Saffron Walden Museum visitor figures soar as Harry Potter fans swing by on their brooms

Youngsters took part in a treasure hunt around Saffron Walden Museum in a bid to find the ingredient

Youngsters took part in a treasure hunt around Saffron Walden Museum in a bid to find the ingredients for a secret magic spell during half term. - Credit: Archant

HARRY Potter fans worked their magic last week when they helped give a popular tourist attraction its highest visitor numbers in more than a year.

Nearly 300 youngsters crammed into Saffron Walden Museum for the half-term Spell Quest event, where children aged 2 to 12 were given the challenge of hunting down clues hidden throughout the various exhibitions.

The fun-filled family outing, on Thursday and Friday last week, was a hit, according to the education officer at the museum, Gemma Tulley.

“It has been absolutely brilliant. I’ve had so many parents come up to me and say they’ve had a great time and it’s been really good to hold an event the whole family can get involved with,” she said.

“We normally have the kids come in and make things like pictures and drawings but this has been much more interactive because they’ve had to go and find clues around the museum – obviously the popularity of Harry Potter has helped as well.

“Both days have been a huge success, with more than 400 visitors in total, and it has given us our best visitor figures for this financial year at least, and even beyond that.”

Once the children had found the 12 hidden clues, which were guarded by wizards, they jotted down each ingredient to make a secret spell.

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Isabel Solive, seven, said: “Doing the treasure hunt was my favourite part of the day because it was good when we had to find all the clues.”

Seven-year-old Hannah Scothern, pictured front far left, said: “We had to decorate the spell sheet around the outside of the ingredients once we had found all the clues. My favourite part was where all the plates are in the ceramic exhibition.”

Miss Tulley said: “It has been great because the kids have been able to learn about the museum while having fun at the same time.

“Our summer exhibition is going to be on butterflies so we’ll have to get creative to think up some more fun events linked to that.”