fan of little details and Cutter & Squidge have gone above and beyond with really making this experience special.
Shelves are full of school chemistry lesson paraphernalia and academic books. The front of the room looks amazing with little bottles and even subtle cobwebs. There’s even an astrological map on the ceiling which has constellations spelling the bakery’s name.
The set up is pretty much what you would expect of a classroom. Everyone has an individual wooden desk and a wooden chair split up into pairs. You might want to make note of this if you’re visiting in odd numbers.
Your desk is already set up for you with test tubes and chemistry beakers (science lesson nostalgia coming through!), a pestle and mortar, a mini cauldron, your teacup, saucer and tea strainer plus a side plate and cutlery. If you also look around you’ll spot some real wizarding wands that will come in handy later.
Once you’re settle in, The Potions teacher comes in and gives a short welcome speech before getting stuck into the first task.
This one is relatively simple You are instructed to take the paper from your menu folder and use your pencil to then note your name, table number and your choice of tea. The teas include a couple of limited editions: Unicorn Tear Tea and Elixir of Life Tea which are also unlimited with refills (or changes if you fancy trying a different tea) and there is also an option of pumpkin juice. Of course, I opted for the unicorn tears tea which comes blue in colour and is served with a lemon slice. Once you squeeze the lemon into the tea, as if by magic it turns purple.
While our teas were being prepared, we created ‘Galaxy Juice’ from the liquids in chemistry beakers on our table. It made a lovely coloured-layer fruit drink. As we all did so well with our first task, we were all rewarded with a bag of ‘dibbles’ (small coins) which would be needed later.
The magic continues on as we were then issued with a school wand, each of them different. hey were absolutely vital fo the next concuction called ‘Hubble Bubble’. We were specifically told that photos weren’t allowed at this point – if Im honest, Im not really sure why. It was still great fun and as well mixed in our ingredient into the cauldron, the contents fizzed and popped and turned into a delicious lemon meringue cheesecake! Now I’m not usually a fan of merinue but honestly, this was absolutely delicious!
I was actually surprised that we had already had so much fun and the actual tea hadn’t even started!
Soon after our teas were served and I was blown away with how cute everything looked. The whole thing came laid out on a three tier open bird cage. Cutter and Squidge really outdid themselves with creativity as well as taste. Since I chose the vegetarian option, my first tier consisted of:
An interactive welcome drink with hints of passion fruit, hibiscus and unicorn tear tea
Your very own cauldron with a lemon inspired potion
Selection of Sandwiches
Vegetarian roast dinner | Ploughman’s | Avocado & Roasted Vegetables
A Proper Pie
With a creamy leak & potato filling
Mini Yorkshire Pudding Fit For a Feast
Served with mushrooms
Served with clotted cream & handmade jam
Our unique creation with a luscious butterscotch filling
A little bit of old fashioned glory
You’re then left to enjoy your tea and eat until your heart is content. I couldn’t tell you which bit I enjoyed the most because it was all so so good! By the time I got to the sweets, I saw the Butterscotch Biskie and thought it was a macaron (Im not a fan of them at all) so thought I wouldn’t like it but would give it a go anyway and I’m so glad I did because I was mistaken! It was Soooo delicious!
One thing I didn’t notice that was actually missing from the tea was scones. They weren’t missed at all but they were definitely a welcomed surprise when they arrived unexpectedly warm and fresh out of then over in a paper bag with a note to eat them before they turn into real rocks! How cute! They also come with little jars of clotted cream and homemade jam.
I was slightly disappointed that we were told not to take photos. I understand they might want to “keep the secrets” but honestly, in the day and age of Instagram and social media, people love to see what’s in store for them.
If youre thinking, wow that’s a lot of food then let me tell you, it doesn’t actually stop there. There’s a small surprise at the end too involving those ‘dibbles’ we were given earlier- a magician never gives away all their secrets though!
Classmates are also given a school of wizarding and alchemy pin badge and are later emailed a certificate as proof of passing your class. A truly magical experience!
My one tip would definitely be to go on an empty stomach because my goodness is there a lot of food to eat. Cutter & Squidge are so so generous with all the food and added extras that its honestly worth every penny.
The entire experience is priced at £49.50 per ticket. There is a VIP option for £79.50 and with that you get 2 alcoholic drinks from the special Potion Room menu, plus a special premium goodie bag. Children’s tickets are £39.50.
All in all it’s an AMAZING experience, by far one of the best afternoon teas I’ve been to. If you can make a trip, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Book your tickets here.
Small disclaimer: Just to be clear, The Potion Room is an experience inspired by the magical world of wizards and alchemy and is not based on any specific story or character. All content within the experience is fictional and created by Cutter & Squidge and not endorsed or affiliated in any way to Harry Potter or J.K Rowling’s Wizarding World.