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Okay Potterheads, did you know that there are many magical Durham Cathedral Harry Potter filming locations that you can visit in the North East of England?
They filmed parts of the first two Harry Potter movies here and so you’ll recognise plenty of scenes filmed around their cathedral cloisters.
So, if you have ever wanted to wander down the corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry now is your chance!
Grab your wand and your house robes. Here is a complete list of all the magical Durham Cathedral Harry Potter filming locations you can find on your visit!
Durham Cathedral history
The Norman Durham Cathedral we see today was constructed between 1093 and 1133 during the age of William the Conqueror. But, it is thought that there was an Anglo-Saxon place of worship before that in honour of St Cuthbert.
St Cuthbert was a monk who died in 687AD on the Inner Farne Island of Northumberland and is known as the North’s best-loved saint.
After the Viking Invasion, the community there fled Lindisfarne and took St Cuthbert’s body with them to protect it.
They carried him around the North of England for years until they finally settled in Durham and built a place of worship to honour him and house his holy relics.
Ever since its construction almost 1000 years ago, the church has remained an active place of worship and pilgrimage. It’s thought that over 600,000 people visit annually.
It’s also famous today for being a filming location for the first two Harry Potter movies and sees countless Potterheads descend on it each year to take them back to Hogwarts!
What is the Durham Cathedral Harry Potter connection?
Many people ask what the Durham Cathedral Harry Potter connection is. Well, Potterheads will be happy to know that there were two Harry Potter movies that were filmed at Durham Cathedral!
- Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone (2001)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
You’re probably wondering then ‘which part of Harry Potter was filmed at Durham Cathedral?’. In both movies, Durham Cathedral featured as different parts of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
You’ll recognise scenes from the Durham cathedral cloisters, the cathedral garth, Chapter House, and Triforium!
Magical Durham Cathedral Harry Potter Filming Locations
So, if you have ever wanted to feel like you’re were strolling through Hogwarts, I would recommend paying a visit to Durham Cathedral if you’re in the North East of England.
Here are all the best Durham Cathedral Harry Potter filming locations you can find here and links to watch those magical scenes!
Durham Cathedral Cloisters & The Cloister Garth
Most of the Durham Cathedral Harry Potter filming locations can be found in the Durham Cathedral Cloisters & The Cloister Garth which is the small green in the middle – so make sure to head here first!
You can make your way over to the cloisters through the Nave and Lady Chapel. Heading outwards through the glass doors.
You can then stroll around the quad and it will transport you straight to Hogwarts! There are a great number of filming locations you’ll recognise around here.
Here’s a list of all the Durham Cathedral Harry Potter filming locations in the cloisters & cloister garth!
1. When Harry holds Hedwig in the snow
One of the first Durham Cathedral Harry Potter scenes we see in the movie is from Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone.
This is when Hogwarts School has been covered in a blanket of snow for Christmas and Harry is holding Hedwig as he walks through the courtyard.
Harry then lets go of Hedwig and she flies away out of the courtyard, into the clouds, and over the Quidditch Field. We then see the snow-capped towers of Hogwarts in the backdrop!
You can find this filming location in the Durham Cathedral Cloister Garth or the small green in the middle of the cloisters.
Watch the scene – Hedwig flies in the snow!
2. When Ron throws up slugs!
One of the most memorable Durham Cathedral Harry Potter scenes is where Ron’s spell backfires with his broken wand in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
This is when the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and Slytherin Quidditch Team have a disagreement on practice times.
During the argument Draco Malfoy is…well…typically Malfoy and calls Hermoine a ‘filthy little Mudblood’. So, Ron loses it and ends up getting out his wand to attack Draco…only to cast his spell back on himself. Ron then ends up coughing up slugs!
The filming location for these scenes can be found on The Cloister Garth as you can clearly see the cathedral well in the middle of the cloisters.
Watch the scene – Ron’s spell backfires and he throws up slugs!
3. When Harry discovers a petrified student with Parseltongue
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry has a pretty awkward lesson where he reveals to the class that he has a Parselmouth!
Later, he follows the sound of the Parseltongue through the Hogwarts Corridors and it leads him to a Petrified Headless Nick and another student.
Mr. Filch catches him and presumes he’s the one guilty of all the commotion and scuttles off to tell Dumbledore. You can find this scene in the Durham Cathedral Cloisters.
Watch the scene – Harry discovers another petrified student!
4. When Harry frees Dobby!
One of my all-time favourite scenes from the Harry Potter movies happens during Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
This is when Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into gifting Dobby a sock in order for the loveable House Elf to gain his freedom.
He does this by putting the sock in Tom Riddle’s Diary! Dobby takes the diary from Lucius revealing the sock and is finally a FREE elf as Lucius storms off in a huff.
These scenes were all filmed in Durham Cathedral cloisters, you can clearly see the arched doorway in the background. Although, they did use a green screen for the mountain backdrop!
Watch the scene – Harry gifts Dobby a sock to free him!
Durham Cathedral Chapter House
Another Harry Potter location can be found within the cloister quad and that is the Durham Cathedral Chapter House.
The Chapter House was a small room that historically used to be where the monks gathered to carry out the daily business of the monastery.
The name comes from the fact that the bishops would have sat in here and chapters from the Rule of St Benedict would be read to the community. It was a feature added in Norman times but was renovated in 1895.
Note: The Durham Cathedral Chapter House is not often open to the public. If you wanted to see it, you can visit on one of the cathedral open days or book one of the Durham Cathedral Museum Tours that allow you access!
5. When Harry and Ron are late to class
In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Ron and Harry are running late to their Transfiguration class and run through the cathedral cloisters.
They think that they are in the clear as they can only see a cat at the teacher’s desk. But, of course, this is Menerva McGonagall who shapeshifts back to her human form and tells them off.
This scene was filmed in the Chapter House as you can clearly see the curved room and pillars. On your visit, there won’t be any desks but it is still cool to see the room for yourself!
Watch the scene – Harry and Ron are late for class!
6. Hermione asks about the Chamber of Secrets!
We again visit Professor McGonagall’s Class in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
In this lesson, the students are asked to transform their familiars into water goblets! Ron attempts to change Scabbers but only get’s a furry cup with a tail.
This is when Hermoine asks McGonagall to tell the class about the Chamber of Secrets. Again, all of these scenes were filmed inside Durham Cathedral Chapter House.
Watch the scene – Hermione asks about the Chamber of Secrets!
Durham Cathedral Triforium
There aren’t many scenes that were filmed in Durham Cathedral itself save for one.
I was told at the reception that there was a short scene filmed here for Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone in the Triforium.
7. Triforium – Scenes with Fluffy
One of the filming locations you may not be able to visit will be the Durham Cathedral Triforium. Apparently, they filmed the scenes with Fluffy the three-headed dog here for the very first movie.
The Golden Trio is busy looking for the Philosopher’s Stone and they are scared to come across Fluffy who is on guard.
These scenes are all filmed in the Triforium. This is not often open to the public so you may not be able to visit. But, I’ve linked the memorable scene below.
Watch the scene – the Golden Trio wake up Fluffy!
Is there a Harry Potter tour of Durham Cathedral?
No, there is not a Durham Cathedral Harry Potter tour specifically but if you did want to see all of the filming locations, I would recommend the Durham Cathedral Museum tour.
This tour allows you to access rooms that are often closed off to the public like the Chapter House which is what is featured as McGonagall’s Classroom.
It costs £14.50 and not only allows you to see the Chapter House but also the Museum exhibit’s which have some of St Cuthbert’s belongings on display!
I personally did this tour and absolutely loved it. It was really informative.
Non-Harry Potter things to do at Durham Cathedral
So, aside from chasing all the Durham Cathedral Harry Potter locations, there is actually quite a lot to see and do in this incredible place of worship.
I actually ended up spending most of the day here as I booked two tours and a tower visit. When I visited, they had a spectacular ‘Museum of the Moon’ that was magical.
There are many events and art exhibitions like this that happen throughout the year. So, it is worth checking out what’s on during your visit.
But, if you were looking for some more things to do in Durham Cathedral, here are some of the highlights.
Explore the Norman Cathedral
Beyond Harry Potter locations, Durham Cathedral is one of the most spectacular historical buildings in the country and one of the best surviving examples of Norman architecture.
As soon as you enter, you’ll be amazed by The Cathedral Nave with its sky-high Norman Pillars. These are almost entirely original and it’s thought that the talented stonemasons created one of the world’s first structural pointed arch.
If you walk through The Nave and into the Chapel of Nine Altars, you’ll probably spot the famous Durham Cathedral Rose Stained Glass Window. Each of its ‘petals’ features one of the apostles.
There are lots of stained glass windows to admire here, even modern additions like the one that represents the Last Supper. The light that shines through them from the outside casts wonderful rays of colour on the Norman stone carvings.
If you head into the Lady Chapel, you will also see the tomb of The Venerable Bede. A monk who lived in the 7th century and was highly revered in the Anglo-Saxon era.
There is plenty to see on your visit to Durham Cathedral. But, I found it much better to go on a dedicated Cathedral Tour. You learn a lot more this way. Click here to book.
See the Shrine of St Cuthbert
Did you know that many people make a pilgrimage to Durham Cathedral to visit the final resting place of St Cuthbert? It makes sense as this cathedral started out as a memorial to him and his relics!
St Cuthbert was a monk who died in 687AD on the Inner Farne Island of Northumberland and is known as the North’s best-loved saint.
After the Viking Invasion, the community fled Lindisfarne and took St Cuthbert’s body with them to protect it. They carried him around the North of England for years until they settled in Durham.
You can find fragments of his original coffin in the Durham Cathedral Museum. His body is laid to rest in the shrine and has been a popular pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. Even today, thousands of visitors visit the shrine of St Cuthbert to pay respects.
The tomb is not elaborate but you can see his tombstone that reads ‘Cuthbertus’. You have to be silent inside the shrine and there are places to sit inside and pray.
Climb Durham Cathedral Tower
If you really wanted to get an impressive view over Durham Cathedral and County Durham then I would recommend taking one of their Durham Cathedral Tower visits.
It allows you to climb up 325 winding steps to the very top of the cathedral and from here you can see a perfect bird’s eye view of the Cathedral Cloisters Quad aka Hogwarts! Just like Hedwig.
It is a bit of a climb but the views are breathtaking over the city and you can even see as far as the Angel of the North over towards Newcastle.
There are only six Durham Cathedral Tower sessions each day and they run on the hour. So, make sure to book your tickets as soon as you arrive at the cathedral so you don’t miss out!
Access to Durham Cathedral tower is subject to weather conditions. See here for the latest opening times and prices.
Durham Cathedral Café
If you were looking for a place to eat in Durham Cathedral there is a great Undercroft Café where you can grab a light bite or coffee and cake.
They have seating right in the Durham Cathedral Cloisters so you can feel like you’re in Hogwarts while you have your lunch!
I was actually relieved to take a break here from exploring the cathedral as it’s a lot bigger than you realise.
It’s good to note that The Undercroft Café is open seasonally. Click here for more information.
How to visit Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral can be accessed via the medieval city of Durham in the North East of England. If you’re arriving by car, Durham can easily be found by navigating off the M1 Motorway and following the signs from there.
Durham Cathedral does sit at a height on a peninsula and is cut off by the River Wear. So, there is often a congestion charge to enter this part of the city. I would recommend using a Park & Ride service and getting a bus in (more information below).
Alternatively, you can catch a train to Durham as it is well connected with rail services in the north of England.
Once you arrive in the city, you’ll need to make your way up the steep hill to access Durham Cathedral via the North Bailey.
There are multiple footbridges that allow you to cross over the River Wear and follow the cobbled pathways up to the cathedral and castle.
Durham Cathedral parking
As Durham Cathedral is at a height over the River Wear, there is only limited accessible parking for Durham Cathedral.
There is also a congestion charge for the city as you drive over the peninsula. The best bet, if you are arriving by car, would be to use the Park & Ride services around Durham city.
There are 3 Durham Park & Ride services at either Belmont car park, Sniperley car park, and Howland’s car park. All are a short bus ride away.
You can take a bus into the city and walk up to the cathedral. Or, switch to the ‘Cathedral Bus’ service that can drop you off from the Durham train station or bus station.
Durham Cathedral opening times & ticket prices
Durham Cathedral is open throughout the year and the reception, café, and shop are open from 10 am – 4 pm on Mondays to Saturdays. On Sundays, the cathedral is open to visitors from 12 pm – 4 pm due to morning services.
Although the reception desk is open at 10 am, I was actually inside the cathedral a little earlier around 8.30 – 9 am.
So, if you were wanting to take photos or visit when it’s quieter, I would recommend arriving early in the morning. By the afternoon, there are often queues to visit the cathedral if they are limiting numbers.
Durham Cathedral is completely FREE to visit but there is a suggested donation of £5 for cathedral renovations. If you wanted to make an extra donation, it’s worth going on one of the cathedral tours!
Looking for more things to do in Durham & County Durham?
So, what else is there to do in Durham after your visit to the cathedral? Well, Durham is a compact and cobbled medieval city that has lots to offer visitors.
After your visit, you could head over to Durham Castle to take a guided tour. You can see the Great Hall there that inspired the Great Hall at Hogwarts!
You could wander around the historic streets and go shopping in the independent boutiques. Or, visit one of the many pubs for lunch.
This city is surrounded by the River Wear and there are lots of scenic walks you can take. Plus, there are Prince Bishop River Cruises that run in summer. You could also head over to Wharton Park to take in views of the city from the skyline.
You could visit one of the historic castles like Raby Castle or visit the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.
I loved exploring the Durham Heritage Coast and my favourite parts were the views from Blast Beach! This is also a Netflix Last Kingdom filming location if you were a fan.