Enter the magical Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience in Leesburg Virginia and immerse yourself in a world of fantastical creatures and dazzling lights. Here you'll follow a walk-through trail through the forest where you encounter beasts both charming and spooky.
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is making its US debut at only two locations and one of them is here in Northern Virginia. The experience begins Halloween weekend and continues through the holiday season to January 29, 2023 (ticket info below).
We attended a media preview of the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience in Leesburg VA. All photos, text, and opinions are our own.
What to Expect at the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience
The woodlands at Morven Park in Leesburg Virginia have been transformed. For a limited time, fans of all ages can enter a Hogwarts Forbidden Forest alive with the sounds and sights of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies.
The Forbidden Forest is filled with fantastical creatures and shrouded in fog. Visitors walk on a 1-mile gravel path surrounded by dense woods where the mood shifts with the creatures who live there.
For example, the lights and the vibe are bright as you walk through an area of Niffler burrows. But other parts of the forest, where werewolves and Death Eaters lurk, are dark and eerie.
Tension builds as you descend to Aragog's Lair, but a side trail lets you can skip the scariest moments if you choose. We don't want to give away any of the surprises but be assured that Aragog and the Dementors will not prevail.
Elaborate special effects and creations (from the experts at Warner Brothers Themed Entertainment) bring you close to the magical creatures and scenes. Headlights in the forest mean you're nearing Mr. Weasley's Flying Ford Anglia.
A group of Centaurs seems startled, and a bit annoyed, by your presence.
In addition, several immersive experiences make you part of the action. Meet the Hippogriff Buckbeak (be sure to maintain respectful eye contact), cast a Patronus spell, and take on an opponent in a wand battle.
The magical beasts in the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest are created with a mix of stationary, animatronic, and projected effects. Some creatures, like a Hippogriff and Troll, are close enough for great photos and selfies. Others, including a beautiful white unicorn, are more elusive.
If your young wizard has a wand, bring it along, but it's not a necessity. A lovely selection of wands is provided at the interactive stops. Plus, you can purchase a new wand at the on-site shop, one of the few places to get an authentic Ollivander's wand outside of the Wizarding World at Universal Studios.
The Village in the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest
The walk-through trail is not the only fun in the Forbidden Forest. Halfway through the trail, you'll arrive at “the village” where you can stop for something to eat and a Butterbeer or cup of Hogwarts Hot Chocolate.
The Forbidden Forest Experience menu includes everything from savory pies to delectable Forbidden Forest Mini Cakes (so yummy!). There are picnic tables and restrooms so you can relax and refresh before completing the walk. In addition, a stand sells some of the items that are available in the gift shop.
There is another opportunity to shop when you complete the walk. Near the exit is a larger version of the village store with a larger selection of gear and wands.
FAQ: Visiting the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest in Leesburg VA
Here is essential information and answers to frequently asked questions about the Forbidden Forest Experience in Leesburg Virginia.
When is the Forbidden Forest open?
Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in Leesburg VA is open nightly from October 29 through January 29. 15-minute sessions admit visitors from 5:45 to 9:45 pm.
How much are tickets to Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience?
Is parking available at the Forbidden Forest Experience?
Yes, parking at the Forbidden Forest is $8 per spot reserved in advance, $10 at the door. There is a drop-off spot for visitors who don't plan to park.
Are tickets to the Forbidden Forest still available?
Most dates in October and November are sold out, but keep checking the website as timeslots may reopen. There is plenty of availability in January and tickets would make a nice Christmas gift.
Where is the Leesburg Harry Potter Forbidden Forest located?
The Forbidden Forest is located in Morven Park, 41580 Sunday Morning Lane, Leesburg Virginia. You must enter the park via Tutt Lane from Route 15. When you leave, you'll exit onto Old Waterford Road, closer to downtown Leesburg.
Is the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience close to Washington DC?
Yes, Morven Park is about 45 miles northwest of Washington DC. The drive should take about an hour but can be much longer during rush hours. Consider heading out early and spending a day or overnight visit in Leesburg.
Is the Harry Potter Forest Experience good for kids? For adults?
Yes! The Forbidden Forest Experience is open to Harry Potter fans of all ages. Young children may find some areas spooky but there is nothing too scary.
How long is the walk-through Harry Potter Forbidden Forest trail?
The Forbidden Forest trail is approximately 1 mile long on an uneven gravel path with some small hills. Strollers are allowed but should be able to handle uneven terrain. You are walking outdoors through a real forest so dress warmly.
How long does the HP Forest Experience last?
Allow 60 to 90 minutes for both the forest trail and time at the village. One of the real advantages of this experience is that you can move at your own pace. Take your time to enjoy the effects and relax in the village.
Where can I find more information about the Forbidden Forest Experience in Virginia?
Is the Forbidden Forest in Leesburg wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the Forbidden Forest in Leesburg is wheelchair accessible, but the trail is covered in gravel and there are several slopes. Four motorized scooters are available (free) that guests can request ahead of time, or bring your own.
Can I shop at the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest store if I do not have tickets to enter the trail?
Yes, visitors can shop at the store without trail tickets, but you will have to pay $10 to park. The store is one of the only places to buy authentic Ollivander wands and gear (unique holiday gifts!) outside of Universal Studios.
The Harry Potter Forbidden Forest Experience is a welcome addition to Northern Virginia holiday fun. DC area locals and visitors are lucky to have easy access to one of only four locations for this experience in the world.
Harry Potter fans will find a lot to love in the Forbidden Forest, but even non-fans should enjoy the quality special effects. Admission prices are high, so it makes sense to take your time when you visit.
We wish there were a few more characters and interactive elements, especially in the first section of the trail. But there is a lot to enjoy in the Harry Potter Forbidden Forest, and we hope the experience will return in future years.