YORK has ghost walks and guided history tours galore.

But a walking tour led by a wizard to search out magical creatures? Not so much. Until now...

From Saturday, local magician The Magic Hatter - aka 37-year-old entertainer Dan Wood - will be leading children aged 6-12 (and their parents) on regular Wizard Walks.

Starting from Shambles (allegedly one of the inspirations for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films) the walk will take visitors on a tour of York’s alleys and snickleways in a search of magical creatures. "Guests can expect comedy, magic, mystery, excitement and more wizard puns than you shake a wand at!" Dan promises.

As The Magic Hatter, Dan has been performing magic shows on stage and at events and parties in and around York for 10 years. Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he has also performed as a 'Giggle Doctor' for a charity working in hospitals.

But the pandemic and the lockdowns that it brought saw his parties and other live show events dry up.

So he put this thinking cap on - and came up with the idea for Wizard Walks.

Given that so many visitors associate Shambles with Diagon Alley, it didn't require a great stretch of the imagination to start his wizarding tours there - though Dan studiously avoids using the words Harry Potter.

He is, he says, merely a 'trainee, bumbling wizard' keen to show wannabe young witches and wizards around the city as they search for magical creatures.

"I’ve had a fully-bespoke wizard costume made - complete with cloak, frock coat, waistcoat and hat," he said. "Of course, I’ve had lots of pockets and secret panels added to house all my wizarding wares. I’m not playing an old wizard, but rather a quirky and eccentric guide who sometimes muddles his smells…er ‘spells’…and who delights in sharing magical surprises."

The walk starts from St Crux Churchyard at the bottom of Shambles. "With its cobbled streets and crooked buildings, it looks like something lifted from the pages of a wizarding tale so is an ideal starting point!" Dan said. The tour then takes in Mad Alice Lane, York Minster, St William’s College and King’s Square.

And just what kind of magical creatures is he hoping to find? There are the gargoyles at York Minster, of course: and the carved cats that prowl around high up on the walls of so many York buildings.

There is also a carved mouse left behind courtesy of carpenter Robert ‘Mousey’ Thompson. "With a little magic, a handkerchief is rubbed across it, which transforms into a mouse and then it comes to life!" Dan said.

BLOB The Wizard Walk of York will run every evening from Saturday February 19 to Friday February 25, and then most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 6pm weekdays and 4pm weekends. Tickets £8 from www.wizardwalkofyork.com