Published: 17:03, 03 September 2019
| Updated: 15:52, 04 September 2019
A new Harry Potter-themed shop has opened in Canterbury city centre.
The magical new store House of Secrets, selling a huge variety of items based on the popular series by J.K. Rowling, opened in cobbled Mercery Lane, and would not look out of place in Diagon Alley.
The shop has sections dedicated to each of wizarding house - Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor.
Official merchandise such as rucksacks, scarves and stationery is available in each of the house colours.
Budding witches and wizards can also lay their hands on some of the fantastical sweets and goodies featured in the book and film series - including Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.
There is also a section at the back which will be used to stock merchandise from popular fantasy films and series.
Currently, it is stocking a range of goblets based on the Game of Thrones series.
Although it has only been open for a short spell, the new House of Secrets store - where wands retail for £44.95 and a broom for £439.95 - has already caused friction among some residents over its prices.
Mum Megan Osborne, from Wincheap, has branded it an “overpriced tourist trap” after visiting the shop with her seven-year-old son Amir.
“We went on Sunday and Amir was really excited and all dressed up in his Hogwarts robe,” she said. “He’s a big Harry Potter fan - he loves the books and films.
“We were hoping to buy something, only to find out it’s mostly collectors items.
“It’s a shame because the staff were lovely, but it is very expensive.”
Ms Osborne, 25, says she feels the shop should stock a range of cheaper items aimed at young children looking to spend their pocket money.
“That whole street leading to the Cathedral is just becoming tourist shops - another one is just not what we need.”
But a huge number of residents have also expressed excitement at the opening of the shop - which launched on Saturday, and is run by neighbouring Fancy That of London.
Manager Mishal Kareem has defended the shop’s prices.
“Ninety per cent of our items are official merchandise from licensed suppliers,” he said. “It’s not like we’re choosing to put a high price on there.
“We have made sure the sweets are the same price or cheaper than the same ones being sold in other stores in Canterbury.
"We’re not interested in bringing in cheap merchandise, but we’re trying to bring in lower-cost high-quality items.
“We do already have Harry Potter items starting from £3.95, like magnets and key rings.”
He says the shop idea was launched after a number of requests from customers.
“We used to sell some Harry Potter stuff next door, but people wanted more,” he explained.
“So when another room became available close to the shop we thought ‘OK, let’s bring a Harry Potter store’ - something unique in Canterbury, which will be a good business.”
More by this authorLydia Chantler-Hicks