A Visit to Grimm & Co – Using Incentives to Keep Kids Going on a Long Trip

Oh, Grimm & Co, this wonderful, fabulous, magical place! It knocked our socks off from the time we approached the door until the time the girls (5yo Kora and 9yo Juliet) found a quiet place to activate their wands, as instructed by the magical apothecary.

You see, our girls are seasoned travelers, but even seasoned travelers need a little incentive to go along with their parents’ aggressive sightseeing schedule, and when I read reviews about Grimm & Co Apothecary to the Magical, I knew it would be the perfect reward for my girls after some long days of travel and sightseeing.

It exceeded ALL my expectations! And I say that even though I knew going in that it wasn’t your typical tourist destination. It’s a charity that encourages kids to write, which is right (write – hah!) up my alley, but it being the morning of a typical school day, Grimm wasn’t hosting any events or workshops. We were basically going out of our way to check out the onsite store, much the way we would check out something like Harrod’s, but maybe on a slightly smaller scale. And we were going to Grimm & Co because it looked and sounded like a store straight out of Diagon Alley.

But I digress, Grimm & Co encourages kids to write in the best, most funnest way imaginable…by teleporting them into a world of fairytales, magic, and make believe. The decor was only the beginning! From the time we entered until the time we left, we were treated to a storybook experience as magical creatures. You can check out some Google Images of Grimm & Co on Google to get an idea of the setting and ambiance.

It began with an explanation of why we had made a special trip to Rotherham just to go to the store despite there not being a writing workshop on. The magical apothecary (staff member) immediately took charge and led my girls to the magical detection station to determine what kind of creatures they are (Juliet = Fairy; Kora = Leprechaun). She then pointed out various magical artifacts, told stories about them and how they got there, and introduced Juliet to the writing station where she could write to any character she wanted (she chose Harry Potter, I think Kora chose Cinderella). Another apothecary made us tea and orange juice and biscuits and then they left us to explore the store offerings.

The girls went a little crazy with wands – as if they didn’t already have some – wand cases, t shirts, potions, potion ingredients, spell books, and stamps for their letters to Harry Potter and Cinderella. While we were exploring, the apothecaries conferred with Graham Grimm about letting the girls tour the writing space, and he must have given the go ahead because the next thing we knew, Juliet had found the trigger to open the secret door that opened into the world of writing, and we were in the inner sanctum!

What an incredible writing space (again, Google Images)! Once the girls got through the door, their imaginations were cleared, and they ran up the staircase (decorated with the spines of some of our favorite books!), past the office of the mysterious Graham Grimm, and to a secret garden. They saw where all the writing magic happens before returning to the shop via the giant beanstalk that grew from some beans Jack dropped after a shopping trip. If only we could have stayed in the garden for a day to just write and write and write some more.

I’m not sure how we managed it, but we spent nearly two hours at Grimm & Co. It was one of the highlights of the trip for the girls, and they couldn’t wait to get to our next stop (Cambridge via Grantham, but more on that later), where they activated their new wands in the wardrobe of the hotel. I thought that was a perfectly appropriate conclusion to a perfectly magical day.

No, that’s not the end! Those letters the girls sent to Harry Potter and Cinderella? They replied! The letters are sitting in an envelope on my desk, waiting for Juliet to return from Girl Scout camp so they can open them. I can’t wait to see their reactions!

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