Harry Potter and the Garden of Secrets

A community partnership event between Glasgow Science Festival and The Concrete Garden

As part of The Glasgow Science Festival 2017, GSF collaborated with the Concrete Gardens, Possilpark, to create a unique harry potter themed science event for a family audience; Harry Potter and the Garden of Secrets.

The Garden of Secrets was packed with a range of Harry Potter themed art/science activities and games from potions and herbology to games of quidditch.

The activities were free, highly interactive, and included lots of fun and intriguing ‘make and takes’ to capture the imaginations of all the muggles who entered the garden.

Combining science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM); arts and crafts; and gardening we conjured up a range of Harry Potter school classes and helped over 700 visitors to be a pupil at Hogwarts for the day.

To top off the theme we had a cinema marquee complete with deckchairs, bean bags, popcorn and hotdogs showing ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ throughout the day.

37 researcher staff and students partnered and volunteered with us to help make the day a success and impart their expertise to the visitors.  Volunteers came from University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh and STEM Ambassadors (Industry). This included seven Glasgow Science Festival/ University of Glasgow PGR’s as part of a skills development training internship.

Browse through the photos below to get a feel for the magic of the day!

Harry Potter and the Garden of secrets sinage with rainbow testubes

Photo opportunity at the secret garden

making fizzing potions

Fizzing potions were a popular chemistry creation.

sun shining over the concrete gardens

The sun was shining over the Conrete Garden in Possilpark.  Visitors took part in a range of activities in and amongst the planters at the Congrete Garden where the community can grow organic fruit and veg.

Design a dragon genetics activity

Learning about DNA and inheritance by designing dragons with university of Glasgow Researchers, who were part of the Glasgow Science Festival PGR internship 2017.

attendees busy st the genetics activity

A girl shows off her Mandrake

Making a model mandrake was one of the botanical offerings at the Concrete Garden

owl at the magical studies station

time turner activity and illusions

Time turners and illusions were popular activities in the secret garden.  These activities were developed by the GSF PGR internship participants, who are all researchers at the university of Glasgow.

event signage 'Free Dobby'

Looking at the fantastic beasts you can find in the garden

Showing off some of the Fantastic Beasts you can find in the garden and the important work insects and invertebrates do.

Attendees dress up as dementors and Hogwarts pupils for the occasion

Visitors dressed and ready for their visit to the Secret Garden!

dragons eggs craft drying

Dragons eggs drying in the sun. Using paint chemistry to decorate the eggs.

deckchairs and beanbags inside the indoor cinema where we showed Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban

Deckchairs and bean bags kitted out the pop-up cinema where we screened harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban.

The concrete Garden served delicious cinema snacks

The Concrete Garden provided cinema snacks to accompany the film.  Popcorn!

GSF staff depart through platform 9 3/4 on our model luggage trolley

Someone has a train to catch!

making polymer dragons eggs with really small science

Which Dragon's egg would you like to make? With Really Small Science

the really small science team

The Really Small Science team

Playing Quidditch

The games hall offered a full days programme of Harry Potter games and sports, including Quidditch of course!

showing off the results from wand making

Showing off their hot-glue wands. Expelliarmus!

Attendees show off their magical science creations from the day

Visitors to the garden show off their creations.

What people said

“Organisers and volunteer very helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and very encouraging to attendees”

“It was brilliant”

“Fantastic event, very imaginative and interactive”

“Fantastic event, great ideas and engaging for the whole family”


Warner Bros. Entertainment and J.K. Rowling are not responsible for this event but, subject to conditions, they kindly granted us permission to use the HARRY POTTER trade mark and other materials.

With thanks to our project partners and funders