Herstmonceux Castle

Scrrengrab via Bothwell School of Witchcraft/YouTube

There’s a Harry Potter-style school of witchcraft coming in August

This is perfect for live-action role-players.


Chris Tognotti

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 5, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:45 pm CDT

If you’ve ever wished to escape to a fantastical new life, to a world thick with intrigue, magic, and awe-inspiring powers, you might have an opportunity on the horizon, provided you have the disposable income and the necessary thirst for fantasy escapism. There’s a Harry Potter-style wizardry school that’s going to open in the U.K. this year, aiming to pull the fantasy world of magical academia squarely into the real world.

It’s called the Bothwell School of Witchcraft, and for the record, it has nothing officially to do with the Harry Potter universe or its intellectual properties. What it is, rather, is its own fantasy witchcraft school experience, intended for live-action role-players (LARPers) to come together in appreciation of the genre. According to the project’s official website, the actual experience is scheduled for August 11-13. And while the cost hasn’t been precisely stated, prices are said to start from £400-£450 pounds—that’s about $490-$550 in American currency.

The big three-day event is scheduled to be held in East Sussex, at Herstmonceux Castle, a sprawling estate that includes a striking 15th-century brick castle that’s surrounded by a moat. In other words, it’ll fit the part of a not-quite-Hogwarts perfectly, and even someone who might be slightly less comfortable or familiar with the idea of role-playing will be liable to get swept up in the majestic surroundings. Just don’t forget to bring a personalized wizard’s implement—thanks to the “personal nature of wands,” the organizers are leaving it to the attendees to bring their own.

People will even be sorted into houses: Boyeswick, MacNewthorn, Tabwen, and Wisenforth.

Tickets for the Bothwell School of Witchcraft have not yet gone on sale, but the organizers encourage anyone interested to follow them on social media. The website states that tickets are due to go on sale March 28 and will be available through Kickstarter. The price of a ticket includes all the food and lodgings for the three-day experience.

Sadly, however, die-hard Harry Potter fans will have to slow their roll a little bit. Due to the obvious fact that the organizers don’t possess the rights to J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series, attendees can’t role-play as characters from the books or films. To the contrary, the character creation works like this:

Players will receive a questionnaire upon booking their ticket which will ask for preferences. We will then issue all players with a synopsis and a character brief. Outside of this we welcome you to add your own personal characteristics to your character.

For those less versed in LARPing and character creation, being given the solid foundation of a preconceived role could be a reassuring facet of all this, and being able to supplement it with individual, customized personality traits could prove to be an enormously fun, creative outlet—a dream vacation for the right sort of person.

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*First Published: Mar 5, 2017, 4:18 pm CST