An enchanted forest has sprung up at Stratford’s most magical attraction – and visitors won’t even have to leave their homes to see it.
The ground floor of Magic Alley, a magical emporium and interactive attraction in Bell Court, has been transformed over the course of the three-month lockdown into a brand new ‘enchanted forest’ for visitors to explore.
This new forest, and the rest of the shop, can now be explored virtually by accessing a link through the business’s website homepage.
Visitors can also visit the Enchanted Manor virtually if they log on using their smartphone, computer or even their virtual reality headset if they have one, and solve the quests given to from the comfort of their own home.
Magic Alley Events Manager Sam Jenkins said: “In a strange way, lockdown actually gave us the time to make quite a few improvements to what we can offer at Magic Alley.
“The ground floor was in real need of a makeover, but before lockdown, finding the time to get the work done was almost impossible.
“Once it became clear that Magic Alley had to close its doors, we felt we had to use the time productively. So we decided to transform our ground floor and make it as appealing as possible to our customers.
“After buying a number of decorative trees, painting all the walls and installing an 880-LED light net on the ceiling, we think it looks far more magical.
“Now we’ll be able to use the space to enhance our ‘magical quests’ that we offer visitors, and we’ll also be tweaking the decorations for upcoming Halloween and Christmas events.”
Magic Alley also took the time to rebuild its website, add an online shop, and enhance its presence on social media.
But perhaps the most interesting addition is the virtual tour, which will allow people interested in the shop to have a proper look around before visiting.
And for £5, people can take part in Magic Alley’s magical quests virtually without having to venture inside.
“We wanted to provide something for those who are still shielding, or those who don’t feel ready to venture out yet,” Sam added.
“We felt a virtual tour and offering virtual quests was a really interesting way of reaching new customers, and we’d encourage anyone who’s intrigued by Magic Alley to have a look inside online.”
Sam said: “While these past few months have been extremely challenging for all sorts of reasons, we really believe we’ve been able to hugely improve what we have at Magic Alley.”
“We can’t wait for more customers to come and visit – either in person or virtually – and see the magic for themselves.”
Businesses are now being supported by Stratford District Council to promote the safe reopening of the High Streets in response to Covid-19 through the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The project has received £116,036 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding