Harry Potter has turned a fictive wizard into a huge franchise. Right next to the place you can spend roughly six hours in his musical, you may feel a bit like him in a very British way: afternoon tea. The Wizard Afternoon Tea at the Wizards Exploratorium is no official Harry Potter product, but you just feel a certain link to it. My wife wanted to give it a try – and so we did when we recently visited London. Here is my review.
Wizards Exploratorium – Location & Admission
The Wizards Exploratorium is a neat place, which is located just around the corner from Palace Theatre, where the Harry Potter musical is performed. The two closest Underground stations are Tottenham Court Road (Central Line, Northern Line, Elizabeth Line) and Leicester Square (Northern Line, Piccadilly Line). There are also numerous bus connections, buses to Cambridge Circus stop right in front of the theater. The place is located in the London Congestion Charge Zone. There is a patisserie next door, which is likely somehow driving the place.
The afternoon tea is offered daily. There are multiple time slots, depending on the weekday. We had a Sunday morning 11:00 hrs afternoon tea in late November 2022. The afternoon tea experience was 42 GBP per person. You have to book a time slot online, which leads to a mandatory 1 GBP “processing fee” per person. Apart from the afternoon tea, Wizards Exploratorium is also offering workshops in which you can design your own wand.
Wizards Exploratorium – The Afternoon Tea
Wizard Afternoon Tea started with a delay of some five to ten minutes. The business has two rooms in which the do their magical events, the afternoon tea is located on the first floor. The stairway was very sticky and the floor was still wet when we entered the tiny room – they obviously did not clean up the Saturday evening mess before. The room is rather small. Just some five parties are served in parallel. I was surprised that the room did not even have a sink. Tea is prepared by a huge water kettle and remains are collected in a plastic tub. There are (very narrow) toilets next to the room, though.
You definitely cannot state that they did not try to bring some magic into this place. The decoration was nice, you could wear a goan during the afternoon tea – and if you touched the stand for the afternoon tea items with a wand, it illuminated. Later, you open the box of teas with your wand as well and even find a secret drawer in it. In fact, you are thought to brew two teas. The moderation of the afternoon tea was so poor that we did not get it for the first round and used the wrong kettle for the second one. The idea of having different “potions” for the tea was really cool though. In the second round, you first brew a blue tea, which is then put into different colors and tastes by different serums.
While the whole tea thing definitely did have some magic, I could not find a link to that topic in the food. Yeah, they had sand-witches. But that’s it. The food was nice and included scones. As said I guess these things are provided from the excellent place next door. The booking stated a duration of 1:40 hours – we were more or less kicked out of the room after less than 1:20 hours in fact.
Wizards Exploratorium – Service
The service was poor. The check-in to the afternoon tea felt chaotic. The moderation was not good and left many things unclear. I am rather fluent in English, but I had severe problem to understand one of the ladies when she gave explanations. Finally, this is a touristic place, so I was very surprised about it. One of the worst things, though, was that the tea pot we had still contained a teabag from a former party (again, we had the first time slot on a Sunday…).
The street level reception area also features a small shop, where people can buy “magic” things like unicorn blood. I felt tha the design of the shop is nice, the range of items could be more magical, though.
Wizards Exploratorium – My View
I felt that the Wizard Afternoon Tea was not worth the money. They have some really good ideas, but they finally did not think the concept through. The price is finally too high for what you get. More than that, the cleanliness of the room and the tableware (see the tea pot thing above) was not within acceptable range – it rather felt like the staff had too much partying the Saturday night before. Bad luck, as the concept would be a really cool experience for adults and kids.
Flyctory.com on Eating & Drinking
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